Date: Jun 4 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SWING 306
Chair/Président/Présidente : Réal Carrière (Université of Manitoba)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jean-François Savard (École nationale d'administration publique)
Die Hard With (Policy) A Vengeance? Implementation Effects and Digital Era Policy Design: Jonathan Craft (University of Toronto), Amanda Clarke (Carleton University) Abstract: The imperatives of the digital era are shaking up the public sector across Westminster systems. Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand have put in place digital government strategies and institutionalized ‘digital government units’. Ministers of digital are being appointed. Governments are experimenting with new digitally inspired policy techniques, instruments, and design approaches. The embedding of ‘digital’ has been purposeful; intended to disrupt sub-optimal policy processes and respond to longstanding and emergent policy challenges. Based on interviews and careful analysis of key digital initiatives in all four classic Westminster systems, this paper provides fresh comparative analysis of the contemporary state of digital era policy design. It details a shared, and near exclusive, emphasis on implementation considerations and practices. Specifically, service delivery, human centered design, agile methods, and ‘user experience’ now drive policy design in all four cases. The argued result is the emergence of ‘implementation led’ approaches to policy design which revives debates of bottom-up vs. top-down’ approaches to policy making. The paper explores the implications of implementation-led design with a focus on policy feedback effects and the design implications for discreet policies as well as policy mixes that feature multiple policies, instruments, and policy objectives operating concurrently.
The Data Driving Canada’s Temporary Migration Management: Tyler Chartrand (York University) Abstract: Through an analysis of administrative changes in the Temporary Foreign Worker and International Mobility Programs since 2012, this paper will explore the connection between data management and overall program outcomes in Canada’s temporary work permit programs. Recent years have brought substantial changes to the growing program: biometric identification is now required from many migrant workers; Job Match profiles link potential employers to nearby employment insurance recipients; and the newest Global Case Management System allows officials to manage more information than ever before. While these changes might appear to be straightforward applications of the latest technology, the new sources of data and analytical tools raise important questions about the future of temporary migration management: who will have temporary access to the Canadian labour market and who will grant that access? what sectors, source countries and permit types will remain prominent?
Drawing from archival material and access to information requests, this paper will trace the collection, storage and processing of new types of data in Canada’s temporary migrant worker programs. These data reflect the shift in temporary labour migration toward employer-driven migration management and open permits for trusted classes, supplanting older pieces of data such as occupational skill level. As the case of skill level demonstrates, data use or disuse tends to signal larger shifts in temporary migration management, including which groups of workers and employers are encouraged or discouraged to use the program.
What is the Government of Canada Doing on Wikipedia? Case Study of the @gccaedits bot: Amanda Clarke (Carleton University), Elizabeth Dubois (University of Ottawa) Abstract: One of a number of Twitter Wikiedit bots, @gccaedits is a Twitter account that reports on the edits made by Government of Canada staff to Wikipedia articles. Journalists covering the @gccaedits bot have framed government-initiated Wikipedia edits as frivolous, a waste of taxpayer resources, and, where the edits relate to partisan political matters, a sign of government politicization. This paper investigates these claims by analyzing a sample of 802 Government of Canada Wikipedia edits, as reported by the @gcaedits bot. We find that contrary to popular perception, very few edits are partisan-political, and that most of the edits represent politically neutral and valuable contributions to public knowledge. We also find that the number of Government of Canada Wikipedia edits has steadily declined in tandem with negative media coverage of these edits. The findings offer a counterweight to growing concerns over the politicization of the civil service (especially its communications function). The findings also suggest that bot creators and journalists can play a potent role in encouraging, or dissuading, innovative forms of networked government-citizen knowledge production in the digital age. The paper’s conclusion reflects on the complex on- and off-line information systems that governments, legacy media, citizens, and new political actors such as bot creators must navigate, and suggests ways in which knowledge co-production and new forms of transparency can both bolster and undermine democratic governance in Canada.
Government Information in Canadian Academic Libraries: Continuity and Change: Emma Cross (Carleton University), Sylvie Lafortune (Carleton University) Abstract: In 1966, the Canadian Political Science Association passed a resolution on the need for strong university depositories for government publications to ensure access for faculty and students to these important materials. Over 50 years later, we ask how are Canadian academic libraries responding to the rapid changes in the publication and delivery of government information? Current user studies indicate that while faculty and students are still using government information on a regular basis, there is a strong preference to use search engines to find government information online. There is also growing interest in new types of government information such as online datasets and geographic information system (GIS) data. Are academic libraries responding to user preferences and offering appropriate government information services to support faculty and student research? How are libraries handling legacy print collections of government publications (which have declining rates of use) and securing access to this material for future generations of scholars and students? This paper will present data from a recent national study of government information in Canadian academic libraries and provide insights into how university libraries are reconfiguring their services in a rapidly changing environment.