Accelerating the Role of Data Analytics in the Public Sector

Now more than ever, during this pandemic, COVID-19 has highlighted the need and importance of real-time data, analytics and business intelligence services in the public sector. Data has not only been critical in responding to the pandemic, but it also has been critical in directing the public and keeping citizens informed on all that is happening and is to come.

Many government programs and services are dependant on quality data. Governments in Canada are working to improve the quality and usability of the data they have to better serve Canadians. Governments across Canada are leveraging data analytics to improve the overall quality of their programs and services, improve accessibility and timeliness in accessing them and to make them more client centric. The government's use of data during the pandemic helped it to navigate unchartered waters and to deliver accurate and timely information to its citizens at a time when Canadians needed it most. Accelerating the role of data analytics will result in a public sector that is more agile and one that has the right tools to adjust services as required.

In 2019 the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service (ICCS), on behalf of the Public Sector Service Delivery Council (PSSDC) and the Public Sector Chief Information Officer Council (PSCIOC), developed an Analytics Playbook to support and advance the use of analytics across public sector organizations. The Analytics Playbook is both educational and instructive, articulating the value of analytics, identifying success factors that policy makers and leadership teams need to be thinking about advancing, and defining how organizations can get started on their analytics journey. The Analytics Playbook details notable achievements of Federal, Provincial/Territorial, and Municipal organizations with respect to the partnerships and projects that have used analytics to improve service delivery.

In 2021, the Joint Councils’ Analytics Playbook Working Group updated the Analytics Playbook as a digital version and incorporated the following new use cases:

Government of Alberta logo

Government of Alberta


The Alberta Wildfires Resource Scheduling Proof of Concept uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict fire activity in each of Alberta’s Forest Areas for the upcoming day.


Carrier and Vehicle Safety Analytics – Carrier & Vehicle Safety (CVS) is responsible for oversight on provincial commercial vehicle safety and compliance. They proposed a proof of concept to validate product development – Visual Analytics Solution – to build a virtualized data mart to integrate data from multiple systems and visualize data from descriptive and diagnostic analysis.


Personal Protective Equipment Analytics – The Alberta Emergence Management Agency (AEMA), under the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, can visualize PPE requests and monitor fulfillment in a single dashboard enabling better understanding of PPE demand, inventory constraints and shipment response timing.

Government of British Columbia logo

Government of British Columbia


The Data Innovation Program establishes a cross-government research and collaboration environment that breaks down data silos and securely links and de-identifies data from multiple ministries using population data.


Government of Manitoba logo

Government of Manitoba


Manitoba has established a permanent and dedicated Data Science Program tasked with using administrative data and novel data sources from outside of government to address complex policy questions with advanced data analytics and predictive modelling.


Government of Ontario logo

Government of Ontario


The Government of Ontario developed a framework for public sector algorithmic transparency and accountability to support the use of advanced analytics.


Developing artificial intelligence (AI) guidance to support the use of advanced analytics. Drafts of ethical and transparent AI guidance are publicly available for review and input.


Open Registry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithms – The establishment of this website portal enabled data collection and sharing with citizens and organizations.


Government of Saskatchewan logo

Government of Saskatchewan


The Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) Unit of the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training (ICT) has incorporated COVID-19 related intelligence for sectors and occupations into their “Sector Intelligence Tool” to inform a variety of decisions from re-opening the economy with the lowest COVID transmission risk possible to labour market recovery policies and training program alignment.


Government of Canada logo

Government of Canada


The Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s (CIPO's) weekly operational dashboard is comprised of key performance indicators and has been keeping management informed on the affect of COVID-19 has had on client and internal operations during the pandemic.


Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) improved the ISED Citizen Experience using Client Enquiry Reporting Tool, which was positively received by ISED clients, who were able to connect faster and more easily to the correct team at the first point of contact.


To reap the potential benefits of data analytics in the public sector, it is essential to address concerns and educate the public about the collection and use of public data assets, including privacy, ethics, and transparency to build public trust and shift public sentiment in favour of the use of analytics to promote evidence-based decision-making. In Canada, our data exists in many silos – across levels of governments, across departments, and across programs. These silos create barriers to the effective use of data. Working collaboratively to develop a pan-Canadian analytics framework to build public trust and enable analytics is a focus of work for the Public Sector Service Delivery Council, and the Public Sector Chief Information Officer Council.

So as we look to 2022, the future of public services will need to be more data-driven with an increasing change in the government’s use of data and the value of data analytics that will elevate citizen engagement, improve end-to-end service delivery that are personal and on-demand.

The Analytics Playbook is a unique resource for all public sector organizations that will help to advance the use of analytics for the betterment of those that we truly serve.

Data Driven Intelligence Working Group Co-Chairs


Analytics Playbook Sub-Group Co-Chairs