The need for Information Technology will lead to our industry becoming one of the largest in Canada within a decade. The professionals who operate within the information industry are presently represented by many Societies, all of which properly endeavour to promote some aspect of this broad field.
To ensure those in the field have a proper voice in how this industry develops, it will almost certainly be necessary that the various Societies form a joint society of societies which will be broadly representative of the many facets of this field and which will become the national focal point for the information industry.
Precedence for such a society is well established with AFIPS in the United States, and this proposal recommends to the major information processing societies in Canada that we set up a similar society, which might be known as CAFIPS.
1. A National Focal Point
With the establishment of the Computer/ Communications Secretariat in the Department of Communications and the substantial interest being shown by federal and provincial governments in the information industry, professionals in our field should have a corresponding national focal point through which they can express their opinions to governments and have a means for useful dialogue.
2. Improved Publications
Such a society of societies could be responsible for establishing or continuing national publications in the information processing field, both at the professional level, with journals such as INFOR, as well as improved general publications for the membership at large. Such a co-ordinated approach is the only way Canada can have a truly significant program of publications in our field.
3. Better Regional Programs
Increased cooperation among societies could lead to better programs in the smaller population centres where no one society can provide a broad enough program.
4. Continuity of Administration
The major problem of virtually every current society is its lack of sufficient financial strength to afford full-time paid professional staff who could help to organize briefs, keep members better informed and, generally, direct the affairs of such an organization to the benefit of all members.
Many societies use volunteer resources for administrative work and the changes in responsibility from year to year are a major cause of inconsistency of results.
A full-time Executive Director could work under the guidance of a Board of Directors, as described below and would carry out their policy decisions. No company of any size could operate without such professional management and we cannot expect societies to be effective without this.
5. Lower Secretarial Costs
The combined Secretariat would certainly reduce some of the secretarial overhead of the many separate organizations. This would be particularly valuable if the plans for HOST proceed at the federal level. Such lowering of costs across many societies would help to defray the expenses of the full-time professional staff, as noted above.
6. National Education Programs
The new society could develop national education and professional development programs.
The Society would also become a logical interface with the new international organization known as the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals which would be of interest to most, if not all, those in the information processing field.
7. Co-ordinated International Representation
In much the way that AFIPS represents a number of societies at the International Federation of Information Processing Societies, the new Canadian organization could gradually give the opportunity to members of all societies to serve on various IFIP Committees through the international membership of CIPS which it would be hoped would become a Charter member. Possibly, at some future date that membership might even be transferred to CAFIPS.
1. Independence of Member Societies
It would be assumed that the individual participating societies would remain autonomous and independent. CAFIPS would truly be a Confederation for the purposes noted above and its activities would be in addition to the more specialized programs of the member societies.
2. Policy Direction
CAFIPS would be run by a Board of Directors composed of the Presidents of the various participating societies on an ‘equal vote’ basis. This Board of Directors would be responsible for establishing the scope of CAFIPS and the overall policy.
The Board would elect from itself a President and such other officers as may be required.
3. Operation of CAFIPS
The day-to-day operation would be carried out by an Executive Director responsible to the President and the Board. He would be assisted by whatever secretarial assistance may be required and this might be provided under an arrangement with HOST.
PROPOSED PARTICIPATING SOCIETIES
The intention would be that each of the societies asked to participate in this ‘Society of Societies’ would itself represent a major area within the information processing field.
In alphabetical order these could be…
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF INFORMATION SCIENCES would represent those who are interested in Library Sciences
CANADIAN INFORMATION PROCESSING SOCIETY would, in particular, represent those with broad interests in the field of Computer Science
CANADIAN OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY, its members would have as their primary interest the operational research field
COMPUTER SCIENCE ASSOCIATION, now a Special Interest Group of CIPS, this could represent those who have a particular interest in University information processing
THE DATA PROCESSING INSTITUTE, this group would represent those interested in data processing in the federal government
THE DATA PROCESSING MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, the Canadian Institute of the DPMA could represent application programmers and data processing managers
Other organizations representing specialty areas could certainly be considered as members, including organizations representing the process control part of the information industry.
This draft is being circulated so that Boards of Directors of the various societies who might participate would have an opportunity before the end of February 1974 to discuss the feasibility of this proposal. Assuming general agreement to proceed, it is recommended that each society then appoint a member of its Board to form a working committee to draft the organizational details.
If the final proposed organization meets with the approval of the participating societies, the announcement could take place at the Canadian Computer Conference to be held in Ottawa in June.
Attendees at the meeting to discuss the possible establishment of the Canadian Federation of Information Processing Societies, October 31, 1973:
Ann Bodnarchuk, President, CORS
Grant Boyd, President, CIPS
Martin Eades, Chairman, DPI/CIPS Conference 1974
George Fierheller, Former President, CIPS
George Kirkpatrick, President, DPI
George Pike, Secretary, CIPS