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the very sorts of challenges and opportunities that have been flagged by other stake-
holders in Ontario (namely, the research community and the Auditor General of
Ontario in terms of the examples discussed previously in this chapter).
The next section aims to provide some insights and directions as to how a prov-
ince such as Ontario can address this handicap going forward, through a more
integrated and participatory lens of digital inclusion.
11.5 Gov 2.0 Stylized Reforms: From
Assistance to engagement
The purpose of this section is to go beyond the general albeit important observation
that the recent review of social assistance in Ontario seems to have all but ignored
matters of digital government and mobility (a point further underscored in terms
of consequences by the audit of ServiceOntario that suggests a highly fragmented
citizenry in terms of those utilizing electronic channels and those not doing so).
In doing so, we leverage Fyfe's question put forth above regarding a wider and
more ambitious digital adaption of social and developmental assistance and what
this might entail. Although other jurisdictions, notably the examples reviewed in
the earlier sections of this chapter, offer some insights in this regard, our primary
source is the social assistance review conducted in Ontario and how some of its
central proposals can be understood and pursued through a Gov 2.0 lens.
As discussed earlier in the chapter, Gov 2.0 denotes the evolution and adaption
of electronic government for an era shaped by web 2.0 capacities and mobile tech-
nologies and a resulting pursuit of what some researchers have termed as ubiquitous
engagement (Lee & Kwak, 2011). The State Government of Victoria in Australia
defines Gov 2.0 as encompassing four main dimensions: leadership, participation,
transparency, and performance. We draw upon these four dimensions to better
understand the challenges and opportunities facing Ontario.
11.5.1 Leadership
The centrality of leadership in the Victoria Gov 2.0 Action Plan is meant to encom-
pass not only senior management and political support for undertaking a structural
and cultural reorientation of how government functions but also fostering whole of
government capacities for pursuing and implementing specific reforms. A similar
sentiment is echoed by the report “Taking Ontario Mobile,” a point that is further
accentuated by leading jurisdictions such as Singapore and Estonia that have sought
to place digital and mobile reforms at the center of a political and societal project.
With respect to the governance of social assistance in Ontario, despite the
absence of any focus on digital reforms, the external task force makes a number of
likeminded recommendations for holistic and high-level leadership to oversee the
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