Canada's government ponders iPads for bureaucrats

Last month we reported how several Canadian provincial governments have adopted Apple's iPad for legislators to increase communications efficiency as well as helping conserve paper and reduce courier costs.

Saskatchewan's Premier Brad Wall and his cabinet of 17 ministers were each issued an iPad, and that province's Lieutenant Governor chose an iPad to read the legislature's fall session throne speech from. Nova Scotia's Speaker of The House and his office staff have also joined the governmental iPad brigade.

Now Canada's federal government has launched a pilot program to vet out potential savings and efficiency enhancements of equipping bureaucrats with iPads, with the anticipated benefit of cutting down on paper and printing costs. Twenty Treasury Board workers are already testing the device in that capacity, and the department's senior officials, including several deputy ministers, are also having been issued government iPads for several weeks.

Treasury Board spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold reckons the use of the iPad could save about $700 per person per year, based on government accountability agency estimation that each senior official gets a binder filled with about 30 pages of briefing notes daily that would be replaced by digital versions on the iPad.

If the project proves successful, a determination to be made in a few months' time, it could be expanded to other federal departments. The cost of outfitting each of Ottawa's roughly 6,743 high-level bureaucrats with an iPad would run to about $7 million Canadian.