Canada places first in e-government development

The Canadian government is on top when it comes to developing e-government service, according to a recent study conducted by Accenture.

The study, e-Government Leadership: Engaging the Customer, was released Tuesday and explores the status of 22 e-governments across the globe, from Canada and the United States to Singapore and Australia. This is the third year in a row Canada has assumed the number one position, placing ahead of both Singapore and the United States.

Graeme Gordon, Accenture Canada’s e-government partner in Ottawa, says he isn’t surprised to see Canada leading the survey.

“E-government isn’t just about offering services online, which a lot of countries still focus on,” Gordon said. “E-government is more about transforming government services to provide more effective and more efficient services and also coming to the realization that those services have to be customer-centric.”

Not only has the Canadian government accomplished this through such online services as e-file with Revenue Canada and major benefits programs such as pension plans and old age security, but Gordon says Canada’s Government online strategy (GOL) understands that e-government is more than just an Internet channel.

In a nutshell, the reason Canada is ranked number one is because it has recognized the need for making services available to Canadians, he said.

The study ranked each of the 22 countries by researching the sophistication of the online services being offered. Various researchers conducted online tests of the government Web sites to survey the services being offered. Such factors as publication of information, electronic interaction and transaction quality between the government and customers were all considered as part of the overall Web site. Accenture also conducted interviews with 143 executive representatives within governments.

Once the research was complete, each GOL was categorized into a plateau, or level of online maturity. The first plateau is the lowest overall maturity, which means the government has a little more than just an online presence. Canada’s GOL just moved into the fifth and highest plateau