E-government has many dimensions. For some, it means providing citizens with electronic access to government programs and services. For others, it is about liberating information, making it more readily available to Canadians, or using it to evaluate programs and improve the effectiveness of government. For still others, it has a larger governance dimension – opening up public space to encourage greater citizen involvement in and engagement with government. Crossing Boundaries is a collaborative research project involving e-government leaders in Canada and around the world in setting and advancing the e-government agenda.
As the dialogue and debate has evolved over several years of discussions in two previous phases of Crossing Boundaries, the different dimensions of e-government have settled into three major (though overlapping) themes: Improving Service Delivery: Building the new Public Infrastructure, Information: A New Public Resource?, and From E-government to E-Democracy: Extending Public Space.
Over the next year and a half, Crossing Boundaries 3 will provide many opportunities for a wide cross-section of senior elected and public officials with all three levels of government, private and third sector participants, and journalists and academics to move the discussion forward around each of these three themes, with the objective of creating a clear description of the impacts, implications and challenges around each theme, and some possible approaches or directions that might remove some of the barriers that currently exist to maximizing the usefulness and benefits of technology for governments. In particular, the discussions will identify the role that politicians need to play to resolve some of the more intractable obstacles that currently stand in the way.
The objectives of this third phase of Crossing Boundaries are:
- To seek the commitment of senior officials, especially elected officials, on ways of tackling the issues and obstacles of e-government. We will develop a set of recommended policy directions to help decision-makers translate the results of our work into more concrete changes.
- To explore the ways in which ICTs are affecting government both in Canada and around the world, to identify approaches being taken in other jurisdictions and the gaps that still need to be addressed. Ultimately, we will create a coherent and integrated account of e-government – a storyline – that makes sense of the many different perspectives that stakeholders, ranging from government bureaucrats and politicians to anti-globalization protesters and the business community, have on how ICTs should be used to transform government.
- To build and facilitate a large network of stakeholders across Canada, and beyond, who are committed to working together to realize the goals of e-government.