Despite the Trudeau government’s defence of its controversial ArriveCan app, new data shows a total of 1,651,900 travellers entered Canada this year without using the app.

According to documents tabled in the House of Commons, 1,651,900 travellers between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 had “presented themselves at the border for entry into Canada without having submitted their public health information through ArriveCan prior to arrival.”

According to the National Post,126,674 people failed to use the app before they arrived in Jan 2022. The number dropped to 50,176 in Feb before increasing to 401,176 in July and 386,445 in Aug.

On Monday, the government said it would lift all remaining Covid-19 related travel measures on Oct. 1, including the ArriveCan app which required travellers to provide vaccine, health and travel information before they arrived in Canada.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told reporters Monday that “going forward, use of ArriveCan will be optional, allowing travellers who so choose to submit their customs declaration in advance.”

In May, the federal government quietly introduced a one-time exemption for Canadian citizens and permanent residents in order to relieve delays at airports. The exemption was used 308,800 times by land border travellers between May 24 and Aug. 4, according to the CBSA.

Of the 1.65 million who arrived in Canada without the app, only 190 were fined for non-compliance according to testimony from the vice-president at the Public Health Agency of Canada Jennifer Lutfallah at a Transport committee in August.

While Hurricane Fiona ravaged through the Maritimes last weekend, Nova Scotia Power confirmed there was an “issue related to ArriveCan” that delayed an American crew from crossing the border in order to provide aid to those affected by the storm. 

“I do know that there was a situation where some crew from Maine were having an issue at the border, ” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston told reporters on Sunday.

Conservatives have asked the government for months to end the ArriveCan requirement due to major delays at Canadian borders and airports. 

In an interview with Andrew Lawton, former Air Canada COO Duncan Dee said that the app caused massive delays at Canada’s airports, claiming that it took four times longer to process travellers when compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

Despite the chaos at Canada’s airports and borders, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra denied ArriveCan caused problems at the border.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that ArriveCAN is causing any problems,” said Omar Alghabra during a transport committee meeting. “[ArriveCAN] actually does improve the efficiency of processing international arrivals.”

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed a Charter challenge against the ArriveCan requirement, arguing it infringes on numerous Charter rights.

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