How is Canada prepared for coronavirus?
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus (coronavirus).
Whilst surprising news for the nation, it emphasises that everyone must contribute to the eventual solution and that no-one is immune to the virus’ effect, including businesses and organisations.
A helping hand
With coronavirus being officially recognised as a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organisation), province's have reacted by scheduling to close all public schools.
Justin Trudeau has announced that a CA$1.1bn package will be spread across the country to help provinces cope with added strains to public health and the supply chain.
The money will include $275mn to conduct further research into the virus in the hopes of developing a vaccine and $200mn for medical supplies, additional assistance to indigenous communities and educational functions.
In a public address, Trudeau made it clear to Canadian that their best interests were the government’s priority. “I want all premiers and Canadians to know your government is here for you. We will make sure you have everything you need.”
Working towards a solution
There are widespread concerns that the deleterious effects of the pandemic on the economy could result in another recession.
Some believe that current measures will need to be ramped up to counter the extent of the crisis - Jean-Francois Perrault, Chief Economist at Scotiabank, claims that a far bigger package than Trudeau is offering is necessary.
This is due to a perfect storm of factors, such as the recent drop in crude oil prices, volatile financial markets and the virus’ rapid global spread.
Feeling the effects
“Consistent with our commitment to balance sheet strength, we’re exercising our flexibility to reduce discretionary capital while maintaining our base business and delivering safe and reliable operations,” said Alex Pourbaix, President and CEO.
Other companies in Canada may similarly need to review their operations and decide the best way to weather the storm: a forward-thinking and proactive approach could be pivotal.
For more information on business topics in Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Canada.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”