Opening Statement for Shared Services Canada on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) on the 2016-17 Supplementary Estimates (C) and the 2015-16 Departmental Performance Report  

Speech

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Mr. Chair, we are pleased to appear before your committee to discuss Shared Services Canada’s 2016-17 Supplementary Estimates C and 2015-16 Departmental Performance Report.

My name is Graham Barr, the acting Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategy. I am accompanied by Samantha Hazen, Acting Director General of Finance and Deputy Chief Financial Officer, who will discuss our Supplementary Estimates C. I will be focussing on our DPR and related activities. 

Shared Services Canada was created in 2011 to modernize how the Government manages its information technology infrastructure.

We deliver email, data centre, network and workplace technology device services to departments and agencies in a consolidated manner to support the delivery of Government programs and services.

Over the past several months, we have spent lot of time and effort in improving our business model to better deliver on our priorities.

We have strengthened our “service first” approach to better listen to our customers, take account of industry trends and changes, and deliver value-added services to our customer organizations and the Canadians they serve.

In 2015-16, Shared Services Canada continued its work to upgrade out-of-date mission critical infrastructure across the Government, and enhance cyber security measures to assure the delivery of vital services to Canadians.

Our efforts have been supported by an investment of $460 million in Budget 2016.

SSC also played a key role in helping support the whole-of-government effort to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. Our department worked tirelessly to rapidly install the necessary IT for the first welcome centres in Toronto and Montréal. This was carried out in close collaboration with multiple departments, local airport authorities, the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario and Quebec law enforcement, as well as numerous vendors and contractors.

In 2015-16, Shared Services Canada launched a number of initiatives to strengthen service delivery to partners. This included an online catalogue of all IT services offered by SSC to our customers.

We also launched a monthly customer satisfaction feedback initiative to help us continuously improve our products, services and processes. And, in a year, we’ve seen improvements in our results.

We have also continued to modernize and simplify our procurement practices by developing, among other activities, a system to electronically manage the procurement to pay process.

And we have also taken steps to ensure all our customers can obtain modern, enterprise video-conferencing services, which support the government-wide commitment to a mobile and connected workforce, from coast to coast to coast.

Towards the end of 2015-16, SSC launched a comprehensive review of its plan to consolidate and modernize the Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure to ensure the scope, costs and timelines are realistic.

These are just some of our activities for the 2015-16 reporting period, as part of our efforts to build a modern, secure, and reliable platform for the digital delivery of programs and services to Canadians.

I would now like to turn to my colleague Samantha Hazen, who will discuss our Supplementary Estimates C.

Thank you Mr. Chair. For this third and final round of estimates for the 2016-17 fiscal year, Shared Services Canada is seeking an additional $34.2 million.

This includes $3.2 million in incremental funding to provide information technology services to our customer departments and agencies.

This funding will support new government employees with a suite of standard services, such as cell phones and internet access. It will also support a project led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on the DNA analysis of insect and plant collections, for which SSC is providing computing capacity, storage and ongoing maintenance. 

These estimates also show that Shared Services Canada is receiving $31 million in transfers from other organizations.

This includes $14.4 million from Statistics Canada’s to stabilize a legacy data centre, as well as support them in carrying out a number of surveys over the next few months.

This work will help reinforce the constructive working relationship we have established with Statistics Canada.

Working closely together, we have indeed achieved a great deal. This includes, for example, the fact Canadians were able to participate in record numbers in the 2016 Census using Shared Services Canada’s networks.

These estimates also include a transfer request of $9.3 million from Public Services and Procurement Canada to support various initiatives, including the department’s pay operations. For example, we rapidly helped to establish call centres in Ottawa and Toronto last fall in less than two weeks, in collaboration with the IT industry.

Following this success, SSC went on to implement other related solutions, including a Claims Centre for the Treasury Board Secretariat. These additional centres were also completed quickly to meet the urgent business needs of our customers. 

Finally, through these Supplementary Estimates, we are re-profiling funds to future years.

This includes $52 million in support of the Carling Campus Initiative to consolidate a large part of the Department of National Defence's headquarters function at Nortel's former campus.

This is a large, multi-year infrastructure project led by Public Services and Procurement Canada as the custodian. Shared Services Canada is responsible for all communications equipment, connectivity, as well as information management and information technology to support DND’s business operations.

I’m pleased to note that, after four years of work, the first wave of DND employees moved into the newly refurbished, updated and upgraded Carling Campus in January 2017. And all employees were well-equipped with IT tools and services to deliver on their roles and responsibilities.

Currently, the move is on track to be completed by 2019. However, due to some delays related to construction, some of the funding Shared Service Canada had planned for 2016-17 is now planned for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

This completes our opening statement. We would now be happy to take your questions. Thank you.

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