The ArriveCan App Debacle

Greetings and I am Christian Robicheau welcoming you to the month of November.
Ah yes and I can actually hear Santa Claus yawning.
Today I am pleased to share our president’s editorial with you and for this week Donna J. Jodhan speaks out about a very irretating topic; all about the ArriveCan app.
This is a very hard hitting editorial.
Please give this a read.
Enjoy your weekend now!


The Arrive Can App Debacle
By Donna J. Jodhan

I hope that after reading my editorial for today you will agree with me that this is indeed a debacle.
I have extracted relevant sections from articles and I am going to leave it up to you the reader to draw your own conclusions.
I however will share mine at the end of this editorial.

OTTAWA – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra defended the government’s ArriveCAN app Friday, saying despite the claims of customs officers, airlines, airports and border communities it is not a hindrance to travel.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that ArriveCAN is causing any problems,” he told MPs at the commons transport committee.

Then how about the following taken from a recent article found in the Globe newspaper.

OTTAWA – Canadian tech leaders who have built apps for large corporate clients have described Ottawa’s $54-million price tag for ArriveCan as outrageous,
explaining that in their experience, most apps are built for less than $1-million.
They also question why the government did not turn directly to a Canadian app developer rather than 23 separate contractors and an unknown number of additional subcontractors.
“The people in the Canadian technology community that I’ve talked to are outraged, and I’ve talked to a lot today,” said Neil Selfe, a technology investment banker, and founder and chief executive officer of INFOR Financial Group Inc.
A Globe and Mail analysis of federal contracts related to the ArriveCan app found total spending on it is on pace to exceed $54-million this year, which is more than double what the government recently said was spent.
Further, the review found that the Ottawa-area company that received the most federal work on the app – GCstrategies – has fewer than five employees.
The company told The Globe it is working with more than a dozen government departments, and delivers on its contracts through the use of more than 75 subcontractors.
However, the company and the government say the identities of subcontractors cannot be revealed because of confidentiality provisions in federal procurement rules.

So what are my thoughts on the above and these are my personal reflections.
• The government continues to drop the ball when it comes to transparency and accountability but what hurts most is that it appears that once more accessibility and inclusivity have been sadly forgotten.
• I totally disagree with the transport Minister’s comments; because Canadians with disabilities, seniors, the technically shy, all continue to struggle when attempting to use this ill fated app and for me personally as a vision impaired person, I have been totally embarrassed and humiliated by CBSA agents at terminal 3 of Pearson’s Airport on a recent return from Britain.
• It is very clear that too many app developers, designers, and associated persons with development and design continue to ignore the needs and requirements of the above mentioned groups and clearly have no idea when it comes to the true meaning of accessibility and inclusivity.
• The ArriveCan app is inaccessible to blind and vision impaired travelers because they are unable to use it without sighted assistance and even if they attempt to use the work around of going to the website there are great challenges here as well. An example is that the date field does not function appropriately.
• The Arrivecan app is inaccessible to those who either do not own an I device or is unable to use it appropriately in order to access this app.
• Then we come to those who do not have adequate or dependable internet connections.
• The government continues to engage so-called experts to develop their apps and just look at what they did a few years ago when they engaged a developer to develop an app called “access now” and this developer was a so-called high profile young lady who somehow forgot to include the needs and requirements of Canadians who are blind and vision impaired. Needless to say that a few million dollars was spent on this app! I will add that this particular person is one with a disability! So what happened here?
• I strongly urge this government to please take a long hard look at all of this and to put their money where their mouth is and to start walking the walk more meaningfully and in a more committed way.
• Finally, I can only plead with and urge the Canadian Human Rights Commission to take more aggressive steps to start defending and protecting the rights of Canadians with disabilities!

Just my two cents for today
Image = ArriveCAN App promotional display.
Image = 3 smart phones stand next to each other, each with a different screen shot of the AccessNow app displayed on their screen.
Image = Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) logo.

To learn more about me as an award winning sight loss coach and advocate visit

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Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility


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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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