$1 Billion Given to 3 Government Contractors Who Worked on ArriveCan: Documents

by EditorK

A view of Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the seat of Canada’s government, in a file photo. (Matthew Little/The Epoch Times)

Matthew Horwood

By Matthew Horwood

Three federal contractors who worked on the controversial ArriveCan app received a total of more than $1 billion in federal contracts over the past 13 years, according to documents provided to the Public Accounts Committee.

According to records tabled before the committee, between January 2011 and February 2024, Coradix received 541 contracts worth $596.8 million. Meanwhile, Dalian received 445 contracts worth $127.8 million, and GC Strategies received 105 contracts worth $100.3 million. Additionally, Dalian and Coradix together received 122 contracts worth $189.5 million.

The three companies have all been suspended in recent months from taking on further government contracts. Coradix says it has about 40 employees, while Dalian and GC Strategies said they each have just two employees.

The ArriveCan app, which was used to check the COVID-19 vaccination status of travellers, resulted in an ongoing controversy over federal procurement spending. A Feb. 12 report from Auditor General Karen Hogan found the app cost roughly $59.5 million, but said the figure was an estimate as information about the app was not available and record-keeping was “poor.”

“I’ve been the auditor general for almost four years now, and I would tell you that this is probably some of the worst financial record-keeping that I’ve seen,” Ms. Hogan said about ArriveCan.

Ms. Hogan’s report also found that the agencies responsible for ArriveCan failed to follow “good management practices” in the contracting, development, and implementation of the app.

GC Strategies and ArriveCan

When it came to ArriveCan, GC Strategies received an estimated $19.1 million, while Dalian got $7.9 million as part of a joint venture with Coradix. In October 2023, the RCMP confirmed it was investigating potential misconduct by the three companies.

A Montreal-based IT company called Botler AI, which worked on a 2019 Canada Border Services Agency pilot project and dealt with contractors involved with ArriveCan, has alleged there was corruption, fraud, and extortion within the agency. The co-founders of Botler AI also alleged that a contract for their work was run through Dalian without their consent.

Kristian Firth, managing partner with GC Strategies, has also been accused of forging the resumes of the Botler AI co-founders without their consent so that they would qualify for government contracts. Mr. Firth has claimed he mistakenly sent the “wrong version” of the resumes to government officials.

On April 16, a day before Mr. Firth was admonished in the House of Commons for failing to answer a government committee’s questions, the RCMP executed a search warrant on Mr. Firth’s house. The force said in a statement to The Epoch Times that the search warrant was not related to its ongoing ArriveCan investigation.

Mr. Firth told MPs in the House of Commons that the RCMP’s search warrant was related to the allegations from Botler AI, which involved “fraudulent bidding and resume fraud.” Mr. Firth added that he welcomed the RCMP investigation, as he believes ”it will exonerate us.”

Matthew Horwood is a reporter based in Ottawa. 

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