Restructuring In-Person Services
In 2018, the Ontario government published a discussion document entitled Transforming the Ontario Public Service. This discussion about the future of the Ontario Public Service and the means at its disposal to fulfill its mandate in an innovative, integrated and inclusive way is in line with the 2012 Drummond Report. Alternative forms for delivering public services clearly align with this dynamic. Those that have the greatest potential impact for Francophones are the merger of public organizations and transfer of responsibility or devolution to other levels of government or the private sector.
In this context, the Commissioner is concerned with the challenges that could arise for Francophones in the province from the transformation of the in-person service offer. He wondered how the government could continue to protect vulnerable populations (Francophones, the elderly and others) while adapting its service-delivery methods to current economic and technical realities.
The restructuring of public services is a government priority intended to reduce the cost of public spending and to make the offer of public services more efficient. The proponents of this new vision of a public service propose to redefine the role of the government, by outsourcing the offer of public services, i.e., delegating the offer of certain services to non-governmental organizations, whether they be private businesses, community groups or non-profit organizations.
The digital revolution is accelerating this public-service restructuring process since it offers the opportunity to try innovative methods for service delivery. However, this restructuring raises concerns, especially in terms of new public-service providers respecting government commitments. This situation affects vulnerable populations and official-language minorities in particular, like Francophones in Ontario.