The number of citizens accessing government Web sites for information and services is on the rise, according to an assistant deputy minister with Public Works and Government Services Canada.
“One interesting aspect is the extent to which Canadians are using government services on the Internet,” Michael Turner told delegates recently at GTEC Week – an annual public sector focused I&IT event – held in Ottawa. “More than any other country it seems – Canadians have taken to using government services on the Net.”
Turner said the overall government sector experienced a 27.2 per cent increase in Web site traffic between October 2002 and May 2003. Overall, the numbers show that Canadians access government Web sites and services more than Americans, the British, the Japanese and Australians.
“Our research shows that this percentage of increase is in contrast to the relatively small rate of growth in the number of Canadians using the Internet. People are [currently] moving to government services online as a way of accessing what they want. We’re finding that is a higher take up than most countries have seen.”
Turner added that while Canada is doing better than most parts of the world in terms of e-government take up, it’s important to take every opportunity to move forward.
“Certainly, across all three levels of government it is becoming increasingly true that citizens are flocking to the Web sites and Web services that we are offering,” he said. “While we continue to make efforts to communicate what’s out there and what we’re able to provide, we have to continue to build take up to justify the expense and get more people moved on to these services. But we seem to be making reasonable progress.”