Governance in the Digital Age

In 2016–2017, the Public Policy Forum dedicated its annual Prime Ministers of Canada Fellowship to the idea of “governance in the digital age.” Prime Ministers of Canada Fellow Kent Aitken‘s goal was to explore and explain how the world is changing and how governments are responding.

The resulting report is intended as a resource to practitioners and a conversation starter for those who are thinking about the pressures of change on our governance systems. It discusses the concepts of open government, digital government, public sector innovation and how governments are trying to manage rapidly changing technological and societal trends.

After a year of research, the hypothesis that government is not set up for digital-era governance appears to hold up. Success stories for digital governance, while they exist, are not the norm. Initiatives to transform to digital governance across jurisdictions rely on a web of workarounds, fast tracks, exemptions and executive air cover.