COVID-19: Confusion over ArriveCAN app lands southern Alberta couple in quarantine

Vehicles lined up at the Coutts border crossing as travelers flock to the border on November 8, 2021. Global News

Donna and Abraham Wolvers of Magrath, Alta., are settling in for an unexpected two-week quarantine.

“We were totally blindsided,” said Donna.

The couple returned Thursday from Montana, taking advantage of the 72-hour travel window.

Read more: Canada to drop negative PCR test requirement for shorter cross-border trips

The Wolvers, who have been fully vaccinated, including their booster shots, had their printed vaccination documents with them along with their passports and thought they were in the clear. But they ran into a snag when returning home.

“The first thing he asked for was our ArriveCAN app. We didn’t have that. We didn’t know what it was either,” said Abraham.

Canada Border Services requires all travellers entering Canada by air, land, rail or marine vessel to have ArriveCAN. The couple said they aren’t tech savvy and didn’t get much help at the border.

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“He wasn’t explaining anything to us, he handed us these little boxes and two papers and said you are quarantined for 14 days,” added Donna.

Read more: CBSA reminds travellers to use mandatory ArriveCAN app when entering Canada

Fellow southern Albertan Gary Stanford also didn’t know about the app, but he got a chance to turn around at the border and download what he needed to avoid having to quarantine. He quickly tried to use what he thought was the right web version of ArriveCAN, but ended up on a non-government web page.

“It turned out they were all fraudulent, all the ArriveCAN on the websites, they are all fraudulent ones so I had to cancel my credit card when we realized,” added Stanford.

Both the app and web version of ArriveCAN are free. The web version doesn’t work on Internet Explorer so you have to download a different browser.

Both the Wolvers and Stanford said more communication from the government would have been helpful, and added it’s important to do your research if you plan to head south.

“It’s way easier to get down to the states than it is to get home, “added Stanford.



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