By the end of July 2013, the Canadian government aims to have streamlined how users access government information online. The goal is to pare down existing information in order to make it more user-friendly and to remove “ROT” (redundant, outdated or trivial information). Another goal is to create a single point of entry that will lead to the pages for dozens of departments.
Tony Clement, Treasury Board president, says that the goal is to organize web pages and information in a way that is helpful to citizens. Pages will be organized thematically, rather than based on an arcane governmental structure. For example, the government is looking to provide one-stop shopping for a small business owner searching for information on taxes, how to start a firm, human resources and labour markets in Canada – rather than having to search websites of multiple departments. Clement has said his goal is to consolidate the government’s web presence from approximately 1,500 websites down to six or fewer websites.
The new web policies that will be set in place will also aim to set out guidelines for governmental use of social media. It aims to make social media more consistent, coherent, and more engaging with the public.
There is debate among some about where or not this clean up will remove information currently available to Canadians. While this is a legitimate concern, a reorganization of government sites could make them significantly easier to access. This is something that citizens want. The Citizens First 6 surveys shows this: citizens have high expectations for government on the web, and dislike having to sort through multiple channels in order to access information.