Business groups in border communities demand scrap metal from Ottawa ArriveCAN

Organizations representing businesses in some border communities have banded together to call on the federal government to lift all border restrictions related to COVID-19 and stop requiring the use of the ArriveCAN app.

In a news release, a coalition of eight chambers of commerce from Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba said the restrictions are not only slowing border crossings, but are having a detrimental effect on tourism.

« We’ve seen this because of restrictions, because of things like ArriveCAN, companies on both sides [of the border] are unable to bring people in and do business in the normal way, which affects businesses and their volume of business on both sides,” said Rakesh Naidu, Chief Executive of the Windsor Regional Chamber of Commerce -Essex, one of the groups supporting the appeal.

The organizations say border wait times have increased to as much as two hours, despite reduced traffic, and tourism spending is still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels.

« We’ve heard from many of our businesses that the restrictions and need to upload information to the ArriveCAN app is deterring many people from travelling, which is hampering business, which is affecting our local small and medium businesses. small businesses that depend on American visitors,” Naidu said.

Rakesh Naidu, President and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that « because of things like ArriveCAN, businesses on both sides [of the border] are not able to bring people in and do business in the normal way. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Naidu also criticized the effectiveness of current COVID-19 vaccination requirements at the border. Since Canada only requires two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to be admitted into the country, he believes the requirement has little effect on limiting the spread of the virus.

Calls from business groups echo those from mayors of border towns.

In June, Sarnia, Ont., Mayor Mike Bradley said the app had been a disaster and was no longer needed.

« When you mount a dead horse, get off the horse, » he said. « That’s what the federal government needs to do. »

A spokesperson for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada said the border restrictions in place are the most effective way to stem the influx of COVID-19 and its variants. The agency says processing times for travelers would increase without the app in place.

« Using ArriveCAN is an effective mechanism for verifying vaccine certificates in order to grant quarantine exemptions, » the spokesperson said. « As travel volumes have increased in the spring and early summer of 2022, the use of ArriveCAN has become more important to relieve pressure at the border. »


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