Fudging in Canada

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From: Larry Shook LWShook@aol.com

Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999

Subject: Fudging In Canada - (Y2K, Canada) More commentary on Statscan report for March 1999

Companies stretching truth about Y2K compliance

By Howard Solomon, Computing Canada

Honesty may be the best policy, but experts say it's being stretched by organizations in the latest Statistics Canada report on the nation's Year 2000 readiness.

"It's bullshit," Jennifer McNeill, president of Calgary-based Cipher Systems Inc. and chair of the Western Canada Y2K User Group, said of predictions by large organizations that they'll be done all mission critical Y2K work by the end of the year.

The report, released Tuesday, surveyed more than 10,000 business, health and municipal organizations. A final analysis of the figures will be released soon.

"I still have people calling me that haven't started," said McNeill

She and others are enraged at the astonishing completion performance being forecast by what StatsCan calls large organizations (those with more than 250 employees.)

The survey states only 18 per cent thought their mission critical systems would be ready by the end of last month, but 52 per cent think they'll be ready by July, 67 per cent by the end of August and 92 per cent by the end of October.

Virtually all large businesses say their systems will be ready to face the millennium bug by December.

"Companies are being unrealistic about their completion dates" in the survey, declared McNeill.

"Every project I go into their schedules and milestones are off, some by as much as six to eight months. These are large companies that have missed their milestone dates over and over again. What makes them think they're going to hit them this year?"

"I'm not a doomsayer I don't think the end of the world is going to come. But I think people have to use their heads and be prepared and I think reports like this keep people from doing that."

Y2K consultant and speaker Peter de Jager doubts that. No one will see the survey and stop or slow their work, he said in an interview.

At the very least the report is an indication progress is being made, he said. How accurate it is, no one knows. "Ask any IT person if the project they're working on will be done on time and they'll say yes," he pointed out.

Far more serious, he added are figures that some companies believe their critical systems will only be ready in December.

One way to read the figures is to declare the race to Dec. 31 a cliffhanger.

- in the hospitals sector, only 41 per cent say they'll have their critical systems done by the end of August;

- only 60 per cent of large businesses in primary industries (such as mining and farming) say they'll have their critical systems done by Aug. 31;

- only 46 per cent of small organizations are planning to speak to business partners about Y2K;

- only 61 per cent of small municipalities are making contingency plans for sewage disposal;

- 21 per cent of small fire departments are taking no steps to prepare their critical systems for Y2K.

"To even have mission critical deadlines in the fourth quarter of '99 is an indication of total incompetence," said de Jager. "It boggles the mind that an IT person would have that schedule. If I were their manager I would fire them."


Reference for this article: http://www.plesman.com/pp/apr27webstatscan.html

Computing Canada's Homepge: http://www.plesman.com/cc/home.html

(Also from Larry Shook)


(Y2K, Canada) Following Statscan report for March 1999

National Post, Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Vast majority of organizations in a race to prepare for Y2K


Massive Statscan survey: Large groups fare the best: 99.5% will be ready

Jennifer Ditchburn - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Nearly all Canadian organizations are taking steps to deal with the year 2000 bug, says a massive Statistics Canada study released yesterday.

But the vast majority will be racing against the clock to fix essential computers.

A total of 10,100 businesses, hospitals, municipal service providers and utilities were polled on readiness of their most important computer systems.

Ninety-five per cent said they had taken steps to deal with the date change.

Large organizations are faring the best -- 99.5% said they would be ready for Jan. 1, 2000.

"I think the work is done on awareness raising," said Doug Drever, a spokesman for Industry Canada's Y2K task force.

"The survey reconfirms that awareness is virtually 100%. What we'll be looking at over the next little while is how to address the small percentage of small businesses that have yet to take some action."

Thirteen per cent of small organizations and 2% of medium ones have not addressed the year 2000 issue, the survey suggested.

Some organizations don't believe they will be prepared by December -- 21% of fire departments in small municipalities, for example, haven't taken any action against the millennium bug because they don't think they will be affected.

Another 15% of all fire departments polled said they don't know when they will be ready.

Nine per cent of ambulance services in small and medium-sized municipalities don't know either.

No ambulance or police services predicted they would be ready by the end of April.

Canada is still a world leader in readiness, said Joe Boivin, a prominent Y2K observer, but he's concerned by statistics showing such a small number of organizations had started to test their systems for glitches.


And a commentary provided by Walt Peterson [walt.peterson@usa.XOUT.net] (posted to newsgroup comp.software.year-2000 on Wed, 28 Apr 1999)

Canada's National Post newspaper paints a happy face on Y2K, reporting the results of a Statistics Canada survey (http://www.statcan.ca:80/Daily/English/990427/d990427a.htm) that found 99.5% of 10,100 organizations say they "will be ready" by December 31, 2000 [the report refers to Jan 1, 2000, so Walt obviously meant December 31,1999]. Big deal. That's like me resolutely promising I'm going to go to bed *no later than 10 pm* every night for the rest of the year. Sure it would be good for me, but it ain't gonna happen.

What is truly shocking in the preliminary report, which is based on un-verified data collected by telephone, is that only 18 per cent of the 1,600 large organizations surveyed said their critical systems are ready right now, today, at the end of April. In the Health Care sector, only 9 per cent of the institutions are ready today. Only 8 per cent of hospitals are ready with 8 months left to go, and these are the places the long term care homes and other health institutions will send their patients if they experience disabling disruptions themselves. Of course, almost every organization shows an expectation of a miraculous rate of remediation of their critical systems, reaching 100 per cent "Ready" by December 1999.

The second column in the table on large organizations status is no help (% doing testing or testing planned) because there's a big difference between the two. I assume that StatsCans definition of a "ready" critical system means the system has been tested. I hope that the respondees understood that too. Can't tell.

The data is irrefutable that if the rollover was today, instead of a mere 8 months from now, more than three-quarters of a total of 10,000 food, health, energy, communications, transportation, financial and insurance, manufacturing companies and municipal service providers in Canada would suffer a "mission critical" system failure!

Now I realize that my hopes that companies and public sector organizations were further along by now, one-third of the way into 1999, were too optimistic. Fortunately, I've been making preparations as though this was the case anyway. And when one realizes that better accuracy in the methodology of the survey or reporting would without a doubt * downgrade* the results, then the situation really is much worse than most people have been claiming.

Maybe Senator Bennett will want to revise his prediction that Canada - one of the most advanced jurisdictions - will be OK. Sorry, neighbour, you're going to be out of luck.

Walt Peterson


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