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In the News Archive
June 2001



compiled by Summit staff

The perils of transparency

A spokesman for the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) has run up against one of the pitfalls of open and transparent procurement - threats to privacy and security. David Austin, a contract employee of the CFC, found some of his personal information - including the address of his home-based company - published in an online newsletter for gun enthusiasts. The information was drawn from the MERX website, which routinely discloses such data to meet government requirements for "fair, open and transparent procurement."

The incident has raised several questions, including, would it be better if governments treated private information in a more active fashion, by notifying contractors that their information will be published and that they may not wish to refer to a home address? This, in turn, may have other implications: Does the government really want to have post office boxes as contact points of would-be suppliers? Should it be incumbent on government to protect the information of sensitive contractors as well as it does its employees? -David Newman

SuperBuild builds on partnership

Ontario's SuperBuild, a public-private partnership (P3), "holds as its priority the expansion and renewal of Ontario's infrastructure, including its transportation, education, health care, entrepreneurial," says David Lindsay, president and CEO of the Ontario SuperBuild Corporation. Under the program, $10 billion will be invested by the Government of Ontario, with the remaining $10 billion coming from private sector and other partners, resulting in new partnerships, new financing methods and new ways of conducting business. SuperBuild has also produced "The Guide to Public Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Projects." It lists key benefits from the perspective of a public-sector proponent and also offers a framework of six criteria that define conditions for selecting a project as a candidate for a P3 approach. To obtain a full copy visit www.superbuild.gov.on.ca.-Joanne Sedkowski

Procurement is business for small business

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is actively promoting awareness of the $100 billion-a-year market of government procurement opportunities among its more than 100,000 members. It is also lobbying organizations such as the Canadian Public Procurement Council, an association of government purchasers, to advance the cause of small businesses. According to the results of a CFIB survey on Internet use among SMEs, the Internet is changing the way SMEs conduct business and relate to their customers. Overall, businesses that are online buyers, sellers or website owners make up 35 percent of the total survey response. -Joanne Sedkowski

National Film Board Internet store connects to back office

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) selected Oracle iStore and Oracle iPayment to replace its current Internet store. Robert Gendron, CIO at the NFB, says, "With iStore and iPayment, we will have full integration with our inventory, shipping and billing systems. It gives us sophisticated functionality and ease of use, and allows us to eliminate paperwork. Consequently, it will help us deliver a better level of customer service." The NFB currently sells more than 90,000 theatrical titles yearly to customers around Canada, the United States and overseas. -Joanne Sedkowski

ZENworks for Anna-Laberge Hospital Centre

The Anna-Laberge Hospital Centre (CHAL) IT director Monique St. Jean says, "While we were searching for tools that would enable us to simultaneously reduce maintenance costs and increase productivity, we identified remote monitoring as the key to improve efficiency with maintenance, start-up, application integration and upgrades. Novell ZENworks for Desktops 3 is the product that best meets our needs while being the most affordable and the easiest to use." -Joanne Sedkowski

Expanding smart community portals

CivicLife.com, Inc. recently launched Interprise, a web-based application that offers all of the software and content components necessary to help "smart" communities deploy fully branded, one-stop portal site destinations for their citizens. "To date the market has been flooded with portal solutions that only cater to one facility of a community, usually government services alone. These applications have power too narrowly focused for a smart community's needs," says Kevin Higgins, CivicLife.com's president and CEO. "Through Interprise's single window portal platform, communities have the freedom to configure a solution that encompasses the entire spectrum of their offerings in a citizen-centric manner." -Joanne Sedkowski

By the numbers procurement

Public Works and Government Services Canada now requires suppliers to have a Procurement Business Number (PBN) - one for each supplier's office that may be awarded contracts. The PBN, created by using the supplier's unique Canada Customs and Revenue Agency number, may be obtained by registering online at Contracts Canada's Supplier Registration Information. See www.contractscanada.gc.ca. -Anne Phillips


The federal government uses the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) to distribute bid notices and procurement documents to suppliers. Today, Cebra Inc., through MERX, delivers this service. Public Works and Government Services Canada is considering implementing its own version of GETS where suppliers would be able to access bid notices and opportunities free of charge. In March, the department released a Letter of Interest to that effect. -Anne Phillips

Ontario outsources network management

The Ontario government awarded EDS a $200 million contract to design, integrate and manage the province's computer network on a 24/7 basis. The network redesign period will take about 15 months and then EDS takes over as the network integrator. The ministries will determine the types of network services they require and EDS will find the best price among the existing telecommunications providers. -Anne Phillips

A-a-attenshun! Private support required

The Department of National Defence (DND) continues its search for a private sector contractor to augment its support for troops deployed abroad. A Letter of Interest on the Canadian Contractor Capability Program (CANCAP) was posted on MERX in March 2001 to solicit feedback on the scope of the project. The program is to be established by December 2001. Experience gained in Bosnia from DND's contract with ATCO Frontec (Summit, March 2001) will be considered in the development of the project. Check out www.dnd.ca/j4log/cancap/index_e.htm. -Anne Phillips

Help wanted in Toronto

In an effort to cut costs, the City of Toronto is seriously considering contracting out services that don't need to be directly delivered by the city. Quality of service at an affordable rate will be a priority. Among those being considered are computer systems, building management, fleet maintenance, payroll, operation and maintenance of arenas, food service and caretaking in long-term care facilities and garbage collection. -Anne Phillips

Saskatchewan and Manitoba LINK

Saskatchewan's Property Management Corporation is purchasing the Labour Information NetworK system (LINK) through an agreement with Manitoba Labour and IBM. It will be implemented at the Saskatchewan Labour, Occupational Health and Safety Division with relatively few modifications being required to adapt it from the existing system being used in Manitoba. It should be operational in September 2001. -Anne Phillips

Defence Construction achieves ISO 9001

In late March 2001 Defence Construction Canada's contract services division received ISO 9001 certification. Working with advice from Marine Systems Engineering Inc., the organization spent approximately 18 months ensuring that the quality framework they were formalizing would meet the ISO audit requirements, done by Deloitte Touche in January. Defence Construction believes they are the first federal agency to achieve this certification for procurement activities. -Anne Phillips

Visa study shows e-ordering and e-billing on the rise

Visa Canada's national purchasing study, "How Business Buys," released May 2001, shows that e-commerce based billing and ordering processes will more than quadruple by 2005. Currently, e-billing accounts for only two percent of corporate billing. Benefits include reduced internal costs and shortened turnaround times. The cost of purchase orders is a key factor driving the move to electronic solutions. Government/crown organizations, comprising six percent of the surveyed organizations, average 5.42 days and $323 to raise a purchase order. Fifty-two percent of government/crown organizations surveyed have centralized purchasing but only 10 percent benchmark their purchasing activities. To request a copy email information@visa.com. -Anne Phillips

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