arrivecan cost

Toronto tech companies trolled the government by recreating ArriveCAN for next to nothing

Now that it's been revealed that the much-loathed ArriveCAN app costed Canada a whopping $54 million, people are hating on the federally-imposed pandemic measure even more.

Though the app is no longer mandatory for anyone entering the country as of October 1, a pair of Canadian tech companies decided to troll the government and its immense spending on the program by showing just how easily, swiftly and inexpensively it could have been done.

App makers Lazer Technologies and TribalScale, both based in Toronto, each independently created their own versions of the ArriveCAN app over the weekend through a "hackathon."

Apparently, a single staff member from the former company was able to craft a clone of the app in just three days. A team from the latter company completed theirs in two.

"Having built over 100 different apps for some of the most exciting companies in the world, it was shocking for us to see the total amount of capital that was spent to design, create, launch and maintain the ArriveCAN app," Lazer Tech co-founder Zain Manji wrote in an ArriveCAN case study posted to the firm's website on Sunday.

"Proving that this app could be built in a weekend is a good way to focus attention on the problem, but hopefully it opens up the discussion as to why Canada doesn’t have the best structure, team, resources, tools, frameworks, etc. to produce new technology efficiently."

While the criticism is pointed, Manji did acknowledge the challenges involved in creating a border app for the entire country, and asks people to have empathy for Ottawa, though its spending was perhaps unnecessarily exorbitant.

"We of course can build a cloned version of the ArriveCAN app extremely quickly and cheaply because we have the blueprint right infront of us, but we need to have some empathy for all of the pieces outside of purely building the app and experience. $54 million of empathy is unlikely though," he continued.

Both Lazer and TribalScale have posted videos about their respective apps and are making the code available to the public.

TribalScale has also spearheaded the Canadian Technology Consortium, which it hopes can offer free advice to the government for such matters in the future.

Lead photo by

Jonas Leupe

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