British Columbia ranks first overall for its eGovernment initiatives, specifically the provision of online services and information and online engagement of citizens, a Stratford Institute study released today reveals. In this first-ever national evaluation of provincial governments’ online presence (PDF) commissioned by the Stratford Institute and prepared by Vancouver firm Brainmaven Research, Alberta takes second place, and Ontario ranks third overall.
B.C. and Alberta’s websites receive top marks for citizen-centricity and engagement, while Ontario is recognized for success in organizing succinct online information. The study is being released just prior to the CDMN Canada 3.0 2012 digital media forum taking place in Stratford April 24 and 25, where Open Government will be the focus of a keynote speech by OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea, as the forum tackles moving Canada to an overall leadership role in digital media.
“We undertook this study to provide a snapshot in time of our provincial governments’ adoption rate of digital media to inform and interact with citizens,” said Ian Wilson, Executive Director of The Stratford Institute. “While the results demonstrate considerable adoption of best practices, there is still room for improvement in mobile connectivity and social media engagement, given only a handful of provincial governments have fully optimized the technology available.”
The objective report will serve as a statistical analysis and discussion catalyst for the provincial and territorial Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who strive to ensure Canadians have access to the best online offerings possible. It will also provide a benchmark, allowing future investigations to track jurisdictional progress, Wilson explained.
B.C.’s overall first place ranking comes as a result of its dedicated customer-centric approach in providing online services, sharing online information, and encouraging online engagement. Of special note is the province’s proactive attitude towards Open Government policies. Having launched an Open Data and Open Information site, citizens have the ability to access government data and freedom of information requests. In addition to increasing online accountability, BC has taken steps to facilitate convenient content acquisition through mobile-accessible information.
Alberta excels in social media, receiving top honors in the online engagement category for comprehensive use of the tools unique to Facebook and Twitter to interact and connect with citizens. Through frequent posts with informative links to other government sites and social media channels, Alberta creates an integrated engagement experience for its users.
Demonstrating a high level understanding of the ways in which users consume online data, Ontario ranks first in the online information category for its ability to present and summarize online content. Highlights, quick facts and quotes make data more manageable, allowing citizens to digest online information quickly and easily.
In the online services category, Quebec earns top ranking for its advanced use of personalized online portals providing one-window access to government services for citizens and businesses, but is ranked in fifth position overall for eGovernment.
“The promising results of this eGovernment Study paint a picture of a forward-thinking Canada in which provinces and territories are keen to foster integrated and interactive online services for citizens, as well as explore opportunities that support Open Government,” said Wilson. “Rate of adoption is affected by resourcing and willingness of government departments to embrace change.”
Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) said, “A study of this scope aids in identifying strengths, rectifying weaknesses, and changing ways of thinking and behaving that ultimately contribute to advancing the Moonshot goal of the upcoming CDMN Canada 3.0 forum, where the goal is for Canadians to be able to anything online by 2017.”