Rescinded [2014-06-09] - Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0
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1. Publication Date
The publication date of this guideline is November 18th, 2011, and it will be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis as appropriate.
This guideline is designed to provide specific guidance to Government of Canada departments on the use of externally
facing Web 2.0 tools and services.
This guideline does not alter or replace any existing legislation or policy instrument. When interacting with external
audiences through Web 2.0 tools and services for official purposes, departments must comply with existing legislative and
policy requirements. This guideline includes practical advice to help departments make informed decisions about how to meet
these requirements when using externally facing Web 2.0 tools and services. In addition, the guideline encourages departments
- Designate clear accountability for the coordination of departmental Web 2.0 initiatives; and
- Develop guidance for personnel on the use of Web 2.0 that addresses expected behaviours, benefits, risks and consequences
for all types of potential use (official use, professional networking use and personal use).
This guidance may not cover every situation, but it will help departments make good choices that mitigate risks while
maximizing benefits of these tools and services.
This guideline was released by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Chief Information Officer Branch. It supports and
should be read in conjunction with the Policy Framework for Information and Technology,
including the Policy on Management of Information Technology and the
Policy on Information Management, as well as the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada. Unless explicitly stated
otherwise, the guidance provided applies to the use of Web 2.0 tools and services developed by the Government of Canada
and/or hosted on Government of Canada networks, as well as to those developed and/or hosted by a third party.
This guideline applies to departments as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration
Act, unless excluded by specific acts, regulations, or Orders in Council. Other Government of Canada institutions
may make use of this guideline as appropriate for their operational needs. Some of the policy instruments referenced in
this guideline, including those relating to official languages, values and ethics, and political activities, have specific
applications that may be broader or narrower than the intended audience of this guideline, therefore each department should
accordingly give consideration to its specific obligations. All Government of Canada departments are encouraged to draw
on this guideline to complement and support their existing obligations.
3.1 What is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 refers to Internet-based tools and services that allow for participatory multi-way information sharing, dialogue,
and user-generated content. This can include social media, which allow participants with distinct social/user profiles to
create, share and interact with user-generated content, including text, images, video and audio (e.g. Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube, Linked-In, blogs) as well as collaborative technologies that allow multiple users to collaboratively create content
(e.g. Wikis, Google Docs).
3.2 Benefits of Use
Government of Canada departments are encouraged to use Web 2.0 tools and services as an efficient and effective additional
channel to interact with the public. A large number of Canadians are now regularly using Web 2.0 tools and services to find
information about, and interact with, individuals and organizations. For many Canadians, Web 2.0 is increasingly becoming
a primary channel for sending, receiving and generating information. Because of the participatory nature of Web 2.0, it
can help facilitate interactive and rapid communication and engagement between government departments, their partners and
their clients, with some common uses including:
- Risk and emergency communications;
- Services to the public;
- Stakeholder outreach and education;
- As a collaborative tool; and
3.3 Risks of Use
Though the use of Web 2.0 is encouraged because of the many potential benefits, departments should remain aware of the
risks and challenges that the use of Web 2.0 can sometimes present, including:
- Difficulty reconciling existing constitutional, statutory, regulatory and policy obligations with the technological
constraints and usage patterns of these tools and services (e.g. reconciling Official Languages requirements with a
Web 2.0 tool that has per-message characters limits);
- Potential misuse of Government of Canada content that is shared through Web 2.0 tools and services, particularly
when subject to the terms of service of third-party Web 2.0 service providers (e.g. profile information being reused
by a third-party service for advertising);
- Negative perceptions resulting from Web 2.0 initiatives associated with the Government of Canada, including users
posting offensive or abusive comments, attempts to engage in dialogue about political decisions or direction, on-line
vandalism, and inability to fulfill reasonable expectations of timely two-way communication;
- Misinterpretation of online activity and/or comments as the official position of the Government of Canada rather
than that of an individual;
- Challenges in protecting the privacy of both personnel and the public who are interacting through Web 2.0 tools
and services; and
- Extensive and legally binding terms of service that can, if not sufficiently understood and respected, present legal
risks for the Government of Canada and individuals.
4. Key Considerations for Web 2.0 Initiatives
This section provides advice and guidance on key considerations for departments when developing and executing externally
facing Web 2.0 initiatives. Specifically, it provides key considerations for the following phases of the life-cycle of a
Web 2.0 initiative:
- Governance and Oversight;
- Planning and Design;
- Rules of Engagement; and
- Evaluation and Measurement,
Departments should ensure that their use of Web 2.0 is consistent with their mandate. Management of Web 2.0 initiatives
should be included in regular departmental planning exercises to address business value, governance, resources, costs, communications,
policy and legislative requirements, as well as risks and challenges of use.
4.1 Governance and Oversight
- Departments should designate a senior official accountable and responsible for the coordination of all Web 2.0 activities
as well as an appropriate governance structure. It is recommended that the Head of Communications be the designated
official. This designate should collaborate with departmental personnel who have expertise in using and executing Web
2.0 initiatives, as well as with representatives from the following fields in their governance structure: information
management, information technology, communications, official languages, the Federal Identity Program, legal services,
access to information and privacy, security, values and ethics, programs and services, human resources, the user community,
as well as the Senior Departmental Official as established by the Standard
on Web Accessibility. A multidisciplinary team is particularly important so that policy interpretations are
appropriately made and followed when managing information resources through Web 2.0 tools and services.
- Governance of Web 2.0 initiatives should be clear, succinct and well communicated so that all departmental personnel
are aware of their responsibilities and how decisions are made. The governance of Web 2.0 initiatives should be integrated
with existing departmental governance structures to reduce duplication of effort, information and repositories, as well
as to help ensure that engagement is consistent.
- When it is likely that a Web 2.0 initiative will require a Treasury Board submission (e.g. a requested modification
under the Federal Identify Program (FIP) for a unique departmental or program identifier), the appropriate TBS analyst
should be engaged early in the planning process.
- The designated departmental accountability centre for Web 2.0 initiatives should be the coordination point for creating
and managing official departmental Web 2.0 accounts and profiles. It should also ensure that when creating these accounts
and profiles the department uses customized terms of service for third-party Web 2.0 tools and services (see Appendix
H for further information on customized terms of service).
- Approaches that reflect the participatory nature of Web 2.0 platforms should be encouraged and supported within
the governance structure. These approaches may include developing or leveraging communities of practice and communities
of interest, as well as processes to integrate these communities' input into current governance structures. Where multiple
departments collaborate through Web 2.0 tools and services, cross-departmental governance is recommended.
- An overall departmental strategy (and policies, where required) for using Web 2.0 tools and services should be developed,
which takes into account:
- Existing mandate and business value for the department;
- Policy and legislative obligations;
- Departmental governance structures;
- Operational requirements, including resources and costs;
- Risks and challenges of use;
- Assessing and granting access to Web 2.0 tools and services on departmental networks;
- Expected and recommended behaviours and procedures for personnel;
- Monitoring and consequences; and
- Lessons learned and shared by other departments.
4.2 Planning and Design
Have a plan: For each Web 2.0 initiative, departments should develop a plan with input from departmental
communications advisors that follows departmental policy and procedures with respect to external communications activities.
This plan should outline:
- The business drivers for the use of Web 2.0 tools and services;
- How this use is aligned with overall governmental, departmental, program and/or project objectives to ensure
that it is aligned with overall outcomes;
- Delineation of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities;
- Considerations of the target audiences (Internet behaviours, language preference, persons with disabilities,
mobile technologies, literacy levels, knowledge and understanding of the issues, positions on issues, etc.) to help
identify which are the most appropriate Web 2.0 tools and services for the department to be using, and how to manage
- The authorities for project ownership and approval, competition and contracting, intellectual property, and
- A risk assessment and management plan;
- A communications plan to:
- Help outline the expected nature of the interactions;
- Respond to stakeholders, including when responses are critical, political, off-topic or abusive; and
- Ensure that messaging on Web 2.0 tools and services aligns with Government of Canada themes and messages
on other channels.
- Allocation of appropriate resources (human, technical and financial), including the resources needed to manage
the accounts in both official languages;
- The training required to ensure that personnel understand how to use Web 2.0 tools and services within the legislative
and policy framework of the Government of Canada and the department;
- An approach for program evaluation including what metrics are available and what defines success;
- A proposed timeline for evaluation;
- A continuous improvement process to learn and improve the initiative; and
- How it will be phased out or transitioned if necessary.
Comply with policies: When using Web 2.0 tools and services for official purposes, departments
must ensure compliance with legislation and Treasury Board and departmental policies. Information about certain specific
legislative and policy obligations is provided in the Appendix of this guideline, which should be referred to for more
detailed guidance. As a summary of the Appendixes, the key policy considerations when developing a Web 2.0 initiative
are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Government of Canada public facing Web pages (including Web applications) must comply with the accessibility
requirements outlined in the Standard on Web Accessibility.
Web 2.0 tools and services integrated into those Web pages (including Web applications) must also comply with
the requirements outlined in the Standard on Web Accessibility;
- Government of Canada Web content hosted on external third-party Web 2.0 tools and services (including Web
sites) should conform to the Web accessibility best practices for those tools and services, and should include
links to equivalent content on Government of Canada Web sites, which are required to meet the Standard on Web Accessibility.
- Verify that the planned Web 2.0 initiative is congruent with Government of Canada themes and messages, as
well as departmental communications' and consultations' objectives and requirements. Privy Council Office should
be engaged early in the process to ensure alignment of Web 2.0 activities with Government of Canada communication
and consultation priorities;
- Confirm that if the planned gathering of opinions or views through public interaction falls within the definition
of public opinion research, that it complies with mandatory requirements under the Communications
Policy of the Government of Canada and related Procedures
for Planning and Contracting Public Opinion Research;
- Web 2.0 advertising activities must comply with mandatory requirements under the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada
and related Procedures for Planning, Contracting and
Evaluating Advertising; and
- Ensure that advertising from sources outside of government is not displayed alongside the department's Web
2.0 presence where possible to avoid perception of endorsement.
- Federal Identity Program
- Ensure that the Government of Canada or department is appropriately identified as required under the
Program Policy; and
- Web 2.0 initiatives undertaken jointly with another government, company, organization, group or individual
must clearly and equitably identify the participation of all parties.
- Information Management
- Review planned Web 2.0 initiatives for the ability to save or capture information of business value to ensure
that relevant content can be stored and retrieved and to ensure that recordkeeping requirements and procedures
are followed; and
- Departmental information management specialists can assist with determining ways to identify information
of business value and to integrate Web 2.0 tools and services with recordkeeping and document management systems
- Official Languages
- Ensure that each Web 2.0 tool or service under consideration supports content in both official languages,
according to the Official Languages Act, the Policy on the Use of Official Languages for Communications
with and Services to the Public and associated directives;
- Actively encourage participation in both official languages, including informing the public that there is
an equal "activity" that they can access in the other official language;
- Ensure that terms of reference, conditions of use, departmental positions and disclaimers are available
in both official languages;
- Ensure that management and editing tools, help sections, pop-up messages, site navigation, as well as user
interfaces (including use of accents for French and equal access from initial points of entry) are available
in each official language and are of equal quality. This is required when a Web 2.0 tool or service is being
provided by the Government of Canada; when using a third-party Web 2.0 tool or service, departments should strive
to meet these obligations and assess whether the platform should in fact be used;
- Ensure that if using two separate single-language accounts, that both versions have equal status (i.e. both
versions considered to be official);
- Put in place a strategy to deal with comments from the public in both official languages. This strategy
must include carefully monitoring both language versions of Web 2.0 tools or services being used so that when
it appears that the department is receiving more public questions/comments in one language that require a general
and public response, it ensures that it provides the same information to the public in both official languages.
Departments should consider providing regular summaries of comments which are posted in both official languages
- Plan ahead for translation at key milestones to ensure equality of services and quality in both official
- Privacy and Access to Information
- Engage your departmental Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) office at a sufficiently early stage to
assist in reviewing the privacy implications of the planned use of Web 2.0 tools and services. ATIP officials
will help ensure that:
- The requirements of the Privacy Act are respected;
- TBS policy instruments, in particular that Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) requirements, are addressed
- In cases where personal information is used for non-administrative purposes only, that a privacy protocol
addresses any personal information concerns;
- An appropriate privacy notice is developed for the site; and
- Procedures are in place to ensure any requirements under the Privacy Act or Access to Information
Act are addressed
- Privacy, legal and security concerns related to sites hosted or owned by third parties are addressed; and
- Institutions should monitor Web 2.0 sites to ensure that any inappropriate, unsolicited or confidential
information is removed.
- Procurement and Contracting
- If the acquisition of the Web 2.0 tool or service has costs associated with it, consult your departmental
procurement and contracting experts for guidance;
- A contracting risk assessment must be undertaken for each of the Government of Canada's Web 2.0 initiatives
that have a cost associated with the use of the respective tool or service. Conducting a risk assessment remains
a good practice in the case of using no cost Web 2.0 tools and services; and
- Whenever possible, departments should use custom terms of service that have been negotiated by PWGSC for
some third-party Web 2.0 tools and services. For more information on how to do so, please refer to the "Social media procurement process" page on GCpedia.
- Evaluate any unique security risks (e.g. identity theft, viruses, worms, phishing and Trojan Horses) associated
with the Web 2.0 tools or services under consideration and identify approaches for information and technology
Legal review: Prior to using Web 2.0 tools and services, departments should engage their legal
services unit for advice on associated legal issues. In seeking advice, departments should provide legal counsel with
information about the proposed use(s) including information about the Web 2.0 initiative's oversight plan, the particular
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian Human Rights Act;
- The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service;
- Privacy and Access to Information;
- Official Languages;
- Intellectual Property (including copyright);
- Crown Liability; and
- Governing law.
4.3 Rules of Engagement
Departments should develop rules of engagement for the public whenever using external Web 2.0 tools or services. The
rules of engagement should be clearly posted on or linked from the Web 2.0 tool or service at an appropriate location, such
as the departmental account profile or the main navigation page. The rules of engagement should, at a minimum, provide the
- Moderation criteria for:
- Topical posts or comments;
- Personal information and other protected or classified information;
- Political posts;
- Advertising, solicitation or spam;
- Attacks; and
- Discrimination on the basis of, for example, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental
or physical disability, or sexual orientation;
- Response time expectations;
- Intellectual property (including copyright), privacy, accessibility and official languages notices which include
links to the corresponding legislation, Treasury Board or departmental policies; and
- Consequences for violation of the rules of engagement.
4.4 Evaluation and Measurement
It is recommended that departments conduct evaluations of all Web 2.0 initiatives at regular intervals appropriate to
the pace and nature of interactions, that:
- Measure to what extent the use of the Web 2.0 tool or service is meeting expected outcomes and providing business
- Ensure that the use of the Web 2.0 tool or service is reaching the desired target audiences;
- Evaluate compliance with policies, procedures and legal obligations;
- Establish processes to leverage outcomes of evaluation to improve the initiative, including updating personnel and
managers' training needs.
Through the participation in cross-departmental working groups and by sharing the results of evaluation and measurement
of Web 2.0 initiatives, departments should actively contribute to developing and maintaining Government of Canada best practices
and procedures for using Web 2.0. Since Web 2.0 tools and services are ever-changing, this will allow the Government of
Canada to keep current and assist all departments with governance and risk management.
5. Establishing Guidance for Personnel
It is recommended that departments provide personnel with guidance for their use of Web 2.0 that addresses expected behaviours,
benefits, risks and consequences for all potential types of use. This guidance should be based on the principle that personnel
are trusted in their use of Web 2.0 tools and services just as they are trusted in every other aspect of their work. When
possible, existing guidance for personnel on the use of Web 2.0 that has been developed by other Government of Canada departments
should be leveraged.
Government of Canada personnel may seek to use Web 2.0 tools and services in one or more of the following ways:
- Use of an official departmental Web 2.0 account for departmental communication purposes,
including as a spokesperson for the department or within the scope of an individual's duties in the course of their
Professional Networking Use:
- Use of an individual's personal Web 2.0 account for non-official communication
purposes that are related to their employment, including participating in professional associations, knowledge sharing
and career development.
- Use of an individual's personal Web 2.0 account for purposes unrelated to their employment.
1. In the development of guidance for their personnel on the use of Web 2.0 tools and services in official, professional
networking, and personal use situations, departments may consider basing their guidance on the following statements which
are broadly applicable to all Government of Canada personnel:
For Official Use:
- All Web 2.0 activities for Official Use should be undertaken with the support and under the direction of the department's
designated official responsible for Web 2.0.
- When using Web 2.0 tools and services as part of your official duties, you may be acting as a designated departmental
spokesperson in accordance with the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.
Your manager and communications advisors will provide you the guidance and permissions needed and help you put together
a plan for engaging the public.
- Ensure that you have the proper authority prior to creating a profile on a Web 2.0 tool or service on behalf of
- Whenever possible, you should use customized terms of service when creating a profile on a third-party Web 2.0
tool or service. For more information on how to do so, please refer to the "Social media
procurement process" page on GCpedia.
- When using Web 2.0 tools or services for official use, compliance with relevant legislation and Treasury Board and
departmental policies is required. The appendixes of the TBS Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0 provides
specific advice as to how to comply with existing legislative and policy requirements governing interactions with external
audiences through Web 2.0 tools and services and should be followed at all times.
For Professional Networking & Personal Use:
- Your obligations as outlined in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service
apply at all times, particularly if your employer could be identified through your use of Web 2.0 tools and services.
- By virtue of your employment, information shared through Web 2.0 tools and services may be perceived as an official
Government of Canada position rather than your own opinion. You should therefore clearly state in your account profile
that the views expressed are your own and not those of your employer. However, it is important to note that such a disclaimer
does not absolve you of your obligations as a public servant, including your duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada.
- Forward all requests for statements or interviews from the media to your departmental communications advisor and/or
provide a contact to your departmental media relations advisor as you may not be the authorized spokesperson on these
matters for your department.
- Only publicly available information may be shared externally, unless you are specifically authorized otherwise.
Always check permissions required to reproduce or distribute any information, including Government of Canada content
such as illustrations, photographs, videos, audio, logos, trade-marks or wordmarks. Wherever possible, provide links
to original source material and attribute as required to respect copyright and intellectual property rights.
- Personal information about others should not be posted through Web 2.0 tools and services, unless you have the explicit
consent of the individual(s) to whom the information relates to do so.
- Divert work-related conversations to official channels (e.g. a Government of Canada e-mail account) as appropriate
so that there is a record of any guidance provided or decisions taken.
- Do not use any Government of Canada corporate symbols or signatures in your use of Web 2.0 for professional networking
or personal use. They are for use in official communication only.
- Remember that Web 2.0 interactions can be easily republished or repurposed without the original context, and may
be permanently accessible. Be sure to understand the Web 2.0 environment and its associated risks.
- When creating an account on a Web 2.0 tool or service, if it is linked to your Government of Canada e-mail address
it should only be used for professional networking purposes.
- If you have questions about an on-line activity that you want to or have engaged in, you should speak to your manager
or Values and Ethics advisor.
- You must not engage in any activity that might put at risk the non-partisanship and impartiality of the public service.
If you have questions about political expression through the use of Web 2.0 tools and services, you should speak to
your manager or contact your department's designated political activities representative.
- If you are accessing Web 2.0 tools and services through Government of Canada networks, you must be aware of the
terms of your department's policy regarding the use of electronic networks, including its monitoring, investigation
and disciplinary provisions.
2. Departments are encouraged to provide training to assist personnel in understanding their obligations when using Web
2.0 tools and services in any capacity, under both the Values and
Ethics Code for the Public Service as a term and condition of employment, as well as the rights and legal obligations
for personnel subject to Part 7 (political activities)
of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).
Fulfillment of these obligations is expected at all times as follows:
- Public servants owe a duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada;
- Do no harm to the reputation of your employer;
- Maintain integrity and impartiality; and
- Uphold the tradition of political neutrality of the Public Service.
An explanation of what, if any, employment consequences exist when contravening these obligations should be explicitly
6. Additional Guidance Sources
Additional guidance on the use of Web 2.0 tools and services is in various stages of development by communities of expertise
and Web 2.0 practitioners within the Government of Canada. Many of these resources are available to public servants on the
Government of Canada's internal wiki, GCpedia. While these resources are not official Government of Canada policies or guidelines,
they are valuable sources of information in this rapidly evolving environment. As a companion to this guideline, a
GCpedia page listing additional sources of guidance on the use of Web 2.0 is available.
7. Related Legislation and Policy Instruments
- Internet-based technologies that allow multiple users to collaboratively create content.
- A management function that ensures that the public - internal or external to the government - receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services, and initiatives.
- A federal entity as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act unless excluded by specific acts, regulations, or Orders in Council.
- For the purposes of this guideline, "external" or "externally facing" means available to members of the public as opposed to available only to personnel of the Government of Canada.
- Information, usually in the form of best practices, intended to help departments carry out government policy efficiently and effectively. Guidelines are not mandatory policy instruments.
Information management (IM)
- A discipline that directs and supports effective and efficient management of information in a department, from planning and systems development to disposal or long-term preservation.
Information resources of business value
- Published and unpublished materials, irrespective of medium or form, that are created or acquired because they enable and document decision making in support of programs, services and ongoing operations, and support departmental reporting, performance and accountability requirements.
Information technology (IT)
- Any equipment or system that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission or reception of data or information. Information technology includes all matters concerned with the design, development, installation and implementation of information systems and applications to meet business requirements.
Information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form. The Privacy Act provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of personal information, including the following:
- Information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, or marital status of the individual;
- Information relating to the education or employment history of the individual, such as found in a résumé;
- Information relating to the medical or criminal history of the individual;
- Information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved;
- Any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual, such as a Social Insurance Number or Personal Record Identifier;
- The address, fingerprints or blood type of the individual;
- Correspondence sent to a government department by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to such correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence;
- The views or opinions of another individual about the individual; and
- The name of the individual where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name itself would reveal information about the individual.
The Privacy Act also provides examples of what does not constitute personal information, which include:
- Selected information about government personnel, including their titles, business addresses and phone numbers;
- Information about individuals acting under contract for government institutions; and
- Information about an individual who has been dead for more than twenty years.
- Full- or part-time employees of the Government of Canada (e.g. indeterminate, seasonal, specified-period/term, student or casual).
- Processes whereby information is provided to the public in order to seek their views/concerns relating to the planning, management or evaluation of government policies, programs and services. As a best practice, the results of a consultation are always made public.
Public opinion research
- The planned gathering, by or for a government department, of opinions, attitudes, perceptions, judgments, feelings, ideas, reactions or views that are intended to be used for any government purpose, whether that information is collected from persons (including personnel of government departments), businesses, departments or other entities, through quantitative or qualitative methods, irrespective of size or cost.
- On-line platforms that allow for participants with distinct social/user profiles to create, share and interact with user-generated content, which can include text, images, video and audio.
- For the purposes of this guideline, "spokesperson" is understood as a function outlined in the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.
- Internet-based tools and services that allow for participatory multi-way information sharing, dialogue, and user-generated content. This can include social media and collaborative technologies.
Appendix: Specific Policy Guidance (in alphabetical order)
Government of Canada public facing Web pages (including Web applications) must comply with the accessibility requirements
outlined in the Standard on Web Accessibility. Web 2.0 tools and services
integrated into those Web pages (including Web applications) must also comply with the requirements outlined in the Standard on Web Accessibility.
Government of Canada Web content hosted on external third-party Web 2.0 tools and services (including Web sites) should
conform to the Web accessibility best practices for those tools and services, and should include links to equivalent content
on Government of Canada Web sites, which are required to meet the Standard on Web
Some additional information resources about accessibility are as follows:
For more information about Government of Canada Web Standards, please contact your department's Web Centre of Expertise.
When using Web 2.0 tools or services to communicate or consult with the public as the department's representative, public
servants are acting as designated spokespersons, according to the Communications
Policy of the Government of Canada. Public servants are therefore required to consult their head of communications
or his or her delegate before communicating with the public in an official capacity. The head of communications is responsible
for overseeing and advising on content that informs the public of government priorities, policies, programs, services and
According to the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada,
the head of communications for each department is responsible for ensuring that:
When public servants use Web 2.0 as designated spokespersons, they are to:
- Confine their remarks to factual information concerning the priorities, policies, programs, services or initiatives
of their department. Discussions on political matters are the exclusive domain of ministers and their offices;
- Respect privacy rights, security requirements, the confidentially of matters before the courts, government policies,
third parties' intellectual property rights, Cabinet confidences and ministerial responsibility; and
- Identity themselves by name and department and, when feasible, position title.
C. Federal Identity Program
Web 2.0 tools and services can present a challenge to the clear identification of official government content and accounts
in accordance with the visual identity of the Government of Canada. On some Web 2.0 tools and services, the available visual
space, page layouts and proprietary design controls limit the size and display of elements as well as the length of account
names and official titles. Because of these constraints and the evolving nature of government's use of Web 2.0, the Federal
Identity Program (FIP) has tailored its advice for identifying government content on Web 2.0 tools and services. The practical
tips below provide general direction on basic identity considerations. It does not supersede the general requirements of
FIP policy and standards and is to be read in conjunction with any templates produced for government-wide use.
Practical Tips for Complying with FIP Requirements:
- Use the "Canada" wordmark and the appropriate government signature where sufficient space is available. Where space
is insufficient to display both symbols, the "Canada" wordmark may be used alone.
- Treasury Board approval must be received before using any unique identifying marks (logos, logotypes, marks, emblems,
identifiers, etc.) to identify a department or its programs or services.
symbols, or authorizes use of the symbols by the service provider or other parties, departments should discuss the terms
with their legal counsel. The TBS Federal Identity Program, in consultation with legal counsel, will determine the appropriate
form of government identification in these specific instances.
- When presenting official government symbols within a page format controlled by a Web 2.0 tool or service provider,
carefully consider any visual elements, non-government corporate or brand elements, and the proximity of any proprietary
advertising features to ensure that the official symbol(s) of government are free from any unintended association or
- Where avatars are insufficient for incorporating the "Canada" wordmark, the national flag of Canada is to be used
as the primary element, rendered in its entirety as a two-dimensional image.
- The official symbols of government may not be altered, presented vertically, obscured in any way, or integrated
into text or designs. They must be free from distracting or interfering elements, with optimal contrast, and in accordance
with the general principles of the Federal Identity Program.
- All video clips must end with the "Canada" wordmark. Video advertisements and presentations must include the standard
audio end credit "A message brought to you by the Government of Canada." Video clips that are presented individually
or as a series, or that serve to animate data or present other information, may include the appropriate government signature
rather than the standard audio end credit as appropriate.
- Logos or corporate symbols of non-government organizations or private sector enterprises may not be incorporated
into a department's content except when a) the elements form part of the Web 2.0 tool or service and are entirely outside
the control of the department, or b) when the information pertains to a collaborative arrangement, in which case the
official symbol of the partnering organization may be used.
- Account names or "handles" should be clearly based on principal elements from a department's official title or acronym
where possible and use functional and service-based words or terms otherwise. When establishing a Web 2.0 presence,
consideration of official languages must be given to account names or handles.
- Widgets and downloadable information or code developed by departments and made available to the general public for
re-posting on non-government sites may not include the official symbol of the Government of Canada. The information
source or author attributions in these cases must be text only.
- Consideration must be given to photographs to ensure that author attribution and copyright information are embedded
into those images offered as (or are likely to be used as) information re-posted on third-party sites.
- The use of the official symbols of the government is limited to the official activities and communications of the
Government of Canada. Use of these symbols in personal Web 2.0 activities is strictly prohibited.
Enquiries about these requirements may be directed to your department's Federal Identity Program Coordinator or to the
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat policy centre at: firstname.lastname@example.org
D. Information Management
As the Government of Canada increasingly makes use of Web 2.0 to support the development of policy and to meet operational
requirements, the integration of information management requirements is essential to ensure that digital information of
business value is accessible, shareable, and usable over time and through technological change.
The relevant policies that dictate which information created and maintained through Web 2.0 tools and services needs
to be retained, and how this should be accomplished, are:
- The Policy on Information Management which specifies that all decisions
and decision-making processes must be documented to account for and support the continuity of departmental operations;
- The Directive on Information Management Roles and Responsibilities
which stipulates that all personnel of the Government of Canada are responsible for managing the information they collect,
create and use in carrying out their work, including information published through Web 2.0 tools and services; and
- The Directive on Recordkeeping which requires that all information
be identified, documented and protected when it relates to decisions and decision-making processes, regardless of format.
Under the Directive on Recordkeeping, the following information resources associated with Web 2.0 tools and
services are required to be captured in a departmental information repository as a record:
- Official program information made available through external Web 2.0 tools and services that has not otherwise been
recorded through official documentation such as departmental externally-facing web sites, briefing notes, project or communication
- Information received from the public in response to requests for Government of Canada departments for information via
external Web 2.0 tools and services.
Responses from the public received to a request for information sent out via Web 2.0 tools and services may form the
basis of a report on a public consultation. These responses need to be captured as evidence of the consultation and the
rationale for the decisions taken.
If the information needs to be kept, it is the responsibility of the government personnel who is posting on the Web 2.0
tool or service to capture the information by storing it in a departmental information repository as an official record.
Departmental information repositories include physical or electronic storage space (e.g. shared drives, electronic documents
and records management systems, records rooms, etc.). Web 2.0 tools and services are not considered to
be approved information repositories for housing Government of Canada information.
The following resources are not required to be captured in departmental information repositories as
a record as they are already recorded elsewhere:
- New information, messages, or official pages posted on Web 2.0 tools and services that have already been captured in
official documentation (e.g. externally-facing web sites, briefing notes, project or communications plans, etc.) that relate
to decisions and decision-making processes or announcements regarding federal programs and services; and
- Information in the form of electronic conversations that have taken place through the direct messaging components of
external Web 2.0 tools and services.
Not all electronic conversations need to be kept. They only need to be captured when the conversation affects a decision
being made or an action being taken by the government.
In a Web 2.0 environment, information created is often required only for a limited time to support the completion of
a routine action, the preparation of a subsequent record, or casual communications.
In the same way as personnel treat a telephone conversation, if a decision is made, action taken, or the reason for a
decision or action is discussed via an electronic conversation, the personnel is responsible for documenting that decision,
action or rationale, and ensuring that the information is captured within the department's information repository.
Federal program information posted to Web 2.0 tools and services needs to be captured in departmental information repository
as a record of the information on the program that has been distributed to Canadians.
E. Official Languages
Relevant Policy and Legislative Requirements
When determining departmental practices for the use of external Web 2.0 tools and services, departments are encouraged
to seek the advice and participation of persons responsible for official languages and legal services within their organization.
Departments need to ensure that the use of Web 2.0 tools and services complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms (ss.16-20) and the Official Languages Act, including
Part IV of the Official Languages Act and,
consequently, the Policy on the Use of Official Languages for Communications with
and Services to the Public, the Directive
on the Use of Official Languages in Electronic Communications and the Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites.
See the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website for current versions.
Federal departments must also comply with
Part VII of the Official Languages Act in their use of Web 2.0 tools and services. This deals with the advancement
of English and French, enhancing the vitality of linguistic minority communities as well as fostering the full recognition
and use of both English and French in Canadian society.
Use of Official Languages and Web 2.0
For online communications, one of the vehicles for official dissemination of a department's information is its website.
The application of Web 2.0 tools and services should be consistent with the Government of Canada's approach to Web sites.
or web address.
Whether provided by Government of Canada or third-party Web 2.0 tools and services, departments must ensure that all
profile content through all forms of communication originating from federal departments is made available simultaneously
in both official languages and is of equal quality. This includes terms of reference, rules of engagement, and departmental
positions and disclaimers. When the Web 2.0 tool or service is being provided by the Government of Canada, management and
editing tools, help sections, pop-up messages, site navigation, as well as user interfaces (separate interfaces for each
official language of equal quality) must be available in both official languages and be of equal quality. When using a third-party
Web 2.0 tool or service, departments should strive to meet these obligations and assess whether the platform should in fact
Users should be advised that by participating in Web 2.0 activities, they are consenting to the possibility that their
comments could be summarized and translated by departments.
Where third-party Web 2.0 tools and services (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) are used, the department should reference
through profile information, the rules of engagement located on the department's website, including the official languages
Departments, as well as personnel communicating on behalf of their department when using Web 2.0 tools and services,
must respect the concept of active offer of services by ensuring that the user knows communication is available in both
official languages and can access the equivalent services in the other official language.
In all Web 2.0 initiatives aimed at the public, departments must:
- Encourage users to contribute in the official language of their choice;
- Use Web 2.0 tools and services that are conducive to the use of both official languages.
When considering using Web 2.0 tools and services being developed by the Government of Canada and/or hosted on Government
of Canada networks, departments need to evaluate the extent to which these tools and services allow the department to comply
with its official languages obligations. If these tools and services are not offered in both official languages, federal
departments should opt for ones that allow them to comply with their obligations and that allow users to switch from one
language to the other.
A department that posts information using Web 2.0 tools and services on the site of an entity or third party not subject
to the Official Languages Act must ensure that:
- Information originating from the department is in both official languages;
- A notice precedes the information to indicate clearly that the information originates from that department.
Departments that re-disseminate third-party information should look for sources that release information in both official
In order to foster the full use of English and French in Canadian society and to meet its obligations in relation to
communications to the public, departments should carefully monitor both official language versions of the application used.
When it appears that the department is receiving more public questions/comments in one language that require a general and
public response, it should ensure that it provides the same information to the public in both official languages. Responses
should be formulated in a way that allows all users to understand the nature of the initial query and are available in both
official languages simultaneously. This can be done by summaries of discussions/questions that have taken place on both
accounts or by referring the public to the information on its website. The summary should include discussions that have
taken place on both language accounts and the sum total of the discussions posted in both languages.
Practical Tips for Complying with Official Languages Requirements:
- For most Web 2.0 tools and services, a single-language version (two accounts) is the recommended best practice. Departments
should take measures to ensure, as much as possible, that users of both accounts have an equally profitable experience.
- All content (text, audio, video, etc.) should be posted simultaneously in both official languages through the respective
- The equivalent account in the other official language should be clearly referenced with the appropriate link.
- Departments actively engaging in providing responses through Web 2.0 tools and services should do so in the language
in which contact was initiated, unless it is a question of general public interest that requires a response in both official
languages. If information is referenced pertaining to the department, it should direct users to their website where content
is available in both official languages.
- Departments should carefully monitor both official language accounts of the Web 2.0 tool or service being used. When
it appears that the department is receiving more public questions/comments in one language that require a general and public
response, it should ensure that it provides the same information to the public in both official languages. Responses should
be formulated in a way that allows all users to understand the nature of the initial query and are available in both official
languages simultaneously. Departments should consider providing regular summaries of comments/questions which are posted
in both official languages simultaneously.
- As a way of promoting linguistic duality, departments that re-disseminate third-party information should look for sources
which release information in both official languages.
- The re-dissemination of unilingual third-party information items should not be a frequent and predominant method of
disseminating information. If third-party information is circulated, the department informs the public through the rules
of engagement located on its website that the information was obtained from an external source and that is not subject to
the Official Languages Act.
- For collaborative technologies such as Wikis, the following practices should be followed:
- Departments should make content pages available in both official languages, and provide links between the English-language
and French-language pages;
- When users are asked to edit pages they can do so in their preferred official language;
- Once the content is finalized and approved, it is posted in both official languages or a link to the final document
where there are English and French versions is provided. Both versions are posted simultaneously and are of equal quality.
The appropriate links are established between the English and French versions;
- In the case where the content does not reach a final version but continues to change as new events take place, the
department determines at which point a significant version is attained. Significant versions are made available simultaneously
in both official languages. A significant version represents an important step in the development of the content, one which
allows the discussion or consultation to move on to a new phase in its progression. If the steps are not clearly defined,
the project leader determines when a significant version is attained;
- Departments decide whether it is best to have one bilingual discussion page or two separate pages, one for each official
language. Departments base this decision on consideration of different factors such as their objective, the intended public
audience, relevance and the extent to which this Web 2.0 tool or service allows departments to fulfill their official languages
obligations in conducting their particular consultation; and
- Departments should provide links between the English-language and French-language discussion pages when two discussions
are being held concurrently.
- For media/file sharing tools and services, the following practices should be followed:
- In the production of video and audio, content should be made available in both official languages. The English-language
and French-language versions should be equivalent in content and be of equal quality using identical formats.
- In cases where the media file is in one language only, departments should provide voice-over or subtitles or transcriptions
for the version in the other language.
- Bilingual video that is posted on both sites should contain voice-over, where applicable, sub-titles or transcriptions
in the other official language. Departments should plan videos to ensure that they are not creating a situation where one
language is always a language of translation.
- For instant messaging/chat sessions, departments should determine whether it is best to hold a bilingual session or
two separate sessions in each official language. If one bilingual session is held, the session organizers should actively
encourage participants to use the language of their choice. Responses from the department should be formulated in a way
that allows all users to understand the nature of the initial query and should be available in both official languages simultaneously.
The use of translation software or automated translations offered on web sites is not recommended for use in an official
communications context given their current limitations and given the Translation Bureau's advice against their use. Departments
are responsible for the content of the information they provide, even when the information is housed on third-party platforms,
and would therefore also be responsible for the quality of translations generated by automated software.
F. Political Activities
Part 7 of the Public Service Employment
Act (PSEA) governs the political activities of employees subject to its provisions, recognizing the need to balance
the rights of employees to engage in political activities with the principle of a non-partisan and politically impartial
public service. The PSEA also defines "political
activity"; using Web 2.0 tools or services to express personal views in support of, or in opposition to, a political
party or candidate is one example of a political activity. Employees must assess their own circumstances and make reasonable
decisions about their involvement in political activities and determine whether a given activity would impair or could be
perceived by others as impairing their ability to perform their duties in a non-partisan and politically impartial manner.
They are encouraged to discuss their specific circumstances with their manager or with their organization's
Designated Political Activities Representative.
It is important to know that anyone may put forward an allegation of improper political activity against employees subject
to Part 7 of the PSEA. The Public Service
Commission (PSC) may investigate these allegations and if it concludes, following an investigation, that an allegation is
substantiated, it may take any corrective action it considers appropriate, up to and including dismissal.
It should be noted that activities that do not fit the above-mentioned definition may be subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service or, in cases where
Treasury Board is not the employer, to the organization's applicable values and ethics code.
Any questions on Part 7 of the PSEA should
be referred to the PSC or additional information found on its
G. Privacy and Access to Information
Before a government department initiates the use of an externally facing Web 2.0 tool or service, the Treasury Board
of Canada Secretariat (TBS) strongly advises government officials to consult with their department's Access to Information
and Privacy (ATIP) Office, Legal Services and security experts to ensure that all privacy risks are identified and addressed.
ATIP officials can help to determine if it is necessary to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and if
a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) should be undertaken.
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual and includes names and occupations or contact information.
If any personal information is collected, used and disclosed through government use of Web 2.0 tools and services, departments
should be aware that such collection, use and disclosure is subject to the Privacy Act
and may, in certain circumstances, engage section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Under the
Act, the Privacy Commissioner has the authority to receive and investigate privacy complaints against departments
and can conduct audits of personal information practices, including those involving Web 2.0 tools or services, at government
Requirements of the Privacy Act concerning the Collection, Use and
Disclosure of Personal Information
Section 4 of the Privacy Act states that "no personal information shall be
collected by a government institution unless it relates directly to an operating program or activity of the institution."
This has been interpreted to mean that a department must have parliamentary authority in an Act or Regulation, or authority
provided by an Order in Council, for the collection of personal information related to the program or activity that will
be administered through the Web 2.0 tool or service. The authority for collection is a requirement of the Privacy Act
whether the Web 2.0 tool or service is hosted by the department or by a third party.
Departments should use and disclose personal information posted through a Web 2.0 tool or service only for the purposes
for which it was collected unless an individual posts inappropriate comments or where the department suspects that a law
has or will be been broken. In such a case, the personal information disclosed would have to be retained in accordance with
section 6 of the Privacy Act. Unsolicited information
will be deleted, except where action is required to protect a public or private interest (e.g. someone reports a crime or
threat to security).
Privacy Impact Assessment Requirements
Under the TBS Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment,
departments are required to conduct a PIA for any new or substantially modified program or service that collects and uses
personal information, including those involving Web 2.0 tools and services. A PIA will help to ensure that the Web 2.0 initiative
complies with the Privacy Act and that measures are implemented to mitigate any
potential privacy risks.
A PIA may be required even when the Web 2.0 initiative involves a minimal collection of personal information (e.g., names
and passwords to authenticate individuals to give them access to a wiki or blog).
Furthermore, the PIA requirement may apply whether a Web 2.0 tool or service is hosted by the department or a third party.
A PIA will help identify the intended uses and disclosures of personal information that should be described in a Privacy
Under the Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment, departments
must provide a copy of the completed PIA to TBS and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. For more information
about PIA requirements, refer to the Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment.
The Policy on Privacy Protection requires that departments establish
a privacy protocol which may be used in place of a PIA in instances where a department collects and uses personal information
for non-administrative purposes only, i.e., where no decisions will be made that affect the individuals. For example, surveys
may be conducted on an external Web 2.0 tool or service, where no follow-up will take place with the individuals and no
decisions will be made by the department that directly affect the individuals.
Once the department confirms that it has the authority to collect or use personal information for the purposes of the
Web 2.0 initiative, and has addressed or mitigated any privacy risks, it must then post an appropriate Privacy Notice to
inform users of their rights under the Privacy Act.
The requirement is based on subsection 5(2)
of the Privacy Act, which specifies that a government department must inform any individual from whom
the department collects personal information about the purpose for which the information is being collected.
The Directive on Privacy Practices requires that a Privacy Notice be
provided to individuals. A sample Privacy Notice is available on GCpedia for Government of Canada personnel to consult.
Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Requests
The Access to Information Act gives rights of access
to records and the Privacy Act give rights of access
to information under the control of a government department. Any request to a government department that is made under either
Act for access to information posted on a Web 2.0 tool or service must be addressed by the department. For further
guidance, government officials are directed to consult with their department's ATIP Office.
Web 2.0 Tools or Services Hosted or Owned by Third Parties
Departments may choose to use third-party Web 2.0 tools or services to communicate on behalf of the department. In
such cases, the department should establish specific terms and conditions with the provider to ensure the protection of
personal or other sensitive information. It is strongly recommended that, before negotiating any such contractual
arrangement, the department should consult its ATIP, Legal Services and security experts. Whenever possible, departments
should use custom terms of service that have been negotiated by PWGSC for some third-party Web 2.0 tools and services.
For more information on how to do so, please refer to the "Social media procurement process" page on GCpedia.
Departments should consider the ATIP implications of using sites that are hosted or owned by third parties, particularly
if such sites are based in foreign countries or accessible by companies located in foreign countries. It may be necessary
to conduct a PIA or Threat Risk Assessment to ensure privacy risks are identified and mitigated. When information is stored
or accessible outside of Canada, it can be subject not only to Canadian laws, but also to the laws of the hosting country.
For more information, refer to the TBS guidance document Taking
Privacy into Account Before Making Contracting Decisions.
H. Procurement and Contracting
If the acquisition of a Web 2.0 tool or service has costs associated with it, consult your departmental procurement and
contracting experts for guidance. These costs include either the upfront procurement cost or the requirement for non-competitive
maintenance and operations of the platform. The principles underlying the procurement framework are openness, fairness and
transparency for suppliers and effectiveness and efficiency in meeting government needs. Full costs of the Web 2.0 tools
and services need to be assessed up front to ensure that the appropriate acquisition steps are followed.
Departments must determine if they will accept the terms of service for the Web 2.0 tool or service being considered
for use. In making this determination, departments are encouraged to seek the advice and participation of persons
responsible for procurement and legal services. For information on accessing custom terms of service that have been
negotiated by PWGSC for some no-cost Web 2.0 tools and services, please refer to the "Social media
procurement process" page on GCpedia.
Responsibilities of Government Organizations
This section identifies the responsibilities of government organizations regarding procurement as set out in various
Acts of Parliament, regulations and policies. This section does not confer any authority or responsibility on any organization.
Treasury Board Secretariat
The Secretariat supports the Treasury Board in its role as the government's management board. The Secretariat is responsible
for maintaining an ongoing relationship with departments to address management issues and to ensure compliance with the
Contracting Policy and related policy instruments through management reviews,
evaluations, Auditor General audits, internal audits and transactions. The Secretariat also develops federal government
administrative policies for procurement and for a broad range of areas that have an impact on procurement, such as financial
management, materiel management, communications, delegation of authority, project management and investment planning. In
addition, the Secretariat manages a certification program for federal procurement and materiel management personnel.
Public Works and Government Services Canada
The mandate of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services includes planning and organizing the provision of
materiel and related services to departments and the acquisition of goods, services and construction services for departments.
The Department of Public Works and Government Services Act states
that the Minister shall investigate and develop services for increasing the efficiency and economy of the federal public
administration and for enhancing integrity and efficiency in the contracting process.
Section 9 of the Department of Public Works and Government Services
Act gives the Minister of Public Works and Government Services exclusive responsibility for the procurement of
all goods as described in the Act. Other departments may procure goods only when their own legislation specifically permits
or when an appropriate delegation of authority has been made by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.
As a general principle, risks should be borne by the party best placed to manage them, that is, departments should generally
not accept risks that another party is better placed to manage. In accordance with the Policy on Decision Making in Limiting Contractor Liability in Crown Procurement Contracts,
procurement specialists should strive to achieve a balance among the protection required by the Crown when entering into
Crown procurement contracts, marketplace conditions, and conditions important for assuring program and service delivery
results. Note that there must be an individual risk assessment for each of the Government of Canada's Web 2.0 initiatives
that have a cost associated with the use of the respective tool or service. Conducting a risk assessment remains a good
practice in the case of using no cost Web 2.0 tools and services.
Documentation is critical to accountability and transparency. It provides a record of procurement activities and how
they have been conducted, and it facilitates management oversight and scrutiny of these activities.
Government Contracts Regulations
The Government Contracts Regulations (GCRs) were approved pursuant to subsection 41(1) of the Financial Administration Act. It is not always possible,
practical or cost-effective to seek bids for every proposed contract. Section 6 of the GCRs permits certain exceptions that
provide contracting authorities with the flexibility to negotiate a contract with a particular supplier on a non-competitive
(sole-source) basis. Section 6 of the GCRs addresses the more compelling cases where exceptions to competition are warranted,
as in the case of Web 2.0 tools and services when the estimated expenditure does not exceed $25,000.
Control of Assets
The Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services
states that the following:
Deputy Heads are accountable to their respective Ministers and to Treasury Board for the management of assets and
acquired services in departments. They are responsible for implementing an effective management framework, including departmental
procedures, processes and systems, that demonstrates how the department is managing based on the principles identified above.
The framework must demonstrate how the management of assets and acquired services is effectively integrated with program,
expenditure, financial and human resources related considerations to promote value for money.
Related Policies, Regulations and Directives
A number of the requirements of the Operational Security Standard: Management of Information Technology
Security (MITS) pertain to the use of external Web 2.0 tools and services. Departments that choose to make use
of externally facing Web 2.0 tools and services for conducting official Government of Canada business should undertake the
- Assess and document the sensitivity of information that will be transmitted, stored and processed using Web 2.0 tools
and services (in accordance with MITS, section 12.2);
- Ensure that any unique risks to information, Information Technology (IT) assets and service delivery associated with
the use of Web 2.0 tools and services are assessed, documented and understood, and that residual risks are accepted by program
or service delivery managers (in accordance with MITS, section 12.3);
- Formally document roles and responsibilities of personnel who will engage in the use of Web 2.0 tools and services;
- If the Web 2.0 tool or service is hosted by the department, ensure that it is located in an appropriate network zone,
that it is regularly monitored for vulnerabilities and configuration weaknesses, and that an appropriate patch management
schedule is maintained;
- Ensure that appropriate authentication and integrity controls are in place for Web 2.0 tools and services to prevent
impersonation of Government of Canada entities;
- Ensure that, where applicable and appropriate, information-sharing agreements are established and respected;
- Ensure that, where applicable, incident management procedures have provisions to address incidents relating to, or
resulting from, the use of Web 2.0 tools and services; and
- Ensure that personnel who will be using Web 2.0 tools and services are provided with appropriate IT security and information
classification training (in accordance with MITS, section 12.12).
Departments should also consult SPIN 2010-01: Security
Considerations when Allowing Connections to Public Social Networking Sites, which states that: "From an IT Security
stand point, connections to social networking sites are not substantially different than other connections to the Internet
and will not normally require a new Threat and Risk assessment by each department".
For further information, departments should contact their departmental security officials, CSEC client service representative
or visit CSEC's website.
J. Values and Ethics
A public servant's public activity is subject to the Values and
Ethics Code for the Public Service. Web 2.0 activity is considered public activity and as such is subject to the
Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. The following
excerpts from the Code help to illustrate how public service values can be applied to the use of Web 2.0 tools and services:
Public servants shall loyally implement ministerial decisions, lawfully taken.
In Canada's system of parliamentary democracy, public servants owe a duty of loyalty to
their employer, the Government of Canada. This includes refraining from any activity that could compromise the efforts of
Government organizations to deliver on their mandate.
An employee's public commentary (including online activity on blogs and other social media platforms) about an organization,
including its minister, is subject to scrutiny under the duty of loyalty requirement.
Only those employees specifically designated as spokespersons are to publicly comment on government operations.
Public servants must work within the laws of Canada and maintain the tradition of the political neutrality of the
Public Service. Public servants should also strive to ensure that the value of transparency in government is upheld while
respecting their duties of confidentiality under the law.
The Public Service Employment Act states
that a public servant can engage in any political activity as long as it does not impair or is not perceived by others as
impairing his/her ability to perform his/her duties in a politically impartial manner.
Promoting political ideas online may appear to compromise an employee's ability to maintain impartiality. Before engaging
in online political activity, an employee should
subject him/herself to the Political Activity Self-Assessment Tool,
provided by the Public Service Commission to assess his/her particular
circumstances for risk.
Public servants may take part in outside activities unless the activities are likely to give rise to a conflict of
interest or in any way undermine the neutrality of the Public Service. The Deputy Head may require that the outside activities
be curtailed, modified or terminated if it is determined that real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.
Avoiding and preventing situations that could give rise to a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of
interest, is one of the primary means by which a public servant maintains public confidence in the impartiality and objectivity
of the Public Service. Employees should review their online presence and associations regularly and report any potential
areas of concern with their manager.
People values should reinforce the wider range of Public Service values. Public servants should demonstrate respect,
fairness and courtesy in their dealings with both citizens and fellow public servants.
Making a comment about a colleague or client online may be subject to scrutiny, just as making that same comment in the
workplace would be. Employees should familiarize themselves with the Policy on
the Prevention of Harassment in the Workplace and act towards other individuals professionally and respectfully.
For further information concerning the interpretation or application of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, employees should
talk to their supervisor or contact the senior official for values and ethics in their organization.