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We’re all in this together

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to participate in the Connected150 conference and spend some time with our colleagues in the Canadian Digital Service (CDS).

As someone new to the country, I have been heartened and excited to learn more about the work happening in public sector transformation and democratic renewal in Canada. My time spent in Ottawa helped shine light on many exciting initiatives and endeavours that are happening across the country, and helped identify ways for us all to work together.

Since joining the Ontario Digital Service, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by digital and open government work happening in various parts of the country. From experiments in procurement at the City of Guelph, to the Edmonton citizen dashboard, to the Digital New Brunswick Strategy, to our very own student financial aid calculator in Ontario, public servants across the country are making government services better, simpler, and faster for Canadian residents and businesses.

We’re all working hard, in our own ways, to make things better for Canadians — now it’s time for us to work hard, together.

In my talk at Connected150, I shared a slide that outlined my thoughts on hacking bureaucracy. The first point on that slide was: “Find people who have solved similar problems.”

This point is salient not only within our own organizations, within our own bureaucracies, but across jurisdictions as well. We have so much to learn from each other, no matter what city or province we may live in, and we can work together to solve problems that would be a lot harder to solve on our own.

This is why I was so excited to hear about the establishment of the Canadian Digital Service earlier this year, and so happy to have had the chance to spend some time with the CDS staff and leadership. CDS is more than just an organization that looks at digital services offered by the federal government; it has the opportunity to be a convening and galvanizing group that can invigorate collaboration and co-development across people working in digital government across the country.

My conversations with CDS have left me heartened to know that they are ready to play that role and seize that opportunity. A national transformation of public service requires national coordination and leadership, and CDS is up to the challenge.

We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far in Ontario – and we’re happy to share and work with others who are grappling with the same issues – but we also know that there’s a lot more work to be done. We know that working with cities and provinces across the country (and, of course, across the world) is the best way to make sure we’re delivering the best services we can. We’re ready and excited to work with the Canadian Digital Service on this pan-national journey to make government services better for all Canadians – we are, after all, all in this together.