The Canadian Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) published this finding in a report. The paper, penned by Procurement Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic, concluded: "In roughly 76 percent of applicable contracts, resources proposed in the winning bid did not perform any work on the contract."
The ombudsman's report zoomed in on the Ontario-based GC Strategies, which was operated by a two-man team out of a residence in the city. The company reportedly received no less than $8.9 million to develop the ArriveCAN app, which cost taxpayers $54 million.
Jeglic's report stated that the two-man company did not prove that its list of subcontractors was qualified to work on the app. It also found "numerous examples" where GC Strategies "had simply copied and pasted" required work experience that was listed by the government for its contractors.
Moreover, the report noted how it was unusual that the government used criteria for the app's tender that were "overly restrictive and favored" GC Strategies. The company won the contract bid despite the fact no other bids were submitted.
According to LifeSiteNews, the OPO is not the only entity investigating the procurement of app development services for the ArriveCAN app. The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) in the Canadian House of Commons is also investigating how various companies such as GC Strategies, Dalian and Coaradix received millions in taxpayer dollars to develop the app.
The ArriveCAN app, introduced by the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2020, was utilized to track if people entering the country were injected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. It was made mandatory in November 2020, until Ottawa decided to lift all vaccine-related mandates in 2022.
In a Jan. 29 joint statement, members of Parliament (MPs) Kelly Block and Pierre Paul-Hus decried the OPO report. "Federal officials in the Trudeau government rigged the ArriveCAN contract so it would end up with the well-connected, two-person consulting firm GC Strategies," it read.
"In total, these two individuals did not work on the app – yet received $11 million from taxpayers. Multiple investigations into ArriveCAN have revealed millions in taxpayer dollars sent to connected insiders and consultants."
Canadians were told that the app was supposed to have cost only $80,000. However, this number quickly ballooned to $54 million. Citing estimates by experts, Block and Paul-Hus said ArriveCAN "could've been built in a weekend for $200,000."
"But instead, the Trudeau government decided to waste $54 million in taxpayer dollars on this unnecessary and broken app. Unfortunately for Canadians, these recent allegations of abuse are starting to make the extreme $54 million price tag make sense."
The two Conservative MPs noted in their statement that ever since the ArriveCAN scandal became known, "whistleblowers have been silenced and government officials have been suspended without pay for telling the truth. Now, as the allegation of corruption grows more severe, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has decided to investigate the contracts for potential criminality."
When the app was mandated, all travelers entering Canada either by land or air had to use it to submit their travel and contact information. They were also required to indicate their COVID-19 vaccination details. (Related: Canadian government sued over discriminatory air travel vaccine mandate.)
In October of last year, two tech entrepreneurs testified before the OGGO regarding this misappropriation of public money in the course of the app's development. The two recounted seeing firsthand how federal managers engaged in "extortion," "corruption" and "ghost contracting" – all at the expense of taxpayers. During the said hearing, Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie remarked that the "systemic corruption within this government [should be] evident to everyone in this room, as well as Canadians" when the issue of ArriveCAN is brought up.
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Watch this G-Times News report about how the ArriveCan app costed Canadian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
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