Ontario Delivers Simpler, Faster, Better Services for Ontarians with New Digital Plan
Ontario is taking a digital first approach to service delivery across government to improve the quality of service for Ontarians. The Government's plan includes the new Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act and amendments to a number of other pieces of legislation.
The Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act
The Ontario government is setting a new bar for digital services it provides by introducing the Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act that sets standards to put people first, enshrine proper data management and champion privacy and security.
The act also allows the Minister to appoint a Chief Digital and Data Officer.
In addition, the legislation mandates the release of non-sensitive government data to promote transparency and spur innovation and economic growth through the development of apps like iamsick.ca's health app.
Updates to legislation to allow for digital service delivery
The government is removing barriers to digital service delivery by updating 15 pieces of legislation - and five regulations - that currently require paper-based processes or formats.
For example, changes to the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act, the Consumer Reporting Act, and the Discriminatory Business Practices Act will allow government notices to be provided via email. These changes will increase efficiency and timeliness of document delivery and allow government to engage with businesses in their preferred format.
This will help reduce time waiting for government notices and decisions, reduce red tape and administrative burden on businesses and improve customer service experience with government.
Ontario is also modernizing internal data-sharing processes to improve user experience and privacy protection. Data sharing requirements will also give people and businesses better access to privacy-protected government data that can create opportunities for innovation.
Top 10 Transactions
The digital plan also includes improving the government's digital platforms to make high-volume services that are already available online easier to use and putting more services available online. The government is starting with enhancing ServiceOntario's top 10 transactions. This will shift approximately 10 million in-person transactions to digital channels, saving up to $33.5 million over the next five years.
The top 10 transactions include:
- Licence plate sticker
- Driver's licence renewal
- Health card renewal
- Health card address change
- Driver and vehicle address change
- Driver's abstracts
- Used vehicle info
- Transfer vehicle ownership
- Vehicle permit replacement (address change, lost/stolen, damaged)
- Vehicle registration
These changes will ensure Ontarians who interact with these services on an annual, semi-annual, or even infrequent basis can do so quickly, error free, and with ease. Online transactions will be designed in accordance with the new Digital Service Standard and will create a consistent experience for people using the services across multiple platforms.
The Government's digital plan also includes the following amendments to current pieces of legislation through a variety of ministries:
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Aggregate Resources Act
- The proposed amendment will change the Aggregate Resources Act to allow licensees and permittees to give notice of any change in their name and address to the Minister and the Aggregate Resources Trust by email.
- This will provide businesses with more flexible and faster services with the government.
Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act
- The proposed amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act will allow email notices in addition to notices currently delivered by regular or registered mail.
- The amendments proposed would improve customer service, reduce Niagara Escarpment Commission and Hearing Office mailing costs and reduce wait time for information delivery.
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
- The government is proposing amendments to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act to enable regulations and standards to specify the formats and methods that clients can use to submit information to the ministry (e.g., for annual reports, activity notices, etc.).
- These changes will make digital submissions more accurate, allow them to be shared, retained and usable for future reference by businesses and the ministry.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
- The proposed changes to the Bees Act will add an electronic option (for example, email) for communication between inspectors and clients.
- Sending notice of decisions via email will reduce administrative burden for business, clients, and government.
- The proposed change to the Drainage Act will allow the appeal Tribunal to deliver final decisions and orders electronically or by courier.
- The proposed change will align the Tribunal with ministry-wide modernization initiatives, reduce wait times for the receipt of legal documents and reduce administrative burden for business and government.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Archives and Recordkeeping Act
- The proposed amendment to the Archives and Recordkeeping Act will clarify that the purpose of the act, and the objectives of the Archives of Ontario is to promote good recordkeeping by public bodies in support of effective government administration.
- These changes will make it easier to meet the requirements for scheduling records and give the Archivist of Ontario more proactive capability to schedule public records.
- The changes also empower the Archivist of Ontario to make standards and guidelines for the efficient management of public records.
- These amendments will facilitate efficient and effective digital recordkeeping and reduce costs associated with managing information.
Business Corporations Act
- Changes to the Business Corporations Act, if passed, will require Ontario business corporations to include directors' email addresses in the register of directors' names. These changes will support a more digital approach to communication.
- The amendments will increase flexibility and reduce burden/costs by allowing certain filings/transactions to be electronic rather than in paper form.
Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act
- The proposed changes to the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act will enable documents and notices to be served or given using digital methods.
Consumer Reporting Act
- Amending the Consumer Reporting Act will allow documents and notices to be served or received using digital methods, like email.
- These changes will increase efficiency and timeliness of delivery of government services.
Discriminatory Business Practices Act
- The proposed amendment to the Discriminatory Business Practices Act will enable documents and notices to be served or given using digital methods, like email.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
- The proposed change to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act will allow for the integration of data across ministries for the purposes of policy analysis, program evaluation, monitoring of the allocation of resources, or service planning.
- These changes will allow ministries to share data in a privacy-protected way that de-identifies personal information. These privacy protections will increase public confidence in the way that government handles personal information.
- The government will provide clear authority for ministries to integrate de-identified data they collect in accordance with their program rules and laws, for the purposes of policy analysis, program evaluation, or monitoring of the allocation of resources.
Personal Property Security Act
- The proposed amendments to the Personal Property Security Act will allow creditors to register their security interests in property electronically. For example, a creditor may register an interest in a vehicle that the creditor has provided a loan for by submitting electronic documents as evidence of the loan.
- The changes to the act will increase the cost effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of the communications with our stakeholders.
Proposed Regulatory Changes
The government's digital plan also includes the following regulatory changes through a variety of ministries:
Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act - Section 16(2) of O. Reg. 167/97 - Ministry of Children Community and Social Services
- The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) currently relies heavily on paper-based processes to fulfill its mandate of collecting child and spousal support payments. FRO receives and sends high volumes of letters and documents, primarily through mail and fax.
- Regulation changes will support further enhancements to facilitate better communication between FRO and clients, and will reduce the need for clients to mail/fax their information to FRO.
Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act - Section 113 of O. Reg. 30/11 - Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
- This section requires certain licensees to ensure that that a prospective purchaser has received a copy of the consumer information guide made available by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario's (BAO) registrar before a contract for the sale of licensed supplies or services is entered into.
- The BAO's interpretation of this provision is that paper copies of the consumer information guide must be provided to consumers to meet this requirement. Clarifying that a digital format is acceptable will reduce administrative burden, decrease the BAO's administrative costs associated with printing and delivering the guide in proportion to uptake of an electronic format.
Highway Traffic Act, O. Reg. 340/94 - Ministry of Transportation
- This regulation will be updated to describe a driver's licence as a digital or physical document. It will remove the requirement for an ink signature to allow for greater digital delivery of driver's licence and photo card products and services. This will provide convenience for the customer and efficiencies in government.
Highway Traffic Act, O. Reg 628 - Ministry of Transportation
- Amendments to this regulation that remove mention of physical documents will enable the development of digital products and services.
In addition, a Minister's regulation, Highway Traffic Act, O. Reg. 473/07 will be updated to enable the provision of the in-class portion of the Beginner Driver Education course in a digital format.