Ontario announces plan to move dozens of government services online
Ontario Premier Doug Ford just announced a brand new action plan to make more than 30 public sector services more accessible and convenient by reducing red tape and moving them online.
Speaking during his daily press briefing at Queen's Park on Monday alongside Peter Bethlenfalvy, the chair of a newly established cabinet committee working to bring major changes to the functions of government in response to COVID-19, Ford introduced Ontario Onwards: Ontario's COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government.
The plan includes more than two dozen projects "that will improve the way people and businesses interact with government, saving them both time and money," according to a government release.
Today, @PBethlenfalvy and I announced Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s Action Plan for a People-Focused Government to:— Doug Ford (@fordnation) October 19, 2020
✅Digitize + expand access to services
✅Reduce red tape
✅Improve government purchasing
✅Create more responsive & flexible public serviceshttps://t.co/Az5wK6qQ4T pic.twitter.com/4duDz8dVvf
Among the more than 3o projects included in the plan is a promise to provide new digital health solutions to frontline healthcare workers so they can rapidly and securely access a patient's health records online from any device.
Also, to allow a digital application process for development and construction approval to get shovels in the ground faster on transit and housing projects, and improve and transform government purchasing by leveraging the combined bulk-buying power of the province and the capabilities of local Ontario businesses so the province can have the supplies it needs.
"From the big banks down to family-owned restaurants, Ontario's business owners have had to adapt to meet the needs of customers during COVID-19, and government is no exception," said Ford in a statement.
"The fight against COVID-19 has accelerated our progress to bring more government services online, reduce the amount of paperwork and red tape for individuals and businesses, and ensure we can procure supplies more efficiently, whether it's personal protective equipment or online learning tools for students."
The plan also includes a project to change the way Ontario residents access important identity documents such as driver's licences and health cards by allowing them to develop a digital identity.
"Starting in January 2021, the government will consult with industry on how the province could introduce a secure digital identity for Ontarians by the end of 2021, allowing citizens to safely verify their identity, online or in-person," reads the release.
"A digital identity will make life easier and more convenient, while protecting people's data and helping to combat identity fraud."
This new service would allow a senior to check in to a doctor's appointment online, a small business owner to cut through red tape by registering for licences and permits and opening accounts online, or a student to skip a trip to the bank to open their first account by verifying their ID online, to name just a few examples.
The province says more details about each of the projects included in the plan will be announced in the coming weeks and months.
"The world has changed, and government must change with it. Building on what we've learned, we are undertaking an across-the-board modernization of the entire government," said Minister Bethlenfalvy.
"This includes major efforts to expand the range of programs and services available online and simplify the government's role in people's lives and their businesses. Our aim is to put the people at the center of everything we do."
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