Teranet marches on

It’s business as usual at Teranet Inc. following the Ontario government’s sale of its stake in the e-service solutions provider.

“I personally think it is a very exciting place to be because of the projects that we have and the nature of the work that we have,” said Michael A. Sliwinski, vice-president of information services at Teranet. “We’re just going to keep that momentum, keep that inertia going. Quite frankly, I don’t see [the sale] as advantageous or disadvantageous.”

Sliwinski added that the fact that the province is willing to part with its share of the company shows how much trust the government has in Teranet – which operates the province’s Electronic Land Registration System (ELRS).

“I think it’s great, it really displays that the government has a lot of confidence in our ability to operate….and I take that with a sense of pride that we’ve lived up to our commitment over the past 12 years. [The company] has basically delivered on what it said it would deliver.”

The decision to sell it’s 50 per cent share in Teranet for $370 million to Teramira Holdings Inc. was part of a plan formulated by the Ontario government in 1991, according to a statement made by the province.

Bonnie Foster, a Teranet spokesperson, added that the timing of the deal was simply “coincidental” and not the result of political games being played as a provincial election draws near.

“The original agreement before 1991 actually allowed for the private sector shareholder to buy the government’s shares at a certain point in time, so it really is the natural progression,” Foster said. “The shareholders have changed but otherwise the management, staff and everything [will remain the same]. It’s business as usual at Teranet.”

Foster said Teranet customers won’t have to worry about fee hikes for statutory services including searching the land registry records or registering documents against titles until 2006, due to a government imposed price freeze. She added that fee increases for these basic services are always up to the government to change.

Foster said customers also shouldn’t be worried that the company will cut corners now that the government’s share has been sold.

“We’ve always been a private sector company,” she said. “We just happened to have a shareholder that was the Ontario government.”

Foster added Teranet will continue the “hand in glove” relationship it shares with the provincial government through its contracts with the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services – a sector of government that shares the responsibility of managing the electronic land registry system.

Teranet and the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services work together on changes to the system, in service level agreements and on how the system is operated, Foster said. The two parties also collaborate on a “very detailed governance process in the whole automation of the records,” she added.

Ontario’s original capital investment in Teranet was $29 million. The $370 million made from selling its stake in Teranet will go into general revenues for the province.

Teranet can be found online at http://www.teranet.ca.