E-Government in Canada
Transformation for the Digital Age
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Governance Series
The purpose of this book is to examine the prospects for Canada's public sector in this emergent era shaped increasingly by digital technologies, human and organizational connectivity, and institutional change. The book progresses through a conceptual presentation of egovernment's main drivers (Part One), an assessment of e-government's ...
Part One. Four Main Dimensions of Change
The purpose of Part One is to both introduce and dissect the four main dimensions of change (service, security, transparency, and trust) that have arisen during the first decade of the e-government era. Collectively, they encompass a basis for digital transformation, although whether or not such transformation occurs depends very...
Chapter 1. Service
The rapid expansion of Internet access and online connectivity in the 1990s gave birth to the e-government movement as the public sector sought ways to capitalize on the vaunted potential of a new, more pervasive and interactive digital infrastructure. With e-commerce as a model, online service delivery became the hallmark of e-government as efficiency, responsiveness, and ...
Chapter 2. Security
From one vantage point, the challenge of security as a dimension of e-government and the public sector's digital transformation closely follows that of service. Indeed, one is an enabler of the other since perhaps the largest barrier to a widening acceptance of online channels is the perception of security shortcomings. Because of concerns about technical flaws, privacy, ...
Chapter 3. Transparency
These first two dimensions, service and security, are primarily concerned with how governments are reorganizing themselves internally to adapt to new opportunities and threats in the external environment. In contrast, transparency and trust speak to changes rooted less in the internal structures of government and more in the evolving democratic environment within ...
Chapter 4. Trust
Trust is a multifaceted concept in terms of how governments seek, retain, and deploy legitimacy and support in their pursuit of policies and actions tied to the public interest. Democratic legitimacy - recognition and consent granted by the citizenry to the political institutions - is a central and fluid concern in the e-government era. Driving this fluidity is a growing body of evidence ...
Part Two. The Canadian Experience
By adopting the four dimensions of e-government introduced in Part One (service, security, transparency, trust) as a lens through which to examine Canada's public sector, the next three chapters present the manner in which e-government has evolved across all levels of government over the past decade. With such a wide scope of ...
Chapter 5. Government of Canada
Under the rubric of a Connecting Canadians agenda, the federal government launched its flagship e-government initiative, Government Online, in 1999, promising to make use of cyberspace as a means to both share information more widely and transform service delivery over a five-year period. A centrepiece of this effort has been the creation of a 'secure channel' in order to facilitate online ...
Chapter 6. The Provinces
In some respects, the provincial e-government experience resembles that which has transpired federally. The focus on online service characterized much of the initial effort, underpinned by the need for an appropriately novel and modified governance architecture capable of facilitating security and interoperability across traditionally separate program and departmental structures. An e- ...
Chapter 7: Local and Intergovernmental Perspectives
The local perspective on e-government involves two interrelated vantage points on public sector governance. First, there are municipal governments pursuing their own e-government strategies both proactively and reactively within the realms of service, security, transparency, and trust. Second, there is the matter of how citizens and communities co-evolve and interact from the front line ...
Part Three. Looking Ahead
The first decade of e-government in Canada has not been without considerable effort. At all levels, governments have devoted substantial resources and attention to making use of digital technologies and online connectivity in ways that would have been unthinkable for the most part in the early 1990s. ...
Chapter 8. Organization and Accountability
The notion of accountability is central to public sector governance, and it is therefore a fundamental determinant of e-government. Much of the resistance to broader institutional change may be attributed to the imposition of pressures from within the realms of transparency and trust on models of organization and accountability created in a time of limited information flows, relative ...
Chapter 9. Participation and Engagement
The main focus of the preceding chapter was the need for rethinking how accountability is understood and practised in terms of the internal governance environment of the public sector-and how this environment responds and reports to the public. In contrast, this chapter emphasizes the external governance environment — and the manner in which the public perceives ...
Chapter 10. Beyond Canada's Borders
Many of the forces reshaping domestic structures are also transnational in scope and implication. Much as e-government creates pressures for interoperability within countries, it will also do so in terms of relationships between countries - and both state and nonstate actors. The security imperative presents a conundrum for governments in an increasingly globalizing and ...
E-government's first decade has been less transformative than transitional, and this assessment holds particular resonance in the case of Canada. Despite the promise of dramatic change and continuous innovation, it is possible to argue that the public sector today looks much as it did some ten years ago when the Internet began ...