A Canadian tech CEO says the Canada Border Services Agency wrongly listed his company as receiving money for the failed ArriveCan app.
ThinkOn CEO Craig McLellan told The Globe and Mail his company did not receive a $1.2-million ArriveCan contract, despite being listed as such in information the Canada Border Services Agency tabled in Parliament.
“We have received no money from the CBSA,” McLellan told The Globe.
The CBSA reported that ThinkOn received contract work valued at $1,183,432 for the app. The federal agency said that ThinkOn provided “experimentation of mobile QR code scanning and verification.”
McLellan said his company doesn’t provide QR code scanning services, adding “we’re not even remotely in that space.”
The revelation comes as the Trudeau Liberals are under fire for spending $54 of taxpayers’ money on the glitchy app — a cost the tech industry says is far too high.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denies that spending on the ArriveCan app was obscenely high.
“I can assure you that the current contract for ArriveCan was got at in a competitive process,” he said last week.
But Sheetal Jaitly, founder and CEO of Toronto-based tech company TribalScale, also said his company wasn’t given the opportunity to bid for the app.
“For this to happen and us not even to be consulted about it was wrong,” he told Global News 640.
TribalScale had a friendly competition with Lazer Technologies, another Canadian tech company, to see which could re-create a replica of the ArriveCan app faster.
Both tech companies built a clone version of the app in about two days.
The revelation was bittersweet for Jaitly as he realized how much the government overspent.
“I can confidently say this project should have cost less than a million bucks.”
Reports of the companies that contracted to build the app are scarce. True North reports that Ottawa firm GCstrategies received $9 million. It’s a company with no physical office and less than five employees. However, subcontractors are reportedly not named for confidentiality reasons.
Conservative party leader Pierre Poilievre tweeted about the sham last week.
“Trudeau paid $54 million for an ArriveCan app that developers have since shown could be built in a weekend. Who got rich? Why did one company headquartered in someone’s house get $9 million? Conservatives will get to the truth.”