Canada: Exmining The Use of Technology in Governent - August 2004

Last Updated: September 10 2004

Edited by Michael Power


  • Alberta: Back-to-School Information Kit Available
  • Alberta: Careers in Motion Puts Job-Seekers in the Driver's Seat
  • Canada: Delays Hit Firearms Registry Redesign
  • E-Mail Loss Prompts Ontario to Revisit Backup Plans
  • GAO Finds Holes in DHS Architecture
  • Ontario Injects Northern E-Medicine With $5.7 Million
  • Preserving Access to Digital Information: Archiving Resource
  • U.S.: DOD Releases Final RFID Policy
  • U.S.: EPA Makes Progress With Online Public-Comment Project
  • U.S.: Justice Issues Guidelines for Handling Digital Evidence
  • U.S.: Timothy K. Young Named Associate Administrator of E-Gov and Information Technology for OMB

Alberta: Back-To-School Information Kit Available

An online information kit is available to help students, parents and teachers get ready for going back to school. Some of the highlights of this year's information kit are:

  • Informative feature stories for students and parents
  • 2004-2005 School Year Operating Schedule highlighting school start and end dates for all jurisdictions, as well as Christmas/Winter and Easter/Spring vacations
  • Information and links on student financial assistance, including facts on scholarships, bursaries, student loans and Alberta's loan relief program
  • Resources to help plan education and career paths, including information and links on post-secondary education and apprenticeship

Resources for students, parents and teachers include homework and study tips, choosing schools and educational institutions, as well as numerous links to information about Alberta's lifelong learning system.

Full press release available at:

Information Kit available:

Alberta: Careers In Motion Puts Job-Seekers In The Driver's Seat

As of August 23rd, Pincher Creek and area residents will be able to test-drive their education and employment future using "Careers in Motion," a mobile labour market information centre. This state-of-the-art motor home is packed with resources (including laptop computers connected to the Internet) and staffed with career advisors to help people move into the workforce.

Careers in Motion will be parked at Provincial Building (782 Main Street) and residents will have access to its services. There already is a Labour Market Information Centre in Pincher Creek, but this is a chance to further showcase the programs and services delivered locally.

Developed by staff at the AHRE Slave Lake-High Prairie office, the 1975 motor home and former environmental testing unit was transformed by staff and trainees at AHRE's Northwest Alberta Job Corps. Trainees in the Job Corps, who are Alberta Works Income Support benefit recipients, gained valuable work experience during the project. A similar Job Corps program also runs out of Medicine Hat.

Full press release available at:

Careers in Motion on the web is available at:

Canada: Delays Hit Firearms Registry Redesign

A stream of reviews and government-ordered changes has delayed the final redesign of the federal gun registry. Chief Firearms Commissioner Bill Baker acknowledged in an interview that a 15-year contract to redesign and replace the old Canadian Firearms Registration computer system still has not delivered a new system, two years after it was awarded.

It was originally said to be worth $300 million—$340 million to design the new system, and $266 million to operate it over 15 years—and by July 2003, had ballooned to $371.56 million, according to documents obtained last year by conservative gun control critic Garry Breitkreuz.

Federal officials dispute those numbers, but were unable to provide an exact figure, or say whether Ottawa has paid out penalties for the delays. The overall gun control program—licensing owners and registering guns—was originally projected to have a net cost of $2 million, but after 10 years in the works, will hit the $1 billion mark this year.

Full press report available at:

E-Mail Loss Prompts Ontario To Revisit Backup Plans

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has indicated it is reviewing its backup and recovery policies following a server failure late last week that wiped out countless e-mail records.

Any e-mail sent to the ministry from 9:00 p.m. Monday, August 16 to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 18 was affected, according to information released by the Ministry on August 20th. Ron Brittain, head of IT services for the Economics and Business Cluster, wasn't available for interviews but explained in an e-mail that "the failure was caused by two hard drives failing simultaneously in a RAID5 configuration, which was fault tolerant for a single drive failure."

The failure affected every Ministry of Labour office in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Office of the Employer Advisor, the Office of the Worker Advisor, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Grievance Settlement Board, the Pay Equity Commission, the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the Jobs Protection Office.

Full press report available at:

GAO Finds Holes In DHS Architecture

A Government Accountability Office report found that the Homeland Security Department's initial enterprise architecture lacks significant components for a well-defined business and technology blueprint for integrating the 22 agencies.

Version 1.0 of DHS' enterprise architecture, released a year ago, provides a foundation, but lacks sufficient "breadth and depth" in departmentwide operational and technical requirements, according to the report.

Also, the report states that DHS' plan for transforming from the "as is" to the "to be" environment does not outline changes to current business processes and systems, identify existing systems to phase out, include a timeframe for replacing those systems, or define staff and allocate funding for the changes.

The GAO report recognizes DHS' time constraints and limited resources, but said without an effective tool, agencies will have a hard time capitalizing on the technology needed for institutional change.

Full press report available at:

Ontario Injects Northern E-Medicine With $5.7 Million

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term care has pumped an additional $5.7 million into North Network, a program that uses videoconferencing to let rural dwellers in remote regions confer with doctors. North Network relies on the Ministry for its core funding.

Initially, the network started up in 1998, linking Kirkland & District Hospital, Lady Minto Hospital in Cochrane, Timmins & District Hospital, and Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto. Right now, North Network services just upwards of 100 communities in northern and central parts of the province but this new funding will let the organization expand its services to an additional 23 communities in northern and central Ontario.

To access the services, patients need only to visit a Telehealth studio in their local hospital or doctors office. It's simply a small room containing videoconferencing equipment from Cisco Systems Inc. and a high-resolution digital camera and other diagnostic equipment. Sometimes the patients are accompanied by other health care practitioners.

Full press report available at:

Preserving Access To Digital Information: Archiving Resource

The emergence of the World Wide Web as a global information resource has created special challenges for the archiving of digital materials. The Web's ever-expanding size, the dynamic and ephemeral nature of its content, and how this is to be captured, stored and made accessible for the long-term are some of the key questions being addressed by electronic archiving programs.

This page serves as an introduction to some of the major archiving initiatives that have been established by national libraries around the world to preserve their country's Web heritage. The main models that have emerged for archiving Web content are listed, together with descriptive 'snapshots' of the key projects and collaborative initiatives. Links are also provided to PADI resources, which provide further discussion of Web archiving issues. Information about related topics such as legal deposit, selection and preservation can be found on the relevant PADI Topic page, or by searching the PADI database.

Web site available at:

U.S.: DOD Releases Final RFID Policy

The U.S. Department of Defense has published its final policy guidelines for the use of both passive and active RFID tags within its supply chain. The requirements for suppliers expand upon a draft policy released in February.

RFID tags will be mandatory in DOD contracts issued as of October 1, 2004, for delivery of materiel on or after January 1, 2005. The department published its policy guidelines in three appendices to a memo from Acting Undersecretary of Defense Michael Wynne, dated July 30. The memo states that all contracts with the DOD shall require that passive tags be applied to cases and pallets and to individual high-value items (those currently requiring the military's Unique Identification code, or UID).

The DOD will incorporate the policy into the next update of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Defense Transportation Regulation, and the Military Standard 129, which outlines the standard military practices for labeling goods in the supply chain.

Full press report available at:

U.S.: EPA Makes Progress With Online Public-Comment Project

The Environmental Protection Agency said on August 12 that it is progressing on a project to make proposed rulemaking initiatives from its office and other government partners available online, noting that it is addressing privacy advocates' concerns about the Web site.

As part of the President's Management Agenda, the agency's Office of Environmental Information is spearheading the site, which launched in January 2003, but EPA officials expect to unveil a revamped version in January 2005. Individuals or businesses can access the site dedicated to electronically processing public comments on pending federal rules.

The site is being designed to allow users to access and search all publicly available regulatory material like Federal Register notices and rules, supporting analysis and public comments. The agency will conduct a testing phase this fall to determine usability. The EPA made a "conscious decision" not to require identifying information. The decision was made partly because some people might fear government retribution if they criticize a federal program.

Full press report available at:

U.S.: Justice Issues Guidelines For Handling Digital Evidence

The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice has published the second in a series of guidelines for IT crime investigations.

"Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement" was created at the agency's request by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It outlines techniques for extracting digital data while preserving its integrity.

The guidelines are not a mandate or official policy, but represent the consensus of a working group of computer forensics experts convened by NIST's Office of Law Enforcement Standards. The procedures may need to be adjusted according to circumstances of each investigation and to comply with local laws and rules of evidence.

Full press report available at:

Forensic Guide available at:

U.S.: Timothy K. Young Named Associate Administrator Of E-Gov And Information Technology For OMB

Timothy K. Young has been appointed Associate Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology (IT) for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

"Tim is an excellent selection for this position. For the past eleven months, he has provided strong leadership and superb management of Presidential E-Government initiatives and Line of Business task forces," said Karen Evans, Administrator of E-Gov and IT.

Evans said Mr. Young will be in charge of planning and implementing the Federal Government's electronic government priorities. He will work to ensure that government is meeting the goals of the President's Management Agenda (PMA)—delivering value and results to citizens and saving taxpayer dollars.

Full press release available at:

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