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E-Government in Canada

Transformation for the Digital Age

Jeffrey Roy

Publication Year: 2006

The rapid expansion of the Internet has fueled the emergence of electronic government at all levels in Canada. E-government's first decade featured online service underpinned by a technically secure infrastructure. This service-security nexus entails internal governance reforms aimed at realizing more customer-centric delivery via integration and coordination across departments and agencies. Yet, as online networking has become more pervasive and public demands for participation rise, pressures for greater openness and accountability intensify. The result is widening experimentation with online democracy. The e-governance focus is thus shifting toward issues of transparency and trust - and new possibilities for re-conceptualizing how power is organized and deployed. In sum, the prospects for digital transformation involve the interplay of these four dimensions: service, security, transparency and trust. This book identifies the main drivers of e-government, assesses the responses of Canada's public sector to date, and sketches out the major challenges and choices that lie ahead. The findings will be of interest to those studying or working in the world of public sector management and e-governance.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xxxi

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 ...

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Part One. Four Main Dimensions of Change

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pp. 1-4

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...

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Chapter 1. Service

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pp. 5-28

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 ...

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Chapter 2. Security

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pp. 29-48

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, ...

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Chapter 3. Transparency

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pp. 49-76

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 ...

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Chapter 4. Trust

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pp. 77-104

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 ...

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Part Two. The Canadian Experience

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pp. 105-110

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 ...

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Chapter 5. Government of Canada

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pp. 111-138

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 ...

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Chapter 6. The Provinces

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pp. 139-166

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- ...

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Chapter 7: Local and Intergovernmental Perspectives

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pp. 167-196

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 ...

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Part Three. Looking Ahead

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pp. 197-200

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. ...

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Chapter 8. Organization and Accountability

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pp. 201-228

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 ...

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Chapter 9. Participation and Engagement

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pp. 229-254

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 ...

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Chapter 10. Beyond Canada's Borders

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pp. 255-282

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 ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 283-294

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 ...

Notes

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pp. 295-330

References

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pp. 331-350

Index

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pp. 351-364


E-ISBN-13: 9780776615844
E-ISBN-10: 077661584X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606170
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606174

Page Count: 398
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Governance Series