ArriveCAN mandatory for travellers to Canada

26 November 2020


As of November 21, 2020, the Government of Canada instituted new public health measures that require travellers to Canada to submit information through the ArriveCAN App before they travel to Canada.

Prior to Entering Canada

Travellers to Canada arriving by air are now required to submit certain information through the ArriveCAN app. The purpose of mandatory disclosure through the ArriveCAN app is to enable CBSA and health officials to more effectively track individuals entering Canada that may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are subject to the Order in Council: Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation) (the "Isolation Order"). Further, submitting this information through the ArriveCAN app will result in reduced border processing time and physical contact between entrants to Canada, border services agents, and public health officials.

Individuals who are not capable of accessing the ArriveCAN app are still subject to the requirements, and can access ArriveCAN through a toll-free number, 1-833-641-0343.

Individuals can also include multiple travellers in an ArriveCAN submission, should they be travelling with a spouse or common law partner, their children, or any other adult for whom they are a legal guardian as long as every individual in the submission will be staying together at the same address for the entirety of their quarantine or isolation period.

Individuals who plan on entering Canada must submit this information through the app before they board a flight to Canada. Further, individuals must be prepared to show their "ArriveCAN receipt" upon arrival and seeking entry to Canada. Individuals who do not submit information through the ArriveCAN app may face additional delays at the border and are subject to enforcement actions ranging from a verbal warning to a fine of $1,000.

There are three categories of information that are each required to be submitted through the ArriveCAN app.

  1. Travel and contact information
    1. Contact information such as name, date of birth, email address, phone number, and travel document details
    2. Date of arrival
    3. Port of entry
    4. Flight number, airport and airline (if entering by air)
    5. Purpose of travel
  2. Quarantine plan (unless exempt under the Isolation Order)
    1. Address of the place you will be quarantining or isolating for 14 days
    2. If there are vulnerable individuals at that address
    3. If the address is a group living environment or houses multiple families
    4. If you can have food, medication and other necessities delivered to you while in quarantine or isolation
  3. COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
    1. Any COVID-19 symptoms you may be experiencing

If an individual is entering Canada by land or sea, they are strongly encouraged to submit their information through ArriveCAN prior to crossing the border and may be asked by border services officers for an ArriveCAN receipt.

After Entering Canada

Also as of November 21, 2020, all individuals entering Canada, regardless of method of travel, must provide information through the ArriveCAN app or toll-free number. Individuals must, unless exempted under the Isolation Order:

  1. Confirm that they have arrived at the address provided for their quarantine or isolation within 48 hours of entry into Canada; and
  2. Complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during the quarantine or isolation period.

If an individual does not use ArriveCAN to provide information before entering Canada, they will not be able to use ArriveCAN to comply with the above requirements. This may affect an individual's "non-compliance rating" and the individual may receive phone calls or other public health follow-ups.

How to use ArriveCAN

ArriveCAN is available as a mobile app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There is also an online version of ArriveCAN available here. If an individual does not have access to the App or online portal, they can complete ArriveCAN by calling the toll-free line 1-833-641-0343.

Exemptions from Mandatory Reporting through ArriveCAN

There are situations where individuals are not required to use ArriveCAN prior to entering Canada, including:

  1. Travellers who are in transit and whose final destination is not Canada are not required to submit information via ArriveCAN; and
  2. In the event of a system outage where ArriveCAN becomes unavailable, individuals entering Canada will be allowed to fill out a paper version of the form when they arrive.

Further, if an individual is entering Canada who is exempt from the Isolation Order, for example, if they are performing essential work, such as medical support, essential services, trade or transport, or cross-border work, they are only required to submit their contact information and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. For a complete list of exemptions that will only require an individual to submit their contact information and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment, but not a quarantine, see the Isolation Order here.

Gowling WLG

Immigration legislation and practices continue to change frequently amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For any questions you may have about Canadian immigration, the Gowling WLG Immigration Group would be pleased to assist. To find out more about our Group, click here.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.