Annual Report 2017-2018

Looking ahead, getting ready

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2. Improvement factors

In order to ensure that digital government services remain efficient and inclusive, the following factors must be taken into account.

Collaboration

Digital transformation will maximize benefits when public servants identify common issues, anticipate challenges, and share what they learn with each other. Also, to ensure the relevance of digital services in French, all public servants involved in digital-service implementation must be trained on the requirements of the French Language Services Act and apply the Francophone lens to develop and provide digital public services. It is also essential that there be a sufficient number of Francophone public servants qualified to anticipate the challenges and address the opportunities to improve government services in French.

Citizens’ feedback

Digital services enable citizens to provide immediate feedback to the government. The government can then analyze the mass data to identify the usage patterns and oversee the efficiency of services.

Also, the social aspect of digital services must be used to engage citizens to participate in digital consultations. When digital consultation systems are designed, we must ensure that they are accessible in French and include Francophones. During in-person consultations, citizens living in remote areas often feel excluded and disconnected from other citizens. Digital consultations can play a key role in reaching these communities and economically include their voices in the feedback process. Taking into account guidelines on communications in French is equally essential in order to ensure that all of these documents, as well as interpretation services, are available in French. Special consultations based on subjects that interest Francophones must also be established, the results of which would be analyzed separately to understand and respond to their unique concerns. To this end, management boards should strengthen the requirements for the implementation of strict evaluations regarding how the consultations reach Francophones.

Digital diplomacy must also be leveraged to establish ties between the government and citizens. For example, the British Treasury solicited ideas for budget savings digitally in the context of expenditure-related challenges. This led to the submission of more than 100,000 ideas, which included 63,000 ideas from public servants. It resulted in an estimated 500 million pounds of government savings, and the initiative cost only 19,300 pounds.123 Similar initiatives targeting Francophones could be launched in Ontario to take their voices into account and to have them participate in the co-design of programs intended to improve services.

Personalizing content

Although the introduction of digital services obviously allows providing information and services in different languages at a lower cost, it should help citizens more by offering them access to personalized content in accordance with their needs. The BizPal platform (available in French and in English), which offers personalized checklists to Canadian businesses to inform them of various permits and licences that they must apply for, is an example of successful personalization.124 Another example of citizen-based personalization is the use of technology to design systems that proactively enable the choice between service in French or in English. This is possible at the ticketing system at the Q-Matic counter at the Ottawa courthouse, which indicates to personnel when a ticket is taken for service in French. It also sends reminders to personnel to greet clients in both official languages, thereby promoting the active offer of services in French and the awareness of these services.125


  1. Mowat Report, p. 15.
  2. Mowat Report, p. 23 and 24.
  3. For more information, see https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/access_to_justice_in_french/#_Toc488833561

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