Feds quietly change rules to allow one-time ArriveCAN exemption at land border crossings

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The federal government has quietly updated its rules at the border to allow fully vaccinated travellers entering through the land border a one-time exemption from fines or quarantine requirements if they unknowingly fail to submit the required health documents through the ArriveCAN app.

In an email statement sent to CTVNews.ca on Saturday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said the one-time exemption will only be given to fully vaccinated travellers who have not had a history of non-compliance at the border.

“As of May 2022, temporary measures have been put in place at the land border for fully vaccinated travellers with a right of entry to provide more flexibly to travellers with no history of non-compliance, who may have been unaware of the requirement to submit their mandatory health information via ArriveCAN,” CBSA senior spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said in the email.

Eligibility for the one-time exemption includes all vaccinated Canadians citizens, permanent residents, and persons registered under the Indian Act entering through land. As of July 29, the exemption has also been extended to foreign nationals.

However, travellers granted the exemption are still required to provide proof of vaccination upon entry.

After the one-time exemption, Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act must provide the required documents through the app or face quarantine, testing or fines up to $5,000. Foreign nationals will be denied entry to the country.

While the new measures have not been included in the CBSA’s travel requirements site, the CBSA says over 300,000 travellers have already been granted a one-time exemption.

“We can tell you that from May 24 to August 4, 2022, of the 5,086,187 land border travellers with a right of entry, the one-time exemption was used 308,800 times,” Purdy said.

Amid the updated border measures, calls continue to scrap the ArriveCAN app from travellers and tech experts over privacy concerns. In July, the app faced its most recent backlash after a glitch erroneously sent some people to quarantine.