Guideline on Service Agreements: An Overview

Provides managers and executives with an overview of the key concepts and steps in establishing service agreements, including the definition of a service relationship and its integration into a service agreement.
Date modified: 2012-07-04

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alternative service delivery:

The departmental and structural dimension of improving governments' performance in delivering programs and services to citizens and businesses. It includes the following mechanisms: privatization, franchising/licensing, public-private partnerships, purchase of service, devolution, delegated administrative authority, and agency and direct delivery.

authenticated service:

A service that relies on a credential assurance to carry out a transaction securely (see the Standard on Identity and Credential Assurance).

better service experience:

Enhanced service experience considering, but not limited to, the following aspects: timeliness, accuracy, ease of access and use, and knowledgeable and courteous service providers.

channel integration:

Strategies aimed at consolidating, either physically or logically, client information and its use to provide an all-encompassing view of the client.


Individuals, businesses or their representatives served by or using services provided by a government department.

departmental service management strategy:

Outlines the department's multi-year overall approach to managing and improving its external and internal enterprise services and includes:

  • Annual objectives, expected results and progress measurement;
  • A governance framework;
  • Risks and mitigation strategies; and
  • Priorities, plans and targets.
E-service / e-enabled service:

The provision of a service that can be completed on-line from end-to-end, except in circumstances where it is prohibited by law or security considerations.

Government of Canada service direction:

The overall direction for the design and delivery of Government of Canada services as articulated in the Policy on Service and related instruments, as well as through the annual federal budget, Speeches from the Throne, strategies and related Government of Canada publications.

learning opportunities:

Diverse learning methods or tools, formal or informal, to generate awareness or acquire knowledge about the design or delivery of Government of Canada services such as information or orientation sessions, video, information provided via internal collaborative tools, manager debriefs, account sign-on notifications and electronic newsletters.

mechanism to provide feedback and address service issues:

Diverse methods or tools, formal or informal, to collect feedback from clients and to resolve service issues not related to decisions or appeals, such as an ombudsman, a generic departmental e-mail or social media account and questionnaires during service delivery.

priority services:

External and internal enterprise services, determined by each department considering one or more of the following: volume (e.g., transactions per year), importance of service to clients (e.g., entitlements, permits, benefits, authorizations, mission-critical services), use of sensitive personal or commercial information, cost-benefit analysis, and affordability.

real-time service delivery performance information:

Refers to information on the current level of performance that clients can expect to be provided for a service.

service inventory:

A catalogue of external and internal enterprise services, including the identification of priority services, that provides detailed information based on a specific set of elements (e.g., channel, client, volume, etc.).

service provider:

Individuals directly involved in providing a service, including managers.

service standard:

Public commitment to a measurable level of performance that clients can expect under normal circumstances.


Provision of a specific final output that addresses one or more needs of an intended recipient and contributes to the achievement of an outcome. Government of Canada services include:

external services: A service where the intended recipient is a client that is external to the Government of Canada; and

internal enterprise services: A service provided by a Government of Canada department to other Government of Canada departments intended on a government-wide basis.

user engagement approach:

Outlines the department's efforts to raise awareness among clients of the availability and use of e-services.

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