Ottawa investigating ArriveCan procurement process

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Canada’s top public servant to look into the government’s procurement process over what he says seems a “highly illogical and inefficient” contract to develop the ArriveCan app.

The Globe and Mail reported that the federal government paid millions of dollars over two years to GCstrategies, a two-person firm in Ottawa, for work related to the ArriveCan app.

That firm then subcontracted six other companies to actually do the work, including multinationals like BDO and KPMG, and kept a commission of between 15 and 30 per cent.

The process has raised questions about why the public service could not hire those firms directly or do the work in-house.

At a news conference in Toronto, Trudeau says he’s asked the clerk of the Privy Council to look at the government’s procurement practices to make sure they are getting good value for money.

The government mandated the use of the ArriveCan app during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to screen travellers crossing the border into the country.