Canadian government teams up with Telus to modernize internal telecom services

The government of Canada is looking to update its internal telecommunications systems and reduce the costs of supporting legacy infrastructure.

Shared Services Canada (SSC), responsible for information technology services for departments within the federal government, has awarded a seven-year, $176 million contract to Telus to deliver a workplace communication network.

In particular, the organization says that over 80,000 legacy landlines will be replaced with VoIP telephone services, which allows phone calls to be made over digital computer networks, adding to the more than 100,000 VoIP already in use. It will also be further integrating real-time communications like instant messaging and desktop videoconferencing, and in general, converge voice, video, and data technologies to ensure the utmost continuity in service.

SSC is hoping that upgraded communication services will result in better employee productivity, connectivity, mobility, and collaboration while also reducing the costs and environmental impacts of travelling and commuting.

“Upgrading our communication services will equip employees with the modern tools they need to enhance productivity to deliver the programs and services Canadians deserve,” Steven MacKinnon, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Public Services and Procurement Carla Qualtrough,  and minister responsible for SSC, says in an Oct. 5 statement.

Telus was awarded the contract after what the SSC calls “an open, fair, and transparent procurement process.” It is expected to support “hundreds of jobs across Canada,” the company says.

“Whether in a corporate boardroom, an entrepreneur’s office, or the work stations of our federal Public Service employees, Telus’ goal is always to place our industry-leading expertise and collaborative solutions at the service of our customers, so they can better achieve their objectives,” François Gratton, executive vice-president at Telus and partner solutions and president of business solutions east and Telus Québec, says in an Oct. 5 press release. “This is why we are delighted to be able to support Shared Services Canada in ensuring that each and every one of our citizens, regardless of location, can access and receive the services they need to make their lives easier.”

Red flags for expensive government contracts

This new Telus contract comes as new information regarding the Phoenix payroll system debacle comes to light, raising red flags around how government money is awarded. The issue-laden Phoenix system was launched in February 2016 as a way to standardize the way public servants are paid, but it has resulted in employees being underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all. The federal government has spent at least $400 million trying to fix it but current backlogs of public servants waiting to be paid keep rising, with the latest figure set at 257,000 cases, according to the Hill Times.

The system was developed by IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for almost $200 million, but CBC News has discovered that there may have been a conflict of interest in the early days of the project. Canada’s public broadcaster has learned that these two companies may have influenced an internal government report that recommended a new pay system in 2009, and then profited off the contract awarded to them by the government to create such a system.

This potential conflict of interest is a “cause for concern,” CBC reports, which could lead to this newly announced internal telecom system overhaul being heavily scrutinized.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Mandy Kovacs
Mandy Kovacs
Mandy is a lineup editor at CTV News. A former staffer at IT World Canada, she's now contributing as a part-time podcast host on Hashtag Trending. She is a Carleton University journalism graduate with extensive experience in the B2B market. When not writing about tech, you can find her active on Twitter following political news and sports, and preparing for her future as a cat lady.

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now