RENIR keeps progressing at a snails pace

RENIR keeps progressing at a snail’s pace

If Quebec were to 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 that started 20 years ago.

• Also read: $1000/hr for consultants in the RENIR mess

• Also read: The Ministry of Health is fed up with RENIR’s mistakes

After a project freeze of almost four years due to “problems with the network”, implementation of the National Integrated Radiocommunication Network (RENIR) at the Sûreté du Québec resumed in May 2021.

And according to the last status report released by the government in August, just under 25 units were shipped in the 469 days following this relaunch.

Functional anomalies were detected in February 2022 on a number of terminals purchased in autumn 2021.

“The vendor was forced to produce a patch. This work required seven months of work,” the Department of Cybersecurity and Digital explains the poor pace.

Of even greater concern, however, the government’s dashboard indicates that no fewer than 161 units have yet to be migrated to the new system.

After a year and a half of downtime, we can see that it would take 3,000 days to commission the remaining units, which is 8 long years.

However, the first public investments in RENIR were made in 2002 under Bernard Landry’s PQ government.


According to the timetable confirmed by the Ministry, the project of migrating the police service to the RENIR must end on March 31, 2025. A claim the President of the Union of Public and Parapublic Service of Quebec (SFPQ) finds hard to believe.

“It’s just pathetic,” Christian Daigle regrets, adding that any private company running such a project “would have gone bankrupt long ago.”

The union believes the RENIR disaster is another symptom of the government’s IT management problems. Notably, the Journal revealed last February that Quebec enlisted outside consulting services for the project at $1,000/hour.

“This is another problem resulting from the lack of in-house expertise, which always increases dependence on the private sector. […] We relied on Motorola to find what we needed and since then we’ve been buying from them and always giving back,” says Mr Daigle, insisting the CAQ hasn’t performed any better than its predecessors.

endless abyss

Beyond the deadlines, the RENIR is also a trap for public funds. Originally estimated at around $150 million, the bill now exceeds $1 billion.

Upgrades and additional investments are constantly required.

According to a report in the Journal, Infrastructurestechnologies Québec, the department responsible for the project at the Department of Cybersecurity and Digital, has awarded Motorola contracts worth no less than $135 million since January 2021 for the acquisition of equipment and services, all without tender.

A fiasco

implementation progress

  • As of May 10, 2021: 111 RENIR user units
  • As of August 22, 2022: 136 RENIR user units
  • 25 units deployed in 469 days, 161 left

Swallowed more than $1 billion

  • Initial budget at launch in 2002: $143.8M
  • Actual Total: At least $1.214 billion

$352 million (Investments as of March 31, 2020)


$134.9M (Additional investments in 2021-2022)


$543.8M (operating costs until 2019-2020)


$183.3M (keep the old network active)

The big appointments

  • 2002
    The Treasury Board approves the establishment of a new network, due to be operational in 2006.
  • 2009
    Third postponement, this time for 2013, with a budget more than doubled to $336.3 million.
  • 2013
    The RENIR is operational, but the rescue services migration is largely incomplete.
  • 2017
    Interruption of the migration to the SQ due to major issues. The break lasts four years.
  • 2020
    The auditor general’s devastating report on the project.
  • Sep 2022
    At the migration rate observed since May 2021, operations would end in 2030, 28 years after the project started.

Sources: Quebec Government Information Resource Projects Dashboard, Auditor General’s Report and Le Journal Public Procurement Compilation

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