Blueprint for Progress: Strategic Insights for Safe, Seamless and Secure Access to Digital Citizen Services

Sponsored by the Government of Yukon, Department of Highways and Public Works, the Digital Trust Laboratory of Canada (DTLab) has published a report and recommendations that delves into five key areas of identity and access management for digital citizen services.

Jurisdictions across all levels of government in Canada are grappling with how to make access to digital services more secure, privacy protecting and convenient for citizens and businesses, while remaining cost effective.

Effective access to digital services for citizens and businesses contributes to enhancing public trust and enabling inclusive access to government services. 

Read the full report and recommendations

Achieving safe, seamless and secure access to digital citizen services

Achieving safe, seamless and secure access to digital citizen services is multifaceted, encompassing issues of security, privacy, inclusivity, interoperability, and scalability. As governments navigate and evolve their digital citizen service programs, several topics and challenges emerge along the way. By prioritizing stakeholder collaboration, adopting risk-based approaches, and focusing on end-users, we can ensure that access to digital citizen services is not only secure, inclusive and privacy-respecting, but also convenient for citizens and cost-effective. The conclusions and recommendations of this report are pivotal for jurisdictions across Canada as they advance their digital citizen services programs.

Key takeaways

  • Take a program view to ensuring safe, seamless and secure access to digital citizen services
      1. Develop a program governance structure
      2. Build a cross-functional team
      3. Invest in capacity building
  • Develop a long-term program strategy
  • Develop a privacy framework that:
      1. Is developed in collaboration
      2. Prioritizes privacy-by-design principles¹
      3. Identifies internal privacy policies and procedures
      4. Incorporates privacy safeguards
      5. Designates a privacy liaison(s)
  • Centre the user in development and operations
      1. Prioritize user-centered design principles and components
      2. Iterative development
      3. Ensure citizen-centric support
  • Take a collaborative approach to procurement
  • Communicate precisely and build trust
      1. Build buy-in and understanding with internal influencers and at the political level
      2. Prioritize public engagement focused on gathering user needs
  • Stay engaged in the community
    1. Work collaboratively with external partners
    2. Actively engage in standards and technology community organizations

By leveraging a collaborative and research-driven approach, DTLab has developed a blueprint for Canadian governments that provides noteworthy perspectives and strategic guidance to support the ongoing progression of safe, seamless and secure access to digital citizen services. The findings and recommendations presented in the report can assist these digital citizen services programs in developing a successful path forward in digital service delivery.

Read the full report and recommendations

DTLab conducted interviews with individuals from the following stakeholder groups: seven jurisdictions, four privacy commissioners, five solution providers, and a pan-Canadian government expert.

The primary questions investigated throughout the interviews were:

  1. How does a jurisdictional government increase the level of assurance associated with access to citizen and business digital services?
  2. Should single sign-on platforms for government digital services support data brokering for relying parties within government, and potentially between government programs? And if so, how should this be done?
  3. How can single sign-on platforms used at the provincial and territorial level be enabled to access Federal Government services through federation?
  4. How does a digital citizen services team best work with its privacy commissioner to ensure safe, seamless and secure access to digital citizen services?
  5. How does a digital citizen services team plan for a future with digital credentials?

¹ Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. January 2018. “Privacy by Design”.