US Border: Pressure Grows on Ottawa to Eliminate ArriveCAN

Fronti&egrave ;American era: Pressure grows on Ottawa to eliminate ArriveCAN

The ArriveCAN app is a mandatory screening tool for people arriving in Canada.

U.S. elected officials and business representatives are increasing pressure on the Trudeau government to reduce travel delays between the U.S. and Canada.

Nearly 1,500 emails have been sent to MPs and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino since the Canadian American Business Council's (CABC's) new campaign, Travel Like It's 2019, went live two weeks ago .

It calls on Ottawa to scrap the controversial ArriveCAN app, a mandatory screening tool for people arriving in Canada.

The CABC also wants the government to eliminates backlog of 350,000 NEXUS applications, speeding up travelers at the Canada-U.S. border.

Both are direct symptoms of the pandemic and are just part of a series of factors that voices critical of government measures say are causing widespread travel delays across the continent and putting some travelers off. potential.

Travelers wait to go through customs at Montreal-Trudeau airport.

But they are also the easiest factors to remove, according to the organization's president and CEO, Maryscott Greenwood, who fears the pandemic has become an easy excuse to gradually increase border access. .

Just last week, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the House of Commons Transport Committee that the lingering impacts of the pandemic are to blame for chronic travel delays at Canadian airports. /p>

However, the conservative opposition has tried to make ArriveCAN a political lightning rod, as have some US lawmakers.

This requirement discourages travel, impairs the flow of commerce and burdens travelers with the submission of private health information, New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik wrote in a letter last week to Minister Mendicino and to Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman.

The ArriveCAN application also allows you to save travel documents and proof of vaccinations in order to reuse them on other trips.

Persons entering Canadian soil must use the web-accessible and smartphone application to upload their travel documents and vaccination status in advance.

Some travelers are intimidated by the app requests, while others do not follow the download process until they arrive at the border or airport, causing delays at customs, Ms. Stefanik continued.

As a result, travelers are choosing to stay home rather than face long wait times and frustrations caused by the ArriveCAN app.

About of NEXUS, New York Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins wrote to Chris Magnus, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, demanding that the agency prioritize reducing the #x27;backlog of requests from the US side.

The system receives between 8,000 and 15,000 requests per day, and the current wait time for an appointment is over nine months, Higgins wrote.

He also cited recent border statistics that suggest the volume of inbound traffic to the United States is still a shadow of what it was in 2019.

Travellers return through a CBSA port of entry at the international border crossing between Canada and the United States in Surrey, British Columbia.

Data released by the border agency last week shows that 250,678 passenger vehicles entered the United States through the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area in June of this year, compared to 462 665 in June 2019.

These scaled-down operations are hurting the United States' economy as well as the quality of life along our northern border, Mr. Higgins argued.

The fast processing of NEXUS applications and interviews will increase border activity as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current backlog of applications for NEXUS has reached 350,000. NEXUS offices in the United States reopened in April, while all 13 registration centers in Canada remain closed.

Files of Canadian residents wishing to renew their status can only be processed at less than a dozen border offices where availability is scarce.< /p>

Media recently reported that these offices are closed due to a dispute over whether US customs officers should be allowed to carry handguns inside NEXUS centers, but Maryscott Greenwood does not #x27;is not convinced.

The bilateral treaty that governs preclearance between Canada and the United States already allows US border guards to keep their handguns in certain circumstances , she said. The United States would like to see these terms extended to include NEXUS.

Ms. Greenwood said she believes the federal government could open these centers quickly if it made it a priority, and she hopes the campaign can help make that happen.

They hear about it from us, they hear about it from members of Congress, and they hear about it by their own constituents, she argued.

I think this is escalating to the point where it needs to be addressed.

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