Canada to charge many foreign tourists a fee for new electronic application

OTTAWA – Millions of visitors to Canada would be charged a new fee under a proposed electronic security screening plan.

The federal government is soliciting public comment on the plan to introduce online travel applications as part of the sweeping perimeter security pact with the United States.

Foreign nationals who currently do not need a visa to visit Canada would have to successfully apply for an electronic travel authorization, or ETA, before arriving by air.

U.S. citizens would be exempted from the new requirement.

Records released under the Access to Information Act say the department expects approximately 3.5 million electronic travel authorization applications annually beginning in April 2015.

A recently published notice requesting feedback on the initiative says the government plans to charge a “cost recovery” fee — how much isn’t specified, but it would be a “minimal amount.”

Approved applications would be valid for multiple entries to Canada over a period of up to five years.