Politics

ITAC posts new version of report on federal contracting

In the wake of a Radio-Canada story about the withdrawal of a report critical of government contracting, the Information Technology Association of Canada has published a new version of its report.

Information Technology Association of Canada's April 7 report was withdrawn after it was sent to 2 ministers

Public Works Minister Diane Finley received a report last April critical of the federal government's IT contracting process. Shortly after, the report was withdrawn for rewriting by the industry group that wrote it. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

In the wake of a Radio-Canada story about the withdrawal of a report critical of government contracting, the Information Technology Association of Canada has now published a new version of its report to the federal government on its web site.

In the new report, ITAC adopts a softer and more conciliatory tone. A list of problematic contracts found at the end of the first version has been removed and much-less detailed examples have been incorporated to the text.

However, the ITAC report does reiterate, amongst other things, the need for greater transparency from the federal government and better business practices in the tendering of IT contracts.

ITAC represents more than 200 businesses in the Canadian IT industry, including Bell, Telus, IBM and Rogers.

As Radio-Canada reported Wednesday, the original report was withdrawn shortly after being sent to two federal ministers.

The original document, which was obtained by Radio-Canada, reviewed the new approach adopted by the federal government for awarding contracts, called "smart procurement." The report found that "ideas put forward with a view to expanding competition are frequently rejected with a curt 'no' response without any rationale or explanation."

The document said Public Works and Shared Services Canada frequently solicits opinions from industry experts through consultative committees, but seldom acts on their advice.

The report was sent April 7 to Public Works Minister Diane Finley and Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who is responsible for the federal public service.

Last month, ITAC's head of media relations, Linda Leonard, said the report wasn't final and had been "withdrawn."

According to Leonard, the document did not receive the necessary authorizations before being sent to the two federal ministers, even though it had been accompanied by a letter signed by ITAC president Karna Gupta. Gupta declined to comment.

"We made a mistake. We are correcting it," Lenoard told Radio-Canada, adding that some ITAC members had expressed unhappiness with the report. "It's being rewritten from beginning to end."

"Opinions won't change. It's more a question of tone, format and coherence."

Leonard said she did not know whether the ministers had reacted negatively to the report.

Read both versions of the report below, beginning with the new version posted Wednesday:

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Earlier version of the report, withdrawn by ITAC and obtained Radio-Canada:

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
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with files from Brigitte Bureau

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