Public servants need modern tools in order to work effectively in the 21st century. In many Canadian federal departments, access to many online tools is blocked by corporate firewalls or bandwidth restrictions.
The 2014 Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use (PANDU) states that public servants should have “open access to the Internet including Government of Canada and external Web 2.0 tools and services”, to support enhanced communication and collaboration, and to improve productivity and program and service delivery.
In June 2018, the federal Treasury Board released an IT Policy Implementation Notice re-iterating the importance of providing access to these tools, saying that “open access to modern tools is essential to transforming how public servants work and serve Canadians”. It instructs departments to reconfigure their web filtering rules to be open by default to the Internet, aside from limited exceptions (websites that support criminal behaviour or other activities that violate government policies or operations). Self-reported data on departments’ compliance with the policy was published on the Open Government website in February 2019.
This website provides an overview of which online tools are available in what departments, and which are blocked. In many cases, these tools are only available on request, which can be time-consuming and difficult to obtain.
Some of the tools listed here are installed software products (for example, web browsers and data science applications), rather than online services. These are beyond the specific scope of the policies listed above, but are still tremendously valuable to public servants working in modern ways.
Over time, we hope that departments who are currently blocking access to these tools update their policies and firewall restrictions, to make access to these open by default. Doing so is a key part of empowering their public servants to be effective, collaborative, and connected in the modern digital world.
This site is an Ottawa Civic Tech volunteer project. It is not affiliated with the Government of Canada.