EXCLUSIVE: Canada’s new CIO

Less than one month after the U.S. introduced its first CIO, Vivek Kundra, Canada has followed suit with the appointment of a new federal technology czar.

Corinne Charette leaves her role as CIO at Montreal-based Transat A.T. Inc., to join the Chief Information Officer branch of the Treasury Board Secretariat, according to Treasury Board spokesperson Robert Makichuk. The position was vacated by Ken Cochrane, who retired from the position in December.

Charette will officially take office on May 4.

Prior to joining Transat in 2006, Charette was the deputy director and CIO at the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, a federal government that gathers and analyses financial intelligence. FINTRAC reports on suspicious transactions, terrorist financing and other large cash transactions to the Minister of Finance.

Charette has also worked for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, KPMG LLP, IBM Global Services and Via Rail Canada Inc.

While Charette’s agenda remains to be seen, Bernard Courtois, president and CEO at the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), hopes the Obama factor will influence the Canadian government to work toward a more ICT integrated strategy.

“We’ve all heard the Finance Minister and the Industry Minister advise businesses that they have to use more technology to be productive, competitive and grow,” Courtois told ComputerWorld Canada last month. But the most important thing right now, he argued is the government itself should be practicing what it preaches.

“We’re digging ourselves into a very deep deficit and we’ll want to dig ourselves out. It will be extremely logical to invest now in things that will make the government more efficient in the future.”

He added that Canada’s technology strategy during the recession will be crucial if the country wants to compete in the future global landscape.

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