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RENIR advances again and again at a snail’s pace

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Should Quebec maintain the pace observed since May 2021, it will take another 8 long years to complete the implementation of the RENIR emergency telecommunications system, a project launched 20 years ago.

• Read also: $ 1000 / h for consultants in the RENIR mess

• Read also: The Ministry of Health tired of the failures of the RENIR

After an interruption of the project of almost four years due to “problems with the network”, the implementation of the Integrated National Radiocommunication Network (RENIR) at the QS resumed in May 2021. And according to the latest status report published by the government on August 22, just 25 units were delivered in the 469-day period following this relaunch.

“In February 2022, functionality anomalies were detected for a range of terminals acquired in the fall of 2021. The supplier was forced to produce a patch. This work took seven months of work ”, indicates the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital to explain the slow pace.

More worryingly, the government’s intelligence resource project dashboard indicates that no fewer than 161 units remain to migrate to the new system.

At the pace that has been going for a year and a half, we can establish that it would take 3,000 days to get the remaining units up and running, which is 8 long years.

However, the first public investments in RENIR were made under Bernard Landry’s PQ government in 2002. The integrated radio communication system was therefore to be fully functional in 2008.

“Pathetic”

According to the program confirmed by the ministry, the migration project of the police service to the RENIR is to be completed on March 31, 2025. A claim that the president of the Union of Public and Parapublic Services of Quebec (SFPQ) is hard to believe.

“It’s just pathetic. […] We will talk again in 2025 and we will repeat the same thing ”, deplores Christian Daigle, adding that any private company that manages a project of this type“ would have gone bankrupt a long time ago ”.

The union believes the RENIR disaster is another symptom of the government’s problems in managing IT. The Journal specifically revealed last February that the government was using outside consultancy services at $ 1,000 an hour for the project.

“This is another problem that arises from the lack of internal skills. We are not able to analyze the needs, to analyze the progress of the projects and this always increases the dependence on the private sector. […] We relied on Motorola to find out what we needed and have since bought from them, always returning the money, ”says Mr. Daigle indignantly, insisting that the CAQ hadn’t done better than its predecessors.

“The CAQ has for years denounced the fiasco of the computer brothel to the opposition and today its minister, Éric Caire, perpetuates it”.

endless abyss

Beyond the deadlines, the RENIR is also a trap of public money. Initially expected to cost around $ 150 million, the bill now exceeds $ 1 billion. And as technology evolves faster than the system is successfully implemented, additional upgrades and investments are constantly required.

According to a review in the Journal, Technological Infrastructures Quebec, the subsidiary of the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital responsible for the project, has awarded Motorola a whopping 135 million dollars in contracts for the acquisition of equipment and services since January 2021, all non-procurement. .

“We have our arms trapped in the gears. We had the hand several years ago, but now we are on the elbow. We have to wait to be taken on our shoulders to put an end to all this “, Christian Daigle wonders, urging the government to” finally make the difficult decisions that are necessary “.

State of play of the implementation of the RENIR

Since the resumption of May 2021

May 10, 2021:

111 RENIR user unit

22 August 2022:

136 RENIR user units

25 units deployed in 469 days, 161 remaining

Source: Quebec Government Information Resources Project Dashboard

The history of RENIR

1999

The Nicolet Commission, created after the Saguenay flood, recommends the integration and modernization of the government’s telecommunications networks

2002

The Treasury Board authorizes the installation of the new network, at a cost of 143.8 million dollars, which is to be operational in 2006

2005

A new projection brings the RENIR back to 2007

2009

3And projection, this time for 2013, with a budget more than doubled to 336.3 million dollars

2013

The RENIR is operational, but the migration of the emergency services is largely incomplete

2015

First migration improvement and continuation project with an addition of $ 24.1 million to the budget

2017

Interruption of the migration to the QMS due to serious problems. The break will last four years.

2020

The devastating auditor general report finds the system malfunctions and is rejected by rescuers as Quebec launches second improvement project with an estimated additional budget between $ 35.9 million and $ 107.8 million

2021

The migration of SQ police officers to the “new” network resumed in May. 51% of police officers have not yet emigrated.

September 2022

Just 8% of the remaining police officers emigrated to RENIR a year and a half ago. At this rate, the operation would end in 2030, 28 years after the launch of the project.

RENIR, a fiasco of over a billion

Initial budget in 2002 at the launch of the project

$ 143.8 million

Actual total

At least $ 1.214 billion

$ 352 million (investments made as of March 31, 2020)

+

$ 134.9 million (additional investments made in 2021-2022)
+

$ 543.8 million (operating expenses through 2019-2020)

+

$ 183.3 million (keeping the old network active)

Source: Report of the Auditor General and compilation of public contracts drawn up by the Journal

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