Toronto Pearson's newest airport Karen refuses to let elderly father use ArriveCan
Video footage of an 86-year-old man encountering a technical travel obstacle at Toronto's Pearson International Airport this week is sparking even more debate regarding the federal government's mandate that all incoming air passengers — citizens and visitors alike — submit their information through their propriety ArriveCan app before entering Canada.
The same video has also, however, highlighted what many believe to be the illogically stubborn behaviour of its freedom convoy-supporting creator.
The story begins, as so many of them do these days, with a simple TikTok post.
A member of the social media platform with the username @nancys_genx uploaded footage on Saturday of her elderly father experiencing some problems with border officials at the troubled Pearson Airport, captioning the post with "Scrap the ArriveCan App!"
The woman, who describes herself on TikTok as a "proud member of the fringe minority WITH UNACCEPTABLE VIEWS," can be heard arguing with an employee of the federal government, which enforces entry requirements, as she films him.
"We were given an 'option' to either add my dad to my ArriveCan App or be issued a $5,000 fine," reads a text overlay on the video, which also bears the text "ArriveCan Toronto airport."
What might at first sound like the unfair, unecessarily cruel treatment of an old man who doesn't use cellphones quickly takes a turn as the video progresses.
Footage of this weird turn has caught the attention of more than half a million viewers on Twitter — more than twice as many as those who've viewed the clip on TikTok — and sparked some debate over ArriveCan accessibility issues, as well as the attitudes of defiant anti-lockdowners.
Saw this on TikTok this morning. 86 year old senior does not have a cellphone to use the ArriveCAN app. Daughter asks what will happen when her dad is flying alone. Listen to it: pic.twitter.com/Vp5QdRpzJI— Jennifer Elle (@jenniferelle_) July 16, 2022
"He travels on his own, I travel on my own, I have the ArriveCan app and he does not," says the woman to an apparent border agent at Pearson when the video begins. "He has his proof of documentation, showing that he's been vaccinated. That's all that's required.
The screener reminds the woman that this is not, in fact, all that's required, explaining that her father also has to fill out the ArriveCan app like everyone else "because it's a requirement in Canada."
He helpfully suggests an easy solution (and not for the first time, it sounds like), stating that the woman could add her father to their ArriveCan family file.
"Why should I have to?" she snipes.
"Because it's a requirement to get into Canada," the agent replies.
"What if he was flying by himself?" the woman asks, prompting her father to note that he will be flying by himself in the future, and that he does not have a cellphone.
"Are you guys related?" asks the staffer, to which the woman delivers an affirmative. "So what's the problem with putting him on your account?"
"I don't think I should have to," she says again.
"Why not?" he asks, to which the father replies "this is bureaucracy run amok!"
It goes on like this for a bit; the staffer explaining that filling out ArriveCan is a requirement for getting back into Canada, and asking the woman why she won't simply add her own father to her own ArriveCan profile.
"Let me ask you, what's the reason why you don't want to do it?" he asks point blank. Again, the woman says simply "I don't think I have to."
"There's gotta be a reason to it," says the perplexed screener.
They refused to comply with the using the app because he doesn't have a cell phone. At no time were they offered any alternative. She never said she didn't want to help her father— NancyS (@NancyStempin) July 19, 2022
The video ends with the woman stating: "I don't think I should have to. If I'm travelling, this is my phone. It's my app. I'm just having myself on it."
It's not clear if the woman ended up adding her 86-year-old dad to her ArriveCan app or refused to the point of him being fined thousands of dollars. TikTok user @nancys_genx has not replied to a request for comment.
Canada's federal government has stated repeatedly, despite any lifting (or, more recently, tightening) of restrictions that all people entering the country must use the ArriveCan app on their phones to submit information about their vaccination status and where they'll be staying, among other things.
"You must use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel and public health information before and after your entry into Canada. ArriveCAN is not only keeping travellers safe, but is part of our ongoing efforts to modernize cross-border travel," reads the government's website.
"All travellers, with limited exceptions, whether entering Canada by air, land, rail or marine vessel, must use ArriveCAN unless you're exempt from this requirement due to an accessibility need. You'll need to submit your information within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada and/or before boarding a cruise ship destined for Canada."
While there is a strong contingent of people holding up the video as evidence of government overreach, many are similarly calling out the woman for putting her father through the ordeal in order to win arguments or thumb her nose at Canada's travel requirements.
"Two things can be true at the same time," wrote one Twitter user.
"1. there needs to be a way for people without smart phones to travel; and 2. she's being obnoxious by not just putting him on the app while they're traveling together."
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