Amid travel measures that have been imposed in light of the Omicron variant, it appears incoming Canadian citizens and permanent residents are facing ongoing complications upon their return at land border crossings.
Ontario truck driver Nawaz Khan said he makes two to three trips across the U.S. border each week, transporting building supplies.
However, Khan’s FAST card, which pre-clears him for customs when crossing, recently expired. This required him to drive to the U.S. in his personal vehicle to get it renewed. He was there for less than 45 minutes.
“I did the interview, I came back to the Canadian side,” Khan said.
When he returned, border agents told Khan he had to quarantine for two weeks, despite being fully vaccinated.
“I was shocked,” he said.
“I have to park my rig for almost a month,” he said. “I don’t believe I have done anything wrong.”
Khan says he was not told by officers, as of Nov. 30, all essential workers need to upload their proof-of-vaccination to the federal ArriveCAN smartphone app.
“Canadians who don’t submit their information via ArriveCAN won’t be eligible for exemptions and may face additional delays at the border,” federal health minister Jean-Yves Ducos told a news conference Friday.
Yet the confusion is also being felt among non-essential workers and those who are less “tech-savvy.”
“Older people with printed copies are being forced to quarantine, where they wouldn’t have to if they had the ability to use the app. It’s simply unfair,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, a national seniors’ advocacy organization.
John Shields, a professor of politics and political administration at Ryerson University, said there could be a reason for this.
“People have been faking documents and identifying that they are vaccinated when in fact they’re not vaccinated,” Shields told Global News.
“I suspect that this is why the government has said, ‘OK, we’ll only take the electronic.’”
With vaccinated essential workers being forced into quarantine, Shields said this could lead to supply chain issues ahead of the holidays.
As for Khan, his truck sits idle, filled with undelivered products, while he sits fully vaccinated in quarantine, waiting for when he can return to work.