Getting things done for Canadians

Skip table of contents

Public servants work hard to serve Canadians every day. We implement trade agreements, inspect foods to make sure they are safe, collect weather data that makes its way onto Canadians’ weather apps and warmly welcome visitors and newcomers to Canada. No matter what we do, we know we must always strive to do better. After all, our mission is not just to serve Canadians but to serve them well.

Serving 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.

Several families standing outside

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.

Transcript - The Job Bank Mobile App

(Man in safety vest walking down the street in a residential neighbourhood, browsing on his phone.)

Narrator: The Job Bank Mobile App makes searching for jobs easy and convenient.

(Close up of phone screen beside man, displaying Job Bank searches online. Scene slides out of frame.)

Narrator: Search jobs close to where you live or anywhere in Canada.

Narrator: Find out who is hiring in your area.

(Man sitting on park bench swiping his phone. Phone screen beside man, displaying Job Bank searches online.)

Narrator: Swipe through jobs to speed up your search. Swipe right to add to your favourites.

(Woman riding her bicycle in a city neighbourhood. Close up of Job Bank app on phone screen image beside her.)

Narrator: Job Bank finds jobs that match your qualifications.

Set alerts and create favourites to find new jobs even faster.

(Cut to the woman at a farmer’s market bringing groceries to her bicycle. An image of a message notification alert from Job Bank pops up on the screen with a job opportunity. She takes her phone out of her pocket to check the message.)

Narrator: The app also notifies you of closing dates on your favourite selections.

(Cut to a woman walking in the forest with her dog. She is browsing on the job bank app. An image showing what she is browsing on the screen is shown beside her as she walks.)

Narrator: Job Bank works even offline so you can view your favourite jobs anytime, anywhere.

(Magnifying glass zooms in, blue screen surrounding it. Silhouettes of three people appear in the magnifying glass when it stops. Text on screen below: Job Bank.)

Narrator: Find us on Google Play and the App Store.

(Google Play and Apple App Store icons appear below Job Bank text.)

(Screen cuts to Canada wordmark on white background.)


Working closer with Canadians

Canada’s Food Guide cover

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.


Family using accessible ramp on beach

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.”


Three public servants on snowmobiles

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.


Nancy RobbinsNancy Robbins, Economic Development Officer
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.


Transcript - The Revitalization of the Bonavista Peninsula

(Waves are crashing against a rocky shore with a lighthouse.)

(Cut to Nancy Robbins standing in front of a harbour with fishing boats.)

Nancy Robbins, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Economic Development Officer: I feel like we’ve just started to scratch the surface here…

(Aerial shots of Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador)

Animated text: The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is supporting Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula’s economic revitalization.

(Abandoned buildings)

Animated text: In 1992, the cod fishing moratorium devastated the area.

(Three people walking along a boardwalk next to buildings.)

Animated text: Since then, on-the-ground ACOA employees, like Nancy Robbins, have been working with community groups and leaders to diversify and rebuild their economy while preserving a proud fishing heritage.

(Shot of Nancy and Bonavista Mayor John Norman talking on a street.)

(Cut to camera panning across the harbour.)

(Cut to a close-up of Nancy.)

Nancy Robbins: We started off with our community investment money responding and trying to diversify their economy. That started to create the environment where business wanted to invest.

(Cut to camera zooming out of the harbour up the street.)

(Cut to pan of Bonavista street.)

(Cut to Nancy and Mayor Norman walking down the street.)

Animated text: The Bonavista Mayor says federal support is breathing new life into historic properties.

(Cut to Mayor Norman inside Canada Heritage building.)

Mayor Norman: ACOA to me has really done a lot of the groundwork, playing a supporting role for about a 20-year period through organizations and initiatives like the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation, the Garrick Theatre and other initiatives that, to me, really created a climate and an environment that was palatable for private investment and small business.

(While the Mayor is talking, footage shows a building on the waterfront next to a stone wall.)

(Cut to the inside of the Garrick Theatre.)

(Cut to the Bonavista waterfront.)

(Cut to Nancy and Mayor Norman in town.)

(Cut to a historic building under construction.)

(Cut to four buildings on the waterfront.)

(Cut to camera zooming out of the Bonavista landscape.)

(Cut to four women clinking glasses at a bar.)

(Cut to exterior shot of Port Rexton Brewing Company building.)

Animated text: This includes The Port Rexton Brewing Company, which set up shop on the peninsula in 2016.

(Inside the Brewing Company building, two women are talking to each other.)

Animated text: Co-owners Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills were recipients of the Ones to Watch Award at the 2018 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.

(Image of Royal Bank of Canada logo shown against a white background.)

(Cut to Sonja Mills speaking inside the Brewing Company building.)

Sonja Mills: Without ACOA’s support…funding…everything…we wouldn't be able to do this.

(Cut to Sonja drawing beer from a tap.)

(Cut to a glass of beer on a table.)

Sonja Mills: This has allowed us to totally achieve our dream.

(Cut to a car driving by on a street. Pan to Nancy walking through town.)

Nancy Robbins: I think us having a presence on the ground, where we can constantly be working with those entrepreneurs, listening to them…

(Cut to close-up of Nancy at the waterfront.)

Nancy Robbins: I think that's a critical piece to us providing meaningful supports and ensuring that we are providing the best service that we possibly can to help this business community grow.

(Aerial view of Bonavista.)

(Cut to white background with black text on screen: #AtlanticGrowth.)

(Black background with white text on screen: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. ACOA logo beside text.)

(Canada wordmark in white text on black screen.)

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.

Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer
Dr. Mona Nemer
Chief Science Advisor of Canada

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.

Climate Action Map of Canada

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.


Government of Canada InfoBase

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.
Government of Canada Digital Standards
Text version - Government of Canada Digital Standards
  • Design with users
  • Iterate and improve frequently
  • Work in the open by default
  • Use open standards and solutions
  • Address security and privacy risks
  • Empower staff to deliver better services
  • Build in accessibility from the start
  • Be good data stewards
  • Design ethical services
  • Collaborate widely

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 Operations Strategic Plan
Text version - Digital Operations Strategic Plan
  • The Vision:
    • Service Orientation and User-Centered
    • Open, Collaborative and Accessible
    • Digitally-Enabled Delivery
  • The Enablers:
    • Modern Tech and Information Stewardship
    • Digitally-Enabled Public Service
    • Good Digital Governance

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.


Supporting government

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).

Cannabis legislation

Half a maple leaf next to justice and health symbols

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
    Opioid overdose: wallet card
  • an Opioid awareness video that has been viewed over 2 million times.
    Transcript - Opioid awareness campaign

    Animated text: Opioids

    Narrator: Every day in Canada, 11 people die from an opioid overdose.

    (A series of 11 dots form a circle and pulse to the sound of a heartbeat.)

    Narrator: Opioids prescribed for pain, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, can lead to overdose and death if used improperly.

    Narrator: Thousands of Canadians are dying from street drugs laced with fentanyl… it takes only a few grains to kill.

    (More black dots conjoin into a blank, black screen.)

    Narrator: The Government of Canada is taking action.

    (Dots merge into the shape of the map of Canada)

    Narrator: Together, we can change lives.

    (Portraits of people appear around the map of Canada.)

    Narrator: Get the facts at

    Text on screen: Get the facts at

    Narrator: A message from the Government of Canada.

    (Canada wordmark on black background.)



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.


Group of people in rescue boat
Coast Guard steering a boat
Coast Guards navigating boat
Coast Guard on boat
Plastic bottle crossed out surrounded by fish

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


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.

David Saint-Jacques in front of International Space Station and Earth

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.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: