By enacting An Act Respecting the Governance and Management
of the Information Resources of Public Bodies and Government
Enterprises (the Act), Québec's Parliament has set
out a new body of rules placing significant obligations on public
bodies and government enterprises in respect of information
resources projects and expenditures.
The Act, which came into force on June 13, 2011, establishes a
new framework for the governance and management of information
resources applicable to most public bodies, including those in the
fields of education, health and social services. In addition, the
Act, in following with the Government's recent efforts, places
an emphasis on open-source software (also known as free software),
by requiring that public bodies and government enterprises consider
this type of software as well as other solutions when devising
their information technology strategies.
Overview of the Act
The Act provides new rules for the governance and management of
information resources in public bodies and government enterprises
with a view towards (i) implementing an integrated and coordinated
system of governance in order to provide quality services to
individuals and enterprises and to preserve the Government's
digital heritage, (ii) optimizing operations by sharing and pooling
know-how, information, infrastructure and resources, and (iii)
ensuring rigor and transparency in the management of money spent on
In order to oversee these new rules and ensure their application
throughout public bodies and government enterprises, the Act
provides for a chief information officer (who is within the
secretariat of the Conseil du trésor). The latter becomes
"the key player" in the governance and management of
information resources, ensuring the implementation of the new rules
by all. The chief information officer is supported in its role by
network and sectoral information officers in each of the ministries
and government agencies.
The main functions of these positions include implementing the
policies and directives made under the Act, overseeing their
application and coordinating their execution, advising the Conseil
du trésor on information resources and providing public
bodies with the tools and assistance needed to efficiently manage
their information resources. Moreover, the chief information
officer and the network and sectoral information officers, together
with the Conseil du trésor, have the mandate to take the
necessary measures to ensure that public bodies and government
enterprises consider open-source software on the same footing as
any other software in respect of information technology
What Public Bodies and Government Enterprises Need To
The management tools public bodies must establish for the
governance and management of their information resources are
identified in the Act. As a result, public bodies must (i)
establish a three-year plan of resource information projects and
activities, (ii) establish a spending program detailing the use of
the funds that will be spent on such projects and activities during
the fiscal year, (iii) engage in project follow-up, (iv) draw up a
review of each project or project phase authorized under the Act,
and (v) draw up an annual review of achievements and benefits.
Moreover, public bodies must have their annual spending programs
approved and their information resources projects authorized by,
depending on the case, the Government, the Conseil du
trésor, the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sport, the
Minister of Health and Social Services, the public body's board
of directors or its senior officer. For the purpose of the Act,
"information resource project" means all the actions
taken to develop, upgrade, acquire, lease, update and maintain
information resources, whether applications or physical assets.
Government enterprises must also adopt information resource
governance and management policies that, among other things,
reflect the objectives of the Act and provide for the
implementation of management tools and approval and authorization
mechanisms similar to those of public bodies.
The Act provides for a transitional period. Therefore, the
obligation of a public body to obtain authorization for an
information resource project that satisfies the criteria determined
by the Conseil du trésor does not apply to projects in
progress on June 13, 2011.
The Act is likely to change governance practices and management
of information resources in public bodies and government
enterprises by tightening the rules and requiring the
implementation of more extensive planning, authorization,
monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
Nathalie Beauregard is a partner in the
Corporate Practice Group. Fady Hammal is an
associate in the Montréal office and a member of the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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