Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification: Who has to use the Canada.ca design system

The Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification is referenced in "Appendix D: Mandatory Procedures for Social Media and Web Communications" of the Directive on the Management of Communications. Its requirements apply to departments and other portions of the federal public administration listed in Schedules II.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act.

These organizations must apply Canada.ca design requirements for all their public-facing websites or digital services, regardless of the technology, domain name (both canada.ca and gc.ca) or publishing platform through which these are delivered.

Out-of-scope situations

The Canada.ca global header and footer design may not be applied or replicated in the following situations:

  • internal-facing websites or digital services
  • Government of Canada institutions that are not subject to the Directive on the Management of Communications
  • enterprises and organizations that are not part of the Government of Canada

Using the Web Experience Toolkit

All institutions are encouraged to use the components in the Web Experience Toolkit for both their internal and external web products. These components are open source and free. They reflect the results of ongoing usability testing. They make it easier to meet accessibility requirements and provide responsive design for a variety of devices with a range of screen sizes.

Adapting the Web Experience Toolkit for out-of-scope situations

If your website or service is out of scope for the Canada.ca design system, but you wish to use the Web Experience Toolkit, you must make the following minimum modifications.

Global header

  • Change the contents of the global navigation menu so that they are clearly different from the menu labels used on Canada.ca
  • Change the main colour used in the global navigation menu so that it is clearly contrasted from the main colour used in the global Canada.ca header

Global footer

  • Change the links in the global footer so that they are clearly different from the links used in the footer navigation menu on Canada.ca
  • Change the background colour used in the global footer so that it is clearly contrasted from the background colour used in the footer navigation menu on Canada.ca

These modifications help users distinguish between different sites, and they ensure that the overall Canada.ca design remains unique.

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