Canada: E-Gov Bulletin - September 2004

Last Updated: September 20 2004

Edited by E. Michael Power


  • Jamaica: Government to Provide Free Internet Access in Poor Communities
  • Kenya Delegation Visits Service New Brunswick
  • Manitoba to Sell CDs of Court Proceedings
  • Ontario Hospital eHealth Council Urges Unique IDs
  • Philippines Gets High Rating in UN E-Gov Survey
  • U.K.: Satellite Tracking of Offenders Begins
  • U.K.: Socitm Pushes Softer Skills for E-Gov
  • U.K.: Watchdog Investigates Health IT Program
  • U.S.: Kerry on E-Government
  • U.S.: OMB Hires Marketing Firm for E-Gov Projects

Jamaica: Government To Provide Free Internet Access In Poor Communities

On August 24, Jamaica's government on Tuesday announced a US$5 million (Jamaican $308 million) plan to provide free Internet access in poor communities across the island.

The "e-Jamaica" initiative will establish 60 Internet centers across the country by 2010, mostly in post offices, said Commerce and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell.

Less than five per cent of Jamaica's 2.6 million people use the Internet, partly because user fees are expensive compared to other countries. Broadband Internet access starts at US$93 (Jamaican $5,730) per month in Jamaica, compared to US$12 (Jamaican $740) in some Asian countries.

Full press report available at:

Kenya Delegation Visits Service New Brunswick

A delegation from the Government of Kenya, led by its Minister of Information and Communications, Raphael Tuju, met with Premier Bernard Lord in Fredericton at the end of August to discuss the province's online services.

Given its expertise and the undeniable reputation of its one-stop service concept, New Brunswick is now ready to export its know-how in this field or to work with partners in implementing, in whole or in part, similar or adapted services.

In co-operation with CGI and RégeNord, companies that specialize in geomatics, distance education, forestry, wildlife management, and the integration of computer networks, SNB also hopes to sign a commercial agreement with Kenya to set up a one-stop service centre for that nation's government services.

Full press release available at:

Manitoba To Sell CDS Of Court Proceedings

They are not likely to hit the Top 40 charts, but compact disc recordings of courtroom proceedings will soon be available for Manitobans to buy and listen to in their home or office. The Justice Department is upgrading its recording system from analog cassette tapes to digital devices, and for the first time, is also planning to make copies available to the general public.

The province is also hoping to set up the system so that the audio will be available on a computer network within the Justice Department. Staff would be able to listen to courtroom proceedings live as they are recorded. Judges and court workers would also be able to access an archive of recordings and listen to them on their computers.

The recordings would be subject to existing court restrictions and laws. They would not be available for child protection cases or proceedings involving young offenders, where identities are protected. And the recordings could not be played on radio, TV or the Internet—Canadian law prohibits the broadcasting of courtroom proceedings.

The Justice Department is currently looking for companies to develop and install the new digital system. It hopes to eventually have digital recording in all 82 courtrooms across Manitoba.

Full press report available at:

Ontario Hospital Ehealth Council Urges Unique IDS

The Ontario Hospital eHealth Council says it will spend the next year working toward a unique patient identification system across the province, improving the communication among hospitals and developing a way of assessing the state of IT in local health-care centres.

Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, senior scientist at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at the University of Toronto, said unique patient identification systems can avoid problems with drug interactions and with duplication of procedures.

Full press report available at:

Philippines Gets High Rating In Un E-Gov Survey

The Philippines has performed well in the recent United Nations e-government survey, which ranked 191 countries based on e-government readiness and e-participation index.

In the Web measure index, a component of the e-government readiness, the Philippines was ranked seventh, ahead of Singapore which was ranked number eight. In the e-participation index, the Philippines was ranked the highest in Southeast Asia and sixth among the top 20 countries. The Philippines was ranked fourth in the South and Eastern Asia region, behind Singapore, Korea and Japan but ahead of Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia and China in the e-government readiness index.

In some of the components of the e-government readiness index, the Philippines landed in the top 10. In the Web index, the Philippines was ranked number seven worldwide and sixth in e-participation index. The high ranking of the Philippines in the UN survey was based on a quantitative five-stage model where countries are scored on the basis of the level of maturity or sophistication of Web presence.

The Philippines was rated well on the Web index because the government specifically targeted 100 per cent Web presence of the UN survey as a way of complying with the directive of the e-commerce law.

Full press report available at:

U.K.: Satellite Tracking Of Offenders Begins

The U.K. has become the first European country to commence trials of Global Positioning Satellite tracking technology to monitor the movements of offenders. Three areas in England were chosen to conduct 12-month pilot schemes to test the technology ahead of a possible national roll-out. The trials will test passive and hybrid satellite tracking options—the first requiring location data from the tracking device worn by the offender to be sent over a phone line at certain times of the day, whereas hybrid tracking will transmit a real-time alert when an restricted area is entered, with their location appearing on an Ordnance Survey map to within two metre accuracy. The Government has allocated $5.3 million (STG 3m) for the trials with the estimated cost of tracking each offender put at $120 (STG 68) per day.

Full press report available at:

U.K.: SOCITM Pushes Softer Skills For E-Gov

Local authorities should focus on softer management skills rather than technical competence if they are to deliver e-government successfully. In its report, Delivering Local e-Government, the Society of IT Management (Socitm) identifies two key e-government roles within local authorities: the e-champion and the head of ICT. In theory, the e-champion promotes the idea of e-government within the authority and plans the kinds of services that could be delivered, while the head of ICT is works out how the technical infrastructure can support those plans.

The report concludes that e-champions and heads of ICT need to be good at relationship building and communicating. Leadership skills, an understanding of customer service and organizational awareness are handy too.

Copies of the report are available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers and at discounted rates to non-subscribing Socitm members. Anyone else can get a copy in exchange for £175.

Full press report available at:

U.K.: Watchdog Investigates Health IT Program

The U.K. parliamentary watchdog, the National Audit Office, is to investigate the Government's £11 billion (STG 6.2bn) program to modernize health service IT systems. The NAO inquiry will examine "the procurement process used for placing the contracts; whether contracts are likely to deliver good value for money; how the Department (of Health) is implementing the Program, and the progress made by the Program so far." The report is expected to be published next summer. In a statement the National Program for NHS IT said: "It is only natural, and it has always been expected, that such an important program should the subject of a NAO report. Having largely completed our procurement phase and being well into initial implementation this is naturally an appropriate time for such a report to be done and we welcome it."

Further information is available at:

U.S.: Kerry On E-Government

If elected, John Kerry's administration would put a greater emphasis on e-government, the Democratic senator's presidential campaign advisers said. For example, the Kerry administration would favor including state and local links on the FirstGov Web portal.

A Kerry campaign document states that the Bush administration has allowed government "to fall behind in the transformation to e-government."

But campaign advisers did not say whether Kerry supports the creation of a federal governmentwide chief information officer. "We haven't stated a position on that.... We're still working on getting out a paper," Weinstein said.

Full press report available at:

U.S.: OMB Hires Marketing Firm For E-Gov Projects

The Office of Management and Budget has awarded a contract to Edelman Public Relations of New York to develop marketing plans for three e-government projects.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for IT and e-government, said by early September Edelman will create a strategy for E-Authentication, International Trade Process Streamlining and Recreation One-Stop to reach a mass audience.

By Dec. 31, at least seven other Quicksilver initiatives, including Disaster Management, E-Rulemaking, GovBenefits, and Recruitment One-Stop, also will have marketing plans in place.

Full press report available at:

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