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within central agencies (and dictated by premiers and prime ministers), and more con-
temporary calls for collaboration and empowerment across all levels of the workplace
and polity. In a point with relevance for both the State of Victoria and the Province of
Ontario, it stands to reason that in the absence of some measure of political innovation
to encourage more participation and collaboration democratically, the organizational
reforms put forth by the public service are likely to be constrained by traditional prac-
tices rooted in hierarchy and control (Roy, 2013, 2014a). The Victoria Gov 2.0 Action
Plan presents a uniquely important test case in this regard, although any assessment of
its impacts and progress is outside of the scope of this chapter.
In terms of the relevance for Ontario and its social assistance review, we find
that the Renew Commission faced similar tensions, calling for new coordinating
bodies both within and outside the public sector while also recommending the
creation of a new Provincial Commissioner for Social Assistance, a sort of new
organizational czar to orchestrate the complex set of changes and interrelationships
at play. Moreover, consistent with this Commission's own reporting relationship,
it has thus fallen to a single minister responsible for social assistance to act (or not)
on its recommendations.
This fragmented performance and accountability regime from the point of view
of the government as a whole is further underscored by the separation of agendas
between social assistance and general service delivery (i.e., the Ministry housing
ServiceOntario). One can go further and add to this parceled regime the equally
separate ministry most directly responsible for economic and technological devel-
opment for the Province, including support for high-profile and flagship invest-
ments in a wireless and mobile technology industry cluster rooted primarily in the
Greater Toronto Area.*
In contrast, a genuinely holistic mobility strategy for the province as a whole
(province here is not capitalized with reference to not only the provincial public
sector but the economy and society more broadly) necessitates the provincial gov-
ernment becoming a model user of mobile technologies in its own operations. Such
an effort, in turn, requires some form of collective leadership and accountability
mechanism to drive more integrative performance outcomes—at the very least akin
organizationally to the government-wide task force deployed by the State of Victoria.
In the absence of such a mechanism enjoining relevant ministries and ministers (and
thus their senior officials), Ontario instead faces separate performance agendas for
social services reform, general service delivery reform, and technological innovation.
* In 2013, the Province of Ontario announced $220 million of assistance to Cisco in its plans
to invest in Toronto as a major hub of wireless and mobile research over the next decade
(including the creation of an estimated 1700 jobs in doing so). Such plans underscore a theme
addressed in the Taking Ontario Mobile study and an ongoing struggle for the provincial
government, namely, the disparity between economic development growth in southern and
more urban parts of the province and the northern regions where, in some communities, even
affordable and reliable broadband infrastructure remains elusive. This geographic element to
digital inclusion merits recognition, although it is outside of the confines of this chapter.
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