Federal, Provincial and Territorial Declaration on Public Sector Innovation

To achieve meaningful and lasting results for the people we serve, governments need to work in new and inventive ways with a greater focus on what works and what doesn’t. Innovation can do more than just drive strong economic growth. It has the potential to solve the big challenges that we face as Canadians.

Innovation, experimentation and openness require constant effort—even if they present risks. We need to be ambitious, nimble and collaborative to achieve meaningful and lasting results. We need to rely on the diversity, ingenuity and creativity of Canadians to solve real problems. In times of considerable change and uncertainty, the greatest risk is refusing to take chances and try new things.

Following this third annual Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries Conference on Policy Innovation, we, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries, commit to taking the following actions to support innovation in the public sector:

  • Seeking out and applying new insights, ideas, tools and technologies to complex problems by working within and across governments to continuously improve policies, programs and services;
  • Experimenting and measuring results by identifying what works and what doesn’t, so that we can invest where we can have the greatest impact;
  • Sharing knowledge and data with citizens in an open and transparent way, while learning from them and incorporating their expertise and input into our work;
  • Putting citizens first by collaborating with all sectors of society including Indigenous peoples, the non-profit and private sectors, and civil society to co-design and implement better policies, programs and services;
  • Exploring opportunities to work together on prizes, challenges and other outcomes-based funding mechanisms; and
  • Continuing the dialogue on innovation and experimentation across Canada by sharing experiences and knowledge, making linkages and establishing partnerships.

Canada is a resilient, inclusive, diverse and outward-looking country. These are our strengths. But we must build on them and be even more inventive if we are to succeed in the face of rapid social, economic, environmental and technological change. Rapid innovation is now the norm in the scientific, business and social sectors. Embracing this innovation is no less important in the public sector and is crucial to building inclusive, sustainable communities.

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