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The Longlist

Around 80 of you sent your ideas into the Public Service Data Challenge, and the judges have now long-listed the most promising for development by interdisciplinary, cross-departmental project teams: these ideas are outlined below.

Our congratulations to those whose ideas have been selected. And many thanks to everyone who submitted an idea: the quality of your proposals was very high, clearly demonstrating the expertise, inventiveness, enthusiasm and commitment of Canada’s federal workforce.

The project teams are now researching their ideas – developing the evidence, data streams and partnerships required to demonstrate their value and viability at May’s Semi-Final event.

Create a real-time bed availability tool for the homeless

Create a real-time bed availability tool for the homeless

Pulling together data on the availability of beds for homeless people at a regional level, and matching individuals with suitable accommodation, this tool will help those in need find a place to stay. Addressing a growing humanitarian crisis, it will much improve the health and wellbeing of homeless individuals while ensuring that public and voluntary sector resources are used as efficiently as possible.

Use ‘process mining’ to streamline transactional services

Use ‘process mining’ to streamline transactional services

Drawing on records tracking the operation of public sector transactional services, ‘process mining’ identifies bottlenecks, common errors and other weak points, enabling managers to re-engineer systems, apply new technologies and better target resources. Trialling on immigration or passport services, the program will hone the technique and demonstrate its benefits for public servants and citizens.

Build a one-stop-shop for public health information and research

Build a one-stop-shop for public health information and research

Drawing on public health data held by research councils, academic bodies, charities and international organisations, this AI-assisted ‘knowledge translation platform’ will provide user-friendly, customizable and searchable access to a huge range of information and evidence – aiding research, policy-making and service delivery, and promoting collaboration across organisational and sectoral boundaries.

Create a geospatial tool to improve infrastructure development

Create a geospatial tool to improve infrastructure development

Bringing local demographic, economic, environmental and built environment data together with information on existing and proposed infrastructure, ‘Infraspatial’ will improve public servants’ understanding of how new developments will impact local communities and economies. Using the interactive mapping tool ArcGIS Online, the tool will enable non-technical staff to realise the potential of geospatial data.

Develop ‘rules as code’ chatbots for use in public services

Develop ‘rules as code’ chatbots for use in public services

Generative AI has huge potential for use in chatbots, guiding citizens through public services and information – but its tendency to ‘hallucinate’ renders it unsuitable for many advisory functions. This project will explore how to address this problem using ‘rules as code’ or Symbolic AI, under which systems deploy Generative AI to understand a request but distribute only accurate, verified packages of information.

Deploy AI to better resolve First Nations’ historic grievances

Deploy AI to better resolve First Nations’ historic grievances

The government has resolved more than 600 historic First Nation grievances, but lacks a single repository of past research and agreements – gathering material from scratch for each new negotiation. Applying AI to analyse and catalogue a comprehensive repository of past research and settlements, this project would reduce duplication, strengthen the evidence base, improve consistency and hasten the resolution of grievances.

Map air pollution data and other key indicators to improve policymaking

Map air pollution data and other key indicators to improve policymaking

Providing better information for environmental assessors and policymakers, this map-based tool will bring together data on local air quality, demographics and wildfires, feeding in evidence on the health impacts of air pollutants. Enabling users to track pollutants and public risks, over time and at a local level, the platform will help inform decisions in fields such as planning, transport and environmental regulation.

Provide common data definitions and tools to aid analysis and collaboration

Provide common data definitions and tools to aid analysis and collaboration

When comparing datasets, public servants lack a universal set of definitions and formats – even for core information such as departmental names and street addresses. Data owners and specialists would also benefit from access to a common set of table and graph tools, pulling in datasets in real time. This project will explore how best to improve the data management tools available to public servants across government.

Analyse existing data to better target energy efficiency spending

Analyse existing data to better target energy efficiency spending

The Canadian government funds work to improve homes’ energy efficiency, involving the commissioning of energy audits, energy modelling for multi-unit residences, and the submission of invoices for improvement works. By combining these sets of information, managers could track the impact of spending on emissions, compare the value for money of different investments, and improve program design for the future.