The federal government threatened travelers on Thursday with fines if they don’t the ArriveCAN app prior to boarding a plane as airports throughout Canada struggle with ongoing delays and extended lineups.

In a tweet by the official Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada Twitter account, the department warned that travelers who have not completed their ArriveCAN screening could be charged and face other consequences. 

“All travelers still need a valid ArriveCAN receipt within 72 hours before their arrival to Canada and/or before boarding a plane or cruise ship destined for Canada, regardless of vaccination status,” tweeted Health Canada.  

The official ArriveCAN government website states that those who are not citizens or permanent residents who do not comply with the requirement could be denied boarding.

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident you could risk not being eligible for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption and will be required to quarantine and you “may be subject to fines or enforcement action.”

The fully vaccinated traveler exemption applies to Canadian travellers who have received two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine. Those who are able to prove they are fully vaccinated are not subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements placed on unvaccinated travellers since the federal government lifted its travel mandate in June. 

In the tweet, Health Canada also laid the blame on travellers for the ongoing airport delay crisis. This is not the first time that the federal government has refused to take responsibility for the backlogs.

Liberal transport minister Omar Alghabra has also claimed that travellers are at fault for the lineups and delays.

“We are seeing that the surge for the demand to travel is putting a lot of pressure on our airports and our security systems. We are making sure that we increase resources. We are working with airports. We are working with airlines to address this issue. This is a priority,” said Alghabra.

To deal with the problem Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a task force and hired additional airport personnel, however critics say that action from Ottawa has not been enough and that ArriveCAN should be scrapped.

“Conservatives continue to call for a return to pre-pandemic travel rules and staffing levels to help alleviate the delays and disarray we continue to see at Canada’s airports, including ending the mandatory usage of the ArriveCan app,” said Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman. 

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