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It’s ‘obvious’ that rules weren’t followed with ArriveCan development, Trudeau says


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it’s “obvious” contracting rules weren’t followed during the development of the controversial ArriveCan app.

Auditor general said there was ‘glaring disregard’ for fundamental contracting practices in app’s development

A man in a rain jack and blue collared shirt speaks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday it’s “obvious” contracting rules weren’t followed during the development of the controversial ArriveCan app.

Trudeau said that while the app was developed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, such projects still need to follow rules even in difficult times.

He said investigations are ongoing and there will be consequences in cases of public servants failing to abide by the rules.

A person holds a smartphone set to the opening screen of the ArriveCan app.
A report from the auditor general has found the final cost of the ArriveCan app is ‘impossible to determine’ due to poor financial record-keeping. (Giordano Ciampini/The Canadian Press)

The federal government launched ArriveCan in April 2020 to track health and contact information for people entering Canada during the pandemic, and to digitize customs and immigration declarations.

Canada’s auditor general said earlier this month there was a “glaring disregard” for fundamental management and contracting practices as ArriveCan was developed and implemented.

The watchdog said the government’s reliance on sole-sourced external contractors drove up the price of the app, and those costs weren’t properly tracked.

“It is obvious that the contracting processes and rules were not followed in this case,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday when asked if he would take responsibility for the problems.

“We need to make sure that there is accountability and transparency around that.”

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