Budget bill would allow departments, agencies to avoid using Shared Services Canada – Politics

The Liberals have introduced an omnibus budget bill that includes a measure that would allow government departments and agencies the option of not using Shared Services Canada for some IT equipment and services.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is a federal department created in 2011 to take over the delivery of email, data centres and network services for 43 government departments and agencies. But since its inception, those departments and agencies have complained of shoddy service.

In January, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson wrote to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, saying that critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since the beleaguered department took over tech support for all of government.

“Its ‘one size fits all’ IT shared services model has negatively impacted police operations, public and officer safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system,” Paulson said in the memo.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also warned that national security is at risk because of the ongoing issues with SSC.

And according to a series of internal reports at Statistics Canada, SSC-related IT issues at the statistical agency could delay the release of “mission critical” information required by the Bank of Canada, the Department of Finance and commercial banks.

The changes proposed in the Budget Implementation Act — tabled late Tuesday — appear to be an attempt to address those complaints, and an apparent acknowledgement that SSC has not been able to deliver on its repeated promise of improved service.

For example, with a minister’s permission, departments will be able to purchase IT goods and services directly from vendors that have contracts with SSC, rather than having to go through SSC.

Those goods include laptop and desktop computers, tablets, software and printers. Shared Services Canada would not say what services could be procured outside of its department. 

The reason for the changes, said…

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