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It’s the Information Commissioner’s turn to take an interest in ArriveCAN

Photo: Justin Tang The Canadian Press Information Commissioner of Canada, Caroline Maynard, in Ottawa, March 7, 2023

Benoit Valois-Nadeau

9:40 p.m.

  • Canada

Canada's Information Commissioner, Caroline Maynard, announced Friday evening the opening of an investigation into the destruction of documents subject to access to information requests in the affair ArriveCAN.

“In light of allegations relating to the destruction of documents that were the subject of access to information requests, the investigation will focus on any questions relating to the request or obtaining of documents concerning ArriveCAN between March 2020 and on February 23, 2024,” the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada said in a brief statement.

Thursday, Cameron MacDonald, a senior civil servant currently suspended without pay for his possible involvement in the exploding costs of the ArriveCAN application, told a parliamentary committee that “thousands of emails have been deleted to hide the truth” in this matter.

The person who was employed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) during the development of ArriveCAN also claimed that he did not have timely access to the documents necessary to defend himself against the allegations against him. place. Mr. MacDonald and his former CBSA colleague Antonio Utano were suspended from their positions following the release of a preliminary report blaming them for the program's ballooning costs.

Canada's Auditor General, Karen Hogan, also highlighted last week in a devastating report that the CBSA kept no documentation on the awarding of a no-tender contract to the company GC Strategies.

“We found that there was no documentation on file regarding the initial discussions and interactions between the Canada Border Services Agency and GC Strategies,” the Auditor General wrote.

The firm GC Strategies ranks first among the subcontractors having obtained the most lucrative contracts in the development of ArriveCAN, with a total of $19.1 million. The total bill for the application is estimated by the VG at $59.5 million, while the first prototype cost only $80,000.

The Commissioner specified by press release that under “section 30(3) of the Access to Information Act, the Information Commissioner may herself take the 'initiation of a complaint if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an investigation should be conducted into a matter relating to the request or obtaining of documents.'

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116