News release

$62.1 Million for Computers and Technology

A $62.1-million investment in Nova Scotia's schools, universities and communities will put thousands of new computers and technological links at the fingertips of students, teachers, businesses and community members across Nova Scotia.

The Information Economy Initiative is a three-year federal-provincial project under the Economic Diversification Agreement designed to stimulate economic development and learning in every corner of the province. The three main components include technology in schools, projects at three of Nova Scotia's information technology-focused universities, and increased technology for community economic development.

Premier Russell MacLellan and John Manley, federal Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, made the announcement today at Dalhousie University. They were joined by Senator Al Graham, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister responsible for Nova Scotia, Manning MacDonald, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Robbie Harrison, Minister of Education and Culture, as well as education, business and community representatives.

"This is the single largest injection of technology in Nova Scotia's history," said Premier MacLellan. "Communities from Neils Harbour to Yarmouth will benefit from increased access to information technology. This project will help business in every part of the province to compete in new markets, lead to a highly trained workforce and create opportunities for all Nova Scotians."
"The federal government is committed to making Canada the most connected nation in the world," said Mr. Manley. "This project not only connects Nova Scotians, but it also provides new opportunities for learning, interacting, transacting new business, and developing the province's social and economic potential."

Nova Scotia's schools are receiving a $35.3-million technology boost. Over three years, the program will provide thousands of computers and hundreds of local area networks in schools and communities across the province. Schools will also develop partnerships with local communities and business organizations to ensure computer access and to support communities in gaining technology skills. Professional development for teachers and technical support for schools are also part of the package. Other elements include curriculum software development and an enhanced technology recycling program.

An investment of $19 million is being made in information technology development at Nova Scotia universities. This initially will involve Dalhousie, Acadia and the University College of Cape Breton, with plans to eventually link all universities and colleges. Projects include a high-speed research network and increased information technology infrastructure, centres of excellence for IT training, and support for business/industry partnership programs.

The project also gives all Nova Scotians access to the Internet and information technology, thanks to a $6.8-million investment in community access programs. Industry Canada's Community Access Program (CAP) was created to bring public Internet access to rural Canadians. Up to 100 additional CAP sites will be added in communities across the province, opening the door to new partnerships to support local business, employment and on-line training.

Additional funding will also be provided for the Strait East Nova Community Enterprise Network Smart Region project. "Communities in Nova Scotia appreciate the opportunities today's announcement will provide them," said project director John Ouellette. "We accept the challenges before us, and together with government and business, we will continue to use information technology to build and support sustainable, engaged and healthy communities."

The Canada/Nova Scotia COOPERATION Agreement on Economic Diversification is managed federally by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. and provincially by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

Nova Scotians will soon have thousands of new computers and other technology links at their fingertips.

Over the next three years, the federal and provincial governments will pump 62-million-dollars into schools, universities and communities in every corner of the province.

Premier Russell MacLellan calls it the biggest injection of technology in Nova Scotia history. Communities from Neils Harbour to Yarmouth will benefit.

Industry Minister John Manley says the federal government is committed to making Canada the most connected nation in the world.

The dollars will be shared three ways . . . Nova Scotia's schools are getting a 35-million-dollar technology boost.

Nineteen-million-dollars will go to Dalhousie, Acadia and the University College of Cape Breton -- with plans to eventually link all universities and colleges.

And almost seven-million-dollars will be spent in community access programs to support economic development across the province.

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Contact:

Catherine MacIsaac
Education and Culture 902-424-2795 E-mail:
Steve Fairbairn
Economic Development and Tourism 902-424-5836 E-mail:
Jennifer Sloan
Office of the Minister of Industry 613-995-9001
David Kaulback
ACOA Nova Scotia 902-426-9305
ngr                     May 29, 1998              9:55 a.m.