The general thrust of the mandate was defined with the partners. Initially, HRDC stated its intention of acting as mobilizer in setting up the project, with the idea of gradually withdrawing and handing it over to the community. As the organization managing the main source of funding, the Pan-Canadian Activities Fund, it handled project administration with an expected three-year timeframe while phasing in community control. It coordinated project activities, helped train the personnel and provided the stakeholders with all the necessary documentation. It also hired a project coordinator.
Meanwhile the CFDCs managed the activities and resources in the field based on the needs identified in their communities and with their local partners. They hired the information officers ("Ambassadors") for their territory and contributed in terms of logistics, administration and training. The information officers were CFDC employees but required to focus their activities on the Ambassadeur project.
For the citizen phase, while each CFDC was given leeway to carry out its activities based on local characteristics, the partners agreed on the following regional objectives:
To disseminate socioeconomic information while meeting citizen needs thorugh the CACs and various organizations active in the region;
To get more people to go to the CACs and use the information technologies through which the partners were distributing products and services, and;
To publicize the partners' products and obtain feedback on them from people.
The target clienteles were citizens, present and future CAC users as well as their leaders and the various organizations in the region. The preferred means were presentations and training sessions with various groups at the CACs or in their own communities. Each CFDC adopted the project and some developed their own subprojects (webpage, contest, etc.).
The approach to the employer phase was different. It was managed by HRDC with the participation of some CFDCs and other regional partners. At first activities focused on updating the database of businesses available at the Saguenay-Lac St-Jean HRDC site and creating an "employers on-line" website (since this phase was less developed at the time of our study, it is simply summarized in the Appendix).
In December 1999, the CFDCs received the first slice of the subsidy to cover until March 31, 2000. It enabled hiring two information officers for each CFDC and conducting a promotional campaign. Next, an application was submitted for renewal of the funding for the period from April 2000 to March 2001. The response to the request was slow in coming. Most of the stakeholders were convinced the funding would be renewed, but this still led to uncertainties in some quarters. Confirmation came in May 2000, but the grant was less than the amount applied for. This forced the CFDCs to employ only one information officer each.
For the third year, it was no longer possible to use the Pan-Canadian Activities Fund. HRDC felt another fund seemed more suitable for the thrust of the project. It therefore referred the CFDCs to the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) for 2001-2002 funding. HRDC would no longer be responsible for the grant, which henceforth would be managed by the CFDCs for the citizen phase. For the project to continue, the CFDCs are waiting for confirmation from the OLT because they believe in the value of this project. Unfortunately, given the uncertainty surrounding its continuation, some of the Ambassadeurs are leaving for other positions.