Federal spending on ArriveCan to hit $54 million, double initial claim

The government spent nearly $30 million and approved an additional $25 million for ArriveCan, half of which has already been spent

Late last month, the Federal Government announced that it is dropping all COVID-19 border restrictions and making the ArriveCan app a non-mandatory tool for travellers.

Through a subsequent The Globe and Mail analysis, we now know that the Federal government wasted spent more than double on the app this year than it had initially said.

During the summer, The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provided media outlets with the total number of companies that received contracts connected to ArriveCan. According to the CBSA, only five companies had received contracts to work on the ArriveCan app in the year. Now, the CBSA has submitted a new document in Parliament that list 27 contracts involving 23 unique companies.

The total federal spending for the ArriveCan app is set to reach “in excess of $ 54 million” this year, with Ottawa-based GCstrategies having received the most federal work contracts for the application. Surprisingly, GCstrategies has less than five employees, and passes on most of the work to unnamed subcontractors.

IBISKA and Amazon Web Services were second and third, respectively, on the ‘Federal expenditure on contracts for work on the ArriveCan app’ list.

In reply to a Conservative MP request in the Parliament, the CBSA provided a spending report that indicated it had spent $19.7-million on developing the app and $4.9-million on app maintenance. The same figures were shared with media outlets in the summer when the CBSA had provided a list of companies that received contracts connected to ArriveCan. That totals $24.6 million. Additionally, in the CBSA’s written response to the Conservative MP, it added that there was an additional $4.9-million spent by the Public Health Agency of Canada for maintaining and promoting the application. That totals $29.5 million in spending for the app.

But wait, there’s more. The figures mentioned aren’t for all of 2022. They are for the fiscal year that ended on March 31st, 2022. Beginning April 1st, 2022, during the new fiscal year, an additional $25 million had been approved to be spent on the ArriveCan app, out of which roughly half or roughly $12.5 million has been spent so far. That totals $54.5 in total, out of which $42 million has already been spent.

Read the full report on CBSA’s excessive spending on the ArriveCan app here.

Mandatory use of the ArriveCan app ended on September 30th.

Header image credit: Shutterstock

Source: The Globe and Mail

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