No one loves or hates the ArriveCan app. Opinions are about politics


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You know culture wars have erupted when people try to score points by rating apps in the App Store. This is currently happening with the ArriveCan app, an app now more popular than the top streaming services in Canada.

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Not only is ArriveCan more popular on Apple’s Canadian app store than Netflix, Disney+ and Prime combined, but it’s stunning. 4.5 out of 5 stars. With 565,000 reviews, more people have weighed in on ArriveCan’s usefulness than Google Maps, which has been around for over a decade.

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The application marks only one Rating of 3.9 on the Google App Store, perhaps confirming that Trudeau supporters are more likely to own expensive iPhones rather than Android handsets.

If you haven’t been following the ArriveCan app controversy, it has been blamed for customs backlogs at airports by the union representing border guards. Despite the government claiming 99% compliance with the ArriveCan app, border guards have complained that they spend a lot of their time helping people fill out the app correctly for land border crossings and people arriving at airports.

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Meanwhile, mayors of border municipalities, tourism groups, chambers of commerce and others said the app had a detrimental effect on tourism, especially from the United States. Many Americans are unaware that they need the application to enter Canada and are loath to download and fill it out for short day trips to Canada.

The truth is that few Canadians really love the ArriveCan app and few Canadians really hate the ArriveCan app.

I’ve used it with no problem getting back into the country, but that said, I’m a fairly tech-savvy person. That said, the app is glitchy, and even tech-savvy people — not to mention the old folks I’ve heard of on flip phones — have had issues.

Recently, the app made the news of send a bunch of people into quarantine although he is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms. Under Canada’s COVID policies, these people shouldn’t have been quarantined, but the app didn’t work.


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ArriveCan’s criticisms motivated by politics

Normally when an app has issues like this it doesn’t get a 4.5 rating, but it’s not about how the app works, it’s about policy.

It was a tweet from user Ryan Gerritsen, shared by a friend, that alerted me to the issue.

“ArriveCan app continues to break review records. People love it,” Gerritsen tweeted sarcastically. “26,000 more reviews in 14 days. More total reviews than Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Disney Plus combined It has received more reviews this month than Netflix since its release.

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I can’t sift through more than 565,000 reviews, but it doesn’t take long to see that many of them – both pros and cons – are politically motivated. While many are out to say they hate the app, those who support the government are the clear winners.

“This ap sucks” wrote someone tagged as Unhappy Canadian #123.

There’s no way it’s a legitimate review, it’s someone talking politics. You can agree or disagree, but this article is about how the person feels politically.

It’s the same with some of the five star reviews.

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“Does this app make it easier to obtain your travel documents before traveling between Canada and the United States? Thanks for doing it!” RoRosie wrote in an obvious political statement.

Canadians are pretty easygoing people, we put up with a lot, often more than we should. Yet to believe that we passionately support an app that few say they need outside of government is hard to believe.

Most of us have better things to do with our time, especially in the last days of summer.

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