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A time for long-term planning
Accenture launched its Delivering Public Service for the Future program with our foundational piece of research and thought leadership, Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts. In it, we outlined four major structural shifts in the design and delivery of public services that we believe governments will need to make to be able to deliver against the public service outcomes citizens expect, at a sustainable cost:
This Canada profile complements that paper, and is intended to put our recommendations in context of country-specific issues and research results. We advise referring to the larger foundational piece for more detailed information on the structural shifts, as well as for many useful examples from countries across the globe.
Future installments of our Delivering Public Service for the Future program, coming over the next two years, will also explore these shifts in more detail—as well as other important enabling pieces (for example, human capital) vital to delivering on the vision of public service for the future.
Read the full global report, Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts.
For years, Canada has been recognized as a global leader in delivering public service. Our Ipsos MORI survey shows that Canadians continue to express higher than average satisfaction with public services. Nevertheless, Accenture research sees some issues of concern for Canada. The country has a rapidly aging population, adding pressure to healthcare and other social benefit programs.
Projected strong GDP growth—2.3 percent between 2010 and 2025—will likely have an impact on Canada’s public services for the future as well. According to modeling done by Oxford Economics, these two factors affecting service demand (aging population and increasing GDP) will translate into a public service expenditure gap for federal, provincial and local governments. Oxford Economics modeling shows that meeting future demand for public services across these three levels of government combined will cost an additional CDN$93 billion (US$90 billion) per year in 2025.
It is time for Canada to plan aggressively for the long-term projections. According to Oxford Economics modeling, to close the public service expenditure gap (an additional CDN$93 billion in 2025), Canadian public services will need to realize 0.9 percent annual efficiency gains.
There is a strong citizen mandate for improved productivity as well. According to our Ipsos MORI survey, 37 percent of Canadian respondents believe that a top priority for their government should be to provide services in a more cost-effective way.
We see a large part of the solution lies in establishing the right information technology infrastructure to support the vision. Accenture believes increased digitalization will be the bridge to the higher productivity necessary to manage future spikes in service demand. Canadians appear eager for more digital services as well. However, the Canadian government’s aging IT environment has become a genuine barrier to transformational change.
Canada has a history of leadership in delivering public service, but looming realities make it imperative for the country to keep moving forward. Improving public sector productivity will require continued investment in the face of current economic realities. That in turn will require leadership mettle—to push past choices that may be comfortable for the short term and establish stronger long-term solutions.
November 9, 2012
Canada: For Richer, For Poorer? For Richer, For Poorer? Government’s Role in Preserving Standard of Living
Learn about delivering public service for the future by creating high performing labour markets in Canada.
Canada Faces 12% Standard of Living Decline by 2030─Chart
Four shifts to preserve Canada’s standard of living—Chart
Three-factor standard of living model for Canada─Chart
Global: For Richer, For Poorer? Government’s Role in Preserving Standard of Living
Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts – Global Study
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