[Next] [Previous] [Top] The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada
- Engineers of Canada consider the advent of the electronic information highway not only inevitable but also most desirable.
- All Canadians will ultimately benefit from this development. It is not only a matter of technology and telecommunications; it involves all segments of industry and a myriad of services. It encompasses not only science and technology but culture as well. It embraces practically all realms of human activity of the information age that we are about to enter.
- Even now, there are more Canadians employed in the information industry that in mining, fishing, forestry, pulp and paper, steel making, car manufacturing, sea shipping, railroad and air transport combined. As John Naisbitt put it, in the global economic network of the 21st century, information technology will drive change just as surely as manufacturing drove change in the industrial era.
- One of the best illustrations of the advent of the electronic highway, is the spectacular growth that Internet has experienced in the last 10 years. This mega-network is already reaching 25 million subscribers through 2.5 million computers, in 30,000 networks in 72 countries, covering 30,000 domains.
- In Canada, the Federal Government has launched jointly with the telecom industry an ambitious program for the development of new applications and services relating to the information superhighway, called CANARIE (for Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research in Industry and Education).
- The existence of this electronic highway will enhance considerably Canada's attractiveness as a good country to locate head offices, research laboratories, production and marketing facilities for dynamic companies operating worldwide.
- The existence of an advanced communications infrastructures at competitively priced services is becoming essential for many types of business activities. It is already critical in terms of Canada's competitive positioning with regard to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In addition to facilitating the creation and design of new products, new services and new information-based firms, as well as R&D and other essential parts of the innovation process, the electronic highway will radically alter existing modes for instruction delivery.
As a way of creating durable new jobs for Canadians in the global economy, the Federal Government should expand its collaboration with the private sector in the establishment of a coast-to-coast worldclass Information Superhighway and the effective use of that facility.
The Federal Government should help ensure that faculties and schools of engineering and applied science become actively involved in partnership with industry in the technological development and the applications deployment of the Information Superhighway, particularly with respect to broadband development of interactive multimedia and the delivery of education at a distance.
The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada - 15 JAN 97[Next] [Previous] [Top]