Canada’s border services agency is issuing a reminder that all returning travellers must use the ArriveCAN app, regardless of how long or short the trip.

New rules that kicked in on Monday mean vaccinated Canadians making cross-border trips to the U.S. for less than 72 hours don’t need a negative PCR test to return home.

But everyone still must use ArriveCAN to come back. Those who don’t may have to quarantine, a rule that has ensnared some surprised travellers making brief cross-border trips to go shopping or pick up packages.

The CBSA issued a reminder Wednesday that all travellers must submit their mandatory information in ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination and a quarantine plan, before arriving in Canada.

Foreign nationals who don’t submit information through ArriveCAN may be denied entry into Canada.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons registered under the Indian Act won’t be denied entry, but they:

  • won't be eligible for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption
  • may face additional delays at the border for public health questioning
  • may be subject to fines or enforcement action

Travellers without a smartphone or mobile data can submit their information by signing up online. Those with smartphones should ensure they have the most up-to-date version of the app.

An Ottawa couple is warning other travellers crossing back into Canada, regardless of how long their trip is, to make sure they use the ArriveCan app. 

Carmen Graham says, “We took our car from Ottawa to Ogdensburg, NY which is only about an hour, and we crossed the border and came back, all within three hours, and now we are in quarantine at Christmas time.” 

Carmen and Ron Graham took the short trip on Nov. 30 to pick up a couple of parcels that had been there since the start of the pandemic. 

Their trip took a turn when they got back to the Canadian border, Carmen Graham explains.

"We gave our passports and our immunization records…the (border agent) asked us a couple of questions, 'He said, did you fill out ArriveCan?' We said we hadn’t."

The Grahams were told they would need to isolate for 14 days.

"A combination of frustration, anger, and I am almost depressed."

The Canadian Border Service Agency is issuing in a reminder that all returning travellers must use ArriveCan. Those who don’t may have to quarantine. 

"We have talked to a lot of people and it seems as if nobody knows if you are going less than 72 hours across the border, ArriveCan needs to be filled out.” 

The fully vaccinated retired couple say the two-week quarantine is an inconvenience, but they say their concern is for families with work or school commitments.

“I cant imagine someone who works, or anybody else getting stuck in my situation. I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake I did," said Carmen Graham.

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With files from CTV News Ottawa's Leah Larocque