Report • iPhone Blog in Canada
Canada’s ArriveCAN app originally started as an $80,000 project before morphing into a $54 million expense for taxpayers – reports The Globe and Mail.
The information comes from a recent cost breakdown provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
After the federal government suspended mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app for travelers entering Canada earlier this month, a report surfaced that the Liberal government’s total spending on the app was on track. reach $54 million this fiscal year.
Major Canadian tech companies were outraged by ArriveCAN’s price tag, as were opposition leaders. Last week, Conservative, Bloc Québécois and NDP MPs urged the Government Operations and Estimates Committee to launch a study on ArriveCAN’s costs.
The parliamentary committee agreed to launch a summary investigation on Monday. As part of the investigation, several federal departments were ordered to provide documents relating to ArriveCAN contracts.
According to the breakdown provided by the CBSA, Ottawa initially spent $80,000 developing the ArriveCAN app. Over 70 updates to the original app generated an additional $8.8 million.
“As with any project, many elements had to come together to achieve this. The $54 million we expect to have spent by March 31, 2023 has not only been budgeted and spent on building and launching the app itself, which cost $80,000 to build. launch in April 2020, but also for all the work required to operate, maintain and update the app over the past two years,” a CBSA spokesperson said.
As for the rest of the expenses, $7.5 million went to Service Canada for call center time, cloud hosting services for ArriveCAN cost $4.6 million, 5, $2 million was spent on data management and $4.9 million was incurred as “indirect costs” such as employees. services and accommodation.
Of course, this does not represent the total budget of $54 million. Other federal departments have 10 business days to comply with the motion passed Monday, which requires them to submit the list of contractors and subcontractors, cost breakdowns, a complete list of contracts and all related requests for proposals and invoices. to the application.
The inquiry agreed to by the House of Commons Government Operations and Estimates Committee on Monday is a scaled down version of Tory MP Kelly McCauley’s original proposal. It will consist of at least two meetings in ArriveCAN’s overall cost, while McCauley has requested six days of hearings.
The committee will call several witnesses, including senior officials and representatives of GCstrategies, the company that received the most funding for ArriveCAN, at $9 million. McCauley’s proposed list of witnesses was longer, also including cabinet ministers and Canadian tech leaders who recently cloned the ArriveCAN app to demonstrate that it shouldn’t have cost as much as it did.
Liberal MPs successfully persuaded the Bloc Québécois and NDP not to support McCauley’s entire motion and to reevaluate it after reviewing key documents and contractor/subcontractor lists for ArriveCAN.
After reviewing the breakdown, NDP MP and committee member Gord Johns said it raises new questions. He said in a statement that it was “wrong to keep Canadians in the dark”, adding that the Liberals had not been transparent.