Y2K Canada lags on deadlines...

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Y2K - Canada Health And Food Service Sectors Lag On Deadlines 5-11-99

OTTAWA (CP) -- The health care and food services sector are unlikely to meet the federal government's June 30 deadline to have their computer systems and technology ready for the year 2000, the country's lead contingency planner said Monday.

Paul Thibault, head of the National Contingency Planning Group, told the Industry Committee that a preliminary countrywide risk assessment shows some industries have fallen behind. "There are no surprises here," Thibault said of the health services sector, which continually comes up as a problem area in federal surveys and reports.

Some hospitals have complained they don't have the financial resources to adequately combat the millennium bug. "It doesn't mean they won't be ready for the year 2000, but they are having trouble meeting the June 30 deadline, leaving little time to deal with problems that arise during testing."

Thibault added that airports and some smaller courier companies are also likely to miss the deadline.

The national risk assessment is by far the most comprehensive study of Canada's level of Y2K preparedness. It collects data covering all aspects of the country's infrastructure, from municipal emergency services to the power grid.

Organizations, companies and governments were asked if they would reach a June 30 deadline for Y2K compliance and a Sept. 30 deadline for having a contingency plan in place. "Once we've passed (the deadlines), we'll be in a better position to evaluate what's really happened," Thibault said outside the committee room, adding that the risk assessment will be conducted every two months until the end of the year.

"It's not the time to stop working. There is a whole series of contingency planning that must be done for each organization and company."

The information collected by Thibault's group, very little of which is made public, is principally being used by the Department of National Defence and other federal organizations planning for worst-case scenarios around the new year. Thibault said he expected Canadians could be informed of Canada's predicted level of risk by early fall.

Internationally, officials continue to focus on a number of problem areas: ports and shipping; telecommunications and financial services in developing countries; and chilled and frozen food products.

"The transportation and storage of chilled and frozen food products is particularly susceptible to disruption resulting from border delays, container storage and handling and truck fleet dispatching," said Bill de Laat, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Department.

The department is conducting its own risk assessment in relation to Canada's interests abroad, particularly imports and exports.

Late last month, it issued its first generic travel advisories for Canadians thinking of going overseas around New Year's Eve, warning of possible disruptions in everything from electricity to banking services.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 12, 1999


See the curve. See the bell curve getting populated. See the bell curve getting populated with companies finishing after the deadline. See Jane run. Run Jane, run. See Spot run for cover. Run, Spot, run.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 12, 1999.

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