Ontario Newsroom

Smart Initiatives


Smart Initiatives

Treasury Board Secretariat

Ontario is implementing Smart Initiatives to transform how the public sector delivers services and achieve better outcomes for businesses and citizens. Smart Initiatives are a cornerstone of the Province's plan to build smarter government and achieve fiscal sustainability, while continuing to invest in the programs and services that Ontarians rely on every day.

Smart Initiatives are large-scale, multi-phased projects. Visit Ontario.ca/Smart to track the progress of all our Smart Initiatives.

The following are just a few of the many Smart Initiatives we are undertaking:

Business Supports: Helping businesses grow

The challenge: We want to help Ontario businesses focus on what they do best — growing the economy and creating jobs. Too often, burdensome red tape and regulations prevent businesses from navigating the variety of policies and programs that are available to expand and create economic opportunities.

Our solution: We are making sure our business support programs and services are efficient, accountable and responsive to the needs of companies and regions to help them invest, grow and attract talent.  

What success looks like: Kwame is an auto parts manufacturer in Ontario. The next time he applies to get support from the government, his company will be guided through various supports that can help his company gain investments, create new high-value jobs and increase revenue and exports.

Lead ministry - Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Transfer Payment Consolidation: Streamlining how government funds programs and services

The challenge: About 90 per cent of all government program spending is provided through transfer payments. This funding supports vital programs used by the people of Ontario, including heath care, non-profits, education and social services. Currently, this funding must be administered through different systems and processes, which results in duplicated effort and wasted time.

Our solution: We're going to simplify and streamline how we provide funding to recipients. That way, our partners can spend less time applying for and reporting on government funding, and more time making a real difference in the lives of the people they serve.

What success looks like: Maria works at a multi-service agency that provides a range of supports to families and children. Maria has to spend a lot of time managing 10 agreements from three ministries to get the funding she needs for her organization.

In the future, Maria will only need to manage a few agreements, which she can apply for and manage online. That will give her less paperwork to do and more time to deliver services that help families and children in Ontario.

Lead ministry - Treasury Board Secretariat

Capital Asset Management: Building and maintaining the right infrastructure at the right time

The challenge: Across Ontario, government owns or funds roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, courthouses, correctional facilities and transit networks. Multiple ministries, agencies and public sector organizations are responsible for procuring and planning this public infrastructure. This can make it challenging to plan, prioritize and deliver public infrastructure in a coordinated, cost-effective way.

Our solution: We're improving how infrastructure is planned, procured and managed. We're also going to use data to ensure that Ontario is investing in infrastructure where and when it's needed in our communities. This will help us minimize duplication, focus our time and people on priority projects and deliver infrastructure more efficiently and effectively. 

What success looks like:

Qiang lives in a growing neighbourhood with increased traffic congestion, making it more time-consuming for her to get to work. A new transit line is being built in her neighbourhood that will result in quicker commutes for Qiang and many of her neighbours. The Province made this new line a funding priority, over other infrastructure investments, based on evidence showing that it will benefit the greatest number of current and new transit riders.

An improved approach to infrastructure procurement — led by a team of experts and employing best practices in design, procurement and project management — will allow the new line to be built more quickly and effectively than previous similar transit investments. This will allow Qiang to benefit from the transit investment much more quickly than she would have under older procurement approaches.

Lead ministry - Ministry of Infrastructure

Supply Chain Centralization: Using public sector buying power to save money and get better results

The challenge: We spend about 20 per cent of Ontario's annual budget on goods and services to support delivering programs and services to the people of Ontario. Too often, this purchasing is fragmented and uncoordinated across government ministries, agencies and the broader public sector, including school boards and hospitals, resulting in wasted time and money. It also means that service providers don't always get access to the best products to deliver high quality programs to Ontarians.

Our solution: We're working together to use our collective public sector buying power to deliver projected savings of $1 billion annually, while also adopting leading supply chain processes and practices.

What success looks like: Sandeep works in a hospital that needs to buy office furniture. Chelsea works in a nearby school board that needs to buy the same office furniture.

Although they both work in the public sector, currently, Sandeep and Chelsea have to go through two separate processes to get the products they need. This process takes a lot of time and Sandeep ends up getting a better price than Chelsea.

In the future, Sandeep and Chelsea will be able to easily access the same contracts for the goods they need. That will save them time and money that can be used to improve public services.

Lead ministry - Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Digital First: Delivering simpler, faster, better services

The challenge: For too long, services have been designed around government needs, not people's needs. Bureaucracy and outdated rules have prevented the use of digital tools and approaches that can deliver a simpler, faster, better experience for the people of Ontario.

Our solution: Becoming digital first is about meeting people where they are, and delivering a simpler, faster, better experience — whether that's online from the comfort of your living room, or in person at a government office or retail location.

It's about putting people at the centre of every policy, program and service — cutting through overly restrictive red tape, using data more effectively and experimenting with new ways of delivering services that meet people's needs.

What success looks like: Jerome is a single parent who works during regular business hours and can't get away to visit an office to renew his health card. Jerome needs government services to be accessible online, 24/7.

When Jerome visits a government website to renew his health card online, we want that experience to be as quick and easy as possible. And when Jerome, and others like him, choose an online option — it speeds up service for the people who must visit an office in person.

Lead ministry - Ontario Digital Service

More details about these initiatives will be announced in future updates on Ontario's plan to build smarter government. In addition, other projects underway include:

Helping businesses with compliance

Too often, businesses have a hard time understanding and navigating government regulations and getting the information they need to create jobs or thrive in Ontario. We want businesses' interactions with government to be fast, consistent and helpful. We will get feedback from businesses on ways to improve these interactions — so that we can help them do what they do best.

Contact centres

We're working to continue to update technology, improve how contact centres operate and streamline services. This will shorten call wait times, expand hours of operation and help people access government services through multiple options — telephone, email and online chat.

Better I&IT

Technology is the backbone of the services we provide. By leveraging modern tools, we can provide simpler, faster and better services. That includes more than 190 million OHIP claims, 300,000 driver's licence renewals and 1.5 million vehicle stickers that we process every year.

Review of agencies

Provincial agencies help to maintain our infrastructure, provide expert advice and deliver legal services to the public. We are conducting a full review of all provincial agencies to identify opportunities to improve how they operate and deliver services to Ontarians.

Improving labs in the province

The government has 47 laboratories that protect health and safety across Ontario. On average, these labs are 37 years old, and about 70 per cent are outdated. We're evaluating how to make the most efficient use of our laboratory facilities, while maintaining their scientific integrity.

Coordinated real estate

We're going to manage government offices centrally rather than by individual ministry. This will reduce overlap, create common standards across government and improve services.

An inventory of property

We're doing an inventory of properties owned by hospitals, school boards, colleges and universities. This will provide a clearer picture about how space is being used across Ontario. We'll use the data to explore opportunities for savings.

Government offices

Office space represents one of the largest costs for government. We are working on plans to get more value out of the offices and land we own, reduce our footprint and cut back on our need for expensive, private-sector leased offices.

Unused property

Government owns hundreds of properties that we no longer need. These cost millions of dollars a year to maintain and take up space that communities need. We are speeding up the process to assess and potentially sell these properties.

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