Our digital foundation grows stronger

December 4, 2018

Building on the Government of Canada’s (GC) digital achievements outlined by Minister Brison November 7, and in support of our commitments under the 4th Plan on Open Government, we are chalking up additional milestones across government in pursuit of providing better digital services. Critical to this effort is strengthening the foundation upon which these services stand, by modernizing our policies and directives to be digital-ready.

Updating policies and directives may seem like news only a policy wonk would love, but it’s much more than that. Modernizing our policies is a critical step in meeting the public’s expectations for digital government by ensuring we provide reliable, accessible, and seamless services using the right technologies in the right way. By modernizing requirements and strengthening guidance for departments we can embrace new methods and tools to improve how government builds and delivers its services.

We’ve done this by updating the Directive on Management of Information Technology (Directive on IT), which is a part of the GC Policy on the Management of Information Technology. The current updates support a coordinated and consistent approach when applying IT solutions, through two primary vehicles: Enterprise Architecture and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture is the coordination of information, applications, technologies, security and privacy for IT projects across the government. It’s an essential mechanism to guide departments and agencies through the steps necessary to execute their strategies. Our changes better merge technology and policy by fostering conversations earlier in the procurement process.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are the building blocks to a modern digital ecosystem. They enable interaction directly between machines, making information exchange more efficient and service delivery streamlined and faster. If you’ve heard about the latest smart appliances talking to one another, for example, APIs make that possible.

Our directive is updated to ensure consistency across departments in the government, and ensure mandatory APIs are developed for all services. It lays out the rules for how departments coordinate digital efforts going forward, so when you use a government digital service, you know what to expect.

With each step forward on the digital front, Canadians benefit from more responsive government and more user-friendly services. Our digital foundation grows stronger and with it, the future of digital government services.

Alex Benay

Alex Benay
Chief Information Officer, Government of Canada

Alex Benay currently serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada. Prior to this appointment, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation since July 2014.

From 2011 to 2014, he was Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText. He has played a leadership role in Canada's digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.

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Submitted by Bruno Ouellet,… on December 05, 2018 - 2:08 AM

Since IT exists to support business requirement and related business transformation activities, it is important to add business (leading architecture domain) in the definition of Enterprise Architecture.

Submitted by Steven Bednikoff on December 06, 2018 - 4:35 PM

Agreed - I think the same systematic, holistic and rigorous approach should apply to the business domain. Identifying and formalizing business patterns is to me the first and most important step to enterprise effectiveness and efficiency.

Submitted by Stéphane Parent on December 12, 2018 - 1:48 PM

I used to think that business had to be first. The problem is that business is often working on processes without consideration or understanding of emerging and disruptive technology.

Submitted by Gavin Berube on January 03, 2019 - 1:16 PM

True Stephane but still Business must be first, Information and data second. We do have to understand how disruptive technologies can and must be use to support the Business and manage the information and data it consumes, create, transforms and needs access to in order to make better decisions and improve the quality of those decision.

Submitted by David Hamill on December 05, 2018 - 2:31 AM

Great too see this further traction to better enable business digitizations. API’s are the food to feed the appetite for effective outcomes. Go GC 🇨🇦!!!

Submitted by Dan Murphy on December 05, 2018 - 3:47 PM

What are the specific APIs that I need to use to comply with this directive? And where do I find them?

Submitted by Gilles Mousseau on December 08, 2018 - 3:12 PM

I believe that the intent of this message is not about any specific API, but rather to ensure than any service being offered within or to the Government can be accessed via published APIs that can be consumed by other services (departments, agencies, or external parties).

Submitted by Rima Aristocrat on December 05, 2018 - 5:13 PM

Love this blog, no wonder you receive awards Alex, you are amazing. Thank you for your services Rima

Submitted by Gavin Berube on December 27, 2018 - 12:58 PM

For some nebulous reasons the Business of Governement; it's Programs, it's Functions, Services, Capabilities and its Processes (what causes all that red tape) is not at the center of what products are available and delivered to Canadians, Businesses, Foreigners and Employees. The business of Governing or co-governing, co-creation in the Government must be front and center driving the other architectures prioritizing those Capabilities that have a direct line of sight to the achievenent of strategic objectives.