In August 1998, all agencies funded by the Ministry of Education and
Training received a letter designed to raise awareness about the Year 2000
computer challenge. The letter notes:
"The Year 2000 issues arise from the fact that many
computers, computer software, and microprocessors use only the Iast two digits
of a year to store dates and may therefore not be able to interpret dates after
1999. This could result in these systems failing to operate properly or,
possibly ceasing to function at all after December 31, 1999."
Problem? What Problem?
Recently, a survey about the Canadian voluntary sector was conducted by
Industry Canada about the Year 2000 computer problem. 326 voluntary
organizations responded. Key results were:
- 96% were aware of the Year 2000 problem
- Only 23% of small voluntary organizations (less than 10 employees) had
started addressing this problem
Voluntary organizations gave the following reasons for NOT acting on the
Year 2000 problem:
- 55% - lack of knowledge about the issue
- 11% - issue will not affect them
- 44% - cannot afford the cost of developing a solution
- 58% - lack of time and resources to address the issue
This lack of action is similar to that of the small business sector. 91% of
small businesses surveyed by Statistics Canada in October 1997 were aware of
the millennium bug. However, only 6% had started to develop solutions.
Please note: this information
is meant to provide some support for literacy agencies. It is NOT intended to
be a substitute for proper legal and technical advice.
What can your organization
With careful planning your organization can be Year 2000 ready. Suggestions
from various sources say that organizations should take these actions:
- Educate yourself, other staff, the board
of directors, volunteers, and other stakeholders in your organization about the
Year 2000 computer problem.
- Appoint A Year 2000 project team Have
some key people in your organization take clear responsibility for this issue.
- Conduct an inventory of your electronic
equipment and systems. This could include: computers; fax machines; software
(word processing, accounting, database, and other); hardware (printers, modems,
scanners, etc.); telephone; electronic mail, etc.
- Assess the problem. Determine which of
your electronic equipment and systems could be affected.
- Assess the cost. What needs to be fixed
and how much? What needs to be replaced and how much? What are the financial
and staffing costs involved? What are the priorities?
- Develop a Year 2000 plan.
- Allocate resources - including staff,
board and financial resources.
- Fix or replace equipment and systems as
- Test the new or replaced equipment or
- Develop a contingency plan.