Canada tops when it comes to e-services, study says

Canada is one of the world’s leaders in providing multi-channel e-services access to its citizens, according to a recent study.

The study, Local E-government Now: A Worldwide View, examined municipalities in 14 countries engaged in establishing best practices in efficient and effective e-governance.

Canada’s leadership in this area was highlighted by case studies of successful implementations of e-services by the public sector in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In 1995, the municipal government in Nova Scotia amalgamated eight municipalities to form the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) in an effort to move to a knowledge-based economy. The long-term goal of the amalgamation is to deliver better constituent programs and services at a lower cost. The CBRM has partnered with the Province of Nova Scotia to share financial information, allowing for proper costing to both routine service delivery and special projects.

A similar initiative took place in New Brunswick with the establishment of the Service New Brunswick (SNB) agency. Between 1991 and 1996, SNB took the lead in developing single-window government services. Initially, SNB aimed for an 85 per cent satisfaction rate on customer service quality, but has in fact reached a satisfaction rate of 92 per cent.

The study found that when introducing new services, successful governments examine and follow best practices from other local authorities, central governments and independent training organizations to learn from their experiences.

The purpose of the study, which was partially funded by SAP AG and led by the Society of IT Management and the Improvement and Development Agency, was to help municipalities meet the deadlines countries have set to introduce e-government on the local level.