In this Nov. 10, 2016, file photo, people walk near a Microsoft office in New York. A group of Microsoft workers is demanding the company cancel a contract supplying U.S. Army soldiers with HoloLens headsets that could help them spot adversaries on the battlefield. A letter signed by more than 50 employees Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, says they “refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression.” (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall, File)

Microsoft deal means more access for all Canadian public servants: minister

The design of the $940-million deal includes features such as artificial intelligence technology

The federal government has renewed a contract with Microsoft Canada that includes more digital communication tools for public servants with disabilities.

Minister of Accessibility Carla Qualtrough made the announcement at Microsoft’s offices in Vancouver, saying the modern tools will allow for more information sharing, productivity and collaboration.

READ MORE: Canadian tech group seeks to accelerate development of secure ‘internet of things’

Qualtrough, who is legally blind, says the seven-year agreement is part of the government’s procurement of software and services for all public servants and that about five per cent of the workforce of 410,000 people has a disability.

The inclusive design of the $940-million deal includes features such as artificial intelligence technology that allows an image on a screen to be described to someone who can’t see and provide transcription for dozens of languages.

Qualtrough says all public servants will now have access to Office 365 and the agreement will enable software to run in data centres or in the cloud.

She says all Canadians will benefit as a result of a strong platform for the delivery of programs and services.

The Canadian Press

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