Canadian Developer Builds ArriveCAN App Clone in 2 Days

Lazer Technologies co-founder Zain Manji on Monday announced that his company successfully created LazerCAN, an ArriveCAN app clone for both Android and iOS, over the weekend.

Many Canadian tech companies were outraged after they discovered the federal government spent $54 million on the ArriveCAN, spread out across 23 contractors and several subcontractors.

Lazer Technologies said last week that it would organize an internal hackathon to see if the company’s developers could recreate ArriveCAN in a fraction of the time — and money — the federal government spent on it. Participation was entirely voluntary, and Manji said that a developer named Dan at the company ended up getting the deed done in less than two days.

Manji admitted in his tweet that building, deploying, and maintaining a large-scale system such as ArriveCAN is more complex than simply developing an app. “But $54M is a bit too much,” he added.

“We felt it was important to create a clone app to focus attention on the problem, and hopefully open up discussion as to why Canada doesn’t have the best structure, resources, frameworks, etc to produce new technology efficiently,” Manji said in a follow-up tweet.

“We hope this demonstrates that there are extremely talented individuals in Canada who are capable of delivering outstanding work in a cost-efficient manner.”

All of the code for the LazerCAN app is open-source and can be found on GitHub. Lazer is currently trying to get the app listed on the App Store and Play Store, but that could take weeks. You can see it in action in a screen recording embedded in Manji’s original tweet above.

TribalScale, another company that specializes in building apps for corporate clients, also announced a hackathon to clone ArriveCAN alongside Lazer Technologies last week. What’s more, several other firms expressed interest in doing the same.

The federal government finally lifted ArriveCAN app requirements at Canadian borders on October 1. However, the app lives on as a voluntary customs and immigration tool.

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