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ArriveCAN Form |  A librarian to rescue travelers

ArriveCAN Form | A librarian to rescue travelers

(Canaan, Vermont) Crossing the border during a pandemic isn’t always easy, especially if you have to fill out a form.VisitCAN And we’re not used to mobile apps. But thanks to a Vermont librarian, travelers can take this step without a hitch.

Posted yesterday at 5:00 pm.

Henia Old-Hummow

Henia Old-Hummow

“Are you reporting that lady from the library?” Minutes from here! »

With these words of the Border Service Officer, Pres Crossing the Canada-US border to Canaan, a small town in Vermont, where Sharon Ellingwood White Alice M. Ward runs the library.

Five minutes later, we reach our destination. It is in this yellow library full of greenery that travelers find a solution to the problem that has been troubling them for months.

Photo by Martin Chamberland, The Press

Alice M. Librarian Sharon Ellingwood White outside Ward Library

Smile, White shows around his workplace.

He introduces us to local resident Ginette Rougeau Gagnon. Originally from Sherbrooke, the 69-year-old tells us of her dismay at the measures being introduced to “cross the lines”.

“Mum, this is really annoying for us as I want to visit father-in-law’s grave and lay flowers. But you have to find a day when you have time, you have to fill the form and make sure you arrive on time. [indiquée dans le formulaire]. »

Photo by Martin Chamberland, The Press

Sharon Ellingwood White helps Jeanette Rougeau Gagnon (right) fill out her form. VisitCAN.

Mme Rougeau Gagnon has already arrived in CanadaVisitCAN, an app specifically used to allow reporting of symptoms of COVID-19. She finds the process “annoying.”

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Difficulty downloading VisitCANLack of electronic devices, lack of internet connection, inability to download proof of vaccinations… some travelers face many hurdles before crossing the Canadian border.

We are in the poorest county in Vermont, and we have a large population of seniors. Most people don’t have cell phones or internet.

Sharon Ellingwood White is a librarian in Canaan, Vermont

Mme White began supporting her community the day Jeannette Bélanger, a Canaan resident who wanted to cross the Canadian border, told her she wanted to see her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen in years.

Twenty minutes in the car, border and application VisitCAN separated them. This position is filled by Mme White. Since then, word of mouth has spread through the small Vermont town.

Photo by Martin Chamberland, The Press

Alice M. of Canaan, Vermont; Ward Library

Wanting to help her community, the librarian volunteered to help people find their loved ones.

“Jeanette Belanger knew the women in the church. Then people started calling. Everyone wanted to go to Canada and they knew I could help them,” says White.

A Social Good-natured

Word reached the ears of Border Service agents, who began turning travelers who didn’t fill out the form back to its library. VisitCAN. Canadians and Americans use his internet connection or ask him for help.

Vermontoise is proud to help Canadian travelers return home.

“We want them to feel that someone helped them when they were traveling and vulnerable. We are a public library and we help everyone who enters here. »

Call for help Canada

On May 11, Sharon Ellingwood White decided to throw the two bottles into the ocean. She wrote to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino and Public Safety Minister and Deputy Premier of Quebec Genevieve Guilbault. Noting the lack of Wi-Fi network at the border, he sought the help of two ministers. Although Canada has responded to its letter, Quebec has yet to acknowledge receipt.

Mr. The librarian shows us the Mendicino team’s response.

Photo by Martin Chamberland, The Press

Sharon Ellingwood White

“This is an excellent response. The letter explains that Canada will not change VisitCAN, but wants to strengthen Wi-Fi connectivity across our borders. »

Sharon Ellingwood White says it’s easy for Canadians to upload their vaccination records VisitCAN, many people already have them on their phone. For Americans it’s a different matter.

“Our vaccination cards are a piece of paper. “If you’re over 80 and don’t know how to convert your vaccination card into a JPEG or PDF file, upload it to an app on a device you don’t have…that’s the barrier,” he laments.

The fear of People old people

Mme Rougeau Gagnon missed the time crossing the border without incident.

“We woke up in the morning and decided to go to Cotycook for shopping and poutine. Now we have to do all this…”

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According to Mme White said technology “shouldn’t be forced on the elderly.” Some Canaan residents need to travel to Canada to attend funerals or get medical help, but fear they will be turned away at the border, and many don’t know how to apply. VisitCAN.

Until the situation is resolved, Sharon Ellingwood White will continue to assist Canadians and Americans who wish to cross the border.

“I am not unique. “I don’t do anything that no one in a library anywhere in the world has done,” she says humbly.