Office of the Auditor General of Canada

02/12/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/12/2024 10:10

2024 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada—Glaring disregard for basic management and contracting practices surrounds the government’s ArriveCAN[...]

Ottawa, 12 February 2024-A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan tabled today in the House of Commons concludes that the Canada Border Services Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Canada failed to follow good management practices in the contracting, development, and implementation of the ArriveCAN application. The application was created to digitally collect traveler contact and health information when they entered Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audit estimated that the ArriveCAN application cost approximately $59.5 million but emphasized that the exact cost was impossible to calculate because of the Canada Border Services Agency's poor financial record keeping. The agency's decision to continue relying on external resources throughout the application's development, launch and updates, beyond the initial pandemic crisis, increased costs and brings into question the value achieved for money spent.

The lack of documentation and controls extended to contracting practices. The audit found that the Canada Border Services Agency's disregard for policies, controls, and transparency in the contracting process limited opportunities for competition and undermined value for money. There was little documentation to support how and why GC Strategies was awarded the initial ArriveCAN contract through a non-competitive process. Evidence indicated that GC Strategies was involved in setting the requirements that the Canada Border Services Agency later used to tender a competitive contract.

The audit found that Canada Border Services Agency managed contracts poorly, again raising concerns about value for money. Essential information, such as clear deliverables and required qualifications, was missing from contracts. Canada Border Services Agency routinely approved and paid invoices that contained little or no details on the work completed.

"Public servants must always be transparent and accountable to Canadians for their use of public funds", said Ms. Hogan." "Many questions that Parliamentarians and Canadians are asking cannot be answered. The lack of information to support ArriveCAN spending and decisions has compromised accountability."

- 30 -

The 2024 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada, Report 1-ArriveCAN, is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.

Please visit our Media Room for more information.