Privy Council Office - Government On-Line 2005

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The Government On-Line (GOL) strategy was intended to make the Government of Canada known around the world as the government most connected to its citizens, with Canadians able to access all government information and services on-line at the time and place of their choosing. GOL has achieved its goals. Indeed, Accenture, the global management consulting, technology and outsourcing company, has stated that for five years in a row, Canada has ranked number one and its GOL program has set the standard for the rest of the world. A critical step has been to provide key government services electronically through a common government-wide infrastructure.

The GOL vision for client-centred, single-window service for all channels, including in person, by phone, and electronically, enables modern, seamless service delivery, and public servants now have the electronic information and tools they need to serve Canadians. GOL has enabled the foundation for the transformation of government and improved service to Canadians.

The GOL strategy has been guided by the following set of principles. All Government of Canada on-line services are:

  • bilingual and client-driven,
  • accessible from home, the workplace or public access points 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
  • intuitive and easy-to-use and navigate, including for citizens with special needs,
  • respectful of privacy, security and confidentiality, and
  • designed to ensure Canadians have a choice in how they access government.

The GOL strategy has followed a phased or 'tiered' approach to demonstrate visible progress within a manageable framework. The tiers have been:

  • Tier one: a minimum on-line presence for all departments and agencies, plus a new portal for the government by December 2000,
  • Tier two: all key government services on-line by 2004, organized around citizens needs, with the capability to process applications on-line in 'real time' and securely handle financial transactions, and
  • Tier three: building on the inter-jurisdictional service delivery initiatives, provides for joint Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) with provinces, territories, municipalities, business, volunteer organizations and international partners.

The Privy Council Office, like other departments, has aligned the services it offers to the public with the goals and principles of GOL. Canadians can now access information about PCO and our services anytime, anywhere and in the language of their choice.


The Privy Council Office is the Prime Minister's department and the Cabinet Secretariat. It is a focal point of action in the Government of Canada's public service. Our work requires close and continuous contact with other federal departments and agencies to support their ability to work effectively and to ensure overall consultation and coordination. We provide non-partisan advice and support to the government, and leadership, coordination and support to the departments and agencies of the government.

The Privy Council Office, headed by the Clerk of the Privy Council, is staffed by career public servants. Our activities are guided by our mission and our values, and our work reflects and supports our three core responsibilities: to provide public service support to the Prime Minister, to ministers within the Prime Minister's portfolio, and to the Cabinet in order to facilitate the smooth and effective operation of the Government of Canada.

PCO's GOL Vision

The Privy Council Office is committed to accepting correspondence to the Prime Minister and requests for congratulatory messages from the Prime Minister via the Prime Minister's website ( and to respond, as appropriate, via the same means or through other channels, such as regular mail or telephone. Our website is made available to the public. Information about our mandate, our services, and various information resources can be found at this site. 

While the Privy Council Office is not primarily involved in delivering services and programs directly to citizens, Government On-Line has been one of the external business drivers of the department's strategic plan and its internal business processes. Three key external client services have been provided by PCO to the Canadians who are the major candidates for the Internet channel.

Key External Client Services

Prime Minister's Correspondence

This external correspondence service is intended to provide a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations in Canada and abroad with information to increase their understanding of the government and its policies, and to inform the Prime Minister of the concerns of these correspondents. On-line electronic mail correspondence was implemented in November 1997.

The clients of this service are Canadians, businesses, non-Canadians, and schools.

For more information on this on-line key external service, please contact:

Michèle Saint-Laurent
Phone: (613) 941-6863
Address: Privy Council Office, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3

Prime Minister's Congratulatory Messages

On request, the Prime Minister sends congratulatory letters and certificates to Canadians celebrating a significant birthday or wedding anniversary. These letters and certificates can be requested by telephone, by letter, or by fax, and since April 2001 an electronic form and an alternative format (PDF) form have been available for on-line submission on the Prime Minister's site.

The Privy Council Office has enhanced and re-developed this service since its launch so that the electronic requests for congratulatory letters and certificates are now submitted on-line and integrated into a system to support end-to-end transactions. This system, after capturing the information from the requestor, automatically generates the appropriate letter(s) or certificate(s) with transposition of the collected information in the correct format, prints the envelope, and packages it for signature and mailing. This milestone was completed in the fall of 2003.

The clients of this service are all spectra of the Canadian public.

For more information on this on-line key external service, please contact: 

Michèle Saint-Laurent
Phone: (613) 941-6863
Address: Privy Council Office, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3

Privy Council Office website

The website provides information on the Privy Council Office's mission, values, activities and programs, publications, and related Ministers' Offices. Features for requesting publications on-line, making inquiries on-line, automatic e-mail acknowledgement, basic searching, and linking to the GOC portal were completed in December 2000. A graphic design following Common Look and Feel Standards was completed in October 2001 and further content enhancements continue to date, such as posting of travel and hospitality expenses for selected officials, disclosure of the reclassification of occupied public service positions, the publication of contracts over $10,000, and the addition of a site for Official Languages.

The clients of this service are Canadians, Canadian businesses, non-Canadians, media, academics, other departments/agencies and other governments.

For more information on this on-line key external service, please contact: 

Sheila Powell
Phone: (613) 957-5733
Address: Privy Council Office, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3

GOL Contacts

PCO Lead Contact: 

Patrick Borbey
Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services Branch
(613) 957-5151

PCO Communications:

Christopher Bartman
Senior Research Advisor, Communications and Consultations
(613) 957-5166