SSC 3.0: An Enterprise Approach

SSC 3.0: An Enterprise Approach [PDF - 7.6 MB]

Towards a digital government

Today’s digital landscape is one of relentless and disruptive change. In this fast-paced environment, the Government of Canada is challenged to anticipate, adapt and keep pace. When Shared Services Canada (SSC) was established in 2011, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the internet of things seemed like a distant future.

Canadians expect to use the latest digital technology to receive the services they need, when and where they need them on any device – whether they are filing their taxes, applying for a passport or getting the latest recall information.

To meet these expectations, federal employees need modern digital tools that are accessible by design, enhance their productivity and allow them to collaborate across departments to deliver the essential services Canadians rely on.

To achieve its digital government vision, the Government of Canada has set digital standards and released the 2018-2022 Digital Operations Strategic Plan which, together, puts users and their needs at the heart of everything we do and leverages the latest digital technologies to deliver high-value services to Canadians.

Shared Services Canada is a key player in this vision. At the outset, SSC was given a big mandate to modernize and consolidate the Government of Canada’s information technology infrastructure. SSC’s 7,100 employees support the technology needs of over 200,000 federal employees and handle about 600,000 requests and 100,000 incidents a year.

Since its inception, SSC has gone through tremendous transformation and growth. The department was stood up as an entirely new organization in record time, a chapter that is considered the beginning, or “SSC 1.0”. SSC’s second phase, “SSC 2.0”, focused on enhancing service delivery and client satisfaction and saw the beginnings of an enterprise approach.

While the department has made remarkable progress, the current digital landscape in the federal government is highly complex with a myriad of networks, applications, programs, collaboration tools, and data centres – many unique to individual departments.

This leads to the natural evolution of the department’s next phase: SSC 3.0. This new phase will focus on an enterprise approach for all of government.

Why does Enterprise matter?

While there is no single “one-size-fits-all” approach for Government of Canada digital services, we will work with our federal partners and clients to improve the user experience by consolidating, modernizing and standardizing. This will result in economies of scale, more secure and reliable services, faster turnarounds, enhanced collaboration, and reduced risk – ultimately, better serving Canadians.

In the near future, all services will have digital elements. SSC 3.0 will take an enterprise approach that will build upon other Government of Canada programs such as “Tell Us Once”, the Cloud First Adoption Strategy, and the Directive on Automated Decision-Making for the responsible use of artificial intelligence. We will work together to build a modern, reliable, and secure digital platform for all that meets the needs of today and tomorrow.

Priority 1 — Network and Security

We need a fast, reliable, and secure Network

Network and security are the very foundations of digital government and the basis for all government services. Simply put, there is no digital vision without them.

There are currently 50 Government of Canada networks across the country – many of which are aging and not ready for cloud, video and voice. These networks are complex, labour-intensive, costly to maintain and lack the capacity to scale and deliver the services Canadians need. Some lack advanced security standards for protection against cyber threats.

The network couldn’t be more fundamental in the digital age. It is as essential as other utilities that we depend on such as electricity and heat. The number one priority is to build a reliable network “utility” that is always on, available anywhere, reliable, fast and scales up based on changing needs.

With SSC 3.0, the Government of Canada has the opportunity to transition away from single departmental networks to modern enterprise networks. These networks will be accessible anytime, anywhere, and by anyone. They will be built with accessibility in mind, while accommodating and supporting continuous improvement and an increasing diversity of government programs and services.

This will make the Government of Canada more responsive to Canadians’ demands for services they can access anytime, anywhere and from any device, on a trusted and secure platform. An updated network will use the latest security measures that better protect personal information, connect seamlessly to cloud and enterprise data centres, and move at a speed and scale that gives users the connectivity they need to do their work.

Priority 2 — Workplace Collaboration Tools

Tailored set of options based on users’ needs

Today, workplace collaboration tools used by federal employees vary from one department to the next, with limited overarching standardization or integration.

To deliver on their departmental mandates and provide high-value services to Canadians, public servants need modern and effective workplace tools.

This will not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather one that is streamlined with a tailored set of options based on users’ needs.

An inspector who spends much of their time in the field, for example, could require multiple access points and a virtual office, while a researcher could require big data on large sharing platforms in a more traditional office setting

SSC 3.0 will support a government-wide Enterprise Digital Workplace Platform. This means federal public servants will have access to devices ranging from mobile to traditional workstations from anywhere.

The platform will have built-in security, single sign-on, seamless remote access and the full suite of Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based software.

Employees will be able to work in a more connected way using integrated email, instant messaging, enterprise-wide social networks, videoconferencing, web applications, digital collaboration tools and more.

By providing a modern and tailored set of workplace tools with accessibility features built-in from the outset, SSC will help public servants deliver on their departments’ priorities and better serve Canadians.

Priority 3 – Application Modernization

Migration to Cloud and Enterprise Data Centres

Nearly 80% of the federal government’s roughly 18,000 applications reside in aging data centres which are more at risk of service outages and failures.

At the same time, there are departmental applications and data that have not been maintained, with some based on software that for today’s digital realities. These applications need to be rebuilt before they can be moved to the cloud and state-of-the-art Enterprise Data Centres.

Under SSC 3.0, SSC will work with clients to identify applications most at risk with the biggest potential impact on services to Canadians. Together, we will determine solutions to update or create new applications that are reliable and can run on modern hosting solutions - whether cloud or enterprise data centres.

To date, SSC has worked with its clients to close more than 200 legacy data centres. SSC is risk-managing with clients to prioritize applications and work towards the best solutions for their needs.

The objective is to ensure hardware and software systems are robust, secure, and keep pace with changing technology.

Organizational transformation

In order to deliver on the Digital and IT service transformation priorities, SSC is transforming its internal organization to enable, empower, and engage employees, while creating accountabilities across the organization, and at all levels. It includes addressing what we’ve heard from employees and re-thinking our processes, workplace, workforce, and technology to meet our needs, now and into the future. Some of the key building blocks include:


SSC supports a proliferation of customized IT products and services across government with multiple versions of each. Tailoring applications and workplace tools department by department leads to more delays and less efficient service. Setting standards is therefore critical to SSC 3.0’s success. Moving to an enterprise suite of standards and service catalogue will significantly streamline and simplify SSC’s current working environment, free up capacity and resources to work on other projects, and provide better service to clients. This results in tool sets such as desktop collaboration platforms and cloud services that can be used and shared across government.

Enterprise Service model

SSC’s current service model is a complex patchwork of various types of funding and user pay practices which places a heavy administrative burden on SSC and clients. SSC is working with central agencies to develop a new enterprise service model. Once implemented, it will have built-in incentives to limit investments in legacy systems and to encourage investments in new modern IT solutions. Investments will be aligned with the Government of Canada’s rapidly evolving digital government agenda and enterprise approach. This will lead to a service model that is simpler, transparent, understandable, predictable and sustainable for both SSC and its clients.

Services SSC currently delivers 23 catalogue services and many minor services across 43 departments. It is a fragmented environment that has been largely unchanged since the Department’s inception, leading to service delays and higher overhead costs. With SSC 3.0, SSC is moving to a simplified and streamlined suite of enterprise services:

The objective is to provide more timely service and empower our clients to self-serve with express checkout lanes, self-checkout, and a more robust system for business requirements.

A streamlined set of services – whether data centres, networks, software, mobile technology or workplace devices – will make it easier for SSC to tailor the services to best meet clients’ needs.

Our Approach

As we innovate and collaborate together on new ways of working, we will start small and be agile in our approach. This means we will experiment with pathfinders, iterate, learn, iterate again and deliver. We will identify and lock-in standards, write the playbook and then scale up to deliver enterprise-wide.


SSC is committed to being open and transparent throughout the implementation of SSC 3.0. We will report on progress to our clients, vendors and Canadians by publishing dashboards and progress reports online on a quarterly basis.

Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback to help ensure objectives are met.

SSC will aim to foster confidence and accountability by reporting on progress openly and transparently. This will help ensure that we are following through on the commitments laid out in SSC 3.0.

SSC is committed to a team-based, collaborative approach that will engage, enable, and empower SSC employees to help provide the digital services Canadians expect.

Putting the “Shared” in Shared Services

SSC 3.0 is not just a plan for Shared Services Canada, but a plan for all of government, supported by central agencies. Success will require a united approach.

By working with users, clients, partners and vendors, SSC will help create a truly digital government that delivers quality services to Canadians.

Success will require SSC and our partners to have a relentless focus on the user experience. It will mean working together to realize a true enterprise vision of IT service excellence.

SSC is working closely with clients and key stakeholders to implement SSC 3.0. Our collective knowledge, expertise, and working relationships is being leveraged to achieve the enterprise approach. A collaborative, user-centric approach benefits everyone – and meets the real needs of Canadians.

SSC 3.0 won’t be the end of the journey. The plan must be evergreen and continue to evolve to keep pace with accelerating change and innovation in the digital world. The Government of Canada must be flexible if it is to deliver new services, with technology designed to meet Canadians’ needs.

The future is digital. With SSC 3.0, the Department will play a central role in helping build a digital government that meets the needs of Canadians today and well into the future.

SSC’s Vision, Mission & Values

Our new Vision, Mission and Values are helping us define who we are as an organization, and SSC 3.0 is how we get there.


Powering world-class technology for Government


To work with partners to provide secure and reliable networks, modern tools and client-centric digital services for Canadians


Infographic summarizing the SSC 3.0 enterprise approach
Image description – SSC 3.0: an enterprise approach

Our current situation is overly complex, we have outdated tools and frequent outages. The end state of SSC 3.0 will result in an improved user experience, increased reliability, reduced risk, playbooks and pathfinders.

To get there we need to put users first, start small, test, learn early, standardize, scale up and share.

Our three priorities are network and security, collaboration tools and application modernization.

Our three building blocks to support our priorities are services, the funding model and standards.

It starts with our people being engaged, enabled, empowered and accountable.

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