The Auditor General's Office, which oversees the operations of the federal government, released its report on the explosion of costs associated with the development of the ArriveCAN app.
The mobile app, implemented at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased border control, costing Canadians: the initial version that cost $80,000 has been updated 177 times, resulting in now $59.5 million… .
Because of the eight conclusions in this 33-page report, it's one of the worst aimed at the Canada Border Services Agency.
Impossible To the Auditor General's Office
To determine the actual cost of the application.
We are unable to determine the exact cost of the ArriveCAN application due to several weaknesses in the Canada Border Services Agency's documentation, financial records and controls.
This discovery is important because the government needs to know the amount of expenditure incurred by the companies responsible for developing this application and whether these companies apply the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness to the application.The report explains.
According to Ms. Hogan's findings,
Weaknesses in financial records and controls were observed.
The Auditor General of Canada, Karen Hogan, testified before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Evaluation on February 12, 2024.
Photo: The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
18% of the invoices submitted by the contractors we audited lacked sufficient supporting documentationWe can read in the report.
Therefore it is not possible to accurately determine whether the costs have been allocated to the correct projects.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency,
The $59.5 million estimate includes $12.2 million that will not be related to ArriveCAN.
To explain this explosion in spending, the Auditor General points the finger
Addiction continues From the Canada Border Services Agency to external resources.
We estimate the average daily cost of external resources under ArriveCAN to be $1,090, and the average daily cost of an equivalent position in the IT sector in the Government of Canada to be $675. The Canada Border Services Agency continued to rely on external resources, which increased the cost of enforcement.
More specifically, the Auditor General criticizes the agency
Failure to comply with policies, controls and transparency in the procurement processwhat
It limited the possibilities for competition and harmed the development of resources.
The The Globe and Mail It has already revealed that Ottawa awarded a contract worth more than eight million dollars to a two-person firm called GC Strategies to develop the application.
GC Strategies has been awarded multiple contracts valued at $19.1 million and 31 other companies have been subcontracted for work related to the application, the report said.
The Canada Border Services Agency does not provide a concrete rationale for choosing GC strategiesRefers to the Auditor General.
More generally, the report criticized both the Canada Border Services Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Canada.
ArriveCAN has, in many cases, failed to follow good governance practices when issuing application-related agreements and when designing and implementing the application..
Difference of opinion
Mrs. Hogan also mentions cases of conflicts of interest and emphasizes that
Staff members of the Agency [des services frontaliers du Canada] Participants in the ArriveCAN program were invited by suppliers to dinner and other activities.
It highlights the lack of transparency around these
InvitationsAuditor General says:
Creates a significant risk or conflict of interest in relation to procurement decisions.
However, she adds that
The Canada Border Services Agency has launched an investigation into allegations of conduct by some employees And
Some files Transferred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Given the nature of the allegations, we did not undertake additional audit work related to ethics and codes of conduct to avoid duplicating or compromising these ongoing processes.The report further points out that
Passengers line up at the airport during the pandemic.
Photo: anp/afp via Getty Images / Remko de Waal
“Can't Talk About Corruption”
Liberal, Black and NDP members of the standing committee on government operations and evaluations investigating allegations related to ArriveCAN suspended work on the app after seeing the Canada Border Services Agency report, which has not yet been made public.
An elected official spoke
trouble This report is accessible only to members of the Standing Committee on Government Actions and Assessments.
However, an expert from the Auditor General's office told Radio-Canada
Can't talk about corruption.
The project was not managed efficiently at all. We were in a period of epidemics and we had to act quickly.
In January, a report by the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman found that
In approximately 76% of contracts, the resources proposed in the winning bid did not perform any work.
While it is recognized that there may be legitimate reasons for the unavailability of some proposed resources, the lack of documentation on file explaining how often this situation occurred and why these resources were not available raised serious concerns about these contracts.This statement is specific.
The ArriveCAN app allows you to submit your customs and immigration declaration in advance, therefore “saving time”, according to the federal government.
Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Claude Thaliana
In his inquiry, which was made public on Monday, the Auditor General condemned several unjustified updates to the ArriveCAN application and their shortcomings.
From the launch of ArriveCAN in April 2020 until the health requirements were removed in October 2022, the agency released a total of 177 versions of the application. Of these 177 versions, 25 were considered major, meaning they contained substantial changes.
Ms. Hogan recalls the application after one of these updates
More than 10,000 users who entered Canada between June 28 and July 20, 2022 were erroneously issued a 14-day quarantine order.
Mrs. Hogan finally denounces it
Cyber security audits [aient] Performed by resources that do not have security clearances or are not identified in work authorizations.
Although the agency told us it did not have sources of personal passenger information, the existence of sources without security clearance exposed the agency to the risk of security breaches.
“Hurry” to justify shortcomings
In a press release, the Border Services Agency
Thank you The Auditor General for his report,
Unacceptable defects are highlighted.
Canada Border Services Agency poster.
Photo: The Canadian Press / Jeff McIntosh
The agency says it has already taken steps to implement the recommendations made in the report and plans to “establish an Executive Procurement Review Committee to approve contracts and work authorizations.”
The application was developed in an extraordinary time and in a hurry. […] The agency worked to replace the paper-based process as quickly as possible, which did not meet public health needs and resulted in significant wait times at the border.
Finally, the agency recalls it
The app has been downloaded more than 18 million times and used by more than 60 million passengers. “Beyond the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still an application today for travelers who want to save time at the border by making their customs declarations in advance.”
Conservatives and New Democrats are critical
Reacting to the statement, the leader of the Conservative Party, Pierre Poilivre, condemned it.
waste Public Finance
For an application we don't need. He blamed Justin Trudeau's government
CorruptionAlthough the Auditor General did not go that far in his criticism.
Application cost will be approx
750 times more Only initial costs, he denounced in a press conference.
Isn't it corruption when you give money for nothing?He asked again.
For his part, New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh blamed the Liberals.
benefited Pandemic “by giving rich consultants millions of dollars in taxpayer money — to enrich them without keeping the receipts.”
Years of conservatives and liberals have created a system that has allowed wealthy consultants to win government contracts and make millions of dollars in profits at the expense of our professional public service and taxpayers.In a press release, Mr. Condemns Singh.
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