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Using Tech to Do More for First Nations

January 30th 2009


Executives of Canada's leading information-technology companies were at the home of Avaya Canada's Gerard Baglieri to hear all about the Ontario Lieutenant-Governor's Aboriginal Youth Computer Literacy Program and to discuss the options for implementing the initiative in fly-in First Nation communities.

The aboriginal population of Ontario is about 165,000, but occupies two-thirds of the province's land mass. The northern region of Ontario known as the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) includes 49 First Nations; 26 of these communities can only be reached by air. It is these "out of sight, out of mind" communities, where poverty is widespread, unemployment is high and a carton of juice costs $9, that are the focus of the Lieutenant-Governor's Aboriginal Literacy Programs. Secondaryschool students in these areas are, on average, five years behind non-aboriginal students and the majority simply give up or drop out.

"I deeply appreciated Mr. Baglieri's convening this meeting, as it gave me a chance to hear first-hand from a cross-section of information-technology experts about the variety of options that could be implemented for this complex and extensive computer initiative in fly-in First Nations in the far North," enthused David Onley, Ontario's Lieutenant-Governor.

Notable attendees included, Larry Keating, president, Keating Technologies; Dave Frederickson, vice-president, HP Canada; Andy Aicklen, vice-president, HP Canada; Kevin Crull, president, residential services, Bell Canada; Dean Prevost, president, MTS Allstream; Rudie Nagelmakers, Lenovo Canada; Ken Campbell, chief executive, Wind Mobile/Globalive; Kevin Peesker, senior vice-president, Dell Canada; Bruce Smith, CIT Financial; David Agnew, president, Seneca College; David Ticoll, Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills; and Bob Berner, senior vice-president, Rogers.

By: Amoryn Engel - FinancialPost.com



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