ArriveCAN execs got $340,000 in bonuses

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2024/02/08

Federal health executives responsible for the ArriveCAN app received $340,000 in bonuses, according to government records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

“The government executives involved with ArriveCAN should be getting pink slips, not bonuses,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “This is the ultimate example of failing government executives being rewarded with taxpayer-funded bonuses.”

Between March 2020 and September 2022, eight executives from the Public Health Agency of Canada were assigned to the ArriveCAN project in various capacities, according to the records. 

Five of the eight executives received an “at-risk” bonus for 2020-21, while four of the eight received a “performance” bonus. Six of the eight executives received an “at-risk” bonus for 2021-22, while two received a “performance” bonus.

All told, the PHAC executives working on the ArriveCAN app received a combined $342,929 in bonuses for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years. 

The records obtained by the CTF were released in response to an order paper question from Member of Parliament Jeremy Patzer (Cypress Hills-Grasslands).

“It is not possible to discern what part of the bonus … would have been attributed to [work on] the ArriveCAN application,” according to the records.

“It doesn’t matter how good any of my other work is, if I blew a project so badly that it cost my company $54 million and became a national scandal, there’s no way I’d be getting a bonus,” Terrazzano said. 

The Canada Border Services Agency also had employees assigned to the ArriveCAN program but did not release details on how much in bonuses, if any, were paid out to its executives on the file. 

In October 2023, the CTF testified before a parliamentary committee investigating the ArriveCAN scandal.

“Taxpayers are out of $54 million because of the ArriveCAN app,” Terrazzano told the committee. “Which bureaucrat is out of a job? Which bureaucrat is even out of a bonus?” 

The ArriveCAN app launched in April 2020 with a price tag of $80,000. 

By October 2022, the cost of the ArriveCAN app had spiralled to $54 million. 

In November 2022, independent tech experts recreated the ArriveCAN app over a single weekend, with some saying the app’s development should have cost around $250,000. 

Significant sub-contracting irregularities related to ArriveCAN have also been identified, including a two-person staffing firm in the Ottawa region receiving up to $2.7 million in commissions despite doing no IT work on the project.

A report into ArriveCAN from Canada’s Auditor General is due Feb. 12, 2024. 

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