RCMP examining auditor general’s report into ArriveCAN process failures

Click to play video: 'Auditor general slams feds’ poor management of ArriveCAN app'
Auditor general slams feds’ poor management of ArriveCAN app
Auditor General Karen Hogan is slamming the federal government's development and oversight of the ArriveCAN app, which was meant to keep track of and screen travellers for COVID-19. Mackenzie Gray reports on the feds' glaring disregard for record-keeping, and why it's impossible to know how much the app cost taxpayers – Feb 12, 2024

The RCMP says it’s examining the auditor general’s scathing report earlier this week into the federal government’s management of the ArriveCAN app, which found “repeated” failures.

Auditor general Karen Hogan appeared before a parliamentary committee Wednesday and said she met with the RCMP before her report was released and “talked to them in generalities about our findings” because they had not yet been made public.

Her report released Monday outlined “glaring disregard for basic management and contracting practices” and called the pandemic-era program one of the worst examples of financial record keeping she has ever seen.

Click to play video: 'Poilievre warns Trudeau to ‘stay out of the way’ of RCMP ArriveCAN investigation'
Poilievre warns Trudeau to ‘stay out of the way’ of RCMP ArriveCAN investigation

Hogan estimates the price tag was roughly $59.5 million, but said the project was so badly managed it’s impossible to know the final cost.

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In a statement Wednesday evening, RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Kim Chamberland said the Mounties are “assessing the available information, including the Auditor General’s performance audit report and will take appropriate action.”

At Wednesday’s parliamentary committee, Hogan told MPs she did not refer allegations related to ArriveCAN to the RCMP because the national police force already had an investigation underway.
Click to play video: 'Liberals say they’ll co-operate with ArriveCan investigation as Conservatives probe for answers'
Liberals say they’ll co-operate with ArriveCan investigation as Conservatives probe for answers

“This was a bit of an unusual situation,” the auditor general said. “The RCMP was already potentially looking at a matter related to contracting from the (Canada Border Services Agency).”

The RCMP has not confirmed whether it’s probing ArriveCAN specifically, only that it’s “investigating a matter referred from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) based on allegations brought to their attention by Botler AI.”

Botler AI is a Montreal company.

According to reporting from the Globe and Mail, Botler AI did not work on ArriveCAN but did work with outside contractors, including GCStrategies, which was first hired to build the app.

The Globe first published a report last January, detailing the bungled contracting process.

The Ottawa-based GCStrategies was hired to build ArriveCAN, then subcontracted the work to six other companies.

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The auditor general found scant explanation as to why GCStrategies – a small consulting firm – was awarded the initial contract.

“There was little documentation or proof as to why they were selected or how they had the skills and competencies to deliver on the contact,” Hogan said Wednesday.

In a letter to the RCMP dated Tuesday, the Conservative leader asked the RCMP commissioner to investigate ArriveCAN and the auditor general’s findings, which Pierre Poilievre said “exposed corruption, mismanagement and misconduct on a massive scale.”

The auditor general did not use the word “corruption” in her findings and said it was up to the police to decide if what happened was criminal.

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