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Arrive canada app scandal

The recent controversy around the Canadian government’s Arrive canada app scandal has certainly raised some eyebrows. Developed to facilitate border crossings during the pandemic, the app ended up costing taxpayers a whopping $60 million – way more than originally thought. Making matters worse, a report found that the Canada Border Services Agency did a poor job keeping track of the money spent on the app. The report also exposed some questionable expenses like fancy whiskey tastings and dinners that the app developer GC Strategies bought for government officials. With opposition leaders now calling for investigations, this “Arrive Canada app scandal” has left many Canadians frustrated and wanting answers about how this all went so wrong. As a taxpayer, I know I’d sure like some accountability! It seems like yet another case of government mismanaging a project and money. Here’s hoping we get some clarity on what happened soon. Following trathantho.com !

ArriveCan App Scandal Raises Serious Concerns

The recent controversy surrounding the Canadian government’s ArriveCan app has sparked outrage and raised alarming questions about mismanagement of public funds. A scathing report from Auditor General Karen Hogan revealed that the app, intended to facilitate border crossings during the pandemic, cost taxpayers around $60 million – considerably higher than initial estimates. The app was developed under contracts with IT consulting firm GC Strategies, which has come under fire amid accusations of wasteful spending and lack of oversight in the project.

The core findings of Hogan’s report paint a troubling picture of carelessness and lack of accountability. She found that record-keeping by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was severely deficient, with the true cost of the app remaining unclear even now. More broadly, Hogan highlighted concerning issues related to mismanagement of the file, lack of information sharing between departments, and an overall disregard for the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Her report notes that GC Strategies expensed expensive whiskey tastings and lavish dinners for CBSA officials to Public Services and Procurement Canada – expenses that were approved without due consideration. With over $200 million in government contracts since 2015, questions loom large over how this relatively small firm secured so much taxpayer-funded work.

The ArriveCan app itself also raises pressing privacy issues regarding the collection of travelers’ personal information. As part of the cross-border process, individuals were required to input details like phone numbers, addresses, travel history, and vaccination status into the app. Experts have flagged this as a concerning overreach into citizens’ personal data. While the government emphasized public health as justification, the lack of transparency and oversight around how these details are stored and used is unacceptable from a privacy standpoint. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a lawsuit claiming the app infringes on basic rights and the auditor general’s findings only lend more weight to these objections. For an app that cost upwards of $60 million in public money to develop and promote, the public deserves to know how their private data is being handled.

ArriveCan App Scandal

The recent controversy surrounding the Canadian government’s ArriveCan app has sparked outrage and raised alarming questions about mismanagement of public funds. A scathing report from Auditor General Karen Hogan revealed that the app, intended to facilitate border crossings during the pandemic, cost taxpayers around $60 million – considerably higher than initial estimates. The app was developed under contracts with IT consulting firm GC Strategies, which has come under fire amid accusations of wasteful spending and lack of oversight in the project.

The core findings of Hogan’s report paint a troubling picture of carelessness and lack of accountability. She found that record-keeping by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was severely deficient, with the true cost of the app remaining unclear even now. More broadly, Hogan highlighted concerning issues related to mismanagement of the file, lack of information sharing between departments, and an overall disregard for the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Her report notes that GC Strategies expensed expensive whiskey tastings and lavish dinners for CBSA officials to Public Services and Procurement Canada – expenses that were approved without due consideration. With over $200 million in government contracts since 2015, questions loom large over how this relatively small firm secured so much taxpayer-funded work.

The ArriveCan app itself also raises pressing privacy issues regarding the collection of travelers’ personal information. As part of the cross-border process, individuals were required to input details like phone numbers, addresses, travel history, and vaccination status into the app. Experts have flagged this as a concerning overreach into citizens’ personal data. While the government emphasized public health as justification, the lack of transparency and oversight around how these details are stored and used is unacceptable from a privacy standpoint.

Key Details About the ArriveCan App and Contracts

Ottawa-based IT consulting firm GC Strategies lies at the heart of the ongoing ArriveCan controversy. According to government records, GC Strategies has been awarded over $200 million in federal contracts since 2015. While the company behind the app at first glance appears to be an established government contractor, further questions have been raised about its operations. One of the addresses linked to GC Strategies leads to a small bungalow in Ottawa, hardly indicative of a firm handling massive amounts of public funds.

The firm has also come under scrutiny for allegedly excessive spending designed to curry favor with officials managing the ArriveCan project. As noted in the auditor general’s report, GC Strategies expensed lavish whiskey tastings and dinners for CBSA employees – spending later billed to the Public Services and Procurement Canada department overseeing the contract. This hints at a problematic dynamic where public funds were used to entertain government officials meant to provide oversight, opening the door for conflicts of interest and wasted spending.

Considering its small size and operations – including a notable lack of transparency around its owners – the massive government contracts secured by GC Strategies raise pressing questions. Auditor General Hogan found extreme deficiencies in record-keeping that obscure the full picture, but the contracts in question amount to a considerable sum. The CBSA alone has paid GC Strategies $56.4 million for work on the ArriveCan app and associated services since 2020. The fact that many of these contracts were awarded without competition adds an additional layer of concern.

Taken together, the body of evidence paints a picture of a relatively unknown firm securing large amounts of taxpayer money through non-competitive processes. All while allegedly utilizing some of those funds to build relationships with public officials through extravagant meals and events. The full truth has yet to emerge, but GC Strategies finds itself front and center in the ongoing scandal – one that may have significant ripple effects on government accountability and transparency around third-party contracting.

 As calls for further investigation mount from opposition parties, GC Strategies will likely remain under close scrutiny until the true scale and nature of its dealings with the government related to ArriveCan are made clear. That a company centered around a small residential bungalow could be so intertwined with one of Ottawa’s biggest contracting controversies in years will justifiably raise suspicion from taxpayers and watchdog groups alike. Determining what went wrong will be impossible without examining their role.

Auditor General’s Scathing Report on the ArriveCan App

 Auditor General Karen Hogan pulled no punches in her scathing assessment of how the ArriveCan app project was mismanaged. She found a systemic lack of oversight and accountability at multiple levels, epitomized by the Canada Border Services Agency’s severely deficient record-keeping. What information is available points to public servants’ lack of due diligence, while excessive, unauthorized expenses were rubber-stamped without concern for proper stewardship of taxpayer funds. Taken together, it paints an alarming picture of an overly cozy relationship between contractor and public overseers.

 The report documents lavish spending by GC Strategies on dinners, drinks, and social events for CBSA officials – expenses then billed through the Public Services department. The fact that public servants charged with managing this major project were simultaneously treated to extravagant outings by the contractor raises the specter of conflicts of interest. Auditor General Hogan was clear in rebuking this behavior as lacking consideration for taxpayers and violating the “respect and integrity” public servants owe Canadians. The CBSA’s inability to provide complete spending records only compounds these transparency and accountability failings.

 Bureaucratic silos and gaps in coordination between departments also facilitated missteps. The CBSA contracted GC Strategies and requested features for the app, while Shared Services Canada took charge of privacy considerations and Public Services and Procurement Canada paid the bills. But inadequate information sharing meant those writing the checks were unaware of problems like disproportionate expenses for minor app features. Different departments worked in isolation rather than coordinating efforts, resulting in an unoptimized final product that failed to serve the public good.

 Specific findings about how the app itself was developed also raise pressing concerns beyond just financial mismanagement. The feature allowing users to upload proof of vaccination to Health Canada servers was projected to cost $80,000 but ended up billed at over $800,000. Despite the exponential increase in cost, the feature was barely used and posed security risks by collecting sensitive personal medical information. The auditor general cited this as just one example of inadequate oversight leading to misaligned priorities and unnecessary privacy issues during app development.

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