EDITORIAL – Government shouldn’t play practical jokes on us with new apps

(Image: Govt of Canada)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WHEN GOVERNMENTS and bureaucracies impose new ways of doing things, they should subsidize our tuition fees for the intensive course of study we need to understand their instructions.

I earlier talked about needing a doctorate in travel science in order to use ArriveCAN but that’s just one example.

To be sure, ArriveCAN — self-described as “a user-friendly digital tool” to help travellers — is a continuing mystery. It’s actually a practical joke by a government with a twisted sense of humour.

Horror stories are everywhere of travellers arriving in the country and being informed they didn’t use the app properly and must quarantine or pay a $5,000 fine. I picture myself being one of those the next time I fly somewhere.

I have a theory that they hired IKEA to write the instructions.

Here’s what I want, and what the government isn’t giving me: a clear, step-by-step guide, preferably with lots of pictures, of what to do, and when to do it, from the time I leave Canada to the minute I return.

And then there’s the new eTaxBC. I’ll never understand why the provincial government changed the old, easy method of applying for the annual BC Homeowner grant but I thought I’d give eTaxBC a try because you can at least pay property taxes and apply for the grant in one session on the ol’ laptop.

But the program is so clunky you need to invest half a day just trying to find the page where you pay the taxes. I did finally manage to get the job done, only to have my payment rejected, then rejected again.

The eTaxBC help line couldn’t help, and the bank didn’t know because it was all done by a computer system that obviously has a mind of its own. As a result, I ended up being late, and paying the price of a penalty fee.

Which puts quite a dent in saving up for my Doctor of GovSpeak tuition.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9510 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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