Getting things done for Canadians
Public servants, business experts, and Canadians work together to identify service improvements that will allow Canadians to access our services when, how, and where they want. We deliver a lot of services. Last year alone, public servants:
- issued 4.78 million passports and other travel documents;
- processed 2.8 million Employment Insurance applications; and
- processed 96 million travellers through our borders.
We’ve launched a Job Bank mobile app that makes it easier for Canadians to find a job right at their fingertips. The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, allows users to search through tens of thousands of job opportunities on their smartphones, and create job alerts based on their search criteria, letting opportunities come to them. Check out the annex at the end of this Report for more Government of Canada apps.
Working closer with Canadians
To understand Canadians’ everyday experiences, public servants are engaging in meaningful conversations, such as the extensive consultations Health Canada undertook in developing the new Canada’s Food Guide. We are also working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners to support the development of healthy eating tools.
By considering the perspectives and expertise of community workers, public servants develop more inclusive and effective solutions. Parks Canada employees collaborated with Access Advisor (a non-government organization program to change how people see, understand, and approach accessibility in everyday situations) and the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Prince Edward Island, to make the Stanhope Beach in Prince Edward Island National Park fully accessible. As a result of this joint effort, Stanhope welcomes visitors with all levels of abilities. Among the many positive comments received about this new service, one visitor noted: “I became a quadriplegic when my daughter was just two months old. I had never been to the beach with her until this summer. She is 17 years old now.”
Visiting some remote communities can present particular challenges. The community of Kimmirut lies along Hudson Strait on the south coast of Baffin Island and has the second-shortest airstrip in Nunavut. It is often too stormy, windy or foggy for planes to land.
But in April 2018, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency public servants Mathieu Parker, Robert Aubé, and Scott Monteith met beyond Iqaluit’s rough sea ice and travelled by snowmobile across Frobisher Bay to the eastern entrance of Katannilik Territorial Park. This unconventional arrival earned community recognition. Their meetings in Kimmirut helped these public servants gain a much deeper understanding of, and respect for, the challenges and opportunities of this community.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Employees such as Nancy Robbins, an economic development officer for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in Newfoundland and Labrador, have been working with community groups and leaders to diversify and rebuild the region’s economy and preserve its proud fishing heritage.
Nancy’s work has helped revitalize historic properties, and this created the environment to attract new investments and small business opportunities, such as the Port Rexton Brewing Company.
Being more open
This year, we launched a new National Action Plan on Open Government, took on the role of lead government chair of the Open Government Partnership and tied for first place on the 2018 Open Data Barometer. In her blog, Jaimie Boyd, Director of Open Government at the Treasury Board Secretariat, highlights the work of a dedicated community, across government, across Canada, and around the world, focused on driving innovation through more open and transparent service delivery.
To ensure the public is informed, healthy, safe, and engaged, it is vital to be open about science. Following the appointment of a Chief Science Advisor of Canada, the Public Service, in collaboration with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, has developed a Model Policy on Scientific Integrity, which:
- provides principles and insights relevant to science-based decision-making across government; and
- advises on how to better support quality scientific research within the federal government; this includes making recommendations to help ensure:
- government science is fully available and accessible to the public; and
- federal scientists remain free to speak about their work.
The Climate Action Map is all about connecting Canadians to climate action in their communities. The interactive map enables Canadians to see how the Government of Canada is working with its partners to tackle climate change in their communities, including Indigenous communities. It also helps connect individuals and organizations with federal climate action funding programs. In only three months, the Environment and Climate Change Canada project team worked with 15 federal organizations to collect and showcase more than 1,800 projects in communities across Canada, including investments in clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transit, clean technology, and resilient infrastructure.
For more information about how much money government spends, how many people it employs, and what results it is achieving, Canadians can go to GC InfoBase. The site answers questions using interactive data visualizations that transform complex data into simple visual stories. It contains years’ worth of data, bringing together information from over 500 government reports.
Travelling the road to digital government
Digital transformation is integral to Public Service renewal. In the 1990s and early 2000s, this meant an emphasis on providing government information and forms online. In the years since, the world has undergone profound change, driven by ceaseless advances in digital technologies. Canadians expect government to change and adapt—by delivering the services they need, when and where they need them, through the channels that they prefer.
Canada has embraced this challenge. The Government appointed the first Minister of Digital Government in July 2018, who, shortly thereafter, announced the Government of Canada Digital Standards, which outline how we will work differently in the digital age. The Standards ensure:
- users and their needs are at the heart of everything we do; and
- we leverage digital technologies and methods to deliver the high-quality services Canadians expect.
The government’s Digital Operations Strategic Plan sets out concrete, practical steps focused on implementation and delivery. Public servants also developed a Data Strategy Roadmap centered on improved strategic use, protection, and stewardship of government data.
Digital technologies offer the opportunity to radically improve government operations while transforming how we work. “Tell-us-once” approaches can enable reuse of data to deliver seamless services and reduce administrative burdens. Meanwhile, automation and artificial intelligence can enable a more effective Public Service by supporting faster processes, smarter analysis, and more informed government decision-making. In January, we launched the Artificial Intelligence Source List of qualified suppliers so that public servants can easily access tools to make better sense and more effective use of the data we have.
We are changing how we work by leveraging open solutions, collaborating widely and working in the open, iterating frequently, continuously improving, and becoming truly user-centred in all that we do. We are shifting from email to collaborative platforms, embracing social media, and promoting the responsible use of automation and artificial intelligence. There are many examples throughout this report of our travels on the road to becoming more digital.
Public servants work hard to deliver the Government’s ambitious agenda. Guided by our traditional values of professionalism and non-partisanship, we take pride in our ability to quickly respond to changes.
This year witnessed public servants from many areas of expertise working hard to support ministers in, among other things:
- helping develop environmental assessment legislation;
- resetting governance in the national security community; and
- supporting free trade negotiations and implementation of trade agreements (most recently in North America, Europe, and Asia).
In support of a Government commitment to Canadians, a team from different organizations, including Health Canada, the Department of Justice, Public Safety Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, worked with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous governments and representative organizations, youth, and experts to ensure the successful legalization and regulation of cannabis that came into effect October 17, 2018.
Responding to Canada’s opioid crisis
Canada is facing a national opioid crisis. The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids, including fentanyl, is a national public health crisis. In response, public servants are developing practical tools to help save lives and raise awareness of this issue, including:
- an Opioid overdose wallet card to help identify the signs of an overdose; and
- an Opioid awareness video that has been viewed over 2 million times.
An issue like climate change touches many aspects of Canadian life, from migration to agriculture to how we construct buildings. This requires us to be flexible in designing and taking effective actions.
As part of the Government’s Oceans Protection Plan to create a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians, Canadian Coast Guard employees created the Arctic Inshore Rescue Boat station in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. It is operated by Coast Guard-trained Inuit post-secondary students from Arctic communities and provides seasonal search and rescue capabilities.
A team at Environment and Climate Change Canada brought together five non-governmental organizations to create the Ocean Plastic Education Kit so that teachers can help students learn about plastic pollution and how it affects our environment. Already, the kit has been accessed thousands of times.
We live our lives online: trust in our cyber systems is essential. Cyber security is critical to Canada’s competitiveness, economic stability, and long-term prosperity. Every day, public servants work diligently to keep Canada and Canadians safe.
In only seven months, Public Service leaders from the Communications Security Establishment successfully went from a Budget 2018 announcement to uniting over 750 employees from Public Safety Canada, Shared Services Canada, and the Communications Security Establishment into a single, new Cyber Centre. The Centre helps Canadians better understand cyber security and works to make them safer online.
Cyber security tips
- Canada’s authority on cyber security, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, a part of the Communications Security Establishment, offers tools and information, such as interactive apps and videos, that help Canadians better understand how they can keep their information secure.
- The Get Cyber Safe campaign developed a Get Cyber Safe Gift Guide to help keep Canadians safe when they buy or receive a new gadget.
Bringing the world together
Public servants not only work across Canada, we also work around the globe and even beyond it.
In October 2018, Transport Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada partnered with Interpol and 276 law enforcement and environmental agencies from 58 countries in the first global action to combat marine pollution. This enhanced cooperation among law enforcement agencies in Canada and our partners in the United States and abroad increases our collective ability to target polluters and criminal networks in Canada and around the world.
Public servants from over 22 departments and agencies supported the North American Free Trade Agreement modernization process with the United States of America and Mexico. Working in strong partnership with provincial and territorial officials, this team provided policy advice, engaged with Canadians and stakeholders, and spearheaded the negotiating effort over an intensive 13 months. They worked around the clock to enable the conclusion of negotiations in September 2018.
On the digital front, Canada recently joined a network of leading digital nations in the Digital 9 to share expertise and explore opportunities for greater digital government collaboration. In May 2019, we will host the Open Government Partnership Global Summit.
We are also learning through active bilateral relationships with other leading digital nations, including formal agreements with the United Kingdom and Estonia and informal relationships with multiple others. Through these, we are working to:
- provide better and fully accessible digital public services support, and encourage and help people who are offline or who are online with limited digital capability; and
- promote economic growth through open markets and agree on open standards for government information, data, and software.
The Public Service is proud of the strong relationships we have built with other countries. Our Canada-Australia Public Policy Initiative supports a structured dialogue and learning opportunities between the public services of the two countries on a range of pressing public policy topics. We are increasingly forging new relationships with colleagues in other countries.
On December 3, 2018, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques began “Perspective,” his first mission to space. He is spending about six and a half months aboard the International Space Station, where he is conducting science experiments and testing new technologies. From space, David also speaks with young people to make them part of the mission and spark their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. You can follow the mission on social media.
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