Auditor General’s Report | ArriveCan ultimately cost 59.5 million

(Ottawa) The Auditor General is unable to determine the exact cost of ArriveCan given the poor accounting records of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), she notes in a devastating report unveiled Monday. Karen Hogan still estimates that the application, the bill for which initially amounted to $80,000, cost taxpayers around $59.5 million.




“This is probably one of the worst financial record keepings I have ever seen,” she said at a press conference, taking care to specify that she has been carrying out this type of audit for several decades. . And the pandemic cannot be used as an excuse, she clarified.

She is surprised by the “lack of basic information” to justify the invoices of the consultants used by the government and the fact that there was “no place to attribute them” in the CBSA’s financial records to ensure adequate monitoring of the project. His questions, those of parliamentarians and the population therefore remain unanswered.

Mme Hogan said he was unable to know whether any documentation had been deleted or whether it never existed. The CBSA launched an investigation in 2022 into the conduct of some of its employees in this matter and two of them no longer work there. She also transferred certain information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

PHOTO ADRIAN WYLD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Karen Hogan

The ArriveCan application, developed in the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, was initially expected to cost $80,000 for its three versions for iPhones, Android devices and a website. However, it required 177 updates between its launch at the end of April 2020 until the lifting of health measures in October 2022.

Travelers were required to indicate their vaccination status and contact information upon arrival in Canada. Its use is no longer compulsory since 1er October 2022, but it can still be used to make customs and immigration declarations at major airports across the country.

The Auditor General’s report “demonstrates a blatant failure to respect basic management practices.” It highlights numerous gaps and weaknesses at all stages of the project, from design, monitoring and finally reporting.

She notes that 18% of the invoices audited in her sample did not contain enough information for her to determine whether they were expenses related to ArriveCan or another project.

We found that in many cases, detailed information on the work performed was not included on the invoices and related timesheets submitted by contractors that the Agency had approved.

Excerpt from the report of the Auditor General, Karen Hogan

The largest share of the 59.5 million went to the consulting firm GC Strategies to which the government paid 19.1 million, according to estimates by the Auditor General. The awarding of the first contract to this company is however unclear since the company participated in the development of the criteria for the call for tenders and there is no documentation on the discussions to this effect which “succeeded”. to a non-competitive process.

The firm also invited the senior officials responsible for the file to a whiskey tasting. Under their code of conduct, they should have notified their superior, whether they participated or not, to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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