Ontario CIO stresses service at showcase event

Information technology is all about service, according to Ron McKerlie, corporate chief information and information technology officer, Ministry of Government Services.

In addressing Showcase Ontario attendees at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre today, McKerlie’s keynote stressed this year’s service theme.

“It’s great to have everyone together to discuss how governments can play a key role in driving the information revolution, using technology to be more efficient, more transparent, and to deliver better services to the people of Ontario,” said McKerlie.

He said that the vision the I&IT organization has adopted is that of an Ontario where people, information and technology drive innovation and excellence in public service.

“You will see a lot of things at Showcase this year that will give you confidence that kind of a vision is within our grasp.”

McKerlie stressed that Showcase is about much more than what the Ontario Public Service (OPS) has achieved or celebrating successes.

“It’s about taking steps to catch up with public expectations for better service delivery, and creating and enhancing a service culture and redefining the role of government.”

Showcase also provides a unique venue to network and discover what others are doing, added McKerlie.

“Whether it’s in courses, conference sessions or on the exhibit floor, I hope you’ll take advantage of these opportunities to learn from each other and share ideas to make the public sector more productive, more innovative and more service-oriented.”

McKerlie cited the 2007 OPS employee survey, in which a vast majority of public servants said that serving the public good is a critical factor in their decision to work for the OPS.

“However, simply wanting to provide good service to the public is not enough…the way we deliver services and information is increasingly being formed around citizen needs including their need to be heard as opposed to our organizational structures.”

McKerlie noted statistics that demonstrate the changing dynamics of providing service in a digital world.

– About 72 per cent of Ontario’s four million plus households have Internet access, with 54 per cent accessing the Internet via broadband.

– In 2006, 74 per cent of Canadian Internet users visited a government Web site and 55 per cent have used the Internet to download a government form.

– Of all those users, 24 per cent report they have applied for a government program or service using the Internet.

“Going digital changes everything. People are exposed to innovative uses of technology in lots of different spheres of their lives,” said McKerlie. “As this happens, their expectations of how government should serve them and hear them, changes. Those expectations will continue to evolve – and by that I only mean get higher – in a Web 2.0 world.”

To meet these growing needs, McKerlie said that new sites are being launched and enhancements are being made, like the recently launched Licensed Childcare Portal, the relaunching of the eLaws Web site and the Ontario Building Code Web site.

“To assist health care providers to quickly identify and prevent harmful drug reactions, and provide more informed emergency care, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in collaboration with Canada Health Infoway has implemented a Drug Profile Viewer System.”

As for what’s ahead McKerlie said they’re looking to enhancing and accelerate common components, applications and service programs and increasing the current inventory of 20 reusable, cost effective applications and services available today to clusters and ministries.

“As we work to enhance the democratic process it means we listen to our customers and we engage them on their terms. That may mean a world of wiki’s and blogs, text messages and YouTube, Second Life and podcasts.

Related content:

Showcase Scrapbook 2006

Showcase Ontario 2006: Sneak preview with Ron McKerlie

Government of the future concept kicks off Showcase Ontario 2006

Q and A with Ron McKerlie

Mastering metrics: Ontario’s five-year strategy plan

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