Canada launches digital unit

By on 28/07/2017 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board said Canada had an responsibility to deliver world-class services to Canadians.

The Canadian government has launched a new federal tech unit to spearhead a drive to develop what it hopes will be the world’s best digital services.

The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) is tasked with “modernising” federal government services and making them “easy to access and to use” by developing cutting-edge on-line tools and merging departmental websites into a single government hub:

The CDS is modelled on the UK’s Government Digital Service, which developed the award-winning site, and has headhunted staff with expertise in agile project management – an incremental, collaborative development process – from the UK unit, Singapore-based reported.

Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board, said: “The Government of Canada has an opportunity – and a responsibility – to deliver world-class services to Canadians. This will require disruption as we make the switch, both technically and culturally, to agile digital delivery models.

“To accelerate these efforts, I am excited to announce the launch of the Canadian Digital Service to modernise the way the Government of Canada designs and delivers digital services. CDS will be a partner to departments in delivering measurably improved services.

“We are rethinking the service design and delivery process from the user’s perspective and engaging users every step of the way… As I have often said, in this world, you’re either digital or you’re dead. We can’t be a Blockbuster government serving a Netflix citizenry!”

Executive director Anatole Papadopoulos said at the launch on 18 July that the unit will create tools such as apps that focus on the end-user and will conduct its work “in the open” as part of a wider drive towards government transparency, the Ottawa Metro reported.

“We will be blogging about our work,” he said. “We will be on social media talking about our work, the lessons, successes, failures we encounter. We hope that some of our learning and the experience we have – testing new approaches, new tools – will be helpful to others.”

A total of five government departments will publicly share their progress, reported. They are: Canadian Heritage, Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Treasury Board, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain databases, chatbot conversational programmes, and data analytics are among state-of-the-art programming tools that will be deployed by the service, according to

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See also:

Canada tops new index of civil service effectiveness

Australian government launches push to harness benefits of big data

Malaysia sets open data targets

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London. She worked on daily newspapers for more than 16 years as an education correspondent, section editor and general news reporter. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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