John Smith, CEO of Canquest Communications (Wireless) Inc., stands in the local company’s front lobby, located on St. Clair Street. Canquest just entered into a five-year contract with Canada Border Security Agency around the Niagara region hinging on DMR technology they have been working on for three years.


A local company making waves in Chatham-Kent has established themselves in the Niagara region – and may be poised for more in the near future.

Canquest Communications (Wireless) Inc. recently won a bid to supply Canada Border Security Agency with radio services and equipment in the Niagara region, where roughly 800 CBSA employees currently operate.

Tabled in 2016 and put into effect April 1, the multi-year contract is the next step for the local company’s eventual move towards national, and possibly international, expansion.

“We realized at Canquest that at some point in time the government was going to want to go into digital,” said John Smith, CEO with Canquest. “So we started early – a couple of years ago – looking at what digital technology is available and what’s going to suit their needs best.”

Previously the CBSA in the Niagara region operated with analog radio technology, less flexible and more difficult to upgrade than the digital system now in place.

The new system is more secure, offering levels of security similar to those of the American CIA. It also allows for greater versatility.

“It’s the radio equivalent of the smartphone,” Smith explained. “It’s black and white to colour television … the development is that far along.”

Work on the new DMR Tier III Pro network started in 2014, almost four years after Canquest initially won the contract with the CBSA.

Since then they’ve been awarded the contract every time they’ve been up for it, outshining industry frontrunners like Motorola.

The company also won a contract to provide DMR radio equipment across Canada as the federal border security updates its services.

Canquest was started in Chatham in 1992. It operates on two levels; the other is more local, through which Canquest provide phone lines to businesses and residents in Chatham and Kent County.

Many of their clients are older people and young families, those who directly benefit from having land lines in the home.

With nearly 1,000 lines across the municipality Smith says the goal is to branch out before long to outlying markets like London, Windsor, and Sarnia.

“We’re ready to expand,” he said. “We had another business years ago I started here in Chatham called STN – Smart Talk Network – and we grew that to over $300 million in sales.”

“This particular business we have right now has a much, much greater potential than STN,” Smith added.

Story credit to The Chatham Daily News