News Release Archive

The Minister responsible for the Technology and Science
Secretariat, Gerald O'Malley, agreed today to work together with
other federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible
for the information highway to make Canada a world leader in
exploiting its economic potential.

At the conclusion of their one-day meeting in Winnipeg, ministers
committed themselves to help accelerate the application of new
technologies, and ensure that small and medium-sized businesses
and individual Canadians benefit from the shift to electronic
ways of doing business. The ministers agreed that in an
increasingly global economy, building and using the information
highway is critical to creating jobs and growth for Canadians.
They said innovative information technologies must be used in all
sectors of the economy to create new products and services, to
reach new markets and to cut costs.

Mr. O'Malley said, "There is a great sense of urgency for
governments to become more pro-active on issues like the
protection of personal information, the development of common
methods of service delivery, and providing universal access to
information highway services."

The ministers stressed the importance of affordable access to
essential information highway services for all Canadians
regardless of location, income or special needs. They will
explore what can be done to improve access from rural and remote
areas, and measures such as the connection of all schools and
public libraries to the information highway. They will also look
into the creation of public access points and community networks. 

The ministers agreed that governments should become model users
of information highway technologies by using them to improve the
efficiency of their operations, extend the availability of
government services and help accelerate private sector action.
They endorsed the goal of all governments adopting electronic
commerce as quickly as possible. They outlined their intention to
work together to develop common, multi-faceted public access
sites and kiosks that could be used by all levels of government
for the delivery of information and services to Canadians. 

To support the private sector as it shifts to electronic ways of
doing business, the ministers gave a commitment to remove legal,
regulatory and other impediments to electronic commerce within
their respective spheres of responsibility. 

The ministers also agreed that in order for Canada to reap the
economic benefits from doing business electronically, public
concerns over the privacy and security of electronic transactions
must be alleviated. Keeping this in mind, the ministers want to
establish a clear and consistent set of rules to protect personal
information in marketplaces, and harmonize government policies
and standards for the transmission of electronic transactions. 

To work towards these goals a federal-provincial-territorial
committee of senior government officials will be established to
facilitate coordination among the different jurisdictions.
Regular meetings by the ministers will be held to oversee the
committee's progress.


Contact: Mary Anna Jollymore  902-424-0926

trp                     Sept. 30, 1996 - 4:40 p.m.