Message from the Minister of Digital Government

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Message from the Minister

It is an honour to serve as Canada’s first stand-alone Minister of Digital Government. This role was created because our government is committed to transforming the way we serve Canadians.

The Government of Canada has work to do on digital delivery. Aging digital infrastructure, cumbersome internal processes, and analogue front‑line services all make it difficult for Canadians and businesses to navigate too many government services.

Today, most of us can buy anything, from anywhere, at any time, from any device. That’s where we need to be when it comes to government services. People expect government to be part of this technological age, where innovation is happening at breakneck speed.

However, Canada’s government still functions largely on systems built for an analogue world. While change is happening fast, we must increase the pace or risk falling further behind.

As a government we are up to meeting the challenge of responding to the digital needs of Canadians. When the COVID-19 pandemic pushed us to go digital, the digital government teams supported the overnight transition to remote work and collaborated with multiple departments on the front lines of the pandemic response.

In a matter of weeks and months, the government rolled out new benefits and digital tools, which under normal circumstances would have taken years to do. We have seen what we are capable of, and we have shown Canadians that user-friendly, convenient and digital-first services are possible. My goal is to make them the norm.

Budget 2021 outlines an ambitious next phase for Canada’s digital transformation, with over $2.5 billion in proposed investments in both the highest impact services, like benefits, taxes and immigration, and over $1 billion of that amount dedicated to permanently establishing a coordinated and informed centralized team to support our government-wide transformation effort. Proposed funding for the Canadian Digital Service will renew and expand its capacity to support departments and agencies, and to develop and deliver services that meet the needs of people and businesses across Canada.

Budget 2021 also reinforces the government’s commitment to digital transformation with generational investments in Canada’s IT ecosystem. These include investments to acquire new technologies and tools to protect taxpayer information, the modernization of Canada’s benefit delivery systems, accelerating plans to ensure that all Canadians have access to broadband internet and establishing a new Data Commissioner to inform government and business approaches to data-driven issues.

Canada’s Digital Government Strategy seeks to change how people interact with government, to offer trusted and convenient transactions from any device at any time for those who choose it, and to offer better one‑on‑one service for those who need it.  It was informed by the dedicated work of the digital government teams at the Canadian Digital Service, Shared Services Canada, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, as well as input from stakeholders from all levels of government, academia and the private sector.

The strategy breaks the work ahead into four main areas:

  • Modernizing the way we replace, build, and manage major IT systems
  • Providing services to people when and where they need them
  • Taking a coordinated approach to digital operations
  • Transforming how we work- tackling long-standing institutional barriers to change and innovation

I am pleased to release this first iteration of our strategy, which will evolve along with our thinking, and I look forward to the work ahead.

- The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government

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