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ArriveCan app non-compliance causing headaches for understaffed border officers


The union representing border officers says the Canada Border Services Agency is facing a severe staffing shortage.

CBSA has had to implement mandatory overtime and cancelled vacations to address the understaffed border crossings, according to Mark Weber, Customs and Immigration Union president.

“We have even gone so far as the bringing back retired officers to work on contract on the front line,” says Weber.

He estimates an additional 2,000 frontline border agents are needed to meet demand.

“The overall number of employees at the agency has not changed much over the last few years,” he added.

Weber explains there are a sufficient amount of applicants interested in joining this line of work, but the agency has not properly distributed its resources.

For example, newer technologies at the border require more employees to operate.

Non-compliance around the ArriveCan app is also creating havoc for customs officers.

According the union, roughly 30 per cent of border crossers haven't completed the app, prolonging traveller processing times amid an already chaotic travel season.

"We're so short-staffed and spending so much time dealing with this app that we really don't have time to do our actual jobs anymore, that’s the keeping the border safe part of the job,” he said.

Weber says searches for illegal drugs, firearms and in-depth interviews have taken a back seat since much of the focus is on the ArriveCan app.

“If the only requirement to get into the country is to prove that you're vaccinated, that can be done by simply showing your vaccination status on your phone. There's no more contact tracing. Is the app still necessary?” questions Weber. Top Stories

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