The murky waters of government employment and political neutrality

The Government of Canada has a generally well-written Values and Ethics Code, which public servants must abide by. With every passing year, a particular element of this Code has become increasingly challenging to explain with absolute clarity and even more challenging to enforce, save for the most obvious cases.  I’m referring specifically to:

  • Section 1 – Respect for democracy – Expected Behaviour 1.1 – Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
  • Section 3 – Integrity – Expected Behaviour 3.1Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.

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Why the Canadian Digital Service is a major milestone for Canada.

Over the course of the past two decades there have been numerous initiatives / movements relating to the Government of Canada and the digital space. I can see why it’s hard for people to get excited about yet another one. However, having worked as a management consultant (specializing in the digital channel) with nearly every federal department, I’m convinced the Canadian Digital Service (CDS) is a legitimate major milestone. Continue reading “Why the Canadian Digital Service is a major milestone for Canada.”

What the Web Renewal Initiative (Canada.ca) is still missing

For those of you not familiar with what I am referring to, the Government of Canada (Goc) Web Renewal Initiative aims to streamline the GoC’s web presence through a single central website, Canada.ca .

What exactly does that mean?

Canada.ca features 15 user-centric themes based on the top information and tasks that visitors are looking for. The site is accessible and easy to use on any device. It offers a revamped and comprehensive media/news section with new features as well as an improved search function. Over a period of three years, approximately 1,500 individual websites will be brought together under Canada.ca to make it easier for Canadians to find information.” – Treasury Board Secretariat

Yes, you got that right, one portal website to serve as a starting point for all citizen needs that fall under federal jurisdiction.  This is by no means a new concept. Here it is fully implemented elsewhere across various jurisdictions:

Essentially the purpose here is to stop requiring Canadians to know what each department does, let alone the name of the department itself (especially in lieu of the constant name changes).

Instead, the aim is to shift the focus to the task they are trying to accomplish. In theory this is a great approach, however make no mistake, the work involved in the transition for the Government of Canada is tremendous and should not be underestimated.

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