Access, skills and culture key to reversing Canada’s slide in global digital rankings

As people in Canada struggle to access information and process critical tasks, a TMU study explores why the federal government has fallen from six to 32 in the government digital transformation world ranking in the past 20 years despite significant investment.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new report released today examines the level of digital maturity in Canadian federal government services and sheds light on the key reasons why Canada is falling in the United Nations’ E-Government Development Index (EGDI). The EGDI is regarded as the most comprehensive and consistent global assessment of government digital maturity.  

The report, Byte-Sized Progress: Assessing Digital Transformation in the Government of Canada from the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University and Shift Insights, delves into three critical perspectives, digital culture, digital skills, and digital access, to provide a comprehensive analysis and assessment of digital transformation efforts within the federal government. 

Despite clear strategies, new digital service organizations, and the efforts of many civil servants, only 23 per cent of federal government services are available online end-to-end. 

Some of the systemic issues revealed in the report were: 

  • A heavy reliance on external vendors
  • Antiquated project management methodologies
  • A digital skills deficit
  • Inconsistent approaches to IT projects across departments

These issues were found to contribute to delays, budget overruns, and ineffective IT solutions. 

As a result, public servants often rely on inefficient and ineffective digital tools, while citizens have to sign-in to multiple government platforms, struggle to find and access services and information, or simply rely on in-person and paper transactions.

To address these challenges, the report puts forward key recommendations which include: 

  • A strong management structure that promotes a culture of digital design and collaboration 
  • Improving digital procurement practices
  • Attracting and retaining digital talent
  • Enhancing digital literacy through training programs and flexible strategies 

“From passport and immigration applications to income tax and benefit fillings, Canadians are expecting a digital-first option to get these important tasks done in a timely manner. This report offers an in-depth view into why the federal government is experiencing challenges and puts forth practical solutions and recommendations on how to address them,” said Viet Vu, Manager of Economic Research at the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University. 

“Digital enablement is a catalyst for a thriving economy, igniting innovation, efficiency, and accessibility. We know that online access to services helps to level the playing field. By working collaboratively, government and industry can drive accessibility to critical services for Canadians while meeting rigorous security standards," said Giles Sutherland, VP Business Development, Interac Verified.

This report was sponsored by Interac Corp.

For more information please contact Nina Rafeek Dow, communications and marketing specialist, the Dais

About the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University 

The Dais is Canada’s platform for bold policies and better leaders. We are a public policy and leadership institute at Toronto Metropolitan University, connecting people to the ideas and power we need to build a more inclusive, innovative, prosperous Canada. Visit us at

About Shift Insights

Shift Insights is a research and policy shop focused on the social, economic and technological challenges and opportunities facing Canada. We provide timely research and advice to enhance understanding and improve decision-making across a wide range of policy and strategy priorities.


Proportion of digital employees in the Federal public service Public Sector Employee Survey: Gov't of Canada

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