Video of Elderly Man’s ArriveCan Border Woes Goes Viral

By Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier
Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret
July 18, 2022 Updated: July 18, 2022

The interaction between an 86-year-old man in a wheelchair who did not use ArriveCan to enter the country and a presumed Canadian government official has been caught on a now-viral video.

The fully vaccinated and double-boosted elderly man and his daughter can be seen arguing with the official about the mandatory use of the ArriveCan app, as the man doesn’t own a cellphone.

The video was apparently shot by the man’s daughter and posted online on July 16.

The official is heard asking the daughter why she’s not putting her father under her account, since she used the ArrieCan app to register her own arrival.

“How come you don’t want to do it?” asked the official.

“Why should I have to?” answers the daughter.

The official says because it’s a requirement to enter Canada.

“What if he was flying by himself?” asks the daughter.

“I will be flying by myself and I don’t have a cellphone,” says the elderly man. “This is bureaucracy gone amok.”

The elderly man says he’s received four shots of COVID-19 vaccines and should be allowed in without using ArriveCan. “Why not let’s just do the paperwork and get this over with?”

“Because they want the app, the government wants the app,” says the official.

It’s unclear from the video how the interaction ended, but the user who made the original post says the elderly man was not fined but issued a warning.

ArriveCan is a service available via smartphone app or web browser that the government says must be used by all travellers before entering Canada.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are responsible for ArriveCan.

Both were contacted for comment on the video, with only PHAC responding before publication.

PHAC “is not able to comment on this video as it is not possible for us to authenticate it,” said spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau in an email.

The presumed Canadian official in the video is dressed in casual clothing along with what appears to be a government-issued red vest.

Fines

PHAC officials have been giving out fines to travellers who fail to comply with the mandatory use of ArriveCan.

Jarbeau says that as of July 7, 64 tickets have been issued to travellers for non-compliance with ArriveCan.

The Epoch Times has seen one such fine issued by a PHAC quarantine officer at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

The infraction is “Failure to comply with an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition upon entry into Canada, contrary to Quarantine Act sect. 58”

The value of the fine is $5,000 plus surcharge and costs for a total of $6,255. The fine was issued on a province of Ontario ticket and will be processed through the local jurisdiction.

Section 58 of the Quarantine Act prohibits entry into Canada under certain conditions, such as if the government finds there is a communicable disease in a foreign country, the introduction of the disease poses a risk to Canada, travellers may introduce or contribute to the spread, and there are no reasonable alternatives to prevent the introduction or spread of the disease.

Asked to comment about new virus variants causing COVID-19 to spread unabated in Canada notwithstanding border measures, Jarbeau said, “These measures remain the most effective means of monitoring and limiting the importation of new cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern, and their spread in Canada.”

A Quebec health official questioned border measures such as the random testing of travellers last week during a COVID-19 update.

“The testing can indeed help to identify travellers carrying variants. That said, we have to realize that we already have really, really good local community transmission,” said Dr. Marie-France Raynault, senior strategic medical adviser for public health with Quebec’s Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS).

No Alternative

CBSA and PHAC were both asked about alternatives to using ArriveCan, such as providing the required information verbally or in written form.

Jarbeau said that failure to submit information through ArriveCan may cause delays at the border or result in a fine.

“PHAC’s approach has been to assist travellers in complying with the requirement to submit information in ArriveCAN whenever possible,” she said.

“Tickets for non-compliance are issued at the discretion of the issuing officer when warranted by the situation, including instances of repeated non-compliance or the refusal to submit information.”

There are measures in place for travellers who are “unaware” of the requirement to use ArriveCan, says CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy.

Purdy says there is a one-time exemption for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and persons registered under the Indian Act who have not submitted information via ArriveCan. This exemption will allow those travellers to avoid quarantine or a fine.

The Epoch Times asked CBSA in a follow-up if unvaccinated travellers can also have a one-time exemption, but didn’t immediately hear back.

Purdy says the use of ArriveCan “helps to facilitate entry on arrival at the border and minimize delays.”

Criticism

While the government says ArriveCan could be here to stay, detractors in different sectors are calling for it to be taken offline.

The union representing border guards has come out strongly against ArriveCan, saying it creates bottlenecks and has converted its members into IT consultants because of all the time they spend helping people fill out the app.

“The last few months have shown that ArriveCan neither facilitates cross-border travel nor does it improve operational efficiency. In fact, it does exactly the opposite,” Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said on June 15.

Conservative MP and party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre shared and commented on the viral video on Twitter of the elderly man having trouble being allowed into the country.

“Rules for the sake of rules. Rules that don’t make sense. Rules that leave people upset and angry. Stop forcing ArriveCan on people. Restore sanity to our airports,” he wrote.

One of the individuals who filed a lawsuit against the federal vaccine mandate in travel is currently raising funds for a court challenge against the use of ArriveCan and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated travellers coming back from abroad.

Shaun Rickard says he should reach his $30,000 target in a day or two and will then file an injunction with the court.

“Both have zero science or legal grounds to support or demonstrably justify them,” says Rickard, who has followed court proceedings where government witnesses have testified in support of vaccine mandates.

Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret