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Canadian govt launches new app to ease stress of international arrivals

by Ray Clancy on April 5, 2016

The Canadian government has launched a new app that is says will help people arriving and visiting the country get real time information and reduce stress at international airports.

According to Ministers the Travel Smart app gives people easy access to information on entry and exit requirements, border waiting times, passport validity and more. They hope it will reduce the strain of air travel.

The launch coincides with new entry requirements which means that people from countries not usually needing a visa to travel to Canada who are travelling by air now need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

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From now until the autumn of 2016 a leniency period is in place to allow travellers without an eTA to board their flights as long as they have appropriate travel documents. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents do not need an eTA.

“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the right tools and technologies to help Canadians be prepared for today’s evolving travel environment. The Travel Smart app is one more useful tool that provides timely information to Canadians at the touch of a screen and on the go, whether they are travelling to a sunny destination or working or studying overseas. Travel Smart will also help them stay connected in case of an emergency abroad,” said Omar Alghabra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs).

Meanwhile, Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said the changes represent an improvement for everyone.

“Canada is working to enhance border security while continuing to welcome people to our country. Canada’s new entry requirement does just that. Electronic Travel Authorization allows us to check that visa free travellers are admissible before they board their flight. At the same time, the fast, easy online process ensures travelling to Canada remains easy and stress free,” he added.

Howard Eng, president and chief executive officer of Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the moves will east the challenges that people face when they make the choice to travel.

“By working closely with the Government of Canada and with airline carriers, we are seeking to improve and facilitate the passenger experience in the context of an increasingly complex and ever changing international travel environment,” he explained.

Travellers on transit through Canada will also need an eTA. There are exceptions, including US citizens and those with a valid Canadian visa. Entry requirements for other methods of travel by land and sea have not changed.

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