News Release Archive


Premiers John Savage of Nova Scotia; Catherine Callbeck of Prince
Edward Island; Frank McKenna of New Brunswick; and Brian Tobin of
Newfoundland; met today in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to
discuss regional economic cooperation. Items on the agenda
included signing of the Atlantic Canada On-Line Agreement and the
enhanced Atlantic Procurement Agreement, discussion of a more
focused plan for cooperation in the health sector, and a decision
to pursue harmonization the regulation of general insurance.

The CAP meeting commenced with a tour of the Atlantic Veterinary
College. The premiers were very impressed with the scope of
activities in the area of research and animal health. Following
the tour, the premiers received a briefing on the interprovincial
agreement establishing the college, and options for its renewal.
The Atlantic Veterinary College Agreement expires in September
1996. The Atlantic premiers have agreed to a renewed commitment
to the Vet College. The government of PEI will work with the
college to develop a business plan that is sensitive to the
operational needs of the organization and to the fiscal situation
of the provinces. The Atlantic Vet College has been very
successful and has gained an outstanding reputation since its
inception. The college has placed Atlantic Canada on the map in
the area of veterinary medicine, said Premier Callbeck.

Two agreements were signed by the Atlantic premiers today the
Atlantic Canada On-Line Agreement, a public-private partnership
agreement making public information readily available on-line;
and an enhanced Atlantic Procurement Agreement, which now
includes the ASH sectors, and is more consistent with the
Internal Trade Agreement.

Having public information readily accessible and conveniently
packaged for businesses in Atlantic Canada will enhance the
competitiveness of those businesses relying on that information, 
said Premier McKenna. Premier Tobin said, It doesn't matter where
your business is located geographically, the information can be
instantly accessed.

Establishment of an industry/government committee to pursue
harmonization of legislation, policies and procedures governing
the insurance industry in each Atlantic province was announced
today by the premiers, following consultations with industry
representatives and other key players in the insurance industry.
It is anticipated that more effective operation and
administrative efficiencies will be realized as a result of the

Cooperation in the health care sector was on the premier's agenda
today in Charlottetown. The premiers received a briefing on
numerous ongoing health cooperative arrangements within the
Atlantic region. These initiatives include: cooperation in the
provision of various expensive and limited demand services, such
as specialized pediatric medical services and transplantation
services, among others; joint management and planning of health
human resources, including planning of training and educational
services for several disciplines; the sharing of program and
service information in the areas of vital statistics, health
indicators and hospital utilization, to name a few; and joint
purchase arrangements for pharmaceutical and major capital
equipment for hospitals.

"We commend the health ministers for their excellent work, and we
will continue to explore further opportunities for cooperation in
health," said Premier Savage.

In their discussions on education, the premiers directed their
ministers responsible for higher education to examine ways and
means of ensuring transfer of credits between and amongst
provinces in the community college sector including the
development of electronic student passports.

The premiers also received updates on current cooperative
projects, including efforts to establish an Atlantic Judicial
Council; the distance education initiative to make post-secondary
education more accessible to Atlantic Canadians; the common core
curriculum and performance indicators initiatives of the Atlantic
Provinces Education Foundation; and a summary of activities of
the Atlantic Emergency Measures Organizations.

Prior to the Conference of Atlantic Premier's meeting, the four
premiers participated in a panel discussion on Atlantic
cooperation, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the
Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce (APCC). In their address
to the APCC, the premiers indicated that Atlantic union will not
be a reality in the near future as priorities must be focused on
job creation and economic development in Atlantic Canada. During
the discussions, the premiers also expressed their support for a
revitalized Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Meeting in
Ottawa last week with the Prime Minister, the premiers stressed
their view that a renewed commitment to regional development by
the federal government is essential and requires the continued
existence of an agency mandated to undertake that policy in our
region, such as ACOA. The premiers also expressed a desire that
decision-making be focused closest to the point of service
delivery, Atlantic Canada, to ensure that ACOA-sponsored programs
and services are more responsive to provincial needs and
opportunities. The premiers also committed to working
cooperatively towards national unity.

The Council of Maritime Premiers 1994-95 Annual Report was tabled
today during the premiers' meeting. Copies are available from the
Council Secretariat.


Contact: Kim Thomson
         Conference of Atlantic Premiers
         P.O. Box 2044
         Halifax, NS   B3J 2Z1
         Tel: 902-424-8975
         Fax: 902-424-8976


The latest public-private partnership was struck today in
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, as the four Atlantic
Premiers signed an agreement with a consortium led by Unisys
Canada Inc. to set up and run Atlantic Canada On-Line.

Atlantic Canada On-Line (ACOL) will be an innovative commercial
information service, designed to make government information more
easily accessible to the business and consumer audiences who use
it on a regular basis. For example, information held by deeds and
registries could be made available by the ACOL service and
marketed to law firms, who could easily access the information
from their office computer terminal.

"Unisys is proud to be a member of this public-private
partnership. It speaks highly for what can be accomplished with
cooperation between the public and private sector and with the
cooperation of all of the Atlantic provinces," said Unisys Canada
president and chief executive officer, David Wagner. "We are
committed to this project and will be investing over $10 million
over the next five years to turn the government information and
data into a commercially marketable service."

Nova Scotia Premier John Savage said, "This project is proof of
what can be accomplished through regional cooperation. The
economic implications, in terms of revenue generation, are
tremendous. Existing data will be made more accessible and will
be re-packaged such that it is more commercially desirable. In
essence, we will be enhancing the public's ability to do business
with government."

"As for taxpayers, they will get an indirect return on the data
they pay us to collect, without any financial investment in the
project. The provinces will see increased revenues as a result of
new and increased use of the information currently available,"
said Premier Savage.

Revenue will be generated by fees paid for access to the
databases. A percentage of fees, dependent on contracts agreed
upon by each participating government department, will be shared
by the government and Unisys.

The Atlantic provincial governments will retain controlling
ownership of the data, and the right to exercise veto power over
its use and marketing. All statutes and regulations of the four
governments concerning privacy and confidentiality of information
will apply. In addition, government investment will be limited to
supplying its publicly available information to Unisys and its

Unisys' major partners in this venture are Ameritech, recognized
specialists in electronic access to government records,
headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, The CCL Group of companies,
including CorporaTel, Corporate Communications Limited and
Corporate Research Associates; and Software Kinetics, an ISO 9001
certified software engineering company.

All services to the public and government information providers
will be available in both official languages in New Brunswick,
with provisions for future designations of other areas to receive
dual linguistic services.


Contact: Lisa Nelson
         Province of New Brunswick

         Wayne Green
         Province of Newfoundland & Labrador

         David MacNeil
         Province of Nova Scotia

         Daryl Montgomery
         Province of Prince Edward Island

         Judy Blackwood
         Corporate Communications Limited

                    Atlantic Canada On-Line

What is Atlantic Canada On-Line?

Atlantic Canada On-Line will be a electronic government
information access service. This service will enable businesses
and consumers to easily access government information such as
deeds, court information and/or marriage, birth and death
certificates, from a office or home computer terminal.

Who will run ACOL?

Atlantic Canada On-Line will be managed by a private sector
consortium led by Unisys Canada Inc. Other members of the
consortium include Ameritech, The CCL Group and Software
Kinetics. The four provincial governments will retain controlling
ownership of the government data and the right to exercise veto
power over its use and marketing.

How much will this initiative cost the provinces?

There will be no financial cost to any of the provincial
governments. The role of government will be to provide the
information databases. Unisys as the equity partner of the
consortium, will invest $10 million over the next five years to
develop, implement and manage the project.

How much will it cost to use the system?

The fee structure for access to the service has not yet been
determined but will be based on the type of information requested
and the expected volume of requests for any particular type of

Will any government jobs be lost as a result of this initiative?

This project is not intended as a means of downsizing government.
Depending on the level of demand for the service this initiative
has the potential to generate both public and private sector

When will the service be available for use?

It is anticipated that the service will be available by the end
of 1996.

How will Unisys and the consortium be paid?

A percentage of user fees for the service will be shared by the
government and Unisys. Percentages will be based on individual
contracts developed between the consortium and each participating
government department.

                    Atlantic Canada On-Line

* This initiative began in July of 1994 when the Conference of
Atlantic Premiers commissioned a consulting study to determine
the feasibility of establishing a regional information service
that would provide on-line access to government databases in
Atlantic Canada.

* In May of 1995, the Conference accepted the consulting report
and in June released a competitive procurement for the
establishment of a regional electronic access service called
Atlantic Canada On-Line (ACOL).

* A consortium led by Unisys Canada Inc. was chosen as the
preferred supplier to the Atlantic Provinces for the creation,
implementation and management of Atlantic Canada On-Line.

* The consortium, headed by Unisys, also includes Ameritech, the
CCL Group and Software Kinetics.

* Unisys will manage the project and lend its experience as
information and technology providers. Unisys has over 25 years
experience in Atlantic Canada in systems integration and
public-private partnerships.

* Ameritech brings a specialized knowledge of electronic access
to government records with its CivicLink service. Ameritech
currently provides electronic access service to government
information in Chicago, Illinois, Indianapolis Indiana, Prince
George's County, Maryland and Los Angeles, California.

* Ameritech's CivicLink is an information gateway service
modelled after BC OnLine, which has been in service for nearly
seven years.

* Software Kinetics, an ISO 9001 certified software engineering
company, will provide systems integration. Through their business
relationship with Software Kinetics, iStar Internet Inc.,
Canada's largest Internet provider, will act as access provider
to the Internet.

* The member companies of the CCL Group will bring an array of
communications services to the consortium. Corporate Research
Associates will provide all market research, CorporaTel will act
as the client service centre for ACOL and Corporate
Communications Limited will provide the communications services
for the consortium. The CCL Group has offices in Halifax, Saint
John and Moncton.

* Atlantic Canada On-Line will provide businesses and consumers
electronic access to many of the information databases currently
maintained by government. Potential applications are property
records (land title and assessment) court records and vital
statistics (marriages, births and deaths).

* Unisys will invest $10 million over the next five years in the
review of government information and in turning that information
into a commercially marketable service.

* Similar systems to Atlantic Canada On-Line currently exist in
British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.

* Atlantic Canada On-Line will complement other major government
projects underway to create more sophisticated information
infrastructure in each of the four Atlantic Provinces. These
initiatives include Nova Scotia's Wide Area Network; New
Brunswick's Service New Brunswick; Newfoundland's Enterprise
Network and Prince Edward Island's Province-Wide Network.

* The term of the agreement between the four Atlantic Provinces
and the consortium is seven years.


Meeting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic
premiers today announced the establishment of an
industry/government committee to pursue the harmonization of
legislation, policies and procedures governing the insurance
industry in each Atlantic province.

At the October 1995 meeting of the Atlantic premiers, the
provincial cabinet secretariats were directed to consult with
industry representatives and major players for input and feedback
on the amalgamation of the general insurance regulatory functions
in the Atlantic provinces, a recommendation which was made by the
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in its June 1995 report. The IBC
report expressed concern that having four separate provincial
regulatory regimes for the insurance industry is resulting in
over-regulation, overlap and duplication, and increased costs for

At the premiers' meeting today in Charlottetown, the Cabinet
Secretariats reported that these industry consultations have been
completed. The premiers are now ready to move ahead. The existing
legislation is very similar in each province and harmonization
will eliminate the present inconsistencies in regulatory
requirements within the four provinces. It offers the potential
for more effective operation and administrative efficiency, and
we are always looking for efficiencies, stated the premiers. The
industry/government committee has been directed to report back at
the next meeting of the Conference of Atlantic Premiers.


Contact: Kim Thomson
         Conference of Atlantic Premiers
         P.O. Box 2044
         Halifax, NS   B3J 2Z1
         Tel: 902-424-8975
         Fax: 902-424-8976


Meeting today in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the
Atlantic premiers signed the revitalized Atlantic Procurement
Agreement (APA), replacing the 1992 version, setting forth the
procurement practices to be followed by the four governments and
their agencies.

The revised agreement maintains the existing conditions under
which the four governments are to eliminate from their
procurement practices discrimination based on the province of
origin for goods, services and construction, at threshold levels
of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 respectively. However, the
Agreement has been extended to cover academic institutions,
schools and hospitals (the ASH sectors); make it generally
consistent with the Agreement on Internal Trade; and to improve
the wording and administration of the agreement. More
specifically, the changes:

- expand exemptions to include first-time outsourcing or
privatization, and to recognize Newfoundland's preference of not
more than 5 per cent;

- extend the electronic exchange of tender notices to the ASH
sector procurements as soon as possible;

- clarify and enhance the complaints procedure by including
non-involved provinces and the chairperson of the Atlantic
Procurement Coordinating Committee; and

- enhance reporting requirements.

We are pleased that discussions with the academic, school and
hospital sectors have resulted in their inclusion in the Atlantic
Procurement Agreement and anticipate opportunities for cost
savings to them, stated the premiers. Companies in the region
doing business with these sectors will also benefit.

The new agreement also refines obligations of the Atlantic
Procurement Coordinating Committee (APCC), the body which is
responsible for monitoring compliance with the Atlantic
Procurement Agreement.


Contact: Kim Thomson
         Conference of Atlantic Premiers
         P.O. Box 2044
         Halifax, NS   B3J 2Z1
         Tel: 902-424-8975
         Fax: 902-424-8976


trp                     May 10, 1996 - 7:30 p.m.