David Nicholl is no longer the Corporate Chief Information and Technology Officer for the Government of Ontario, and Melanie Fraser is now in the role on an interim basis.
The Office of the Corporate Chief Information Officer confirmed Nicholl is no longer in the role on Friday in a phone call with IT World Canada. In a statement from the Treasury Board Secretariat, further comment on the reasons behind the departure was declined.
Nicholl was recently involved in the court case involving former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Chief of Staff David Livingston and deputy chief Laura Miller about the deletion of emails in regards to a Liberal government decision to cancel gas-fired power plants prior to the 2011 election. Nicholl took the stand to provide testimony to the trial in September 2017 and was the subject of another witness’ testimony in October 2017.
Livingston was declared guilty of attempted mischief and unauthorized use of a computer by an Ontario judge on Jan. 19. He’ll face sentencing on Feb. 26. Miller was acquitted of those same charges.
Two former members of the IT services staff for the premier’s office testified that Nicholl gave direction to provide administrator access to multiple computers, violating Ontario government security protocol, as reported in The Globe and Mail. Thomas Stenson, the former manager of technology services for the premier’s office provided testimony Oct. 26. He said that he met with Nicholl on Jan. 30, 2013, and Nicholl requested access to all of the computers in the premier’s office.
When Nicholl testified to the court in September, he read the text of an email from cabinet office legal counsel William Bromm that he was to relay to Livingston. The email directed Livingston to preserve documents relevant to the gas-plant cancellations before wiping hard drives to prepare for the transition to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s team, as reported in The Toronto Star. Nicholl said he didn’t know who provided approval for the administrative access to the computers.
At the Information Technology Association of Canada, President and CEO Robert Watson reflected on a positive working relationship with Nicholl and his office.
“We had a great relationship with David,” he said. “He did our CIO
breakfasts that we did twice a year and he and his team would come and give an update for our members.”
Nicholl was transparent and engaging, Watson says. “I’ll be sad to see him go. He was very supportive of working with the ICT industry.”
Melanie Fraser is the new CIO of Ontario on an interim basis, as is indicated on her LinkedIn profile. She’s a veteran in the Ontario Public Service going back to 2003, starting in the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services.
“Throughout her career, she has been a progressive and inclusive leader, and is well-positioned champion to lead the IT organization through this time of change,” the Treasury Board said in its statement.
Nicholl was formally appointed to his position of Corporate Chief Information and Technology Officer Nov. 26, 2008. He was previously the lead technology role at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. There, he was responsible for establishing the governments’ new Infrastructure Technology Services (ITS) organization.
At time of publication, Nicholl’s office gave no reason for his departure.