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Ontario Public Service Helps Redesign Government With Ideas Campaign

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Public Service Helps Redesign Government With Ideas Campaign

Office of the Premier

In December, the McGuinty government extended an unprecedented invitation to all members of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) to contribute their ideas for improving services and getting better results for public money.

The response to this trailblazing Ideas Campaign was enthusiastic. By the January 31 deadline, public servants had entered more than 11,000 suggestions through the OPS website or by other channels. Hundreds of people participated in seven regional staff conferences and in brainstorming sessions.

Purpose of the Campaign

Despite the inherited deficit, the McGuinty government remains committed to delivering the changes Ontarians want and need. But it will do so in a responsible, affordable way. Economic recovery alone will not eliminate the deficit. Old ideas like cutting services across the board will not work. The only solution is to redesign government to put a focus on the results that matter most. The government looked first to public servants for advice on how to meet this challenge.

The government values public service and considers Ontario's civil service, which has won international awards for innovation, second to none. The government realizes that the best ideas to improve the delivery of services and achieve better results often come from the people who do the work and deal directly with the public. This is why the government invited all public servants to give their best advice for meeting our priorities while living within our means.

Channels for Input

Most public servants who participated did so through the government's internal "ideas" website. The site invited public servants to submit ideas for changing current policies or practices or proposing new ones, together with the pros and cons of their suggestion. Employees could submit ideas either as individuals or in teams. Public servants also had the choice of participating by phone, fax or mail.

Seven regional conferences during January -- in London, Thunder Bay, Peterborough, Sudbury, Ottawa and two Toronto locations -- brought together staff from various ministries working locally. These events took an in-depth look at key proposals and how to implement them. About 150 public servants took part in each conference.

Suggested Ideas

Some of the ideas proposed by public servants include:

  • Enabling people to renew their driver's licences and health cards at the same time.
  • Replacing older government vehicles with gas-electric hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions and save money.
  • Eliminating printed phone directories within government to save paper and costs.
  • Sending employees' pay stubs by internal mail to save postage or give employees the choice of getting the information electronically.
  • Working with the federal government to share locations for public services.

Next Steps

The ideas received from public servants are being compiled and analyzed. This information will be included in a report to the Premier and Cabinet for consideration in setting the agenda for the next four years and preparing the spring 2004 budget.

The Ideas Campaign is the first stage in a new, consultative approach the government is taking with both the OPS and the public. A historic public outreach effort -- Delivering Change -- is now under way to give citizens a say on how the government should meet its priorities while living within its means.