In the News Archive
January 2005

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Alberta auctions oil and gas licences

Alberta grants industry the rights to drill for and recover petroleum and natural gas in the province through a competitive, sealed, bid auction. The highest bidder wins the parcel. Notice of the parcels being offered are published on the Internet and in paper copy, approximately eight weeks prior to the sale. Auctions are held in Calgary every two weeks, with the province issuing roughly 8,000 agreements per year. In 2004, the land bonuses for leases and licences reached the $1.023 billion mark following the highest total bonus ever collected in a year - $65 million from the December 15th Crown auction. The auctions are a steady source of revenue for the province which helps fund the delivery of provincial programs such as health and education, and construction of roads and cultural and recreation facilities.

BC government embraces alternate service delivery

In British Columbia, plans by the provincial government to find alternative means to provide services to its citizens led to several announcements in late 2004 of outsourcing contracts:

  • November - Signed a $324 million, 10-year contract with the Canadian offices of Maximus for the provision of program management and IT services in support of the province's Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare. The province issued a business proposal to find a suitable partner in July 2003; Maximus was selected in March 2004. In outsourcing, the province is seeking to improve service to the public (within 90 days of Maximus assuming operations improvements of over 50 percent in most service level areas are expected) and also the protection of privacy and personal information; improve service to health care providers; enable the Ministry of Health Services to focus on governance and stewardship; avoid up-front capital costs for system development and re-engineering; improve budget planning and management; and allow government to retain ownership and control of all information. The provincial government will also continue to set policy and be accountable.
  • November - Signed a 10-year contract with Victoria-based, EDS Advanced Solutions Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDS, (valued at approximately $572 million) to coordinate more than 40 diverse revenue systems spread across the BC government and consequently improve customer service, enhance privacy protection and increase revenue collection for the province; net benefit to BC of $382 million over the 10-year term of the contract. Under the contract, the company will assume the financial risk associated with developing and implementing new business processes and IT systems.
  • December - Signed a 10-year $300 million agreement with IBM Canada, which, supported by its subsidiary ISM Canada, will deliver and improve corporate IT services including hardware, installation, maintenance and replacement, helpdesk and on-site support, and desktop software and hardware management. Two other BC subcontractors, Tecnet and Microserve, will provide field support and asset management. Tecnet Canada Inc. is headquartered in Victoria and operates a network of authorized service centres across Canada. Systems integrator and technology reseller, Microserve is based in Burnaby. It has sales and service centres in Victoria, Edmonton, and Calgary. Over the 10-year term of the contract, BC plans to realize financial benefits in the range of $80 million.

BC supports Campbell River Airport upgrades

In early December 2004, the District of Campbell River, British Columbia, was the happy recipient of a $1.9 million investment from the province towards infrastructure upgrades for the Campbell River Airport. The funding, which comes from the BC Ministry of Transportation's $40 million Transportation Partnerships Program, will help connect municipal sewer and water service to the airport and will pay for the construction of a taxiway. Tenders for the water and sewer upgrades were issued and construction is expected to being in the summer of 2005.

Environmental assessment step one for former mines, Rambler and Baie Verte

In October 2004 Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Natural Resources issued two requests for proposal for Phase I environmental site studies at former mines: Rambler and Baie Verte. The site assessments are the first step in understanding the type and scale of environmental issues affecting the rehabilitation of the former mines sites. In mid December 2004, Davis Engineering and Associates was awarded a $10,920 contract for the site assessment at the Rambler tailings and AMEC Earth and Environmental was awarded a $14,330 contract for the Baie Verte mine site. Final reports are due at the end of March 2005.

Nearshore Atlantic: a partnership for ICT development

In mid-December 2004, Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic telecommunications leader Aliant, in collaboration with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (Nati), announced a three-year agreement - Nearshore Atlantic. Building on the already established ICT sector in the province, the $1.5 million development initiative is intended to establish the province as a recognized centre for information and communications technology development. Nearshore Atlantic will look at ICT business opportunities in the United States, Western Europe and some Canadian jurisdictions - particularly locations close to the Newfoundland and Labrador markets - and attract non-Newfoundland and Labrador-based companies to the province to do software-related work for international markets.

New Brunswick improves GPS positioning capability

In mid-December, Service New Brunswick a New Brunswick Crown corporation, signed a five-year agreement with the Geodetic Survey Division (GSD) of Natural Resources Canada for ongoing cooperation on improving GPS positioning capability within New Brunswick.

In the Fredericton area this will be done by using data collected from GSD's new Fredericton Active Control Point Station. The station, which is one of 42 similar sites operated by GSD across Canada, is the first of its kind in New Brunswick. GSD's Fredericton station collects observation files for Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa that are then reprocessed and transferred from Ottawa to SNB. The files are placed on the SNB website where they are updated every hour, 24 hours a day and will be kept for a full year. Access to the data will be helpful to local surveyors or those collecting geographic mapping information. As well, the system permits data collected by the province's forestry industry to be integrated into the provincial reference system, maintained by SNB. Service New Brunswick plans to establish six similar stations of its own throughout the province by 2007.

Ontario modernization program saves millions

The Ontario government is getting its own financial house in order through its program to modernize and make government more efficient. As of mid-December 2004, the province announced that the program had identified $350 million in savings of the potential $750 million it hopes to achieve by 2007-08. Savings identified so far include:

  • $200 million from streamlining purchasing practices;
  • $100 million from consolidating IT services and applications;
  • $50 million in reduced accommodation costs.

Future savings include the reduction of total procurement costs by 10 percent based on current spending levels, improved regulation and enforcement practices and enhanced one-stop access to Ontario government information and services. The government is also seeking input through pre-budget hearings on where more efficiency can be found and on spending priorities.

First Nations and remote communities build Manitoba winter road network

The First Nations and remote northern communities in Manitoba receive money - this year $5 million spread over 20 contracts - to construct and maintain the winter road system, which operates for about eight weeks each year. The system covers approximately 2,200 kilometres and serves 24 Manitoba communities allowing shipments of fuel, construction materials and general freight to reach the residents and linking them with the provincial road network. While Manitoba manages this northern transportation network, funding is shared equally with the federal government.

Abbotsford contractor builds new women's federal prison

In mid December 2004, Public Works and Government Services Canada, on behalf of Corrections Services Canada, contracted Bervin Construction Ltd. of Abbotsford, BC to build two 1,000-square metre steel-framed buildings for the new federal women's correctional facility for the Pacific Region. One building is for senior management and will be the entrance to the facility; the other building is a multipurpose facility designed to address the particular needs of women offenders. The contract is valued at $5,049,330 and should be completed in March 2005.

New US procurement reporting system

Source: Summary of article by Tom Shoop, (

The US Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, developed and maintained by Global Computer Enterprises of Reston, Virginia under contract (7-year, US$24 million) with General Services Administration (GSA), was due to be fully operational on January 1, 2005. The system (FPDS-NG) contains 13 million records of agency contracting actions, dating back to 1979 and features a series of standardized reports as well as a tool for users to create customized reports. Over time, all US government agencies are expected to implement online systems to continually update their contracting information in FPDS-NG. With the new system, it is expected that over time, the quality and timeliness of procurement data will be greatly enhanced.

The GSA retains control over the data in the FPDS-NG. The data is free to the public, but the GSA will charge companies wishing to repackage/resell the information a one-time connection fee of US$2,500.

DND modernizes optical tracking test system

The Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment is the organization that tests the Canadian Forces' aircraft and ordnance to ensure effectiveness and airworthiness. Test data has been obtained since 1975 by using sensors on fixed optical tracking mounts configured to collect either film or video data that measure the required information, which includes time, space and positional references.

The focus of the Canadian Air Force has shifted to precision-guided weapons, and projects such as the CF-18 Modernization Project are increasing the demand for testing. Because of these changes and for safety reasons, mobile remotely-controlled optical tracking mounts capable of multiple measurements in the form of high-resolution video, infrared and high-speed cameras are now required.

In early December 2004, BAE System was awarded a US$16.6-million contract to provide "optical tracking mounts and supporting equipment to document information and link it to a central control station." Included is road construction, constructing the optical tracking mount sites, maintenance, support and operator training. The new system should be operational by 2007.

Norwegian firm brings Canadian submarine home

HMCS Chicoutimi comes home. Following the disastrous fire at sea in 2004, the submarine, HMCS Chicoutimi, was towed to Faslane, Scotland where it was to remain until it could be brought home to Canada. EIDE Marine of Norway was contracted (valued at approximately $2.7 million) by the Department of National Defence to sealift (secured to the deck of a semi-submersible self-propelled transport vessel) the sub to Halifax from Faslane; arrival is weather dependant, but expected in January 2005. Once in Halifax, the Navy will conduct repairs along with previously scheduled routine maintenance and upgrades

Saskatchewan government buying power supports provincial municipalities

On December 13, 2004, following a year of pilot programs and consultations with municipal leaders, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities signed an energy conservation agreement with the Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation (SPMC) and the Office of Energy Conservation. The agreement provides advice and the buying power of the SPMC as a support to municipalities interested in saving money and making their buildings more energy efficient. SPMC's buying power can cut the cost of items like energy-efficient light bulbs by as much as 50 percent.

Mississauga launches service

As of December 15, 2004, Mississauga launched another of its eCity initiatives. City residents and visitors could pay their tickets for provincial offences at - no more waiting in line - or go to directly. Payments are made electronically with a credit card, which is verified and then a receipt is issued - all without human intervention, saving time for city staff. The system is operational in 11 other places in Ontario including London, Waterloo, Hamilton, Ottawa, Durham and Chatham.

DND contracts for healthcare personnel

On December 15, 2004, Ottawa-based Calian Technology Ltd. was awarded a 5-year limitation of expenditure contract by the Department of National Defence (DND) valued at more than $400 million. The contract also provides options for another 5-year term. Under the contract, Calian's Business and Technology Services Division will provide and manage health service providers - doctors, medical specialists, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists and psychologists - to supplement resources at approximately 36 different DND bases in Canada. Calian will establish a central program management office in Kanata (part of greater Ottawa) and two regional offices, one in Halifax and another in Edmonton.

CIDA renews IT services contracts

In early December 2004, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) renewed its IT services contract with CGI Group for another four-years at a value of $15.8 million. This contract could be extended an additional six years. CGI will continue to manage all infrastructure support services, provide a national service desk, onsite support services and systems and network management.

Abbotsford hospital partnership bears fruit

On December 8, 2004 the BC government announced that construction was beginning on the new 300-bed Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre for the Fraser Valley. The new centre - a state-of-the-art facility - is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Health Services, Fraser Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority, the BC Cancer Agency, the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District, Partnerships BC and Access Health Abbotsford. The Access Health Abbotsford consortium includes PCL Constructors Westcoast, MCM/Silver Thomas Hanley, Johnson Controls & Sodexho, and ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

The new facility should be ready by 2008. Access Health Abbotsford is responsible for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the 60,000 square metre facilities. The capital cost is estimated at $355 million. According to the news release, comments attributed to Abe Neufeld, chair of the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District (also mayor of the District of Mission) indicate that communities in the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District are contributing $71.3 million.

The cancer centre is integrated within the hospital, which will also be a university-affiliated learning centre and provide more services than currently available. More than 240 health care professionals were involved in the design to ensure the facility meets both patient and staff needs with the result being "a more environmentally-friendly facility with dedicated green space and access to gardens, lots of natural light throughout, an easy-to-navigate floor plan, and a single help desk for patient and staff support services, including information technology, laundry and security."

Lamination protects Ontario government windows

In late 2004, under its first contract with the Ontario government, an Ottawa-based ACE Security Laminates dealership started to apply its micro thin polyester laminate to the windows of two Ontario government buildings located at Queen's Park in Toronto. The laminate protects windows from shattering under the impact of hard objects such as rocks and also from fire and other natural disasters, as well as bombs or bullets. According to the company, all grades of the laminates offered by ACE have been tested by recognized organizations such as Intertek ETL Semko, Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory, Mining Resource Engineering Ltd, ABS Consulting and Carleton University Engineering Department.

Information management moves up to speed at AAFC

With the help of Hummingbird Ltd. and CGI Group Inc., Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada successfully implemented its Executive Correspondence Management System (ECMS), which tracks everything from critical records, contracts, inquiries, invitations (including briefings and background research) and appeals, even intellectual property - all the daily correspondence and requests that are received by government executives. As part of the AgriDoc system, the rollout of ECMS took just five months and users received both the program and general and individual training on its use the very same day. AgriDoc builds on the government of Canada's records, document and information management system (RDIMS) and elements of Hummingbird's enterprise content management solution to allow information to be received, handled, tracked and shared across departments in an electronic, rather than paper, form.

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