WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 30 of the top electronic government leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico came together in mid April at the third annual North America Day to explore innovations in delivering online services to the public and to share lessons learned and the best electronic government ideas in North America.

"This kind of exchange is a marketplace of ideas," said Michelle d'Auray, CIO of Canada's central government. "There is a lot to be stolen from this wonderful marketplace."

The discussions were hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration Office of Citizen Services and Communications, one of the agencies heavily involved in President Bush's expansion of electronic-government. Frank McDonough, GSA's director of Intergovernmental Solutions, organized the meeting.

Mark Forman, associate director of information technology and E-Government for OMB, headed the United States delegation. CIO d'Auray led the Canadian delegates. Abraham Sotelo, coordinator of the Mexican eGovernment project, led the Mexican delegation.

The group discussed each country's experiences with a broad array of leading-edge topics. During the two-day meeting, they explored ways to:

- engage the public in electronic government programs;

- develop strategies and policies for national technology;

- evaluate electronic government programs; and

- collaborate across borders.

The delegates focused on improving the public's ability to get information and conduct government business over the Internet. They agreed to pursue a number of joint projects, with implications for all of North America, including: reviewing business architectures to determine alignment across nations; aligning XML standards on recreation Web sites; examining standards for IT accessibility by the disabled; and ways to secure and assure the identities of people who conduct transactions online.

The three countries' electronic government leaders will continue to meet and collaborate on these issues of common concern throughout the year. Next year, they will convene in Canada for the fourth North American Day.