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1997-12-09 14:48:16


Half of Canada's Firms Have Not Begun



Ten percent of Canada's firms have never heard of the Year 2000 Problem. This does not bode well for Canada.

Canada is the number-one trading partner with the United States.

On the allocation of resources necessary to complete a y2k repair project, see the California White Paper.

* * * * * * *

Canadian businesses urgently need to wake up, get with the program, and start attacking the millennium bug, a new survey from Statistics Canada has concluded.

The fall survey of 2,000 companies found slightly more than half had no plan to deal with the possibly catastrophic computer glitch, and one in 10 had never even heard of it. . . .

The rate of inaction was higher among smaller firms (51 per cent) and midsize firms (29 per cent) than at large ones (eight per cent). By sector, the primary industries -- agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining -- were the worst offenders: 57 per cent without a remedial plan and a further eight per cent unaware of the problem.

Task force secretary Alain-F. Desfosses yesterday underlined one of the survey's most disturbing findings.

"The fact that 90 per cent of the companies are aware of the problem but only half of them are taking any action is a source of real concern." . . .

Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says she's not very surprised by the findings. Her group, which has 88,000 members, has been getting the word out to members all year, long before the federal task force was created.

"The No. 1 message in all this for business is act now," said Ms. Swift. "You don't have a lot of time." . . .

The preliminary indication from the survey is that businesses across the country have identified the need for an extra 7,000 project managers, systems analysts, programmers and testers to complete the conversions.

The problem is particularly acute for governments, which possess millions of pieces of computer information. The federal government alone expects it will cost $1 billion to convert its computers, a job that will require hiring about 2,000 computer specialists.


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