July 9, 2021 – The Canadian Border Services Agency's new ArriveCAN smartphone application is not accessible to all Canadians.
In 2019, the federal government introduced Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, to remove the barriers to inclusion persons with disabilities continue to face in society every day. Yet, two years later, Canadians who are blind or partially sighted still encounter accessibility issues with the design and delivery of federal programs and services.
"Recently, I found a significant bug with VoiceOver on the iPhone when I tried to access the ArriveCAN app," says Robert Fenton, a member of CNIB’s National Board. "As someone with sight loss, it was impossible to move beyond the privacy screen on the app. This is yet another example of programs and services, including apps, not being ‘born accessible’ and thus creating more barriers for Canadians with disabilities. Simply put, this must end."
While CBSA staff are looking into the issue and trying to determine the best solution, CNIB is taking the position that the app should be made accessible no later than July 23, 2021. This matter is not just important, it is extremely timely as athletes travel to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games later this summer.
"As athletes prepare to represent Canada on the largest international stage for sports, the last thing they should have to worry about is the accessibility of smartphone applications," says Angela Bonfanti, SVP, CNIB.
About the ArriveCAN app – As part of Canada's efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and prevent importation, all travellers are required to digitally provide contact and quarantine information upon and after entry into Canada.
August 26, 2021 – Update from Public Health Agency of Canada
The Web-based ArriveCAN platform (accessed by signing in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN) is optimized to meet all Government of Canada accessibility requirements, including the use of text-to-voice technology. The Web platform is recommended for any users with accessibility-related issues. The Government of Canada is working to make the mobile applications available on the Google and Apple app stores accessible as quickly as possible. Persons unable to use ArriveCAN due to accessibility issues can get support by visiting our get help page or seek assistance upon arrival to Canada. Travellers with a right of entry, such as Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act will not be denied boarding of their flight or entry into Canada if they do not use ArriveCAN.