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The growing use of information technologies by government bodies and agencies to interact with citizens, businesses, and other levels of government has transformed government service delivery models and spurred innovation. Within the public sector, in terms of both information and services, citizens are “increasingly viewed as ‘active customers of public services’ with borrowed private sector concepts being applied to improve public sector governance systems.”1
Consistent with the model of viewing citizens as customers of government services, the earlier government-centric relationship has evolved to a citizen-centric one, where—at the highest form of evolution in this relationship—governments proactively solicit input from citizens, creating an environment that empowers citizens to be more involved with government activities.2
The online services index was developed by the United Nations to evaluate the scope and quality of government online services. The following websites were assessed for content and features, as well as tested for a minimal level of web content accessibility as described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium:3
The survey questionnaire had four sections that corresponded to the four stages of e-government development:4
The scoring of individual countries’ performance within the four stages is independent of other categories. For example, a country can have a high score in stage 2 but a weak score in stage 3.
The grading methodology for this report card is different from the How Canada Performs standard methodology. An “A” grade was assigned to an index value of 0.9 or more; a “B” to an index value of 0.8 to 0.899; a “C” to an index value of 0.7 to 0.799; and a “D” to an index value below 0.7.
Canada places fourth overall and receives a “B” grade. The top three countries—the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands—all receive “A”s. Canada’s rankings on each of the four stages are as follows:
The overall country rankings are led by the U.S., which performs uniformly well on all four stages of e-government development. The performance of the Netherlands—which places third, after the U.K.—is held back by a poor ranking on stage 3.
Canada is weak on stages 2 and 4 services. Stage 2 assesses whether the government provides "greater public policy and governance sources of current and archived information."5
Stage 4 assesses whether the government engages in “participatory deliberative decision-making and is willing and able to involve the society in a two-way open dialogue.”6
A higher grade on this report card would likely push Canada’s ranking into the top three.
1 United Nations, E-Government Survey: E-Government for the People (New York: United Nations, 2012), 10.
2 Ibid., 124.
3 Ibid., 120.
Business Enterprise R&D Spending
Top-Cited Papers Index
Government Online Services Index
An assessment of how and to what extent governments are employing e-government. The index ranges from zero (worst) to 1 (best).
The data on this page are current as of April 2013.