I.C. Associate ADM of IHAD, FedNor and Telesat Officials visit K-Net

David Fransen, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of the Information Highway Applications Branch of Industry Canada, Paul Bush, Vice President, Corporate Development Telesat Canada and Carl Seibel, Telecommunication Projects Officer at FedNor came to visit K-Net Services in Sioux Lookout on Wednesday, June 20. Meetings began as soon as they stepped off the plane in Sioux Lookout. Kevin Burton and JR Isadore from the Atlantic Provinces First Nation Helpdesk were able to meet briefly with David and Paul in the airport before they caught their plane back to Cape Breton. Upon their arrival at the K-Net offices they met several of the other First Nation Helpdesk representatives (Ian and Diane Cameron from the BC/Alberta Helpdesk and Tim Whiteduck from the Quebec Helpdesk). Rachel Roy, Jacques Drouin, Kathleen Schroeder and Will Dubitsky from the First Nations Schoolnet Program also were able to stay to meet with David and Paul. See the story about the Industry Canada First Nation Schoolnet Program meeting that took place in Sioux Lookout from June 16 to 20. A video conference between Fort Severn First Nation Chief George Kakekaspan, his councillors (Moses, Robert and Chip) along with their local Smart team (Madeleine Stoney, Angus Miles and Barney Turtle) and the folks in the Sioux Lookout office to discuss the importance of broadband connectivity in Fort Severn. Moses spoke about his role on the KiHS Advisory Board and the importance of the KiHS program for their young people. Robert Thomas spoke about the telehealth initiative and the work that is happening to make this service an important part of health delivery in Fort Severn. George talked about the economic impact that broadband connectivity has meant in his community. A working lunch with the discussion concentrating on the development of these services in conjunction with the introduction of the various Industry Canada programs, in partnership with other government programs (HRDC’s Stay-In-School initiative, INAC’s EDI and education programs, Schoolnet, CAP, FedNor, Smart, etc). Then it was right off to Matt Air Service to catch our charter to Slate Falls. Pictures of this trip are posted in the K-Net Photo Gallery at http://photos.knet.ca/IC-Telesat. After a great ride north (a map can be seen at http://www.windigo.on.ca/community.html) of Sioux Lookout, we were met at the dock by Chief Lawrence Masakayash and Michael Loon. Everyone rode in Lawrence’s truck up to the Slate Falls KiHS building and a meeting with the teacher and some of the students. The students did up powerpoint presentations containing their thoughts about the first year of KiHS in Slate Falls. Samantha Loon sent her presentation over to be shared with others. From there everyone went over to the Band office to meet with other staff and council members. A video conference with Dan Pellerin and John Moreau in our Sioux Lookout office also provided an opportunity to discuss several of the issues / opportunities that still have to be developed in that community and across the region. The return flight got us into Sioux Lookout before 6 and everyone agreed to meet for supper at 6:30 so Ian and Diane could get off to Winnipeg before it got too late. Even dinner that evening proved to another learning opportunity for everyone with a lot of sharing of ideas and experiences. The group broke up after 9, agreeing to meet again at 7:30 for a breakfast meeting. This meeting proved to be an opportunity to further discuss development strategies and explore various community / regional networking options. This proved to be a challenging, yet lively discussion because everyone (David, Carl, Paul, Dan and Brian) had different priorities and experiences to address. Afterwards, David was able to tell us that the prime minister had announced that morning that the broadband connectivity work would be advanced to begin this year rather than waiting till 2004. Back at the office, discussions centred around the work that was being done under the Smart Communities demonstration initiative. In particular, our education and health initiatives were thoroughly reviewed and understood. As well, questions and brief overviews about our data warehouse work, our portal, the e-Centres and the project sustainability work were presented and discussed. Gibbet Stevens, from the KO Telehealth team, stopped by and was able to provide more information about this project. A copy of the Telehealth Business Case for the Sioux Lookout Zone is being forwarded over to David for his review so he can work with Michael Binder to approach Health Canada’s ADM to discuss this project. Again lunch proved to be a busy time with discussions around the communities and the challenges they are addressing in all sectors. After lunch, a tour of the telehealth services at the Zone Hospital proved to be a great opportunity for Barbara Roche, the Zone’s Telehealth Coordinator, to demonstrate the equipment that is now in place in each of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nation Health Centres. Linking the two units at the Zone together with Rita Wassaykeesic at the Poplar Hill Health Centre also provided an opportunity to discuss some of the health applications and situations being addressed with these tools. Back at the K-Net office, Jesse Fiddler was able to show David the on-line tools and strategies being used to collect data and complete the community engagement aspects of the Smart Communities project. Then around 4, it was off to the airport for David and Paul to catch their return flight to Ottawa. Later that evening, after a supper and more discussions, Carl caught his flight back to Thunder Bay.