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IM Highlights from Government of Canada Digital Operations Strategic Plan: 2018-2022

IM Highlights from Government of Canada Digital Operations Strategic Plan: 2018-2022

December 17, 2018

Last week, the Government of Canada released Digital Operations Strategic Plan: 2018-2022, the third iteration of the government’s plan for managing information, technology, and digital change in the public sector.

As described in the message from the Chief Information Officer, the six chapters of the plan are based on six themes that make up the strategy to achieve digital government:

  1. a government with a user-centred, service orientation
  2. an open, collaborative and accessible government
  3. digital-first and digitally enabled by design
  4. modern tech, technology practices and information stewardship
  5. a digitally enabled public service
  6. good digital governance

Below are some extracts from sections of the Strategic Plan outlining priorities and key activities which impact the Canadian library and information management community, both inside and outside the federal public service.

Message from the Chief Information Officer of Canada

In short, the plan has 6 themes that make up the integrated strategy to achieve digital government, outlined in the 6 following chapters. The first 3 are components of the target outcomes of the digital government vision:

  1. A service-oriented government with a user-centred approach that puts people and their needs as the primary focus of our work. A central component of this is understanding the needs of users and building our services, programs and policies around users rather than concerns about organizations or silos.
  2. An open, collaborative and accessible government that is accountable to Canadians, shares information with them, engages them in policy development and service co-design, and works with inclusion and accessibility in mind.
  3. A digital-first and digitally enabled government that is available anytime, anywhere, through any service window. This does not mean “digital only,” but it does mean that digital service delivery cannot be an afterthought and importantly, in-person and telephone interactions must be digitally enabled to deliver excellence in service.

The latter 3 strategic themes are foundational enablers. These are necessary components that will enable and facilitate the ultimate outcomes outlined above:

  1. Modern technology and modern information practices, including better integration between IM-IT, policy, program and service delivery, embracing innovative and responsible use of new technologies, managing security and privacy, and being data-driven.
  2. A digitally enabled public service with the skills, the tools, the values and the mindset public servants need to enable a digital government, to deliver digital services, and to work openly and collaboratively. Both professional development and smart recruitment will play a role in this strategic focus, with the latter presenting an opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion.
  3. Good digital governance that ensures we have proper project oversight and strategic prioritization, and that we learn from past mistakes and build on past successes. Good governance also means we promote digital leadership, nurture communities of practice and manage succession. Governance is not only about managing risk, but also about enabling innovation and experimentation.

Introduction: change drivers and challenges

Change drivers

Connectivity and the fading digital divide

Computers and smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society, which has enabled real-time connectivity that links people to information instantly. According to Statistics Canada, the internet usage of Canadians of all ages has risen significantly over recent years, with most Canadians now using the Internet frequently or daily.

Previously, much has been made of the gap in technology adoption between individuals of different income levels or demographics; however, evidence suggests that this gap is fading. The latest research from the United States–based Pew Research Centre in Internet and Technology shows that Internet use by lower-income individuals is now only a few percentage points behind middle and upper income households, an adoption gap that had been a two-thirds difference in 2010 and a comparative adoption rate of less than half in 2000. In fact, a recent academic study found that 94% of homeless people owned a cellphone, which social advocates have called important lifelines to services.

This constant connectivity has impacted people’s expectations on the speed and availability of information and services.

Public expectations

This connectivity provided by the Internet and mobile devices has meant that the public have come to expect information to be at their fingertips, available instantly, from any device and at any time.

Moreover, services provided by the private sector have become faster, better and more responsive, from e-commerce next-day delivery to smartphone ride-hailing or 8-minute automated mortgage approvals to applications that have real-time status updates for pizza orders.

Expectations of government services are not static, and as external services become easier to use, citizens expect government services to follow. Research by Accenture into e-government in the United States suggests that citizens typically want more digital government services but are discouraged by difficulties in accessing digital information or service channels.

Successful digital firms make information easy to find and services easy to use with a relentless focus on user-based research and design, and governments need to learn from this approach. Canadians want and deserve programs and services that provide the best experience for them, when and where they need it, and in a client-centred manner. However, electronic approaches have not fully displaced traditional approaches of service delivery and, in particular, people want to be able to talk to a person when they have difficulties or questions.

In this information age, citizens also expect government to be open, transparent and responsive to their views and needs. This means we need to be transparent about sharing information and be genuinely collaborative in our approach.

The growth of data

Increased computing power, the Internet and decreasing costs of data storage have led to a near-exponential growth in the data in the digital age. This data can enable new service approaches and a level of customization of services not previously possible, such as when e-commerce companies make suggestions based on past purchases, or where countries such as the United Kingdom use data from employment records to remove the need for most income tax submissions. There is a significant potential to make people’s lives simpler and easier.

At the same time, managing data is a challenge for both public sector organizations and private sector firms. A survey of digital leaders by Accenture found that 59% of public service leaders in several countries and 56% of private sector leaders thought managing data was a major challenge.

Workplace and workforce evolution

Employees, who often use smartphones and digital tools in their personal lives, expect to have modern and effective tools in the workplace to enable them to serve Canadians and work effectively. This means that tools need to be interconnected, intuitive and accessible when and where they need them, and include updated business processes to make day-to-day work efficient and add value to the efforts of public servants. The government cannot properly serve Canadians if its public service has outdated tools.

In this age of connectivity, the workplace is also changing. With access and mobile devices enabled by Wi-Fi, we are beginning to build a government workplace where many employees can disconnect from their desk and work in collaboration spaces, side by side with colleagues at other departments or even in other regions. This mobility has the potential to enable public servants to move more seamlessly from project to project, and facilitates important surge capacity to address urgent needs and changing priorities. The role of telework and telepresence has the potential to promote a more regionally diverse public service and enable interdepartmental mobility, and may be especially important for a government that is competing for scarce specialist talent and for encouraging digital interchanges with experienced workers who may not want to relocate.

Other challenges and opportunities

Security and privacy

Cybersecurity is an important and ever-evolving aspect of any government technology strategy to ensure continuity of service and safeguard citizens’ private information. Consolidating systems and programs provides many important benefits but also requires enhanced security vigilance to minimize the risks of cyberattacks. Inconsistent management of government networks and security profiles of government end-point devices (computer devices that connect to the Internet) could create further challenges for cybersecurity professionals working to defend these systems. Consolidated programs, end-to-end services and tell-us-once approaches outlined in the digital government vision also increase the importance of cybersecurity and digital privacy, since more consolidated or connected information has the potential to intensify the impacts of security breaches unless risks are effectively mitigated. On the other hand, this consolidated approach allows for a concentrated targeting of security resources compared with the effort required to ensure that thousands of decentralized systems are continuously secure and protected against evolving threats.

The growth in digitized personal information and offering Canadians improved delivery through digital approaches need to be accompanied by measures to assure that the privacy of Canadians will be protected.

Additionally, as the government moves to an open-by-default culture, it must continue to balance openness and transparency with the requirement to protect the privacy of personal information.

Digital skills

With an evolving technology environment and a new way of doing things, the skills required of public servants and leaders will evolve as well. For example, managing the day-to-day operations of a data centre requires different skills than managing vendor and client arrangements for cloud computing and cloud data storage services. Big data analysis has the potential to improve and transform functions from service delivery to policy development to auditing, but only if public servants have the required skills in big data analytics. Likewise, as government adopts machine learning and artificial intelligence tools, skills in building, procuring, managing and evaluating such tools will be required.

This challenge is compounded by the fact that some technology skills are in short supply in society in general, as well as in the public service. This means that recruitment alone cannot resolve the government’s skills needs, and that professional development, including transitional training for employees in evolving jobs, will need to play a role as well. Specific areas where there is a need for investment in skills development are identified throughout this Strategic Plan, but the government will also need to broadly embrace a “learning organization” approach of continuous development if it is to ready itself for digital government and a future full of disruptive technology.

The digital government vision

Vision components

  • A service-oriented government, with a user-centred approach that puts citizens and their needs as the primary focus of our work, using tell-us-once service approaches, integrated services, and provides real-time information to Canadians about their service applications.
  • An open, collaborative and accessible government that is accountable to Canadians, shares information with them, engages users in policy development and service co-design, and works with inclusion and accessibility in mind.
  • A digital-first and digitally enabled government that is available anytime, anywhere, with services and information provided through multiple windows and service channels. This does not mean “digital only,” but it does mean that digital service delivery cannot be an afterthought and, importantly, in-person and telephone interactions must be digitally enabled to deliver excellence in service.

Foundational enablers

  • Modern technology, information stewardship and practices, including better integration between IM-IT, policy, program and service delivery, embracing innovative and responsible use of new technologies, managing security and privacy, and being data-driven.
  • A digitally enabled public service with the training, the skills, the tools, the values and the mindset needed to enable a digital government, to deliver digital services and to work openly and collaboratively.
  • Good digital governance that ensures we have digital leadership, proper project oversight, strategic government-wide prioritization that integrates business and technology planning.

Chapter 1: a government with a user-centred, service orientation

A digital government is a service-oriented government, with a user-centred approach that puts the needs of people and citizens as the primary focus of our work.

This theme of the digital government vision recognizes:

  • service is at the heart of what government does
  • users and citizens want services to be as easy to access as possible, integrated and responsive to their needs throughout their lives and life events
  • policy and programs should be designed with users

1.2 New approaches to service

OneGC

Canadians are increasingly expecting a seamless, integrated and consistent experience when dealing with their government. The government is often unable to provide this desired user experience given its multiple points of contact and siloed processes.

The 2017 to 2021 GC IM-IT Strategic Plan announced that “[the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat] will develop a new strategy to set further direction on providing a single window to Canadians for all [Government of Canada] information and services and create the conditions required to transition to a single [Government of Canada] service platform.” That strategy, known as the OneGC vision, aims to not only deliver on the outcome of a single window, but also go beyond it to meet Canadians’ expectations of service delivery on any platform, using any device and with any partner. In the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, the OneGC vision began to take shape.

Whether it’s digital by design (see Chapter 3), the pursuit of common services such as digital identity (see Chapter 4), or making use of emerging technologies (see subsection 4.6), the government is incorporating a wide range of approaches to achieve OneGC, the individual pieces of which are explored throughout this Strategic Plan.

Tell-us-once approaches

Even if services are not integrated in delivery, information from a wide range of services can support better service delivery across multiple departments and programs. For example, in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, payroll information provided to the government is used to pre-populate income tax returns, meaning that many citizens never need to file a tax return. In Estonia, the government only ever asks for a particular piece of information once. For citizens and service users, this means less time filling out government forms and fewer delays in accessing service. Implementation of a single, secure Digital Exchange Platform to allow information to be used for multiple purposes would enable more seamless services.

The 2017 to 2021 GC IM-IT Strategic Plan announced that TBS and departments would be exploring the potential of greater sharing of data in order to deliver better services while protecting privacy, and that the government was studying the feasibility of implementing “tell us once.”

From 2018 to 2020, TBS and key service delivery departments will build on this initial feasibility study and undertake a horizontal review on information-sharing and privacy. This will identify barriers to information-sharing and make recommendations on how to eliminate roadblocks to tell-us-once government services while strengthening privacy oversight. This review will set the foundation for recommendations and potential policy changes in the future.

Data stewardship will be essential in achieving more integrated services or implementing tell-us-once approaches. The development of a Government of Canada data strategy roadmap identifies strategic priorities to support better use and management of data across the government, and enable improved service delivery to Canadians. Implementation of the data strategy roadmap complements this Strategic Plan and the actions it lays out. More information on this initiative is in section 4.

Chapter 2: an open, collaborative and accessible government

Digital government is most meaningful when it is open, collaborative and accessible.

An open, digital government recognizes that:

  • transparency plays a critical role in public accountability
  • government information and data is a public resource developed using public funds, and should therefore be accessible to the public, with only such reasonable restrictions as required for security, privacy and confidentiality
  • government services and policies are tangibly improved when Canadians, stakeholders and users are actively involved in their creation
  • government information and services should be accessible to and be inclusive of all Canadians

2.1 Open government

Open government is an approach to governance that focuses on transparency, accountability and citizen participation. Canadians want to know what their government is working on and be assured that government is acting responsibly and ethically on their behalf. In addition, citizens and businesses want opportunities to leverage government information and data in ways that contribute to social well-being and economic growth. This could include using government information and data to develop services, build businesses and support academic research.

Openness and transparency benefit government and Canadians alike, including by:

  • supporting public accountability of government administration, including the responsible use of funds collected from taxpayers
  • inviting subject matter experts and the broader public to make use of government data, research and analysis
  • allowing opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to participate in the study, design and implementation of public decisions
  • demonstrating that departments are using the best available information and data from a variety of authoritative sources to make evidence-based decisions with respect to policies, programs and services
  • providing access to valuable government data, which can be used to develop tools and products that contribute to Canadians’ well-being and economic growth

In recent years, Canada has emerged as a leading voice in the global open government community. In October 2018, Canada began its term as lead government chair of the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative comprising over 75 member nations that aims to secure concrete commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance, in partnership with civil society and the private sector. Canada will focus its one-year chair term on open government activities that promote inclusion, impact and citizen participation, culminating in the OGP Global Summit to be hosted in Ottawa in May 2019.

Domestically, the government continues to make improvements to the Open Government Portal, open.canada.ca, an online platform hosting more than 80,000 datasets and government records from over 70 federal departments and agencies. The government has also brought forward a bill to modernize the Access to Information Act, including a strengthened role for the Information Commissioner and a legislated system for proactive publication. Further details on these and other open government initiatives are outlined below.

Going forward

As part of its Open Government Partnership membership, Canada expects to release the National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020 in fall 2018. The draft plan includes 10 commitments on topics ranging from digital government and services to open science, reconciliation and open government. The consultation process behind this plan, conducted between October 2017 and August 2018, was the Open Government team’s most ambitious outreach initiative to date, with more than 10,000 people participating through online and in-person events held in 17 cities across Canada. The plan will also be the first to incorporate expert feedback from the newly convened Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government, and from 4 independent experts invited to conduct a feminist and inclusive review of the plan.

Open data

In 2018, Canada was ranked 1st place (tied with the United Kingdom) on the World Wide Web Foundation’s global open data index, the Open Data Barometer. The government will build upon this success through continued improvements to the Open Government Portal.

Recent improvements have focused on simplifying the user experience for access to datasets held across different levels of government. As more Canadian provinces, territories and municipalities create their own open data portals, end users are forced to navigate between platforms to access the data they need.

To address this issue, the Government of Canada launched a pilot with provincial partners within the Government of Alberta to allow for the simultaneous search of Alberta’s provincial datasets through the federal Open Government Portal. The National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020 will include commitments to extend this federated data search pilot to 2 more provinces and 2 municipalities by 2020.

Access to information

In 1983, Canada introduced one of the world’s first Access to Information regimes for the public disclosure of government information. Today, the government is working to modernize the Access to Information Act to ensure that the system is responsive to the needs of contemporary users. Additionally, a new Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Service portal was launched on October 10, 2018. This portal, designed through user testing, uses artificial intelligence to enable requesters to search for summaries of previously released Access to Information requests and to help requesters to identify which institutions would likely hold the information they seek. It also allows for electronic payments and electronic transfer of the request to federal institutions. The solution will continue to be iterated through additional user testing, and institutions will continue to be phased in until all institutions (260+) subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are receiving requests through this service.

To reduce the administrative burden on federal institutions and to improve service to Canadians, efforts are currently underway to digitize the end-to-end access to information and personal information requests by 2021.

Open by default and proactive disclosure

The practice of releasing information of interest to Canadians proactively, rather than requiring public requests for government information, is a major cornerstone of an open government. The government has strengthened this practice in the recent amendments to the Access to Information Act and will continue to make more information proactively available.

While it is important that protected information is secured and properly categorized, departments should be careful about over-classifying information in a way that restricts Canadians’ Access to Information rights or undermines the government’s open-by-default approach.

The release of government research, program performance evaluation, and other information helps assure Canadians that government decisions are evidence-based. All public servants are responsible for information management, and CIOs have special responsibility for ensuring that information is properly managed through its life cycle and is available to Canadians when appropriate. CIOs should consider designating an official responsible for open-by-default and proactive disclosure.

Other initiatives, such as the launch of a Government of Canada wiki available to the public and the Open Maps portal, will also proactively provide information to Canadians.

2.2 Collaborating with Canadians

Citizens want to be consulted and their views considered as part of policy and program design, and they want access to digital tools to better participate in policy and program development.

Government consultation and collaboration help improve services and policy in a variety of ways. For example:

  • new information, ideas or alternatives can be developed in these processes resulting in a better policy or service design
  • consultation can identify barriers faced by service users and allows the government to consider the impacts on or different needs of diverse groups
  • information gathered through consultation can help identify the issues underlying policy problems, including potentially avoiding previously unknown unintended side effects of policy
  • consultation can also help identify the extent of a problem and help prioritize action

The government has made significant advances in digital collaboration in recent years. A relaunched Consulting with Canadians website provides a central portal for people to search for and respond to consultations across government. GCcollab has been launched to enable document-sharing and collaboration with stakeholders across silos and jurisdictions. In addition, government is increasingly using sites such as GitHub, Google Documents or social media to co-design elements of policy or services. This work will continue.

Going forward

Consultation and research with users must be incorporated into service and policy development, and CIOs should identify opportunities to use collaboration and co-design within product development. Rather than exclusively using government tools, the government should also leverage open platforms, such as GitHub or social media, to collaborate with Canadians and experts.

Digital consultation tools

The GCcollab tool that has enabled public servants to work collaboratively with academics, community organizations and members of the public will be relaunched and iterated in 2019, with enhanced features, more user-friendly interfaces and a more accessible sign-up system.

As announced in Budget 2018, the government is also developing a platform for regulatory consultations where respondents can comment on specific clauses of proposed regulation.

2.3 Accessibility and inclusion

A government is only truly open if it is open to all people. Accordingly, accessibility and inclusion is a key component of digital government.

Accessibility by design and inclusion by design support a government where:

  • the needs of all people are reflected in the provision of government information
  • views and needs of diverse Canadians are considered in government administration and consultations

Furthermore, services must be accessible by design, meeting or exceeding accessibility standards, and the testing and research to deliver excellent experiences for users must be inclusive of those with distinct needs. Users with distinct needs should be engaged from the beginning to ensure that what is delivered will work for everyone. User-centred service design (UX), as discussed in the previous chapter, can assist with this.

The government has brought forward transformative legislation, Bill C-81: An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada, also known as the Accessible Canada Act. The act seeks to help identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers in areas under federal jurisdiction and within the government.

Going forward

Implementing the Accessible Canada Act

The government has recently created a new deputy minister position for public service accessibility and is working to remove barriers to accessing government information and services, as well as ensuring that all public service employees with disabilities have the tools and support they need to contribute to their full potential. A Public Service Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan will be released in 2019 to guide further actions in this area. This strategy and action plan will explore what guidelines, training and tools on accessibility by design are needed to ensure that the public service has the expertise and awareness to promote accessible government. The strategy will also study and recommend potential changes to government administrative policies, such as making accessibility and usability fundamental criteria in IT procurement rules beyond the use of vendor statements.

Additionally, if passed, Bill C-61 will extend accessibility requirements to government documents, expanding the requirements under current Treasury Board policies that all government websites be accessible. Departmental officials must work to incorporate the digital standard of accessibility by design into their work as a standard practice.

Inclusive communications

Under the Official Languages Act, government information is required to be accessible to Canadians in both of Canada’s official languages, and departments should consider communicating in other languages, including sign languages, when user needs warrant it.

Consultation and collaboration are important components of policy-making, but these must be inclusive and accessible to identify the needs of diverse populations. Departments are responsible for consulting with Canadians and reporting on these consultations in proposals. The government is working on increasing the inclusiveness of consultations using digital tools and new techniques.

Chapter 3: digital-first and digitally enabled by design

3.1 Digitally enabled by design and easy-to-find information

Going forward

Building in digital

Digital can no longer be an afterthought in operations, service design or program design. Departments are encouraged to use the digital standards as a first step in developing policy or program proposals, and central agencies are encouraged to use them as a lens when reviewing proposals or playing a challenge function. This ensures that government operations, service and program design are optimized for digital, and leverages those principles and standards, regardless of the channel through which the service is delivered.

This digital service design should build in privacy protections and accessibility by design, in line with the digital standards.

Building in privacy

Privacy must continue to be an integral consideration in the design of digital operations, programs and services; robust privacy practices and privacy breach management are foundational measures for supporting a more digital government. As the government moves toward enterprise-wide digital solutions and initiatives, for which responsibility is shared between institutions, the protection of personal information needs to be considered at the outset, through a Privacy Impact Assessment, which can identify ways to minimize privacy impacts and mitigate risks. This will support the protection of privacy for integrated and online service delivery.

Cybersecurity and information management are both important enablers that support privacy protection, and these are discussed in section 4.

Digitally enabled front-line services

While services are increasingly delivered online, human interactions will continue to be an important part of service delivery. Digitally enabling front-line services is about ensuring that the tools needed for in-person interactions between service providers and Canadians are available and accessible. The government will work to ensure that front-line services are enabled by digital tools, such as databases and telecommunications systems.

Improving content on Canada.ca

Sometimes the words we use, and how we organize them, can make it difficult for people to find and understand government information and services on Canada.ca. TBS’s Digital Transformation Office is working on projects with departments to make it easier.

For each project, the Digital Transformation Office co-creates prototypes, sets concrete usability targets, and runs usability tests with Canadians, trying to improve to address specific questions that people have about specific federal services. For a prototype to launch, it must make it at least 20% easier for people to get the right answer. Considering the high numbers of visits to in-demand pages, such an increase in task success rates is significant. Ultimately, it means people spend less time looking for the answers they need from the government.

Projects undertaken in 2017 and 2018 improved Canadians’ ability to find information on business start-up activities, travel documents, immunization information, employment insurance special benefits. Further information is available on the Improving content on Canada.ca web page.

Work is also taking place to improve the design system basics of the Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification, with an emphasis on taking a task-based approach that prioritizes organizing online information in a way that helps people find the information or service they came to Canada.ca to find.

Departments must also use user-based research and design methodologies, as described in Chapter 1, in developing their communications.

Chapter 4: modern tech, technology practices and information stewardship

4.5 IM modernization and data stewardship

The volume of data that governments, businesses and Canadians produce is growing exponentially, driven by digital technologies. Organizations are changing their business models, building new expertise, and devising new ways of managing and unlocking the value of their data. Governments need to evolve rapidly to keep up and work in an integrated way to use data as a strategic asset that contributes to better operations, programs and service delivery.

Canadians value a government that is open with respect to data and other business information but balances openness with protection of their privacy. It is also important that recipients of services are confident that authoritative sources are used and decision-making is evidence-based.

Going forward

Developing and implementing a Government of Canada data strategy

How the government collects, manages and governs data, and accesses and shares data with other governments, sectors and Canadians, must change. Data has the power to enable the government to make better decisions, design better programs and deliver more effective services. However, we must refresh our approach for this to occur, and share data in a way that allows other governments, businesses, researchers and the not-for-profit sector to also extract value from data.

Under direction from the Clerk of the Privy Council, TBS has been co-leading the development of a Data Strategy Roadmap with the Privy Council Office and Statistics Canada since January 2018, working with other departmental partners. The roadmap identifies strategic priorities for a unified and collaborative approach to manage government-wide data as an asset while respecting privacy. Implementation of the Data Strategy Roadmap aims to support improved decision-making and enhanced services to Canadians and a more transparent, collaborative and digitally enabled public service.

Recommendations in the roadmap are oriented around 4 themes:

  • stronger leadership and governance
  • improved data literacy and skills
  • enabling infrastructure and legislation
  • treatment of data as a strategic asset

The goal is to set a foundation so that the government creates more value for Canadians from the data we hold while ensuring the privacy and protection of personal information. Given the importance of data to supporting a digital government vision, the initiatives in the Data Strategy Roadmap complement, may overlap with, and are in some cases identical to the priorities identified in this Strategic Plan.

Data and information-sharing

When paired with modern integration tools to enable exchange of data and information between enterprise systems as well as between departments and governments, interoperable platforms are the backbone of data and information-sharing, data analytics and end-to-end services. Investments in interoperability will enable a modern workplace in which employees have the tools and data needed to keep pace with the expectations of the Canadians and businesses they serve. Seamless exchange of data and information, regardless of the underlying technology, will improve data integrity, enable the tell-me-once principle, and lead to improved operations, programs and service delivery.

As noted in subsection 1.2, changes to the rules framework may be needed to enable greater sharing of data between organizations or departments while also strengthening privacy protection in the digital age. This type of information interoperability will be a critical enabler for tell-us-once approaches and seamless services.

Ensure the quality and maintenance of data

To maximize the value and strategic use of data, dimensions of quality such as accuracy, timeliness, relevance, accessibility, interpretability and coherence according to intended use must be applied. Statistics Canada, for which data quality management and quality control are core business activities, and TBS, which supports the development of administrative policies for the government, in coordination with other organizations, will develop, implement and support data quality management strategies, policies and practices for a comprehensive data quality framework. The proposed framework will be adaptable across government while establishing common enterprise-wide standards to ensure interoperability.

Maintain digital information

Digital assets have a longer shelf life than their supporting technologies and can be vulnerable to degradation, corruption or loss. A government digital preservation working group established by Library and Archives Canada shares common challenges and works toward facilitating long-term retention of digital assets. The work of this committee will be leveraged and expanded to develop guidance, including best practices and standards.

Enhanced open government infrastructure

As noted in Chapter 2, Canada has made significant progress in maximizing the release of government data and information. This is enabled by technology, and the government has taken important steps to improve the functionality and reliability of online infrastructure for open government.

The government has also worked to support the “demand side” of open data and information, identifying and collaborating with stakeholders in organizations and companies that leverage open government data and information. Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) is one organization that helps Canadian companies make use of open data. TBS has worked with ODX to deepen insight into the commercial open data landscape and to understand what challenges need to be overcome in order to make Canadian open data companies more competitive. In the last two years, ODX has incubated 15 new data-driven companies, and it has more work planned in future years to continue to promote the use of open government data among Canadian companies.

Develop a master data management program

In an open and distributed operational environment, there is a risk that business-critical data becomes redundant, inconsistent and scattered throughout the enterprise.

Master data management is the processes, governance, tools, rules and technology required to create and maintain consistent data formats across organizations and over time. It focuses on common critical data elements and establishes strong governance around them. Effective master data management can:

  • eliminate redundancy and inconsistency of data and ensure its quality and control
  • provide a single, authoritative point of reference that can be shared by many processes and applications across the organization
  • streamline data-sharing and facilitate interoperability

TBS will work with key business owners, starting with Statistics Canada, to establish a government-wide master data management program to formally identify standard data elements and single authoritative sources for key information domains.

4.6 Innovative and responsible use of new technologies

Responsible use of artificial intelligence and automation

Automation has the potential to a transformative force in government and to be a “force multiplier” that enables the government to provide services faster, better and more efficiently. The strategic use of automation can free up scarce resources to focus on needs elsewhere. The government announced in July 2017 that it would be running select pilot projects on the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation in public administration.

The use of automation and artificial intelligence also requires careful attention to the issues of potential bias, impacts on diverse populations, risk, and managing compatibility with administrative law. To begin to identify and navigate these issues, TBS developed a working paper on the responsible use of artificial intelligence in the Government of Canada using an open-by-default and collaborative approach that engaged experts, industry professionals and the public. Work is now ongoing in developing a Directive on Automated Decision-Making and an Algorithmic Impact Assessment to provide an assessment framework that helps institutions better understand and mitigate the risks associated with automated decision-making systems by providing the appropriate governance, oversight and reporting, and audit requirements. The tool is being developed with open collaboration.

As more use cases of automation and artificial intelligence are explored and adoption advances, more policy guidance, tools and training will be developed to help ensure that departments and public servants are using this technology in innovative and responsible ways.

Chapter 5: a digitally enabled public service

5.1 Giving public servants the tools they need

Collaboration tools

GCTools such as GCpedia, GCconnex, GCcollab, instant messaging and the GCintranet increase productivity and enable collaboration across the government and other partners. Employees are able to easily connect and share information and work across departments and geographic boundaries, resulting in better service to Canadians.

GCTools that support government requirements for accessibility, official languages and collaboration with external partners will be further developed and integrated into other applications. The current suite of GCTools will evolve into an open and accessible digital workspace, which will allow employees to easily connect with the information, colleagues and external partners they need to work effectively. The open and accessible digital workspace will also provide simplified access to other activities such as staffing, learning and professional development.

In line with the digital standards, departments should make collaboration and appropriate information-sharing an open-by-default expectation of employees. Therefore, the adoption of GCTools should be part of standard practices for employee onboarding throughout government.

In addition, in July 2018, TBS directed departments to allow employee access to collaboration sites such as Google Docs, Trello and Slack.

Data analysis and visualization tools

As we embrace a more data-driven digital government, public servants will need access to data analysis and visualization tools. In data-driven roles, such as data scientists or policy development involving statistics, access to these tools is a basic part of the software toolkit, similar to a word processor. CIOs should make it a priority to facilitate access to data analysis and visualization tools to public servants in their departments.

5.2 Giving public servants the skills they need

Assessing public service skills and analyzing future needs

Technological disruption, changing approaches and digital government will require public servants to have new skills and competencies. To help public servants and the public service adapt to this evolving digital environment, TBS will work with partners such as the Canadian School of Public Service to identify competencies for the digital age to better understand how the current skills profile of the government needs to evolve.

Building a Digital Academy and promoting public service digital literacy

To effectively enable digital government, the public service must promote digital literacy among all public servants. Digital literacy goes beyond basic computer skills, and public servants need to be able to use various technologies to extract high-value insights from the wealth of available information and data, use collaboration tools, and communicate in digital spaces.

The Government of Canada is launching a Digital Academy with the goal of increasing the offerings available to public servants who want to increase their digital literacy and understanding of key areas such as service design, data analytics and new technologies as they apply to their work. Informed by examples in other jurisdictions, we will build a made-in-Canada model that will lead to better understanding of how digital can improve how government functions and allow better services. The Canada School of Public Service will lead the delivery of the Digital Academy, in partnership with TBS, the Canadian Digital Service, Statistics Canada, other government departments and partners in the non-profit, academic or private sectors.

The development of the Digital Academy will be especially guided by the principles of open by default, collaborating wisely, and iterative development. Initial courses were piloted in September 2018, and the government will aim for this service to be available beginning in 2019.

In addition to broad digital literacy initiatives, the 2017 to 2021 GC IM-IT Strategic Plan announced that the government would design an engagement and awareness program for all public servants to enable them to become more data-literate and learn the required competencies for evidence-based decision-making.

To help public servants enable a digital government, departments need to also make professional development a priority, including by ensuring that employees have the opportunity to participate in learning and development opportunities.

Targeted talent management and professional development initiatives

The government is continuously evolving its approach to talent management and is expanding the scope of the program to become more inclusive to increase mobility and ensure a more porous boundary with other sectors.

Some competencies are so fundamental to effectively delivering digital government that special initiatives may be required. Cybersecurity is one of those special areas of focus, and TBS will work with developments to develop a Cybersecurity Talent Strategy. Other identified areas of special focus are data science, agile procurement competencies, and complex project management and approaches to address needs in these areas will be evaluated.

In addition, mobility opportunities can play an important role in supporting greater integration within government for better delivery. For example, the Government of Canada Policy Community has developed a cross-functional policy mobility program to allow policy practitioners in one area (for example, policy development, service management and operations) to learn about and gain experience in other functional specialities using a “learning by doing” approach. The prototype of this initiative begins its testing in November 2018.

Chapter 6: good digital governance

6.1 Digital leaders

Recognizing upcoming digital leaders

Creating a public service that delivers a digital government of tomorrow will also require supporting and developing the leaders of tomorrow. It is important that departments prioritize identifying high-performing employees that demonstrate leadership qualities, embrace the digital mindset and standards, and have the potential to grow into formal management roles.

Promoting the digital leadership mindset

In addition to supporting CIOs and digital leaders in taking a more active integrated role in departmental business (for example, operations, service delivery and programs), it is important to promote the digital mindset and encourage officials working in this area to play a leadership role across their organizations. Professional development for leaders will be a key part of this. For example, the Digital Academy recently piloted a course on Agile for Leaders. Change management is likewise a skill that technology executives and workers will increasingly need, and the government will need to support this development.

6.2 Management of digital investments and results

Developing a Digital Performance Measurement Framework and Maturity Model

To measure progress on digital transformation, a performance measurement framework will be developed to accompany the Digital Policy referenced in Chapter 1. The objectives of the framework are to:

  • align the Digital Policy outcomes and Digital Operations Strategic Plan priorities with discrete performance metrics
  • assess the integration of digital into service delivery, operations and programs
  • assess the use of performance data to support decision-making
  • monitor and report on progress
  • highlight achievements

A maturity model will accompany this framework to assess departments on digital government adoption, mapped to the themes included in this Strategic Plan. The benefit of a maturity model compared with more traditional yes/no compliance measurement is that it recognizes that adoption of the digital government vision involves evolution and progressive improvements. The maturity model approach also gives the opportunity to identify departments that are government digital change leaders and exceeding baseline expectations.

Data and insights generated from this process will support a continuous improvement process to inform evolving digital priorities or identify potential barriers to progress toward digital government that should be addressed.

Enhancing digital governance and management

TBS and departments are also taking a number of measures to enhance overall digital governance, including:

  • developing enterprise architectures to manage the integration business, information, applications, technology, privacy and security
  • providing policy guidance and more robust approval and oversight of complex technology projects
  • standardizing metadata with a registry, developing a valuation framework for information and data assets, and implementing better performance measurement for information and data management as part of the Digital Policy
  • developing new business and financial models for internal enterprise service departments, with cost recovery being developed for some Shared Services Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada services to help balance supply and demand, as announced in the 2017 to 2021 GC IM-IT Strategic Plan.
  • modernizing the financial and materiel management business model across the Government of Canada.

6.3 Leadership in the digital ecosystem

Leadership in the global digital government movement

In 2018, Canada signed the Digital 7 (D7) charter, joining leading digital nations in a mission to harness digital technology to the benefit of citizens. D7 comprises nations that are recognized as having the most advanced digital governments globally (in November 2018, it will become the Digital 9). It provides a forum for member nations to share best practices, identify how to improve service delivery to citizens, collaborate on common projects, and support and champion their respective growing digital economies. The D9 charter commits Canada to working toward core principles of digital development, with a focus on user needs, open government, and a commitment to share and learn from D9 member nations.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with Estonia and other D9 partner countries to advance mutual digital government priorities, share efforts and co-create where possible. A number of D9 working groups are being organized to address key digital issues including digital rights, digital identity, artificial intelligence and integrated citizen centric services.

Leadership in the global open government movement

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is the leading global, multilateral organization focused on issues of openness, transparency, accountability and participation. Founded in 2011, the OGP now has 75 member countries and a number of sub-national government members. Canada has been an OGP member since 2012 and has released 3 OGP Action Plans outlining actions it will undertake to make government more open, with a 4th Action Plan currently in progress.

In March 2017, Canada was elected to a 3-year term on the OGP Steering Committee and in October 2018, started serving a 1-year term as lead government co-chair of the OGP. As lead government co-chair for 2018 to 2019, Canada will publish a co-chair strategy outlining the initiatives it will pursue under its key co-chair priorities of inclusion, participation, impact and strengthening the OGP. Canada will track its progress in implementing this co-chair strategy and report quarterly on its work.

In spring 2019, Canada will host an international OGP event, bringing together government and civil society representatives from a number of OGP member countries around the world.

Appendix A: detailed list of strategic actions

Action Item #1 Develop digital policy

Changes to IM and IT policies will serve as the foundation of ongoing work to develop a new Digital Policy. The new policy will integrate and evolve Treasury Board policies on service, IT, IM and elements of cybersecurity into a policy that better reflects the current operational environment of departments and drives more transformational change toward a digital government.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #2 Promoting user-focused design

To promote the digital standard of “Design with Users,” the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) will work with government user experience (UX) practitioners to identify and address administrative barriers to user research, provide guidance on user research practices, and encourage departments to adopt user research methods and activities as a key component of designing and building services, programs and operations.

Accountability: TBS, with partners
Timeline: 2019-20

Action Item #6 Horizontal review on information-sharing

From 2018 to 2020, TBS and key service delivery departments will build on this initial feasibility study and undertake a horizontal review on information-sharing and privacy. This will identify barriers to information-sharing and make recommendations on how to eliminate roadblocks to “tell us once” government services while strengthening privacy oversight. This review will set the foundation for recommendations and potential policy changes in the future.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2020

Action Item #7 Shift culture and processes toward open by design

To achieve the vision of a more transparent, accountable and responsive government, an “open government” lens needs to increasingly be applied to new or renewed program and service design and at all stages of policy and program development and implementation.

The long-term goal is to transform the work processes and culture of the public service to one where programs, services and information are open by design. TBS will lead work that includes designing new processes, protocols and standards to enable and facilitate the proactive release of government data and information by default.

The government will continue with Phase 2 of the Open-by-Default project, where we will improve the process of releasing unclassified working documents to the public.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: 2021

Action Item #8 2018 to 2020 Open Government Action Plan

As part of its Open Government Partnership membership, Canada expects to release the 2018 to 2020 National Action Plan on Open Government in fall 2018. The draft plan includes 10 commitments on topics ranging from digital government and services, to open science, to reconciliation and open government. These actions will supplement this Strategic Plan.

Accountability: TBS, with partners
Timeline: 2018-20

Action Item #9 Access to Information Portal

A new Access to Information and Privacy Online Request Service portal was launched on October 10, 2018. This portal, designed through user testing, uses artificial intelligence to enable requesters to search for summaries of previously released access to information requests and help requesters identify which institutions would likely hold the information they seek. It also allows for electronic payments and electronic transfer of the request to federal institutions. The solution will continue to be iterated through additional user testing, and institutions will continue to be phased in until all institutions (260+) subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are receiving requests through this service.

To reduce the administrative burden on federal institutions and to improve service to Canadians, efforts are currently underway to digitize the end-to-end access to information and personal information requests by 2021.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2018

Action Item #10 Public Service Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan

A Public Service Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan will be released in 2019 to guide efforts to remove barriers to accessing government information and services, and to ensure that all public service employees with disabilities have the tools and support they need to contribute to their full potential. This Strategy and Action Plan will explore what guidelines, training and tools on accessibility by design are needed to ensure that the public service has the expertise and awareness to promote accessible government.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2019-20

Action Item #11 Incorporate digital principles into operations, programs and service design

In 2018, TBS developed a set of digital standards to guide digital development in the Government of Canada based on international best practices. These principles will guide and shape how government information, technology and service delivery will be managed in a new digital ecosystem. These principles will need to be built into policy, operations and program development, including building accessibility by design, privacy by design, designing with users and working in the open. TBS will be working on socializing these standards across government, and departments should begin to use them to guide their policy, operations and service design work.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #12 Improving Canada.ca content through targeted user-based initiatives.

The TBS Digital Transformation Office is working on projects with federal departments to make it easier for people to find and understand Government of Canada information and services on Canada.ca.

For each project, the office co-creates prototypes, sets concrete usability targets, and runs usability tests with Canadians, trying to improve to address specific questions that people have about specific Government of Canada services. For a prototype to launch, it must make it at least 20% easier for people to get the right answer.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #28 Implement an enterprise-secure communications service for classified information

Every day, departments create, store and process classified information. Failure to protect this information could lead to:

  • national security risks
  • economic losses
  • loss of government credibility

Although several special environments allow some departments to safely share classified information, there is no common solution implemented government-wide.

Established by SSC, under the strategic direction of TBS and supported by CSE, the Government of Canada Secret Infrastructure (GCSI) will implement a single, common and integrated enterprise-wide secret-level network to enable classified data to be securely transmitted, stored and processed across departments. Departments will leverage this service to ensure classified information is managed accordingly.

Classified voice and mobile capabilities will also be implemented for users who need to regularly discuss classified information.

Accountability: TBS, CSE, SSC, departments
Timeline: 2021

Action Item #29 Improve enterprise data loss prevention

As the government becomes more open by default, it must ensure that sensitive and protected information is not disclosed inadvertently. Preventing the unauthorized transfer or release of sensitive information involves first identifying sensitive data and then protecting it through adequate encryption and access controls. Unauthorized data flows and operations must be monitored, detected and blocked.

TBS has established a framework to support an enterprise approach to data loss prevention that relies on an information life cycle and IM solutions. SSC, with departments, will implement the framework to minimize the risk of unauthorized disclosure and inadvertent leakage of that sensitive government data.

Accountability: TBS, SSC, departments
Timeline: 2021

Action Item #42 Advance analytics

Business intelligence involves creating, aggregating, analyzing and visualizing data to inform and facilitate business management and strategy. Analytics is about asking questions and refers to all the ways in which data can be broken down, compared and examined for trends. Big data is the technology that stores and processes data and information in datasets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications can’t analyze them. Big data can make available almost limitless amounts of information, improving data-driven decision-making and expanding open data initiatives.

TBS, working with departments, will lead the development of requirements for an enterprise analytics platform.

TBS will work with departments to identify a business lead to develop a data lake (a repository of raw data) service strategy so that the government can take advantage of big data and market innovation to foster better analytics and promote horizontal data-sharing.

Accountability: TBS, SSC, departments
Timeline: TBD

Action Item #43 Enhance online infrastructure to enable departments to release their data and information

The government has also worked to support the “demand side” of open data and information, identifying and collaborating with stakeholders in organizations and companies that leverage open government data and information. Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) is one organization that helps Canadian companies make use of open data. TBS has worked with the ODX to deepen insight into the commercial open data landscape and to understand what challenges need to be overcome in order to make Canadian open data companies more competitive. In the last 2 years, ODX has incubated 15 new data-driven companies, and has more work planned in future years to continue to promote the use of open government data among Canadian companies.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #44 Develop a master data management program

In an open and distributed operational environment such as the government, there is a risk that business-critical data becomes redundant, inconsistent and scattered throughout the enterprise.

Master data management (MDM) can be defined as the processes, governance, tools, rules and technology required to create and maintain consistent and accurate master data. It focuses on common critical data elements and establishes strong governance around them. MDM can eliminate redundancy and inconsistency of data in an organization and ensure its quality and control. It can provide a single, authoritative point of reference that can be shared by many processes and applications across the organization. It can also streamline data sharing and facilitate interoperability.

TBS will work with Statistics Canada and other key business owners to establish a government-wide MDM program to formally identify standard data elements and single authoritative sources for key information domains, where appropriate.

Accountability: TBS, Statistics Canada, departments
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #45 Implement GCDOCS

Time and productivity are frequently lost due to the lack of consistent tools and systems to help employees store, search and find the information and data they need to do their jobs. Enterprise IM solutions such as GCDOCS streamline and simplify these processes, but they need to be configured properly to make back-end IM processes as invisible as possible to users.

Automation can provide opportunities to:

  • simplify and streamline key IM processes and practices
  • deliver a seamless user experience that relieves burden on individual government workers

Furthermore, implementing integrated and standardized solutions across departments can help make it easier for government employees to find, use and share the information and data they need to do their jobs, while ensuring consistent, foundational management of government information assets. Information and data can be leveraged to help departments achieve their business objectives and meet their mandated requirements.

TBS and PSPC will enhance the government-wide GCDOCS service for departments, including:

  • full deployment by 2022; 30 organizations have fully adopted GCDOCS, an additional 79 organizations are in various stages of onboarding
  • broadening its integration with back office systems
  • piloting its use as a tool for increasing the openness of government information

Accountability: TBS, PPSC, departments
Timeline: 2022

Action Item #46 Standardize metadata

Metadata is the backbone of digital automated processes, information retrieval, and the use and sharing of information and data. Metadata defines and describes the structure and meaning of information and data and of the context and systems in which they exist. Metadata supports efficient and effective management of information and data resources over time, which facilitates decision-making, accountability and the efficient delivery of government programs and services.

Standardized metadata supports:

  • interoperability within and across systems
  • reuse of information resources within, across and outside the government

Along with standardized metadata, consistent use of authoritative vocabularies supports the exchange of information and data resources within and across systems.

Automated metadata collection, creation, use and reuse can greatly relieve burden on individual government workers.

TBS, in conjunction with business owners, will standardize metadata schemas and maximize their benefits to simplify and automate metadata usage and make it invisible to users.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #47 Provide tools and resources to make innovative use of information and data

The need for tools to collect, store, analyze, manage, share and visualize data is increasing in all departments. Enabling open standards, open source, interoperability, and the sharing of expertise requires access to a common set of data tools commensurate with common data needs. At the same time, departments need a flexible framework to explore new tools and more advanced options that are both interoperable and secure.

The Government of Canada’s IT infrastructure must be able to support the ambitious agenda of its data system. There is a growing need for higher computing capacity and for the modernization of older data infrastructures. For example, collaborative efforts are underway through initiatives such as the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure. This initiative provides national geospatial standards and infrastructure critical to address environmental assessments, emergency response and space program continuity.

It is important that the government take a proactive approach in addressing its future data requirements. Currently, many departments and agencies are anxious for the delivery of secure cloud infrastructure and/or procurement options. It is expected that public Protected B cloud services will be ready for departmental access by spring 2019.

  • TBS will work with departments and agencies to identify common business requirements, develop a catalogue of recommended and pre-approved tools, and establish updated guidelines and processes for their implementation.
  • TBS and SSC will assess required infrastructure needs over the short and medium terms (that is, trajectories based on historical data usage, data pressures on the network and bandwidth consumption, and forward-looking opportunities) and provide an interim report to DM CEPP by end of summer 2019.
  • TBS and SSC will provide a final report to DM CEPP by fall 2020, factoring in all organizational data strategies.

Accountability: TBS, SSC, departments
Timeline: 2020

Action Item #48 Develop a data strategy for the Government of Canada

Under direction from the Clerk of the Privy Council, TBS has been co-leading the development of a Data Strategy Roadmap with the Privy Council Office and Statistics Canada since January 2018, working with other departmental partners. The roadmap identifies strategic priorities for a unified and collaborative approach to manage government-wide data as an asset while respecting privacy. Implementation of the Data Strategy Roadmap aims to support improved decision-making and enhanced services to Canadians and a more transparent, collaborative and digitally enabled public service.

Recommendations in the roadmap are oriented around 4 themes:

  1. stronger leadership and governance
  2. improved data literacy and skills
  3. enabling infrastructure and legislation
  4. treatment of data as a strategic asset

The goal is to set a foundation so that the government creates more value for Canadians from the data we hold while ensuring the privacy and protection of personal information. Given the importance of data to supporting a digital government vision, the initiatives in the Data Strategy Roadmap complement, may overlap with, and are in some cases identical to the priorities identified in this Strategic Plan.

Accountability: TBS, Privy Council Office, Statistics Canada
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #49 Artificial intelligence

The use of automation and artificial intelligence also requires careful attention to the issues of potential bias, impacts on diverse populations, risk, and managing compatibility with administrative law. To begin to identify and navigate these issues, TBS developed a working paper on the responsible use of artificial intelligence in the Government of Canada using an open-by-default and collaborative approach that engaged experts, industry professionals and the public. Work is now ongoing in developing a Directive on Automated Decision-Making and an Algorithmic Impact Assessment to provide an assessment framework that helps institutions better understand and mitigate the risks associated with automated decision-making systems by providing the appropriate governance, oversight and reporting, and audit requirements. The tool is being developed with open collaboration.

As more use cases of automation and artificial intelligence are explored and adoption advances, more policy guidance, tools and training will be developed to help ensure that departments and public servants are using this technology in innovative and responsible ways.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #55 Advance digital collaboration

GCTools such as GCpedia, GCconnex, GCcollab, instant messaging and the GCintranet increase productivity and enable collaboration across the government and other partners. Employees are able to easily connect and share information and work across departments and geographic boundaries, resulting in better service to Canadians.

GCTools that support government requirements for accessibility, official languages and collaboration with external partners will be further developed and integrated into other applications. The current suite of GCTools will evolve into an open and accessible digital workspace, which will allow employees to easily connect with the information, colleagues and external partners they need to work effectively. The open and accessible digital workspace will also provide simplified access to other activities such as staffing, learning and professional development.

TBS will make adopting GCTools part of standard practices for employee onboarding throughout government. Departments will then be in a better position to adopt and use GCTools through the Ambassadors Network and in formal training and ongoing communications. The Ambassadors Network consists of volunteers from various departments and regions that provide support to teams using GCpedia, GCconnex and GCcollab to enhance their work.

Departments will decommission stand-alone collaborative platforms unless they are linked to core local business requirements. Email communication will be reduced in favour of open discussions or instant messaging, where transitory communications can occur without bogging down government systems.

Accountability: TBS, departments
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #57 Promote digital literacy and collaboration

Digital literacy goes beyond basic computer skills. It is essential to make the most of investments already made in the IM-IT environment, devices and tools, and to ensure that IM-IT helps workforce productivity rather than detracts from it.

Data literacy is a skill required for working digitally. Government employees need to be able to extract high-value insights from the wealth of available information and data and to communicate them.

TBS will develop partnerships to leverage and design an engagement and awareness program for all public servants to enable them to:

  • become more data-literate
  • leverage evidence-based decision-making
  • engage internally and externally as digital citizens

Public service employees should also be able to use GCTools such as GCpedia, GCconnex and GCintranet to share information and build the professional networks needed to respond to shifting priorities and problems. Collaborating digitally involves “working out loud,” where others can see, benefit from and help improve how employees work.

To promote a culture of openness and collaboration, departments will nurture these skills throughout the public service by:

  • adopting and using GCTools for everyday work
  • deploying targeted and general learning and community outreach activities
  • promoting the use of self-directed learning tools and materials

Senior leaders’ adoption of GCTools will be critical to successfully integrating digital collaboration into their departments and to demonstrating the full benefits of these collaborative tools. Leaders will adopt an “open first” approach toward content creation and encourage their employees to participate in shared knowledge and collaborative digital spaces, other than where security requirements prohibit such an approach.

Accountability: TBS, CSPS, departments
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #58 Modernize the information and data management profession

Revitalizing the information and data management profession is necessary to ensure that it keeps pace with current and emerging business needs in a digital, open and service-oriented environment. Furthermore, information and data professionals should be more involved early on in the development process when designing or renewing programs and systems to ensure that issues associated with information and data management and sharing are proactively considered. Realigning roles and responsibilities of information and data management professionals and other key stakeholders could help improve collaboration and overall coherence.

TBS will lead the development of new standardized:

  • generic work streams and job descriptions
  • generic competency profiles
  • organizational structures

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #60 Expand open government training and outreach

Training and awareness sessions are being provided to public servants across the federal government to enhance knowledge and skills for open government.

TBS will continue its work to expand open government training and outreach in the coming years, in partnership with CSPS. In addition to hosting public webinars on open government issues, and developing dedicated open government training and learning activities for public servants, the Government of Canada will develop and publish open government learning materials for use by teachers and post-secondary instructors. This will help Canadians know about our open government work and more actively participate in it, which in turn increases Canada’s ability to harness the social and economic potential of open government.

Accountability: TBS, CSPS
Timeline: 2018

Action Item #61 Enhance digital security awareness and reliability of government employees

The government is shifting its culture to digital and needs a better understanding of basic cyber/security hygiene with respect to digital systems, using services, sharing information and passwords. Improving behaviour and tendencies users have when interacting with systems will allow for a transition in security focus from building guardrails to innovation and evolution in security thinking and implementation. There is a need to ensure that patterns of behaviour are engrained into the daily activities of government staff to ensure a safe and secure digital infrastructure. Canadian Centre for Cyber Security will promote a general approach to training and awareness for IT security and supporting IT security teams across the government.

Accountability: CCCS, TBS, departments
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #64 A Digital Academy

The Government of Canada is launching a Digital Academy with the goal of increasing the offerings available to public servants who want to increase their digital literacy and understanding of key areas such as service design, data analytics and new technologies as they apply to their work. Informed by examples in other jurisdictions, we will build a made-in-Canada model that will lead to better understanding of how digital can improve how government functions and allow better services. CSPS will lead the delivery of the Digital Academy, in partnership with TBS, the Canadian Digital Service, Statistics Canada, other government departments and partners in the non-profit, academic or private sectors.

The development of the Digital Academy will be especially guided by the principles of open by default, collaborating wisely and iterative development. Initial courses were piloted in September 2018, and the government will aim for this service to be available beginning in 2019.

Accountability: CSPS, TBS, with partners
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #75 Developing a Digital Performance Measurement Framework and Maturity Model

To measure progress on digital transformation, a performance measurement framework will be developed to accompany the Digital Policy.

A maturity model will accompany this framework to assess departments on digital government adoption, mapped to the themes included in this Strategic Plan.

Data and insights generated from this process will support a continuous improvement process to inform evolving digital priorities or identify potential barriers to progress toward digital government that should be addressed.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2019

Action Item #78 Leadership in the global digital government movement

In 2018, Canada signed the Digital 7 (D7) charter, joining leading digital nations in a mission to harness digital technology to the benefit of citizens. The D7 charter commits Canada to working toward core principles of digital development, with a focus on user needs, open government, and a commitment to share and learn from D7 member nations. D7 comprises nations that are recognized as having the most advanced digital governments globally. It provides a forum for member nations to share best practices, identify how to improve service delivery to citizens, collaborate on common projects, and support and champion their respective growing digital economies.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: ongoing

Action Item #79 Leadership in the global open government movement

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is the leading global, multilateral organization focused on issues of openness, transparency, accountability and participation. Founded in 2011, the OGP now has 75 member countries and a number of sub-national government members. Canada has been an OGP member since 2012 and has released 3 OGP Action Plans outlining actions it will undertake to make government more open, with a 4th Action Plan currently in progress.

In March 2017, Canada was elected to a 3-year term on the OGP Steering Committee and in October 2018 started serving a 1-year term as lead government co-chair of the OGP. As lead government co-chair for 2018 to 2019, Canada will publish a co-chair strategy outlining the initiatives it will pursue under its key co-chair priorities of inclusion, participation, impact and strengthening the OGP. Canada will track its progress in implementing this co-chair strategy and report quarterly on its work.

In spring 2019, Canada will host an international OGP event, bringing together government and civil society representatives from a number of OGP member countries around the world.

Accountability: TBS
Timeline: 2019

(Via Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat)

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