Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

In a damning report, the Auditor General of Canada accuses several federal agencies, including the Border Services Agency, of “blatant non-compliance with basic management practices” surrounding the ArriveCAN application “from its design to its implementation”.

ArriveCAN: failures all along the line

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The ArriveCAN application, which allows you to submit your customs and immigration declaration in advance, is no longer mandatory since the last fall. (Archive photo)

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Responsible for monitoring the activities of the federal government, the office of Auditor General Karen Hogan released its report on the explosion of costs linked to the development of the ArriveCAN application.

The mobile app, implemented at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to exercise increased border control, cost Canadians dearly: the initial version, which cost $80,000, was updated 177 times, resulting in a bill that now stands at $59.5 million…at least.

Because among the eight conclusions of this report of 33 pages, one of the most damning aimed at the Canada Border Services Agency is the fact that it has been impossible for the Office of the Auditor General to determine the true cost of the application.

There are so many weaknesses in the Canada Border Services Agency's documentation, financial records and controls that we were unable to determine the precise cost of the ArriveCAN application.

A quote from Conclusion of the report of the Office of the Auditor General

This finding is important because the government needs to know the extent of the expenses that the responsible organizations incurred in developing this application and whether these organizations applied the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness to the regarding these expenses, explains the report.

According to Ms. Hogan's conclusions, weaknesses in financial records and controls were noted.

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ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Migratory species in decline

For example, 18% of invoices submitted by contractors that we verified were not accompanied by documentation “There was sufficient support to allow us to determine whether the expenses were related to ArriveCAN or another information technology project,” the report says. It was therefore impossible to accurately determine whether costs had been allocated to the correct projects.

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, an amount of $12.2 million included in the estimate of $59.5 million may not be linked to ArriveCAN.

To explain this explosion of costs, the Auditor General points to the continued dependence of the Canada Border Services Agency on resources

We estimated that the average daily cost of external resources under ArriveCAN was $1,090, while the average daily cost for an equivalent position in the sector of Information Technology to the Government of Canada was $675. The Canada Border Services Agency continued to rely on external resources, which increased the cost of enforcement.

A quote from Excerpt from the report of the Office of the Auditor General

More specifically, the Auditor General criticizes the Agency for non-compliance with policies, controls and transparency in the procurement process, which has limited opportunities for competition and undermines value for money.

More details to come.

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