Canadian American Business Council (CABC) CEO Maryscott Greenwood wants the Trudeau government to end ArriveCAN and reopen Nexus offices, saying the “seamless integration” of the two countries is at risk.
In a radio interview with AM800 CKLW, Greenwood said, “We’ve got to get to the place where Canadians and Americans are travelling back and forth, seeing family, having fun, but also doing business together.”
“That’s really been a huge hallmark of our relationship, the seamless integration of our economies and of our people,” she added. “That’s at risk right now.”
CABC has launched the “Travel Like it’s 2019” campaign, which calls on the Canadian government to take steps to alleviate travel delays and restore pre-pandemic normalcy at the border.
On its campaign website, CABC claims “the government is not responsible for all travel delays, but there are two actions it could take today to alleviate the burden on travellers.”
These actions are ending the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app and re-opening Canadian NEXUS enrolment centres – where those applying hoping to be part of the trusted traveller program go for an interview.
CABC is urging Canadians to make the two demands in an email to their local Member of Parliament and federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra – who previously blamed Canadian travellers for airport delays.
Greenwood told True North over 3800 emails have been sent, saying “people are definitely weighing in to express their frustration.”
CABC says the ArriveCAN app is “cumbersome and issue plagued” and serves no public health purpose. It adds that the app “creates unnecessary delays for travellers and is harming the flow of tourism and commerce at the border.”
The council also says Canada’s 13 NEXUS enrollment centres, which have been closed since March 2020, need to reopen amid a backlog of 350,000 applications.
American Nexus enrollment centres reopened in April 2022, but according to the Canadian Press, offices in Canada are still closed due to a dispute between Canada and the United States over whether American officers present at the Canadian sites can carry guns.
Canadians have been going to the United States for their in-person interviews, something Greenwood finds nonsensical.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense that Canadians would have to go to the U.S. to talk to Canadian officials to get those interviews, but because the Canadian centres are closed, that’s what’s happening,” she told AM800.
True North asked Greenwood if CABC also wants to see the removal of the Canadian and American governments’ border vaccine mandates. She said the council has “a wide array of members who have various points of views on vaccine mandates,” and hence it has not taken a position on the issue.
Other prominent organizations and individuals have also called for Canada to ditch ArriveCAN, including chambers of commerce from border communities, mayors, federal MPs and even a top American member of congress.
The Trudeau government has, however, chosen to continue doubling down on the app.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra claimed that there is “no evidence” that ArriveCAN is causing issues, and the office of Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould told a constituent the app is “part of ongoing efforts to modernize cross-border travel in Canada.”