Digitalization in Federal Governments: Impacts on Service Delivery

Author: Soumaya Marhnouj – In the age of digital technology, it has become the norm to rely more upon online applications for access to public services and programs as internet connectivity has proliferated. In Canada, 98% of households have access to fixed broadband internet access, and more than 87% have a home Internet subscription. Furthermore, over 88% of the population have a smartphone and 45% of them check their smartphone every 30 minutes. Not only are people more interconnected than ever, but technology is increasingly relied upon in a manner that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. We see this technological shift in almost every aspect of life; government actors, government services, and public information should be no exception. Federal and unitary governments worldwide are embracing – and being expected to embrace – technology in the exercise of their functions. Central and subnational governments can use these technologies to fulfill primary goals in service provision, including “improving efficiency and service quality by reducing service lead times, increasing transparency, and offering seamless service provision across organizations.” This practice is known as digital government.   

COVID-19: A Driving Force Toward Good Governance?

Author: Deanna Senko – In early 2021, the global community passed the one-year mark since the beginning of the pandemic caused by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. As of May 9, 2021 there have been 157,289,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 3,277,272 COVID-related deaths (WHO, 2021). This pandemic has forced many national and subnational governments to impose physical distancing, travel restrictions and lockdown measures as a means to slow the spread of the virus.

Intergovernmental Relations and COVID-19 in Canada

Author: Éric Desrochers – The regional autonomy of federations has added an extra layer of complexity to governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic-era relations between Ottawa and the provinces have been more cooperative than in United States, but less institutionalized and more ad hoc than in some other federations. The Canadian response to the pandemic has thus been dominated by the usual pattern of executive federalism, making it unlikely that it will lead to major changes in this area.