Canada: E-Gov Bulletin - September 2004

Last Updated: September 27 2004
Article by Michael Power


  • Brunei Aims for Paperless Government by End of 2005
  • E-Gov Experts Emphasize Problem-Solving Skills Over IT
  • Global E-Government, 2004
  • Ontario: Task Force to Study Management of Large I&IT Projects
  • Ontario Urges Public Sector to Form Intranet Peer Groups
  • P.E.I.: Youth of the Digital Age Program Extended
  • U.K.: Appoints Tech Strategy Supremo
  • U.K.: Satellite Tracking of Offenders Begins
  • U.K.: Watchdog Investigates Health IT Program
  • U.S.: Federal Courts Propose Rules for E-Discovery
  • U.S. Government Manual Online
  • Yukon: Alcohol/Drug Counselling Available via Telehealth

Brunei Aims For Paperless Government By End Of 2005

By 2005, Brunei will be a Paperless Society pursuing 116 projects with 100 per cent expectations under its e-Government programs, according to Awang Haji Umar Ali bin Haji Abdullah, Head of the Computer Services at the Ministry of Finance.

"Our IT program also includes its core strategy where the national drive is directed towards a Paperless Society, that is e-Brunei, and institution of an e-Government structural framework to realize and sustain actual outcomes," he said.

Full press report available at:

E-Gov Experts Emphasize Problem-Solving Skills Over IT

The success of an e-government project hinges on solving a problem rather than throwing technology at it, according to professionals working in Ontario.

Craig Wellington, manager of communications and marketing, Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO), who spoke at the Showcase Ontario e-government conference on September 14, pointed to the importance of identifying the specific needs of a given constituency before attempting another step.

"The key is to start with the problem in mind, then you drill down to the range of methodologies, including e-government," he said. "People don't buy coal, they buy heat."

Full press report available at:

Global E-Government, 2004

Produced by Darrell West at the Centre for Public Policy, Brown University and using a detailed analysis of 1,935 government Web sites in 198 different nations undertaken during summer 2004, this report presents the fourth annual update on global e-government.

In looking at electronic government from 2001 to 2004, progress is being made, albeit at an incremental pace. Governments are showing steady progress on several important dimensions, but not major leaps forward.

Among the significant findings of the research are:

  • 14 per cent of government Web sites offer services that are fully executable online, up from 16 per cent in 2003, 12 per cent in 2002, and eight per cent in 2001.
  • 89 per cent of Web sites this year provide access to publications and 62 per cent have links to databases.
  • 14 per cent (up from 12 per cent in 2003) show privacy policies, while eight per cent have security policies (up from six per cent in 2003).
  • 14 per cent of government Web sites have some form of disability access, meaning access for persons with disabilities, the same as in 2003.
  • Countries vary enormously in their overall e-government performance based on our analysis. The most highly ranked nations include Taiwan, Singapore, United States, Canada, Monaco, China, Australia, Togo and Germany.
  • There are major differences in e-government performance based on region of the world. In general, countries in North America score the highest, followed by Asia, Western Europe, Pacific Ocean Islands, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, South America, Central America and Africa.

Full report available at:

Ontario: Task Force To Study Management Of Large I&IT Projects

The Ontario government is appointing a special task force to seek ways to improve the management of large-scale government I&IT projects, Management Board Chair Gerry Phillips announced on September 10.

The expert panel will be chaired by L. Denis Desautels, a former Auditor General of Canada. The other two members of the task force are Carol Stephenson, the Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and David Johnston, the President of the University of Waterloo.

Reporting directly to Phillips, the task force will examine the government's experience with large technology projects, as well as recommend best practices for the future. The task force will provide general strategic advice to the government related to large-scale I&IT projects. Its report is due early in the new year and will be available to the public.

Full press release available at:

Ontario Urges Public Sector To Form Intranet Peer Groups

The Ontario government's strategy for delivering services electronically and the province's distributed workforce have produced an ideal climate for the emergence of online communities of practice, experts told the Showcase Ontario conference on September 15.

During a workshop on the final day of the annual public sector event, executives urged their colleagues to consider creating informal peer groups to share information, and to host the related documentation and communicate through the province's enterprise employee intranet, MyOPS. Launched in February, the portal won the public/private partnerships trophy at the Showcase Ontario gala awards Tuesday night.

The government is encouraging so-called communities of practice (CoP) to make a home on its Web site so that it can do a better job of capturing best practices, said Michael Nigro, an executive with the Ministry of Education, Colleges and Universities. Working in collaboration with Shared Services Bureau, the province is creating dedicated Web pages within MyOPS that will include the CoPs' agenda, meeting minutes, discussion forums and links to related resources within the government. Six of these CoPs are already live on MyOPs right now, and Nigro said his team was working with another five to get them up and running.

Full press report available at:

P.E.I.: Youth Of The Digital Age Program Extended

Development and Technology Minister Mike Currie announced on September 13 that the EasTech CAP will be administering the Youth of the Digital Age Program. Youth of the Digital Age teaches young people the skills they need to create a Web site.

The program will operate out of five elementary schools using their computer labs. More than 25 young adults will be employed as technical coaches or facilitators. Each youth participating in the program will receive an HTML textbook resource for the duration of the program.

"Learning how to create a Web site provides younger students with an opportunity to become more familiar with the use of today's technologies," said Minister Currie. "And what better way to teach and employ Islanders than by hiring older students who already have the knowledge and abilities to teach the skills they have learned through their previous education."

Full press release available at:

U.K.: Appoints Tech Strategy Supremo

The government appointed IBM's Hursley Laboratory director Graham Spittle as the first chair of its Technology Strategy Board.

The independent board will be in charge of developing the government's tech strategy and has £320m at its disposal with which to fund "key technology areas" between 2005 and 2008—particularly those relating to business within government.

"The national Technology Strategy Board will identify technology priorities crucial to growth of the U.K. economy, matching business needs with what science has to offer. Funding will be delivered through regular competitions using two of the new business support products: Collaborative Research and Development, and Knowledge Transfer Networks."

Full press report available at:

U.K.: Satellite Tracking Of Offenders Begins

The UK 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 is available at:

Full press release available at:

U.K.: Watchdog Investigates Health IT Program

The UK 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 be 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 available at

National Audit Office:

National Program for IT:

U.S.: Federal Courts Propose Rules For E-Discovery

The federal judiciary, recognizing the challenges of litigating in a world of digital data, has published a set of proposed rules to govern the twists and turns of electronic discovery.

The draft rules, published on Aug. 15 by the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules, address such issues as inadvertent disclosure of privileged information, treatment of information that is not reasonably accessible and consequences of loss or destruction of electronic data.

The most controversial of the proposed rules may be an amendment to Rule 37 that would create a narrow "safe harbor," protecting a party from sanctions for failing to provide electronically stored information in some circumstances.

The public has until Feb. 15, 2005, to comment on the proposed rules, which will not take effect until Dec. 1, 2006, or later.

Full press report available at:

U.S. Government Manual Online

As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The new edition of the Manual is available annually in late summer and is now available online.

U.S. Government Manual Main Page is located at:

Yukon: Alcohol/Drug Counselling Available Via Telehealth

Beginning Sept. 14, residents of Watson Lake will be able to access alcohol and drug counselling weekly via a new telehealth program announced today by Health and Social Services Minister Peter Jenkins. The six-month pilot project will link an addictions counsellor in Whitehorse with clients in Watson Lake one afternoon each week from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

"One of the things we have heard is that in small communities where everyone knows everybody else people will often not seek out counselling because they know the counsellor or there are other family ties," Jenkins said. "The telehealth network allows us to provide the service with a qualified counsellor hundreds of miles away who doesn't necessarily know anything about the client, other than they have a problem they need help with."

Full press release available at:


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