The Canadian Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC), composed entirely of people from outside government, was established in April 1994 to provide guidance to the Government of Canada in developing a Canadian strategy for the information highway.
The Council's mandate was to decide how best to develop and use the information highway for the economic, cultural and social advantage of all Canadians. IHAC examined 15 policy issues, including such questions as how to ensure universal access to essential services at reasonable cost and how to achieve an appropriate balance between competition and regulation.
The Council's deliberations were guided by three objectives: creating jobs through innovation and investment in Canada, reinforcing Canadian sovereignty and cultural identity; and ensuring universal access to the information highway at reasonable cost. Throughout its work the Council's operating principles were to support an interconnected and interoperable network of networks, facilitate collaborative public and private sector development, foster competition in facilities, products and services, encourage lifelong learning, and ensure privacy protection and network security.
The Council submitted its Phase 1 final report (Connection, Community, Content: The Challenge of the Information Highway) in September 1995. This report emphasized that Canadians, regardless of where they live, needed easy, fast access to information if they were to thrive in the information economy. Council members singled out four areas for the strategic application of information technologies to enhance the quality of life in Canada, improve service and reduce costs.
The Council submitted its final report, Building the Information Society: Moving Canada into the 21st Century in 1996.