2023 - Peter Watkins

The winner of the 2023 Heintzman Leadership Award is Peter Watkins who is a global visionary for safe and secure digital services. Throughout his 30-year career in the public service, Peter has successfully navigated an astonishing array of challenging privacy, policy and technology hurdles to deliver real value to Canadians.

In British Columbia, Peter has changed the way every public servant in BC works, sparked small technology companies to lend fresh ideas and nimbleness to government, given millions of British Columbians online access to services, enabled millions of Canadians to receive their Proofs of Vaccinations, and energized the work to establish an interoperable pan-Canadian digital trust ecosystem.

Over the past couple of years, the ICCS has had the honour of working with Peter as the Program Executive of the Digital Trust and Credentials team. Peter leads the Jurisdictional Experts on Digital Identity (JEDI), advancing digital identity and fostering relationships across jurisdictions and the federal government. At the peak of COVID-19, Peter built a shared commitment and vision for delivering a Pan-Canadian Proof of Vaccination (POV) program for Canadians. This work provided the underpinnings for the solution that allowed millions of Canadians to travel and access services.

Peter is a remarkable leader with the ability to turn “mission impossible into possible”. He views challenges as an opportunity to employ his natural out-of-the-box thinking, exemplary IT mind, and innate ability to bring teams together. His vision and tenacity transforms ‘musings’ into ground-breaking applications, programs and policies. Together, these abilities have modernized government’s service delivery, solved insurmountable challenges, and made the lives of citizens, public servants and businesses better.

In recognition of his outstanding, innovative, and transformational leadership in promoting citizen-centred approaches to service delivery, the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service is proud to award Peter Watkins the 2023 Heintzman Leadership Award.