TORONTO — Canada should be proud of its well-established information technology industry, but the man known as the “father of high-tech in Ottawa” is criticizing the establishment’s preference for investing in the old economy as opposed to the new economy

In his address to the ninth annual Canadian Information Productivity Association (CIPA) black-tie gala Nov. 22, Denzil Doyle said the financing industry still hasn’t recognized the importance of IT in fuelling the Canadian economy. The founding president of Digital Equipment of Canada Ltd., Doyle is now chairman of Capital Alliance Ventures Inc.

“I never cease to be amazed at how ingenious our financing industry can be in financing a tin mine or a power plant in some far-off land, but how inept it can be in rescuing a domestic high-tech company from bankruptcy,” said Doyle, who was this year’s inductee into the CIPA hall of fame.

Following Doyle’s induction, awards were presented to 24 organizations during the CIPA event held at the Harbor Castle Westin Hotel. The event honours Canadian companies that have demonstrated innovation in their industry using technology.

In the customer service category, Newfoundland Power was highlighted for their efforts to transform an out-of-date system used to communicate with users. After years of failing to provide adequate answers to its 215,000 customers during a power outage, Newfoundland Power decided it was time the 130-year-old company invest not only in new technology, but their own people.

The task was accomplished by creating an updated call centre, providing new PCs for customer service representatives and a new interactive Web site that enables customers to record their own meter readings and an intranet system. Now 80 to 90 per cent of customer service work is automated and operating costs are the lowest they have ever been. Customers are also given accurate answers in a timely fashion.

First announced in August, CIPA award winners were notified of their accomplishments this past summer. The recognition was especially rewarding for employees at Newfoundland Power, said CEO Phillip Hughes who attributed the project’s success to their dedication.

“It was really wonderful how proud our employees viewed the award,” said Hughes. “They really viewed it as their award.”

Several projects were honoured in the government category with Teranet Inc. singled out for its work on Ontario’s lands registry system. Last fall the Teranet project was criticized by Ontario’s auditor general for what was perceived as escalating costs. But Thursday night the team at Teranet was recognized by their peers for the electronic land registration project, considered one of the firsts of its kind in North America – a combined, public/private partnership with the Ontario government.

On hand to accept the award was Teranet Inc. president Aris Kaplanis and Minister of Consumer & Business Affairs (MCBS) Norm Sterling.

Other companies observed for their innovation included NexInnovations Inc. for a wireless initiative rolled out to 300 service technicians, as well as Laurentian Bank of Canada for its B2B Trust, and RBC Financial Group for an internal enterprise fraud detection system.

CIPA gathers nominations for the awards through its Web site and three affiliated organizations.

For more details on the awards, visit the CIPA Web site at

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