The New Brunswick government is teaming up with TechImpact with the goal of producing the first truly digital government in North America.
Working together, they plan to create a digital hub for public services that will transform the way government and its citizens communicate and work with one another.
“This initiative is the catalytic moment that will kick everything into high gear,” McGinley said Thursday. “R&D and especially BERD [business enterprise research and development] are recognized as key economic indicators. We don’t have nearly enough of it happening in Atlantic Canada. We need to create an environment where this can happen. It is our opinion that this lab or hub will spark that investment.”
Several prominent New Brunswickers have been calling for a few years for a movement toward a digital government. When David Alston, CMO of Introhive, and Greg Hemmings, the CEO of the Hemmings House film company, traveled to Estonia last year to research coding education, they learned that country had a digital government.
In his public talks, Alston explains that citizens contact their government online, which does away with the need for annoying phone calls that get mis-directed or the endless filling out of forms. As Alston envisions it, a digital government would aid in the retention of young people, who have grown up in the digital age and would appreciate a government that operates online.
“This is an opportunity for us to attract technical experts and companies to New Brunswick, create jobs and develop highly secure services for global markets,” said Gallant, who is also minister responsible for innovation. “We want to become a truly digital province.”
McGinley said the hub will have several ancillary opportunities to create innovation and entrepreneurship, while a government statement noted the project should save millions of dollars over the next decade. There must also be parallel efforts to increase the digital component of several government services and departments, such as public schools, immigration, post-secondary education and foreign direct investment, said McGinley.
“Our goal is to develop digital solutions that will make every day things better for New Brunswick residents and make our companies the world’s recognized experts in this space,” said McGinley.