Opposition condemns Montreal’s $28 million IT pact with Microsoft

“They’re going to throw several million dollars out the window,” says Ensemble Montréal.


The city council advocates awarding a three-year, $28 million information technology contract to Microsoft Corp. that official opposition predicts will end up costing Montreal much, much more.

Announcement 2


The deal announced Friday includes the supply and maintenance of Microsoft Office 365 suite licenses for municipal and police department employees from November 1 through October 2025. It was awarded without a call for bids.


“This is the best business decision in the context that it will offer the best tools to our employees,” Marikym Gaudreault, spokeswoman for the Montreal executive committee, said in a prepared statement on Friday. “Since the pandemic, our world has changed, as have our digital needs in the era of hybrid work. The renovation of our office automation solution was coming to an end and the city carried out an exhaustive analysis of its needs and of the solutions on the market.”

Thanks to the agreement with Microsoft, “we will have more efficient and secure tools with a cloud-based office suite that has become an essential work tool for employees of the city of Montreal,” added Gaudreault.

Announcement 3


This is the second time in four years that Montreal has changed the office suite for its workforce of more than 30,000 employees. The technology switch from Google to Microsoft means city staff will need to be retrained, at a cost that is not included in the advertised price, said Abdelhaq Sari, an information technology spokesman for Ensemble Montréal.

“Simply put, this is a dud,” Sari said in an interview. “They are going to throw several million dollars out the window. It is a mismanagement of public funds and poor governance.”

Switching to Microsoft can also incur conversion costs for existing municipal documents, Sari warned.

“We have a lot of documents that have been stored in Google Docs, a lot of meetings that have been recorded in Google Meet,” he said. “All of that will need to be transferred to the Microsoft environment, which will come at an additional cost.”

Announcement 4


City employees worked on Microsoft products until the city reached a deal in 2018 with Onix Networking Canada to use Google’s G Suite cloud service beginning the following year. Subsequently, all bidders in the call for bids were found to be non-compliant, leading the inspector general’s office to recommend in January 2022 that the city rescind its pact with Onix.

In June, Montreal renewed its existing contract with Onix for two years “to ensure the best possible transition to migration,” Gaudreault said. The two-year extension, worth $5.9 million, brings the value of the deal to $22.9 million, according to a document prepared by the city.

[email protected]

Announcement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment