In 1999, the Government of Canada committed to become "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." Government On-Line (GOL) responded to increasing demands from Canadians to make information and services available online while continuing to provide services through traditional modes. GOL was a key component of the Government of Canada's service strategy, guided by two principles:
- organizing services and information in a client-centered way, to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and business; and
- a "whole of government" approach to provide access to the entire range of government services regardless of what channel is used (telephone, in-person or Web) or which department, agency, or level of government is responsible for the service.
This government-wide initiative, led by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), was about using information technology to make government more accessible, to better serve all Canadians; making online service better and more responsive; and building trust and confidence in online transactions. GOL provided the opportunity for each department to implement its own online services while maintaining access for clients to traditional modes of service delivery.
This internationally acclaimed initiative, which concluded in 2006, generated:
- a common look and feel for all government Websites
- access to integrated information and services through Government of Canada Web portals
- online availability of the 130 most commonly used services, offering various levels of online functionality
- secure transactions, and
- an electronic payment capability.