No new Shared Services details in Budget 2013

Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty delivered the 2013 federal budget on behalf of the Government of Canada on Thursday, and if the channel was hoping for a substantive update on the progress of Shared Services Canada and IT procurement reform, it’s out of luck.

Shared Services and procurement reform merited one half page out of the 442 page budget document, and mainly rehashed information disclosed previously, and well known to the government IT channel.

According to the budget, the government projects to save $8.7 million through the consolidation and standardization of software procurement for end user devices, beginning in 2014-15. They plan to take a similar approach to buying the end-user devices themselves, as well as associated support services.

The budget also mentioned Shared Services Canada will shift 63 departmentally managed email systems down to one, much like it[s consolidating over 300 data centres to less than 20.

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Otherwise, there’s not too much of note in the budget for IT resellers. Programs for skills training and development may be of some interest for those dealing with a skill shortage. Elsewhere on the technology front, there’s money for research & development and venture capital that could benefit IT startups.

Still, at least one technoligy industry association has found a silver lining.

“There’s good news here,” said Linda Leonard, senior vice-president of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), which represents the leading hardware and software manufacturers as well as big telecommunications companies.

“There’s some fairly interesting innovation in how they’re going to fund re-training, to make that more tailored to individual workers and employers looking for skills upgrades. That’s an interesting public policy innovation that could help address some of the issues that we encounter finding skilled workers in the ITC labour market.

“We’re an industry that’s predicated on the availability of talent, so any progressive measures aimed at better outcomes from the investment
we’re making in training and re-training is going to be well received by the industry.”

It’s also encouraging that Ottawa is also putting money into co-op education programs, she said.

The full Budget 2013 documents are available online.

With files from Howard Solomon of IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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