Driving digital government forward, together

February 15, 2019

Evidence-based decision-making and digital government go hand in hand. In my time as a medical professional, and in my previous roles as Minister of Health and Minister of Indigenous Services, I saw how digitally enabled organizations are best placed to make informed decisions that help those who need it the most.

That's why I am so enthusiastic about becoming Canada's second ever Minister of Digital Government.

There is so much happening in the digital space across federal organizations. I feel fortunate in my new role to see firsthand the energy, ideas and enthusiasm that are driving this transformation. I am seeing the progress on delivering positive changes for Canadians, exploring what is possible with new technologies and approaches. We are witnessing the emergence of a sustainable culture of experimentation and innovation, and a commitment to transform the work of government.

This shift is vital and, frankly, energizing.

Government is an essential part of Canadians' lives. The expectations on the way we play this part, on the value we can bring to Canadians in their everyday life, is changing. People expect programs and services to be delivered effectively and efficiently. It is gratifying, in my new role as Minister of Digital Government, to see all the important work that's been going on below the waterline as government prepares to ride the ever accelerating arc of technology.

Our work is about listening to Canadians, and responding to their needs.

Each day, I see people working hard to expand the art of the possible, and it's spreading a vibrant, start-up spirit across government.

Our work exploring options for a Next Generation HR and pay system is advancing at a great pace, while setting a new standard for agile project development in the digital age.

On another front, we're looking at what is possible with artificial intelligence (AI) and questioning how we can use these tools to provide better services to Canadians, but in a responsible and ethical way. We are also engaging AI innovators to support work within government, ensuring we are taking leadership and engaging stakeholders along the way.

While it is fascinating to build our know-how at the edges of digital technologies, we're also doing the fundamental stuff – the plumbing – by applying the same mindset. We've created new digital standards built on the needs of users to improve important information services like Canada.ca, helping Canadians find the right government services they need faster and easier.

Through the Canadian Digital Service, we're working with partners such as Veterans Affairs Canada to help veterans and their families find the government benefits and services they need more easily, and with the Canada Revenue Agency to help Canadians with low incomes claim the tax benefits they're entitled to.

Our digital know-how keeps getting better.

The skills and principles that underpin these, and other, efforts must become part of the fabric of the public service. This is about constant learning.

There is already great work underway, like the Canada School of Public Service's recent launch of Canada's Digital Academy that's designed to support and expand the digital talents and contributions of all public servants. Continual learning and development matters so that we don't lose touch with the citizens we're serving and ensure we are training our workforce effectively.

Our approach is accelerated open government.

Digital government goes hand in hand with open government. Better digital government and open government can and should be mutually supportive. By making government more open and accountable to Canadians, we help citizens everywhere join our decision-making processes in exciting new ways. For those in government leading policies and programs, it fosters the sharing of evidence, research and decision-making — in the open -- as we work to improve lives at home and internationally.

This May, in Ottawa, Canada has the great opportunity to co-chair and host Open Government leadership. We are hosting almost 80 of our peer countries for the Open Government Partnership Summit.

Between now and the Summit, we'll continue to take responsible actions to drive digital government forward across the federal public service. Let's improve lives by listening to, and learning from, Canadians and engaging with industry and government partners. And let's keep the #GCDigital conversations about our latest projects going to discover what more we can do for citizens.

The Honourable Jane Philpott

Jane Philpott
President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

The Honourable Jane Philpott was first elected as Member of Parliament for Markham–Stouffville in October 2015.
Minister Philpott became a doctor more than 30 years ago to improve people's lives. She entered politics to build a healthier society. For her, a seat in the House of Commons is not the target, but a tool – a tool she could use to improve her community and her country.

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