ArriveCan contractor GC Strategies will face MP questions this week

Click to play video: 'ArriveCAN contractor’s security status suspended'
ArriveCAN contractor’s security status suspended
GC Strategies, a company handed millions of dollars in federal contracts to help create the ArriveCAN app, has had its security status suspended. Mackenzie Gray explains what's behind the federal government's decision – Mar 6, 2024

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified GC Strategies partner Darren Anthony as David Anthony. 

The partners behind GC Strategies, the biggest contractor on the controversial ArriveCan app, are set to answer a subpoena this week and testify before the House of Commons operations committee.

Kristian Firth will be the committee’s lone witness on Wednesday, followed by his business partner Darren Anthony on Thursday. Both meetings are scheduled to run for three hours.

Last week, the federal government announced that GC Strategies’ security status is suspended, a key factor in being allowed to bid on many government contracts requiring a security screening.

In November 2023, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) suspended all government contracts with GC Strategies.

In a statement, PSPC said the suspension of the security status is in place until further notice.

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Security clearance is necessary for companies to bid on contracts involving the government’s most sensitive deals, such as those dealing with military planning and financial records.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says anyone who took advantage during ArriveCAN app development to ‘get rich’ will face consequences'
Trudeau says anyone who took advantage during ArriveCAN app development to ‘get rich’ will face consequences

Canada’s comptroller general Roch Huppé told a parliamentary committee that Ottawa-based GC Strategies and its predecessor Coredal were awarded 118 federal government contracts valued at more than $107 million since 2011.

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Last month, Conservative members of the operations committee led an effort to subpoena Firth and Anthony to come to committee and once again talk about their role in the scandal-plagued app.

If they did not come, the committee could ask the House of Commons to order the sergeant-at-arms to arrest them and compel testimony.

Click to play video: 'Conservatives table motion to arrest, force GC Strategies employees to testify on ArriveCan: Poilievre'
Conservatives table motion to arrest, force GC Strategies employees to testify on ArriveCan: Poilievre

ArriveCan is still active but was initially developed for travellers to log their health and vaccine information upon entry to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic as international travel was restricted.

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Originally, the app was expected to cost $80,000 to develop but costs ballooned to nearly $60 million.

Auditor general Karen Hogan concluded that her office would be unable to determine the total cost of the app due to what she called the worst financial record-keeping she has ever seen.

GC Strategies was the IT firm that the government hired to build the app, but the two-person company subcontracted the work out to six other companies.

Firth and Anthony both previously appeared before the operations committee in October 2022 to talk about the ArriveCan app.

— with files from Global News’ Touria Izri. 

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