Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) faces backlash for secrecy

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The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been chastised for failing to disclose the real cost of the ArriveCan app. As a consequence, the agency received the Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in 2022.

Initially, the CBSA anticipated that building the app would cost about $27 million. However, new disclosures indicate that the real cost was more than $54 million, about twice the initial estimate. It was also determined that the CBSA gave false information about the granted contracts for the app. Initially, they stated that five firms obtained contracts, but later papers indicated that 27 contracts involving 23 companies were awarded.

The contracts themselves lacked transparency, making tracking spending and ensuring sufficient monitoring impossible. In one case, a business called ThinkOn was fraudulently stated to have obtained a $1.2 million contract, further undermining public faith in the CBSA’s conduct.

Furthermore, the CBSA missed many deadlines for disclosing outsourced invoices, compounding the lack of openness around the ArriveCan app project. Failure to comply with disclosure standards reflects a lack of commitment to transparency and accountability.

The Trans Mountain Corporation and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) received dishonorable mentions in the Code of Silence Awards, which attempt to expose government organizations that suppress information from the public.

The sources for this piece include an article in Newswire.

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