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The health, sciences and technology components of the federal government pose unique challenges in the architecture of Government On-Line architecture. These areas have been built on long-term relationships beyond the government purview and their electronic evolution requires unique positioning. In health, long-term partners have historically been provinces, followed by municipalities. In the sciences and technology, close relationships have generally involved the academic community and private industry.

In the context of the GOL Sustainability Road Map, the health and sciences areas are undergoing a more integrated approach to service delivery.

More than 20 departments are involved in the sciences cluster, which is more information-based and less transactional. “They are relatively new in the partnership, they are still trying to figure out their sustainability and (how to) move forward,” says Elena Mantagaris. “We’re working very closely with them to help them put in place the kind of information architecture they need, so the lead departments and the partner departments know how to link their related services. Their priorities and their approaches are going to be a little different than a cluster that is focused, say, on providing benefits to seniors.”

Departments such as Environment, Natural Resources Canada and parts of Agriculture Canada, for example, carry responsibility for research information. “They have a slightly different perspective on who their clients might be,” adds Donna Wood.

Health Canada is also reassessing its way of providing services. The department’s scenario is unusual because health and medical services fall under provincial jurisdiction and health information is also delivered at a local level. “Every group of services has its own set of relationships that they need to work through to make sure they are optimizing service delivery at the end of the day,” adds Mantagaris.

Health Canada, the Public Health Agency, the Canada Health Network and the Health Cluster are examining their online sites and services since they target similar clients and there may be opportunities for consolidation and integration.

– Orton

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