7 digital government achievements for Canada in 2018

November 7, 2018

In this digital age of disruption, change comes quickly. So what happens when digital disruption meets government, an institution that by design manages its many services deliberately and prudently?

It hasn’t always been a happy marriage in the past. But over the last year, digital government has come a long way in meeting the twin demands of agility and stability. If you’ve been following the #GCDigital or #OpenGovCan conversations, you’ve seen part of our journey. With 2018 soon coming to a close, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the things our government has done in the digital space to better serve Canadians.

1. Launching the digital government vision

Digital government is a simple idea: new technologies offer governments new opportunities to deliver better services to Canadians. Our vision continues to evolve and currently looks like this:

  1. Put Canadians’ needs first as a service delivery–focused government
  2. Continue being an open, collaborative and accessible government
  3. Be a digital-first and digitally enabled government

2. Installing a Minister of Digital Government

The Prime Minister helped us upgrade our digital government efforts. It was an honour for me to take on the new title of Minister of Digital Government and a mandate to transform digital services so they’re designed for citizens, not for us.

3. Canada became a leading digital nation

It was a big honour for Canada.

In 2018, Estonia, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom welcomed Canada into the Digital 7 (D7). Why? It was because of Canada’s track record so far in leading digital government, including designing government services around citizens’ needs and sharing open government practices and solutions. Check out the D7 Charter we signed and you’ll see why we’re excited to continue to lead the way.

4. Living standards to make digital government work

We developed the Government of Canada Digital Standards, which introduce 10 new ways of working to make digital government a success. They include working in the open by default, building in accessibility from the start, and collaborating widely.

And by creating a public sector Digital Academy, the first ever in Canada, we’re giving our employees the leading edge skills they need to deliver the digital government services Canadians expect.

5. Responsibly starting to use Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Canada is a global leader in the development of AI technology, and there are early signs it can be used responsibly to improve some digital government services. But which ones? How so? When will it begin?

Building better government services for Canadians using AI raises important questions. We’ve been researching and putting in place human-based principles to make sure this technology is responsibly used, if and when it makes sense. True to the foundations of digital government, we’ll be discussing the future of AI using #GCDigital and #GCAI.

6. A major Canadian Digital Service success: the request-a-new-citizenship-appointment service

The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) was launched in 2017 to help government deliver simple and easy-to-use digital services. Since that time, CDS has taken on numerous projects. One of the most impactful to date has been the process of rescheduling a citizenship test.

Providing new Canadians with this more flexible and user-centric online service helps them through this step toward full citizenship and gives them the best possible chance to succeed. As a bonus, it reduces the administrative burden on staff!

7. Developing a digital policy for the Government of Canada

The digital landscape is always changing and government needs to keep pace with it. To do so, we’ve begun developing an overarching digital policy that supports government departments and agencies in modernizing their operations so they can deliver the kind of digital services Canadians expect.

We’ve consulted with Canadians. Now it’s time to start drafting a formal policy. Canada’s Chief Information Officer, Alex Benay, will soon be blogging about it in more detail.

Our next chapter

We’ve gained a lot of momentum in 2018, and we’re just getting started. As Canada’s Minister of Digital Government, I’m so excited about the future of digital government and its ability to improve the lives of Canadians.

Share your thoughts with us and be a part of shaping Canada’s digital future by joining the discussion online using #GCDigital or #OpenGovCan. Together we can build the "digital Canada" that citizens deserve.

The Honourable Scott Brison

Scott Brison
President of the Treasury Board

Minister Brison, the Member of Parliament for Kings–Hants (Nova Scotia), has been elected to Canada’s House of Commons in seven general elections. He was a key spokesperson on economic issues and served as the Critic for Finance as well as Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

He served as Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and Receiver General of Canada, and was the youngest member of Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Cabinet. He also served on three Cabinet committees: Treasury Board, Domestic Affairs and Expenditure Review.

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Submitted by Mandeep Kaur on November 18, 2018 - 1:29 AM

Good evening, I would be very interested in joining hands with you, as Canada moves towards 2020 and we implement AI into finance world for repetitive actions, to bring Departments together into Canada Financial Statement for transparency and accountability purposes.

Submitted by William Stewart on December 21, 2018 - 2:00 PM

Great initiative. Perfect country to do this. We should build on Canada's tradition of openness, both culturally and technologically. I maintain the Wiki FreeOpenSourceSoftware.org. Not very well mind you, but I do ;-) The largest companies and organizations found their enterprise systems on open source infrastructure. Canada should lead the way in this at the Government level. All the usual concerns about need for support are solvable - industry made this decision more than ten years ago. And think of the money that would be saved! All the best, wstewart at WilliamStewart.com

Submitted by Xavier Jinan on January 29, 2019 - 1:32 PM

There are many big digital agencies have been opened in Canada for the last few years. Booming the digital marketing, agencies like Branex are really making their way forward in the field.