Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Want More Government E-Services, but Don't Want to Pay for Them: Study

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Want More Government E-Services, but Don't Want to Pay for Them: Study

Article excerpt

Canadians want more government e-services: study


TORONTO - Canadians are already more likely to go the online route when accessing government services -- when the option is actually available, that is -- and want more digital choices to avoid having to pick up the phone, use snail mail or wait in line, suggests a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada.

The availability of government e-services varies across the country. For example, some provinces allow residents to apply for birth certificates online, while others still require the submission of an application in person or by mail. Service Canada offers Canadians e-services including online applications for employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.

In a survey of about 3,150 Canadians, almost half of the respondents said they chose to go online for access to government services "all of the time" or "often." That compared to 33 per cent who said they "all of the time" or "often" went in person to line up for help, 16 per cent who filled in applications and mailed them out, and nine per cent who used kiosks.

While just three per cent opted to use their smartphone "all of the time" or "often" and two per cent used their tablet, respondents did say they could imagine using the mobile devices more in the future.

About 17 per cent said they looked forward to eventually using their smartphone for government services and 13 per cent said they would use their tablet.

The results indicate Canadians are comfortable using digital means to interact with governments, said Domenic Belmonte, an associate partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada.

"It starts to highlight what Canadian governments need to start to think about to improve their delivery" of services, Belmonte said.

"I think Canadian governments have done a very good job up to this point.... The next issue for them is how do they build on those successes."

When asked what was stopping them from using government e-services, nearly half of all those surveyed said their lack of knowledge about their options was the biggest reason. …

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