ArriveCan Lists $1.2 Million Payment to Tech Firm–That Never Worked on App
Cloud computing services company ThinkOn based in Etobicoke, Ontario, is listed as receiving contract work worth $1,183,432 related to ArriveCan. The work was from the period of Jan. 21, 2020, and March 31, 2022. The problem? The company’s CEO says it never worked on ArriveCan.
Craig McLellan told The Globe, “We have received no money from the CBSA,” which listed his company provided “experimentation of mobile QR code scanning and verification” for the ArriveCan app.
But McLellan says QR code scanning is totally unrelated to his company and he received numerous calls from friends in the tech sector after ThinkOn was listed in the ArriveCan suppliers list.
“It caught me by surprise,” McLellan told The Globe. “I think the amount of money they attributed to us was probably more than our total revenue generated within the federal government in the last fiscal year.”
ThinkOn has contract work with Shared Services Canada, but no contracts with Canada Border Services Agency. No existing work from ThinkOn is linked to ArriveCan, says the CEO.
Earlier this week, The Globe reported CBSA gave more info on ArriveCan, showing the app first started out as an $80,000 app, before ballooning to a whopping $54 million.
Contractor GCstrategies has received the most money for working on ArriveCan at $9 million. The company has no office and fewer than 5 employees and instead subcontracted the work out to over 75 other private entities, which the federal government says it cannot reveal.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Question Period on Wednesday, “Will the Prime Minister supply Canadians with a full list of all the contractors who got the money?”
Trudeau replied, “As Canadians well know, since day one of the pandemic we were focused on providing them the support and the safety necessary in this unprecedented time, despite the political games the Conservatives chose to play throughout the pandemic.”
The Prime Minister added, “Obviously, the amount cited includes far more than just the initial development of the app. It includes services like cloud storage, IT call centre services, upgrades and future costs.”
You can watch the debate during Question Period regarding ArriveCan below:
The House of Commons committee on government operations and the estimates has hearings on Thursday again, to investigate the spending of ArriveCan and how the $54 million cost came to be.