Government of Canada Digital Standards

Improving government services in the Digital Age

Our goal is to provide public services to Canadians which are simple to use and trustworthy. The Government of Canada’s Digital Standards form the foundation of the government’s shift to becoming more agile, open, and user-focused. They will guide teams in designing digital services in a way that best serves Canadians.

These digital standards were co-created with the public and key stakeholder groups. They are living standards and they will continue to evolve over time as we better understand the complexities involved in putting them into practice.

Design with users

Research with users to understand their needs and the problems we want to solve. Conduct ongoing testing with users to guide design and development.

Iterate and improve frequently

Develop services using agile, iterative and user-centred methods. Continuously improve in response to user needs. Try new things, start small and scale up.

Work in the open by default

Share evidence, research and decision making openly. Make all non-sensitive data, information, and new code developed in delivery of services open to the outside world for sharing and reuse under an open licence.

Use open standards and solutions

Leverage open standards and embrace leading practices, including the use of open source software where appropriate. Design for services and platforms that are seamless for Canadians to use no matter what device or channel they are using.

Address security and privacy risks

Take a balanced approach to managing risk by implementing appropriate privacy and security measures. Make security measures frictionless so that they do not place a burden on users.

Build in accessibility from the start

Services should meet or exceed accessibility standards. Users with distinct needs should be engaged from the outset to ensure what is delivered will work for everyone.

Empower staff to deliver better services

Make sure that staff have access to the tools, training and technologies they need. Empower the team to make decisions throughout the design, build and operation of the service.

Be good data stewards

Collect data from users only once and reuse wherever possible. Ensure that data is collected and held in a secure way so that it can easily be reused by others to provide services.

Design ethical services

Make sure that everyone receives fair treatment. Comply with ethical guidelines in the design and use of systems which automate decision making (such as the use of artificial intelligence).

Collaborate widely

Create multidisciplinary teams with the range of skills needed to deliver a common goal. Share and collaborate in the open. Identify and create partnerships which help deliver value to users.

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