Rescinded - Management of Information Technology Policy

Notice

We will be updating our design to align with Canada.ca. The policies, directives, standards and guidelines will remain available during and after this update is complete.

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Alternate Formats

1.0 Policy

The objective of government information technology management is to ensure that information technology is used as a strategic tool to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance service to the public.

2.0 Policy statement

It is the policy of the government:

  • to use information technology in renewing the way the government does its business, and to maintain a technologically adept and modern Public Service;
  • to coordinate, and set overall directions for, government information technology; and
  • to use a business-case approach to develop information technology strategies based on program priorities, and to select and approve government information technology investments that best meet the policy objective and show due regard for employees and members of the public.

3.0 Application

This policy applies to all institutions listed in Schedules I and II of the Financial Administration Act and to branches designated as departments for the purposes of the Act.

4.0 Policy requirements

4.1 Coordination and overall government directions

1. Government institutions must:

  1. apply information technology to reduce the burden on respondents from whom information is collected (e.g. conduct routine transactions electronically, convert information to electronic form once only), make information more easily accessible, complete transactions more quickly and accurately, support employees, and thus reduce costs for all parties;
  2. ensure that information technology allows services to be provided to the public in both official languages and that it can accommodate the use of either official language by their employees as outlined in Appendix A;
  3. participate in setting government-wide directions for information management, in particular, by informing the Treasury Board Secretariat of their plans and long-term strategies to support the Secretariat's overall government-wide coordination and direction-setting role;
  4. designate a senior official to represent the deputy head to the Treasury Board Secretariat and other central agencies for the purposes of this policy;
  5. develop plans for the transition to full conformance with approved strategic directions for government, including standardization (see Appendix B); and
  6. implement approved government information and technology standards in accordance with Treasury Board criteria (see Appendix C and the supplementary volume of the Treasury Board Manual, Information and Technology Standards).

Common-service organizations that have information management responsibilities must, in addition to the above:

  1. obtain advice, guidance and feedback on their objectives, strategies, plans and the quality of their services from their clients (see section 5 of the Guidelines, liaison of common-service organizations and lead agencies with clients); and
  2. coordinate their plans and services with those of institutions and of other common-service organizations in the context of Treasury Board strategic directions (see section 2 of the Guidelines, information management planning).

4.2 Business-case approach

2. Government institutions must:

  1. adopt a business-case approach that is tailored to each institution's circumstances and needs and that relates information technology strategies and plans to program priorities and to measurable improvements in program performance (see section 3 of the Guidelines, business-case approach);
  2. adopt technical strategies that will protect investments, foster inter-operability, and allow competition among suppliers;
  3. develop Information Management plans that are tailored to their needs and are derived from and strongly support the institutions' missions and operational plans (see section 2 of the Guidelines, information management planning); and
  4. obtain the approval of the Treasury Board for:
    • information technology projects if the investment will replace an existing automated system of comparable value and the total estimated cost of the project will exceed $3 million, or
    • information technology projects if the investment will result in a new system and the total estimated cost will exceed $1 million.

Notes:

To assist the Treasury Board in deciding on a proposed project, institutions must provide in their submission the estimated annual cost of operating the resulting system.

See the Treasury Board Project Approval policy for details on further information requirements and Treasury Board approvals.

The authority levels specified above may be increased by the Treasury Board for individual institutions.

4.3 Corporate management

3. Government institutions must:

  1. adopt management practices for information technology (e.g. project and quality management practices, including systems controls) that promote innovatively and efficiently acquiring, deploying and administering their information technology resources to support their program objectives, while at the same time giving due regard to the needs of people;
  2. inform affected employees of plans for implementing information technology, advise them of anticipated effects on their jobs in advance of the change (see section 7 of the Guidelines, information technology in the workplace: planning for people), and provide them with appropriate training (section 6 of the Guidelines, education and training for the introduction of information technology); and
  3. make reasonable provisions for the occupational health and safety of employees and ensure that ergonomic criteria are specified in procurements of information technology and related components;

Note:

Collective agreements require that bargaining agents be consulted about technological change and health and safety issues.

  1. have in place tested plans to ensure that essential services are continued when the institution's information technology support systems are disrupted; and
  2. ensure that the government intercity network is used only for government business, except in emergencies or when other use is properly authorized, and that other long distance calls are placed through the commercial common carrier and are charged to the caller. Government institutions must also control the distribution of authorization codes for long distance calls on the government intercity network and monitor these calls.

5.0 Responsibilities

The Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for providing leadership and coordination of, and setting overall directions for, the management of information technology on a government-wide basis. It carries out this responsibility by:

  • establishing the policy framework;
  • setting overall government-wide directions and goals;
  • monitoring government-wide progress against established directions and goals;
  • identifying areas that offer significant government-wide benefits or are of importance to the government, and leading efforts to achieve a government-wide solution;
  • coordinating the implementation of Treasury Board directions within information-based common service organizations;
  • managing the Government Information and Technology Standards Program (see below);
  • identifying areas where institutions could assist each other in supporting common information technology objectives;
  • providing advice to the Treasury Board and institutions;
  • reviewing and making recommendations on submissions that seek the approval of the Treasury Board for major information technology investments;
  • in cooperation with departments and industry, facilitating the provision of information, tools and opportunities to help information technology professionals and managers meet the information technology challenges in government;
  • promoting liaison with other governments, the information technology industry, and other groups in the private sector; and
  • defining common and government-wide information on finance, personnel, materiel and real property.

The Advisory Committee on Information Management advises the Treasury Board Secretariat on new and existing policies in information management, guidelines for Information Management plans and strategies, standards, and government-wide strategic directions. It also acts as a government-wide forum for sharing plans and disseminating experiences, for improving government-wide coordination and for other information management issues.

The Government Telecommunications Council makes recommendations to Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat on the annual Business Plan of the Government Telecommunications Agency; the government telecommunications architect function; major telecommunications plans of government institutions; new programs or services in response to overall government priorities; and other related items.

5.1 Common service organizations

Institutions that provide a common service in the field of information technology are responsible for promulgating the specifications, rates, and administrative practices relating to the service that they provide.

5.2 Government Information and Technology Standards Program

Institutions with national program or policy responsibilities related to information technology are responsible for identifying, to the Treasury Board Secretariat, their officers who participate in national and international information technology standards activities, and for indicating the nature of these officers' participation. Furthermore, these institutions are responsible for sharing the information resulting from these activities with other institutions, according to the mechanisms established within the Government Information and Technology Standards Program.

Institutions that provide a common service in the field of information technology are responsible for ensuring that their service conforms to government standards. When these institutions perform services, such as procurement action, on behalf of client institutions, they must ensure these standards are referred to. These common service organizations are also responsible for developing information and technology standards within their mandated areas in consultation with the appropriate advisory committees.

The Treasury Board Secretariat, as overall manager of the Government Information and Technology Standards Program, provides government-wide support for the integrated management of information technology; sets strategic directions for government standardization; establishes mechanisms to develop, approve, implement and maintain government information and technology standards; coordinates the government's position as a user for presentation to standards committees or working groups; and establishes mechanisms to ensure that the work of government officers in national and international standards is coordinated and that the information resulting from this work is shared with all institutions.

Implementation of official languages policy in information technology

The Government Telecommunications Agency is responsible for the implementation of telephone-answering services in both official languages at Government of Canada switchboards.

The Canadian Workplace Automation Research Centre serves as a focal point to gather, exchange and disseminate information on the sources of information technology hardware, software, documentation, and services that can be used in either or both official languages.

The Public Works and Government Services Canada is responsible for maintaining a bilingual vocabulary of information technology in the context of the National Standards System of Canada which is administered by the Standards Council of Canada.

5.3 Telecommunications directories

The Government Telecommunications Agency is the common service organization for government telecommunications within Canada and the United States. It serves as the central coordinating agency for the preparation of federal government listings for all public telecommunications directories (blue page listings) in Canada. The Government Telecommunications Agency is also responsible for the publication of Government of Canada telecommunications directories for all of these directories. The Agency determines the relevant specifications and administrative practices.

External Affairs and International Trade Canada is the common service organization for the government's international telecommunications. It is responsible for Government of Canada listings, apart from operational units such as those of the Armed Forces, that are published in international directories. These listings are published with due consideration to the administrative practices of foreign countries.

6.0 Monitoring

The Treasury Board Secretariat will evaluate institutions on their compliance with the policy requirements and on the benefits realized from information technology investments as recorded in their business-case analyses.

The implementation of this policy will be monitored through the coordination process, in particular through institutions' strategies and plans, and through internal audit reports.

7.0 References

This policy is issued under the authority of the Financial Administration Act.

This policy should be read in conjunction with other Treasury Board policies on Common Services, Official Languages, Long Term Capital Plans, Project Approval, Project Management, Managing Major Crown Projects, Procurement Review, Management of Other Specific Government Initiatives, Security, Staff Training, Technical Barriers to Trade, and Work Force Adjustment, and with applicable collective agreements.

This policy revision cancels Chapter 445 of the Treasury Board Administrative Policy Manual.

8.0 Enquiries

Enquiries concerning the intent and implementation of this policy should be directed to:

Management of Information Technology,
Office of Information Management,
Systems and Technology
Treasury Board Secretariat.

Appendix A - Official Languages and Information Technology

In implementing the requirements of the Official Languages Act (1988) with respect to the language of work, institutions must:

  • use the attached annexes A and B, which include targets for acquiring bilingual information technology goods and services destined for regular and wide use in designated bilingual regions; and
  • indicate to Public Works and Government Services Canada their language requirements for proposed information technology procurements.

Public Works and Government Services Canada must:

  • incorporate official-languages requirements into its information technology procurement policies; and
  • with the Treasury Board Secretariat, monitor the implementation of the policy.

In 1992 the Treasury Board Secretariat, in consultation with industry and the Advisory Committee for Information Management, assessed the impact of the official-languages requirements for information technology. It was determined that information technology goods and services fully compliant with this policy were not yet available and so targets could not yet be established for the longer-term objectives shown in Annex B as "to be determined." The Treasury Board Secretariat will continue to monitor developments in this area and will establish appropriate targets once a sufficient number of compliant products are available.

Annex A

Matrix of progressive objectives for bilingual microcomputer systems*
  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
A. Hardware
  • microcomputers
  • word processing equipment
  • related printers
  • other peripheral equipment
All new word processors and related printers to have accented characters. All new stand-alone microcomputers to have accented characters. Level A-1 plus all new communicating microcomputers to have accented characters. All keyboards, displays and printers to have accented characters.
  Target: 1989-90 Target: 1990-91 Target: 1991-92
B. Software
(applies to commercial and in-house designs)
  • systems software
  • application software
Applications software data input and output possible in either official language or both. No accents. Level B-1 plus applications software operational messages in either official language or both. Level B-2 plus applications software data and messages with accents. Systems messages in either official language or both.
  Target: 1989-90 Target: 1990-91 Target: 1991-92
C. Related documentation
  • systems user manuals
  • operations procedures (including customer equipment maintenance manuals)
  • program specifications
  • policy documentation
  • contract documentation
  • user requirements
End-user documentation available in both official languages.

Target: 1989-90

Level C-1 plus operational procedures and documentation for design staff in both official languages.**

Target: 1990-91

All documentation available and issued simultaneously in both official languages.**

Target: 1991-92

D. Related training
  1. for end users
  2. for operational and development staff
End-user training in both official languages. Level D-1 plus training for operational staff in both official languages. All training (including systems development training) in both official languages.
  Target: 1989-90 Target: 1990-91 Target: 1991-92

* includes microcomputers, communicating computers and multi-user office systems.

** documentation used to build a system, e.g. program specifications, can be in the language of choice of the programming team taking into consideration future maintenance strategy.

End users: persons using the system to input program data or obtain displayed or printed program printout. Does not include design staff.

Operational messages: messages displayed or printed that are directed to operational or maintenance staff. 

Annex B

Matrix of progressive objectives for bilingual information technology systems
(Mainframe and minicomputers)
  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
A. Hardware
  • mainframes and minicomputers
  • peripheral equipment
  • online terminals
  • communicating equipment
  • computer room conditioning equipment
All new online terminals to have accented characters.

Target: 1989-90

Level A-1 plus all new communicating microcomputers to have accented characters.

Target: 1990-91

All terminals and printers to have accented characters.

Target: 1991-92Level A-3 plus all equipment markings and labels to be in both official languages.

Target: 1991-93

B. Systems and support software
(applies to commercial and internal designs)
  • includes control programs, handlers, and debugging.
End-user data input and output possible in either official language or both. No accents. Level B-1 plus operational messages in either official language or both. No accents. Level B-2 plus accents for end-user data and operational messages in either official language or both.Level B-3 plus diagnostic messages for systems developers and data capture or retrieval in either official language or both.
  Target: 1990-91 Target: 1992-93 Target to be determined**
Target to be determined**
C. Application software
(applies to commercial and internal designs) End-user input and output possible in either official language or both. No accents. Level C-1 plus operational messages in either official language or both. No accents. Level C-2 plus accents for end-user data and operational messages in all new programs. Level C-2 plus program comments in both official languages (except when there is a commercial program copyright holder).
  Target: 1989-90 Target: 1990-91 Target: 1991-92
Target to be determined**
D. Related documentation
  • user manuals
  • procedures for operation, including customer equipment manuals
  • policy documentation
  • user requirements
Documentation for end users available in both official languages.

Target: 1989-90

Level D-1 plus bilingual documentation (e.g. procedures) for operational staff.

Target: 1990-91

Level D-2 plus bilingual equipment manuals.

Target: 1991-92All documentation, including systems specifications, in both official languages and issued simultaneously, except program documentation.*

Target to be determined**

E. Related training
  • for end users
  • for operational staff
  • for development staff
End-user training in both official languages. Level E-1 plus operational staff training in both official languages. Level E-2 plus development staff training in both official languages.All training in both official languages.
  Target: 1989-90 Target: 1990-91 Target: 1991-92
Target to be determined**

* documentation used to build a system, e.g. program specifications, can be in the language of choice of the programming team, taking into consideration future maintenance strategy.

** targets (shown as "to be determined") for the longer-term objectives will be determined once a sufficient number of compliant products are available.

End users: persons using the system to input program data or obtain displayed or printed program output. Does not include operational, design or maintenance staff.

Operational messages: messages displayed or printed that are directed to operational or maintenance staff.

Appendix B - Strategic Directions for Government Standardization

Strategic directions for government standardization are plans for specific groups of standards to be adopted by the government. These strategic directions usually coincide with specific areas defined for national or international standardization.

The specific standards that have been approved for government use in support of the strategic directions are listed in the Guidelines, Chapter 2-2, Appendix A. The detailed implementation and application criteria and the technical specifications for these standards may be found in the Information Technology Standards volume of the Treasury Board Manual.

The Treasury Board has approved four strategic directions for government standardization.

Open systems interconnection

Open systems interconnection (OSI) supports the goal of inter-operability among government computer communication systems. It represents a strategy governing the development and implementation of all computer communication systems. An OSI architecture is preferred over any manufacturer-specific or installation-specific architectures.

The objectives for endorsing OSI are: to promote effective inter-working between computer communications systems from different vendors; to promote fair and equitable competition in procuring information technology products and services; and to protect the government's investment in information technology.

It is the policy of the government that:

  • information technology procurement requests state a clear preference for systems and products based on the standards that support OSI; and
  • by the mid-1990s, all major institutional computer communications systems be based on products and services that conform to OSI.

To implement this policy, institutions and common-service organizations must:

  • require vendors to indicate, in their responses to procurement requests, their commitment to OSI and the availability (present and planned) of products and services based on OSI; and
  • ensure that preference is given to products and services conforming to standards that support OSI.

In implementing these policy requirements, institutions must:

  • reflect the current stage of evolution of OSI standards and government OSI profiles; and
  • take into account their plans for having toward conformance with OSI. (These plans may require acquiring some non-conforming products in the short term to support existing systems.)

The Treasury Board Secretariat will assist institutions by publishing guidelines and providing advice on the development and implementation of plans to conform with OSI.

Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat monitor procurement requests, Information Management plans and Treasury Board submissions to ensure that products and services based on OSI get preference.

The Treasury Board Secretariat, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Industry and Science Canada will encourage Canadian suppliers to meet these policy requirements for OSI.

Electronic service

Both the Treasury Board strategic direction document, Enhancing Services Through the Innovative Use of Information and Technology (see Chapter 1-2) and the 1992 federal Budget identify electronic service as a government priority to improve service to the public and to increase internal efficiency.

Institutions have implemented information technology systems to automate internal processes, but often resort to paper or human interaction to communicate with external organizations or individuals. The electronic service strategy aims to overcome barriers to automating external communication.

It is the government's policy that, by the end of the decade:

  • all information be converted to electronic form once only and then shared with all applications for which it is required,
  • all routine transactions be carried out electronically, thereby eliminating paper documents, except where they are absolutely necessary for legal reasons, and
  • government-wide standards be adopted for electronic service technologies, e.g. electronic data interchange (EDI), smart cards, bar codes and information exchange formats.

To implement this policy, institutions must:

  • use government standards (which are endorsements of national or international standards) for new applications involving the exchange of information with outside organizations;
  • develop plans (with the organizations they exchange information with) for the migration of existing applications to government standards; and
  • where possible, provide client interfaces based on electronic service technologies that comply with government-wide standards (e.g. smart cards, EDI, bar codes, and information exchanges formats).

The Treasury Board Secretariat will obtain expert and professional advice on electronic service issues (e.g. legal questions) and will provide advice and guidelines to assist institutions in implementing electronic service pilots and operational systems.

Portability of applications

The objective of the applications portability strategy is to enable applications (programs, data and people) to be transferred from one hardware and operating system environment to a wide range of different environments.

Achieving this objective requires adopting standards for the services an application may require. These services are grouped, based on the elements of an open systems environment, as follows: system (language and operating system), communication (network), information (database, data interchange and a transaction processing), human-computer interaction (windowing, graphics, a character-based user interface and a user command interface).

It is the government's policy that institutions must migrate towards portable applications.

To implement this policy, institutions must:

  • give preference to products that comply with standards when standards that cover the individual elements of an enterprise-wide open systems environment are approved for government use; and
  • where an institution can justify the short-term use of a product that does not comply with an applicable standard, obtain a commitment from the supplier that a version of the product complying with the standard will be available in the near future.

Enterprise-wide open systems

Enterprise-wide open systems environment refers to a broad standardization strategy wherein all elements in the application development and operating environment conform to appropriate standards. The goals of this strategy are: to have information technology systems that are inter-operable; portable applications, data and people (i.e. users and systems developers); and common client interfaces to applications.

This strategy is contingent on adopting a comprehensive set of standards covering quality, systems development methods, security, documentation, information elements, user interface and management processes. These standards would apply equally whether products are procured externally or developed internally.

It is the government's policy that institutions must migrate towards an enterprise-wide open systems environment.

To implement this policy, institutions must:

  • give preference to products that comply with standards when standards that cover the individual elements of an enterprise-wide open systems environment are approved for government use; and
  • where an institution can justify the short-term use of a product that does not comply with an applicable standard, obtain a commitment from the supplier that a version of the product complying with the standard will be available in the near future.

Appendix C - Approved Information and Technology Standards

The following pages contain a list of the information and technology standards approved for government use by the Treasury Board. For specific details concerning these standards and their approved implementation and application criteria, refer to the Treasury Board Information and Technology Standard (TBITS) documents contained in the Information and Technology Standards volume of the Treasury Board Manual.

Approved Treasury Board Information and Technology Standards

General information

TBITS-0 General description of the Treasury Board information and technology standards publications

Network services, applications and management

TBITS-1 Open systems interconnection - Basic reference model

TBITS-6.1 Canadian open systems application criteria (COSAC) - Overview

TBITS-6.2 COSAC - Internetworking profile

TBITS-6.3 COSAC - Profile for local area networks, LAN

TBITS-6.4 COSAC - Profile for message handling service, MHS

TBITS-6.5 COSAC - Wide area network profile

TBITS-6.6 COSAC - Security profile

TBITS-6.7 COSAC - File transfer, access and management

TBITS-6.9 COSAC - Telecommunications wiring system in government owned and leased buildings

TBITS-6.10 COSAC - Test

TBITS-6.11 COSAC - Naming and addressing for government message handling applications

TBITS-6.12 COSAC - OSI registration in the federal government, guidance document

Database services

TBITS-2 Database language SQL

TBITS-16 Internal magnetic tape labels

TBITS-17 External magnetic tape labels

Data interchange services

TBITS-3 Coded character set for information interchange

TBITS-10 Electronic data interchange

TBITS-10.1 Government of Canada implementation guideline for electronic data interchange

TBITS-11 Codes for the representation of names of countries

TBITS-12 Codes for the representation of currencies and funds

TBITS-14 Standard generalized markup language (SGML)

TBITS-24 Bar coding

TBITS-25 Materiel coding

User interface services

TBITS-5 Canadian government keyboard standard for information technology equipment

TBITS-15 The use of French characters with IBM-compatible personal computers

TBITS-23 Information technology vocabulary

Operating systems, services and utilities

TBITS-7.0 Guide to the POSIX open system environment

TBITS-7.1 Portable operating system interface for computer (POSIX)

TBITS-7.2 Portable operating system interface (POSIX) part 2: shell and utilities

Programming services

TBITS-4 Programming language COBOL

TBITS-8 Programming language C

TBITS-9 Programming language Ada

Environmental services

TBITS-13 Guideline on office ergonomics

Quality

TBITS-18 Quality management and quality assurance standards - Guidelines for selection and use

TBITS-19 Quality systems - Model for quality assurance in design/development, production, installation and servicing

TBITS-20 Quality systems - Model for quality assurance in production and installation

TBITS-21 Quality systems - Model for quality assurance in final inspection and test

TBITS-22 Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001 to the development, supply and maintenance of software

TBITS-26 Software product evaluation - Quality characteristics and guidelines for their use 

Date modified: