HALIFAX, NS – The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) today released a report examining e-government services offered by the four provinces in Atlantic Canada.
The study, entitled e-Government in the Atlantic Provinces: Review and Future Trends, assessed the delivery of 31 e-government services. Overall, Nova Scotia ranked first, followed by New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. These provinces were ranked using four classifications, with each level representing a higher level of sophistication, as identified by the United Nations. Nova Scotia is the only province to offer some e-services at the highest level.
The AIMS study also proposes Estonia, located in Eastern Europe, as a model for governments in Atlantic Canada to emulate. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “Estonia is the 132nd smallest country in the world by land mass, yet it produces more [business] start-ups per head of population than any other country in Europe. It has a population the size of Copenhagen but has one of the world’s most advanced e-government[s]” (“The Many Reasons Estonia is a Tech Start-Up Nation”, 2012).
“Governments in Atlantic Canada provide only a limited number of end-to-end online services. But there is currently no advanced e-government jurisdiction in North American. This could give early adopters in Atlantic Canada a big advantage,” said report author Jan Pavel. “Estonia demonstrates that a small jurisdiction can become a leader in e-government delivery with the right policy framework.”
The report recommends:
- Atlantic governments should adopt long-term strategies in order to implement secure and unified access to all transactional e-services. This is a stepping stone for advancement to more sophisticated e-services.
- Commit to gradually bring additional services to the transactional stage. This should be a part of the overall effort to develop citizen- and business-friendly e-government infrastructure that is competitive Canada-wide.
- Foster e-government cooperation among Atlantic Provinces, such as joint development of e-service solutions or promotion of mutual business activity by enabling access to each other’s government e-services with one secure form of online identification.
- Create a system of annual or biennial reviews consisting of inward-oriented benchmarks and outward-oriented comparisons with leaders in e-government.