To Canada 150 and beyond: the role of government and the public sector

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By Kirsten Tisdale, EY Canada’s Government & Public Sector Leader

Ahead of #Canada150, we’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and what awaits us in the next century and a half. We’re asking ourselves the kinds of #BetterQuestions that challenge, inspire and unlock new solutions.

Q: How is your sector embracing innovation and what does it mean for Canada?

A: The public sector is absolutely embracing innovation and transforming how Canada’s governments deliver services. They’re figuring out ways to become more agile and responsive as the world adapts to a changing reality. That includes everything from capitalizing on analytics to plan the workforce of the future, to thinking through how to evolve public auto insurance for driverless cars.

It’s fair to say that most governments are cash constrained. They’re dealing with aging infrastructure and a changing workforce. Only through the use of disruptive technologies will governments be able to address these issues. We can’t tax our way to greatness.

Q: What role does entrepreneurship play in your sector?

A: EY is working with the Government of Canada to develop various campaigns which attract entrepreneurs from a variety of areas. We’re rethinking how to engage with small businesses and creating the conditions for them to thrive, opening up access to talent and capital, while streamlining the regulatory environment.

The key is creating a way to bring entrepreneurs to government and take advantage of what they have to offer. By working with organizations that know the ins and outs, businesses unfamiliar with the process can increase their chances of success.

Q: How can diversity move your sector forward?

A: Government is way ahead in its approach to diversity. The current cabinet is 50% women. This is reflected in provincial governments across the country. They’re mindful about ensuring they reflect the society that they serve. It isn’t just lip service; it’s about finding the right ways to make a change happen.

But diversity extends far beyond gender diversity. From a Canadian perspective, diversity means building out an inclusive approach that focuses on leveraging the strengths of all people – regardless of background, ability, gender, ethnicity, or any other factor. When you bring people together and celebrate their unique perspectives, you drive better solutions overall. That’s an approach all sectors should be embracing.


Innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity are vital to Canada’s future success. Those who seize the opportunities that arise from disruption in every sector are poised to lead in the years ahead. Happy Canada Day!

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The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.