Hello, #GCDigital folk.
Wow, what a ride at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Mid 2018 in August, I started in the Office of the Chief Information Officer Branch on the GCTools team after a few months at the Policy and Community Partnership Office lead by co-Champions Neil Bouwer and Rachel Warnick. It was an exciting time coming into a central agency role. The GCTools, now legacy open source solutions slowly being replaced by the M365 Suite of Tools, was a genuine internet company within Government.
However, a few months later, my priorities moved from making videos and promoting the #GCTools to scanning the #GC Enterprise and mapping out projects across the Government of Canada. There began the daily routine of networking, collaborating, animating communities, and attending every possible event in person. IPAC, Policy Crunch, FWD50, IOG, CFR, OneTeamGov, and literally every in-person Canada School of Public Service event. We looked at ChatBots to interact with Citizens and voice tech and expanded the #OneGC approach for citizen interaction with Government using single-sign-on and experimented with a verifiable claim pilot.
Then, on March 16th, COVID hit, and a few weeks later, I moved to the Deputy Minister of the Office of Public Service Accessibility in April 2020. Accessibility was a very new area for me. Over the past 25 years, I have been building in-person and virtual events, thinking that providing a wheelchair ramp to the stage complies with accessibility. Was I ever wrong.
Disabilities come in many forms, including physical, cognitive, visual, and hearing, to name a few. My new role was to create the TBS National AccessAbility experience. We decided to create a series of videos to be hosted on Canada.ca for #NAAW2020. Thrust into the virtual world 100% along with my new priority, to make virtual events and meetings fully accessible; I researched around the world to see what Governments and Private Sectors were doing in the area of virtual meetings. It turns out “accessibility” was not a priority at the time. Fast forward a year and four months into the pandemic; the public service has finally gotten it, well at least, departments and agencies are becoming more compliant to ensure #NothingWithoutUs #AccesibleGC is aligning to the Canada Accessibility Act (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/accessible-people-disabilities/act-summary.html).
Are we there yet? April 4th, 2021, a year later, I would say no. We still haven’t brought fully accessible meetings to every meeting. Technology is trying to catch up. Hosting a fully accessible meeting with ASQ, LSQ, CART in a bilingual format is not cheap. #AI transcription is only available in English on MsTeams and is pretty shady, and forget speaking in both languages and having the #AI switch over to the other language. But, connecting OPSA with Derek’s colleagues’ verifiable claim pilot for the Passport. The mighty OPSA comms and outreach team host accessible events through external partners and internal partners within the GC, promoting a file very dear to my heart.
One big takeaway from working at TBS is that things are happening here. I will miss being a shared resource where I jumped into helping out architect the virtual experience for the Digital Nations Summit (10 country event from the basement of my home). Co-designing the in-person virtual experience for the 2020 CCO Learning Days (pre-COVID) and helping develop and design in-person events to promote accessibility across the #GC, I’m excited for the next adventure in the area of Change Management.
Oh yeah, and some cool experimentation:
and, thanks Minister Murray!
More to come!