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Information for managers

Dear colleagues

The Public Service Data Challenge is an opportunity for government and the public to benefit from the ideas and enthusiasm of staff in every role, profession and department/agency. As the About page explains, we want to hear public servant’s ideas on how we can make better use of data, and to build teams of volunteers to take the best ideas forward.

The Data Challenge is also a development opportunity for your staff, providing participants with new skills, expertise and contacts. Public servants volunteering to join our teams will, for example, work closely with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines and organizations, gaining practical experience in fields such as digital project management and business planning. So if a member of your team asks your permission to participate, please consider your approval as a benefit to your staff member, your team and the public service as a whole.

The time commitment required of participants is fairly modest. Submitting an idea requires very little work. Where an idea is selected for development, we anticipate that both the idea’s originator and other team members may have to spend up to two days per month on the project, largely during working hours. The timeline on the About page sets out the program’s duration: all eight teams will undertake the first idea development stage, and four of them will continue to the Final.

We would ask you please to give participants the flexibility to join meetings and calls during working hours, and to attend events including the initial team formation meetings, the Semi-Final and Final. We anticipate that team members’ managers will also be invited to the Semi-Final and Final, and hope that you’ll be able to join us. For more information on the program, please see the About page.

We are writing to all departmental leaders, asking them to encourage their staff to participate, and very much hope that you’ll approve any requests from your own team members to get involved. In the long term, the Data Challenge will strengthen the public service’s ability to deliver for the public – and in the short term, it will support your work to build a more effective, engaged and inventive team.

The champions

Anil Arora

Anil Arora

Chief Statistician of Canada

Stephen Burt

Chief Data Officer of Canada

Frank Des Rosiers

Frank Des Rosiers

Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy And Innovation, Natural Resources Canada