Ron Daymond and Evelyn Herskovitz were stunned when they were ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning to the Canadian land border on May 22 following a day-trip to Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The fully vaccinated couple said a border officer told them they must quarantine because they didn’t fill out the ArriveCAN app.
“It’s ludicrous,” said Herskovitz from her home in Montreal. “People don’t even have to quarantine for 14 days now when they have COVID, so it doesn’t make any sense.”
The federal government has dropped most travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people. However, it still requires them to use the ArriveCAN mobile app or desktop version to submit their travel and COVID-19-related health information within 72 hours before their arrival to Canada.
Travellers who fail to do so could face a 14-day quarantine and even a $5,000 fine.
Some politicians say it’s time to axe the app because it creates hassles for travellers and hampers tourism.
Complaints about ArriveCAN include technical glitches, harsh penalties for non-compliers, and not being user-friendly for seniors.
“When I say ArriveCAN, what words come to mind? ‘Unreliable’, ‘frustrating,’ ‘ageist,’ ‘broken,’ … these are some of the words constituents of mine have used,” said Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho last month during question period in the House of Commons.
“The app is so difficult that some seniors are having to cancel trips.”
The federal government announced on Wednesday that ArriveCAN will stay in place at least until June 30.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told CBC News in an email it has measures in place to assist travellers with ArriveCAN. They include, when feasible, helping people fill out the app at the land border or letting them return to the U.S. to complete it, said the CBSA.
Spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said, as of May 24, “to allow for more flexibility,” the CBSA will let vaccinated Canadian land travellers off with a warning the first time they neglect to fill out the app.
On April 1, border measures were eased for fully vaccinated travellers. Travellers still need to submit their info in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArriveCAN?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ArriveCAN</a> before arrival, regardless of vaccination status.<br><br>Get the latest info here: <a href=”https://t.co/EWFJaKc7Xw”>https://t.co/EWFJaKc7Xw</a> <a href=”https://t.co/CnQhorBY3R”>pic.twitter.com/CnQhorBY3R</a>
Daymond and Herskovitz — who travelled on May 22 — said they were offered no options, even though this was their first trip outside Canada since the pandemic, and they didn’t know land travellers must fill out the app.
“We have vaccine passports. We have our travel documents,” said Herskovitz. “We’re being penalized because we didn’t have an app on our phones.”
Because the couple must quarantine, Daymond, a service technician, said he was forced to take two weeks off work without pay.
“We have a mortgage to pay. It’s a dent in our budget,” said Herskovitz. “It’s quite the punishment.”
The CBSA said it can’t comment on individual cases.
$5 service to fill out app
The Public Health Agency of Canada said ArriveCAN is required to help protect the health of travellers and speed up processing time at the border.
“It is the fastest, easiest and most secure way for travellers to show they meet all public health requirements,” said spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau in an email.
But the union representing CBSA officers says the app is causing line-ups.
“We do have travellers who show up not having completed it, which obviously delays things greatly, especially so at land borders,” said Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union.
Some of those people wind up at C&E Feeds in Calais, Maine, looking for help.
The parcel pick-up and farm store sits close to the New Brunswick border. For a $5 fee — which covers the cost of staff time — employees help travellers fill out the app.
Manager Sue Provencher said C&E Feeds serves up to a dozen Canadian and American travellers a day, many sent there by local CBSA officers.
CBSA “asked us if we would [help], because they were having to turn around a lot of people,” she said.
Many people requesting assistance are seniors, said Provencher.
“A lot of the older people don’t have computer access. They don’t have cell phones, they don’t have laptops and tablets and they don’t know how to use them.”
The CBSA confirmed that officers sometimes provide inquiring travellers with information on places offering ArriveCAN assistance.
Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati said the app is a turn-off for Americans of all ages who can’t be bothered to visit Canada until it’s dropped.
According to Statistics Canada, Americans made 479,500 road trips to Canada in April, a 50 per cent decrease compared to pre-pandemic April 2019.
“It’s just another layer of red tape,” said Diodati about the app. “It’s another reason to not come to Canada, to bypass us and go somewhere else.”
Canada first to sign off on Finland, Sweden joining NATO – CTV News
Canada became the first country to ratify Finland and Sweden’s accession protocols to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday.
The move follows NATO leaders officially inviting the two nations to join the alliance during a summit in Madrid last week, and brings the two countries a step closer to becoming full NATO members.
“Canada has full confidence in Finland and Sweden’s ability to integrate quickly and effectively into NATO and contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“Their membership will make NATO stronger and we call on all NATO members to move swiftly to complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by adversaries.”
According to The Associated Press, all 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols on Tuesday, sending the membership bids to each nation for legislative approval. Both Canada and Denmark were quick to turn around their ratification documents.
“Thank You Canada! Canada is the first country to deliver its instrument of ratification to the United States Department of State, the depository of the North Atlantic Treaty!” tweeted Sweden’s Ambassador to Canada Urban Ahlin.
In Canada, the federal government made moves domestically to move through the ratification quickly, Trudeau said. This included issuing orders-in-council authorizing Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly to “take the actions necessary to ratify, on behalf of Canada.”
Ahead of Parliament adjourning for the summer, the House of Commons debated and voted on a motion signalling their support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
In May, the House Public Safety and National Security Committee adopted a motion expressing “strong support” for the two Scandanavian countries’ membership in the alliance. The motion also called on all NATO members to approve their applications as quickly as possible.
A debate was held on this motion on June 1, and it passed unanimously when put to a vote the following day.
“Russia’s war in Ukraine has actualized something that was once only theoretical. An authoritarian state led by an autocrat has attacked a democracy: It has demonstrated that it is willing and able to attack a democracy. It has made clear that democracies that stand alone and are not part of military alliances are most vulnerable,” said Conservative MP and foreign affairs critic Michael Chong during the House debate. “That is why it has become necessary to bring both Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance. This is an urgent matter.”
Also taking part in the debate, NDP MP and foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said she supports Finland and Sweden doing all they can to prevent their countries from being threatened further by Russia.
“Prior to the further invasion of Ukraine, support for NATO membership was around 20 to 30 per cent in Sweden and Finland. Now, 76 per cent of Finnish people support joining NATO. Very simply, Vladimir Putin and the aggression of the Russian Federation are responsible for escalating tensions in the region and leading Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership,” McPherson said.
With NATO member countries having different processes for completing ratification, it could be some time still before the two nations formally become a part of the longstanding intergovernmental military alliance.
With files from Senior Political Correspondent for CTV News Channel Mike Le Couteur
Canada Day Ottawa: 12 arrested, 50 charges laid – CTV News Ottawa
Ottawa police say 50 criminal charges were laid over the Canada Day long weekend and 12 people were arrested.
Last Friday marked the first Canada Day in Ottawa with major in-person events since 2019. Thousands of tourists and residents came downtown to celebrate the holiday. In the mix were several hundred protesters associated with the “Freedom Convoy” movement that paralyzed downtown Ottawa in February.
Ottawa police were out in force starting June 29 with the implementation of the downtown vehicle control zone, which was meant to prevent another vehicle-based occupation of the city.
Police said they arrested a dozen people in downtown Ottawa between June 29 and July 3, including people who were not involved in Canada Day events or protests. On top of the 50 criminal charges, four charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act were also laid.
One man was arrested on Parliament Hill June 29 for causing a disturbance. He was taken back to Toronto on an outstanding warrant.
On June 30, police charged one person with breach of release orders and Highway Traffic Act offences after a traffic stop on Highway 417 at Anderson Road.
Later that day, three people were arrested following an incident at the National War Memorial in which a police officer was allegedly choked. Charges include assaulting police, resisting arrest, causing a disturbance, and assault by choking. This incident came shortly after Canadian soldier James Topp, who is facing a court martial for criticizing the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rules in uniform, completed his cross-country walk protesting vaccine mandates. Hundreds of people had gathered at the War Memorial to hear Topp speak.
On Canada Day, one man was arrested and charged for allegedly pulling a knife on RCMP officers near LeBreton Flats after officers broke up a fight. Two more people were arrested and face several assault charges after an attack in the ByWard Market.
On July 2, police arrested two people in a vehicle and seized a handgun. Several gun and drug charges were laid. Patrol officers also seized a gun in Sandy Hill that afternoon and charged a man with drug and gun offences.
On July 3, police arrested a woman for public intoxication who allegedly spit in an officer’s face. She now also faces an assault charge.
Ottawa police did not name any of the accused.
Police are also investigating paint on public property in Strathcona Park and on Wellington Street. Protesters painted messages about convoy organizers Pat King and Tamara Lich on Wellington Street on Canada Day. Police also said earlier they laid 19 impaired driving charges over the long weekend.
Ottawa Bylaw towed 121 vehicles from the vehicle control zone between June 29 and July 3 and issued 513 parking tickets.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly to take part in G20 despite Russia’s presence
OTTAWA — Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly will take part in a G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, this week, even though Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also expected to attend.
In March, Joly joined many others in walking out of a United Nations meeting in Geneva when Lavrov, whom Canada had brought sanctions against days earlier, began speaking.
In April, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined a walkout of a G20 meeting for finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In May, International Trade Minister Mary Ng joined her counterparts from the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand in leaving an APEC meeting in Bangkok when the Russian representative began to speak.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would take part in the G20 leaders’ meeting in November, even if President Vladimir Putin goes too, saying it is important to counteract the voice that Russia will have at that table.
Joly, who recently said it was unacceptable for a Canadian official to attend a reception hosted by the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, is expected to join other foreign ministers at the G20 meeting in opposing the ongoing war in Ukraine.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.
The Canadian Press
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