ONTARIO GOVERNMENT-BELL PARTNERSHIP OFFERS ANYTIME, ANYWHERE ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC SERVICES
A historic partnership launched today between the Ontario government and a consortium of companies led by BCE's Bell Canada will make anytime, anywhere access to government services available online, by telephone, and over self-serve terminals. Consumer and Business Services Minister Norm Sterling and Bell Ontario President Terry Mosey inked a five-year contract at a signing ceremony in Toronto today.
"This landmark contract signals the arrival of the government of the 21st century, bringing government services to consumers when, where, and how they want them," said Sterling. "Our government is delivering on Blueprint and Throne Speech commitments to improve the government's approach to service delivery with more electronic services and greater efficiencies."
Bell Canada, with partners BCE Emergis, CGI, and KPMG Consulting, will design, build and operate electronic connections providing convenient 24-7 access to government services. Service delivery starts in 2002 with 24 straightforward, often-used services, such as vehicle registrations and renewals, and address changes.
"We are pleased to assist the government in providing the people of Ontario with anytime, anywhere access to a variety of provincial services," said Mr. Mosey. "This initiative sets an example of how citizens benefit when they are offered an attractive online alternative to standing in line for service. It will give individuals the ability to access relevant services in a way that reflects their individual needs, preferences and lifestyle."
The government will be able to take advantage of the consortium's existing networks, plus add on more services to them. That means the government doesn't have to build and spend money to build this infrastructure from scratch. Over 300 multi-media terminals will be available in high traffic areas, such as airports, bus and train stations, malls, hospitals, highway rest stops, and retail outlets. In communities where the technology is not yet ready for this, the consortium will work with selected community outreach centres to install computer terminals with Internet access.
"Protection of privacy is a key part of this contract," said the Minister. "Bell will abide by a strict privacy standard. And, if people are uncomfortable with technology, they can still go to a government counter for service or use mail. It is their choice."
This initiative, as well as other recently announced service improvements from the government, respond to the changing expectations that Ontario taxpayers have of their government. "People need convenience, accessibility, and simplicity from government, and we are delivering," said Sterling. "This is a win-win deal for the public. But, we're not waiting until 2002 to keep delivering on a new attitude in service. Stay tuned. There is more to come."
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