Making government a ‘model user’ of the Information Highway—Canada's progress to date

Date01 February 1997
Published date01 February 1997
Making government a `model user' of the Information
HighwayÐCanada's progress to date
Information Highway Advisory Council, Canada
This account of recent developments in the information technology policies of Canada's
federal government describes how the government, acting as a ``model user'' of IT, contributes
to the effectiveness of strategies designed to achieve policy goals related to the development of
an information society. Government initiatives have applied information technology in re-
engineering processes and procedures, which result in greatly improved performance, both of
internal ``housekeeping'' operations, and service delivery to the public. In devising these and
similar initiatives, it is necessary to select technologies that are appropriate to local
capabilities, rather than adopting ``technology-driven'' approaches to problem solving.
(&1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.)
Major developments are occurring in the Canadian federal government with regard
to the modernization of public administration and the management of public
enterprises. This article reviews the most signi®cant of these. It also tries to position
IT use by government in the context of Canada's broader strategy for IT
developmentÐwhat is termed the Information Highway. The job of the
Information Highway Advisory Council is to assist development of an overall
strategy to further the deployment of communications and information technologies
within Canadian society as a whole, affecting the private sector as well as the public
domain. These are areas where government, acting as a model user of IT, can
contribute to the effectiveness of strategies designed to achieve broader public policy
goals related to the development of an information society.
In Canada, the deployment of information technologies takes place within a
general policy framework governing the evolution of the information society and the
knowledge economy in Canada. Three major initiatives are currently de®ning this
policy framework. The ®rst, which began more than a decade ago, comprises the
revision and updating of communications legislation and the ongoing process of
liberalization of communications markets through policy and regulatory change.
The second is the work of the Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC), a
body representing a broad range of Canadian interests, which has provided advice
CCC 0271±2075/97/010103±05$17.50
&1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Richard Simpson is Executive Director Information Highway Advisory Council, 300 Slater Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8, Canada.

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