Canadian travellers warned to beware of scams using false CBSA credentials

person on a phone using an app

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is warning the public about ongoing email, web, text messages and telephone scams in which people posing as officials from the CBSA are asking for payment or personal information, including their Social Insurance Number (SIN).

In a press release ,the CBSA notes that the methods and messages used by the scammers are varied and ever-changing, but always designed to demand money and lure the public into providing personal information.

The CBC reported Tuesday that Google agreed to a request from the Canadian government to change search results for people looking for information about the ArriveCan app in an effort to protect travellers from paying unnecessary fees to fake websites.

ArriveCan is the app the Canadian government uses to record international visits for the purposes of tracking COVID-19. Both Canadian residents and foreign visitors are required to have it. It is a free app and can be downloaded for no charge from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

The CBC report said that scammers have taken advantage of that requirement by seeking to divert travellers onto fake ArriveCan websites and charging them for the service.

Visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air do need to purchase an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before arrival. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first and can be used for unlimited visits of no longer than six months.

The CBSA warns the public that it should also look out for fraudulent webpages and mobile applications posing as the eTA app and asking for money.

The only place to apply for an eTA is through the official Government of Canada website and it costs $7 CAD.

The CBSA says that it never initiates requests for social insurance number and credit card number by telephone or email. If an individual receives a telephone call or an email asking for this information, or requesting payments from the CBSA, it is a scam. If this happens, the CBSA recommends that you ignore it, hang up, don’t answer the text or email and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


Explore Canadian filming locations on the “Netflix in Your Neighbourhood” website

Netflix in Your Neighbourhood is a new website that makes it easier for fans both local and from around the world to find and explore Netflix filming locations that all have one thing in common: Canada.

Netflix in Your Neighbourhood provides a window into the Canadian cities and towns that have been featured in the streaming service’s films and series. Visitors to the site can search filming locations by a film or series title, or by province. Fans can also access directions to these destinations, and see how they’ve been featured on Netflix.

Netflix says it has filmed hundreds of productions across Canada and the site will feature some current highlights, as well as select new titles, once they are released.

In a press release announcing the new website, Netflix cited a recent study that shows that Netflix audiences are 1.8 times more likely to have seen Canadian content than those who don’t watch Netflix. And people who have watched Canadian content are 2.1 times more likely to say Canada is their #1 travel destination. It gave the example of a show like Somebody Feed Phil which has an episode dedicated to Montreal; members who have viewed that episode were 79 per cent more interested in Canada’s food and drink and 76 per cent more interested in Canadian cities.

Whether you are from Paris, Ontario, or Paris, France, Netflix says it wants to help people fall in love with Canada.

Jamaica releases exclusive footage to celebrate new Bond movie, ‘No Time to Die’

To celebrate the release of the latest James Bond film, the Jamaica Tourist Board has released behind-the-scenes footage of ‘No Time To Die.’ The exclusive footage showcases cast and crew as well as some of the locations shot in Jamaica.

The Caribbean island nation is a key location in ‘No Time To Die’ where Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life. His peace is short-lived when his old friend from the CIA, Felix Leiter, turns up asking for help.

Jamaica is the birthplace of 007, where Ian Fleming created and wrote the Bond novels. The island also features in the first James Bond film, ‘Dr. No’ (1962), as well as in ‘Live And Let Die’ (1973).

The Jamaica Tourist Board is delighted to play such a significant role in the 25th James Bond film. “Bond for us means we are a place for beginnings, but we are also a place for great endings,” said Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica. Hon. Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, comments, “It’s really something we have dreamt about and we are happy that it’s going to be a reality.”

New Embraer jets will allow Porter Airlines to expand across North America

Porter Airlines Embraer airplane

Toronto-based Porter Airlines has ambitions to expand beyond its current regional routes in eastern North America to become a bigger player across the continent.

It’s being tight-lipped about where those new destinations will be beyond stating they are considering routes in the west, the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. One map of potential destinations includes numerous American destinations such such as Miami and Los Angeles along with much of western Canada.

The expansion will be made possible once they receive delivery by mid-2022 of 80 new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft which have transcontinental range. It will be the first airline to operate these planes in North America.

The aircraft are being acquired by Porter Aircraft Leasing Corp., a sister company of Porter Airlines. The total aircraft order is valued at up to US$5.82 billion at current list prices, with 30 firm commitments and 50 purchase right options.

The ability to convert purchase rights to smaller E190-E2s is included in the agreement. This provides opportunities to introduce non-stop service in markets where connecting flights are often the only option today. It also enables higher-frequency service for routes with greater demand.

Porter intends to operate the E2s to popular destinations from Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“We believe that now is the right time to make this investment as the pandemic resets the aviation landscape. Adding a diverse selection of popular business and leisure destinations to our network means that we are better positioned to serve the needs of many more passengers,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines.

While establishing service at Pearson Airport for the first time, flights from Porter’s existing hub at downtown Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport remain core to its business and will continue with high-frequency regional service on turboprop aircraft. Service is confirmed to restart at Billy Bishop on Sept. 8, following a temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions. The E2s will not operate at this airport.

The E195-E2 accommodates between 120 and 146 passengers.

Canadians recommended to get medical insurance before they travel

Family travel

As Canada relaxes entry requirements for fully-vaccinated citizens, one Canadian insurer is reminding people who are eager to travel internationally that a Level 3 Global Affairs travel advisory still remains in effect and that they need to understand the ongoing uncertainty associated with travelling abroad.

“Many Canadians are excited to resume travelling, however a government advisory to avoid non-essential travel remains in place, and Canadians need to take the necessary precautions to ensure they protect themselves before embarking on their vacation.” said Kellee Irwin, Vice President of Orion Travel Insurance.

Irwin strongly encourages travellers to obtain insurance that includes appropriate medical coverage before they travel and that they continue to monitor evolving entry requirements of their destinations.

Irwin explained that insurance policies vary by provider, and may have changed due to COVID-19, so it’s important to review your policy, and understand what you’re covered for before you travel.

Any Canadians travelling in the near future should also consider the following tips, said Irwin:

  • A Level 3 Global Affairs travel advisory remains in effect. Before planning any form of travel, Canadians should take steps to protect themselves and others.
  • Canadians and permanent residents will be able to upload a copy of their vaccine certificates to the ArriveCAN app, allowing them to bypass mandatory hotel quarantine when they return to Canada.
  • Travelling standards will vary by destination, and not all services or businesses may be open, or offer full services. Book your accommodations and activities before you go and check out their protocols in advance.
  • Pack face masks, cleaning supplies, travel sized snacks, water, and hand sanitizer – not only for the trip, but to have on hand at your destination.
  • Monitor local media and government websites to stay informed of conditions and potential changes to entry requirements at your destination.
  • Update your passport so it is ready when you are. And be prepared to pack additional documentation required for your destination, such as proof of vaccination, negative COVID test documentation, and proof of travel insurance.
  • Insurance policies vary by provider. Review your policy and understand what you’re covered for before you travel.
  • Don’t travel if anyone in your party or household is sick.

Irwin added that as of July 1, Canadians are eligible for full emergency medical coverage with Orion Travel Insurance, even during a Level 3 COVID-19 related travel advisory, as long as they are fully vaccinated (having received all doses of a Health Canada-approved vaccine) at least 14 days prior to departure.