Shauneen Furlong

Through 20 years in government, Shauneen Furlong says she’s had the opportunity not only to help contribute to changing and improving the relationships between government and citizens, but also the opportunity to participate in ground-breaking policy initiatives.

Currently, she says, Transport Canada initiatives include building an electronic bookshelf to help inspectors manage regulations and using e-commerce to let pilots pay licence fees online.

“In Transport Canada, e-government is not about technology – it is about improving government service to the citizen and improving the way in which these services are delivered,” she said.

“The key e-government initiative is business transformation in a regulatory environment – how to use technology to change and improve the work and lives of Canadian citizens and the departmental employees, particularly those important inspectors that protect our transportation system.”

Furlong cites change as one of the biggest challenges in implementing initiatives – especially change from within. “Creating enthusiasm, clearing the brush for creativity and building intelligent people and system networks and partnerships are additional challenges that all e-government drivers face.”

Looking down the road, Furlong anticipates the incorporation of emerging technologies – such as wireless – into the fray, further enhancing the ability of employees to do their jobs. In the past, she says, some initiatives were unfeasible in a “physically connected environment.” But with technological advances, the sky is the limit.

“Transport Canada employees are ‘on the move’ as they crawl around the hull of a ship, board a rail car or examine rail yards. Wireless and other creative solutions allow us for the first time to bring technology to them – as opposed to the other way around.”