In the past fifteen years… a sequel to 160 years of the Canada Gazette

A word from the Director of the Canada Gazette

On October 2, 2016, the Canada Gazette Directorate (CGD) will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Canada Gazette. This milestone provides a perfect opportunity to take stock. In the past 15 years, many aspects of the Canada Gazette production process have evolved, including technology, security and administration, to name a few.

The work environment at the CGD and the tools it uses daily have dramatically changed over the years, but the role of the Canada Gazette has stayed the same. The Canada Gazette remains the official newspaper of the Government of Canada and is an important tool the Government uses to inform and consult Canadians.

It is a privilege and an honour to work with such a dedicated group of professionals. These devoted employees ensure, week after week, that the Canada Gazette is published in a timely manner, that quality service is provided to clients and that the high service standards are met. Pursuant to specific Regulations, the Canada Gazette must be published on time, whether it is a small edition or a gigantic one.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the commitment of the CGD to continuously evolving and remaining abreast of current trends so that it may constantly strive for excellence, all the while fulfilling its mandate.

Lyne Tassé
Director
Canada Gazette Directorate

Technology

Technology has changed the way in which the Canada Gazette is produced and distributed. Most of the major changes have occurred in the past 15 years.

In 2003, the PDF (Portable Document Format) version was given official status. The same year, the "Current Consultations" Web page was launched; it provides a list of current proposed regulations for which Canadians are invited to submit their comments. The informatics world also witnessed the migration from ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) to HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which helped improve access to the Canada Gazette.

The RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds were added to the Web site in 2008. The feeds allow readers to receive updates on certain content published in the Canada Gazette. Currently, readers may subscribe to three different categories: Part I, Part II and Part III.

With the client always in mind, the CGD improved the search engine on its Web site. Searches may now be performed by category or by format; these are just some of the improvements that have been made.

The CGD continues to evolve and remain abreast of current technology. A major project for the CGD in 2011 was the modernization of its publication tool, which transitioned from MS Word to Adobe InDesign; another software, namely InCopy, and some plug-ins were also added to InDesign.

In July 2014, Public Works and Government Services Canada (now called Public Services and Procurement Canada) consolidated all of its information management and information technology responsibilities under the umbrella of a new entity known as the Chief Information Officer Branch. The responsibilities of the CGD’s hardware, software, computer specialists and consultant contracts were transferred to this new group.

In addition, work processes at the CGD were greatly improved and the team of editors now performs on-screen editing, rather than editing on paper, with the new aforementioned software and plug-ins. The CGD also aims to put in place workflow management software to increase its efficiency. Further, in the near future, the CGD will try to find new ways to allow clients to use templates for certain types of notices that could be completed and submitted electronically.

Another improvement implemented by the CGD is the electronic transmission of documents from private sector clients and most departments; it also anticipates implementing the electronic reception of all classified texts (whether Protected A, B, C or Secret). This project will take shape if the Chief Information Officer Branch and Shared Services can provide us with the service required, i.e. a secret transmission system.

Finally, in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the majority of Canada Gazette issues published between 1841 and 1997 were digitized and are available for consultation on the LAC Web site at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/canada-gazette/index-e.html .

Security and emergency planning

The CGD is a secure environment and all employees must possess a "secret" security clearance. Some documents are secret until they are officially published, hence the need for additional precautions. Outside of the CGD offices, there are security cameras, and visitors must request access and be accompanied to circulate through the premises of the CGD.

The CGD also has its own network, separate from Public Services and Procurement Canada’s network. This network is dedicated solely to the production of the Canada Gazette and ensures the protection of the content of the Canada Gazette prior to its publication.

To further ensure a timely production, an uninterruptible power supply system (UPS) is installed on the premises, for the sole purpose of producing the Canada Gazette. The CGD must be able to produce the Canada Gazette regardless of an emergency or a disaster situation. The CGD also has a business continuity plan, which provides for the continued production of the Canada Gazette under exceptional circumstances.

Service standards

The CGD is committed to offering its clients the highest level of service, whether it is through translation services (for certain types of notices only), invoice processing or answering general inquiries. In 2007, the CGD conducted a client satisfaction survey, with results showing an overall satisfaction rating of 97%. In a follow-up survey in 2011, the CGD maintained its high client satisfaction rating with a rate of 95%. The CGD’s service standards are as follows:

  • Maintaining an error count of less than 1%
  • Maintaining a client satisfaction rating of 85%
  • Meeting all legislated deadlines
  • Responding to all information requests within two business days
  • Providing quality service to clients in both official languages

To provide better service and further the modernization of CGD operations, the frequency of meetings with clients and partners has increased. These meetings promote improved relations between clients, partners and the CGD, and also promote efficiency for all parties.

Service standards are of great importance to the CGD, and the Directorate’s employees strive to offer the best possible service to their clients. Always open to improvement, the CGD welcomes comments and suggestions, which may be submitted through its Web site.

Administration

The CGD has undergone several significant administrative evolutions. Following the dissolution of Communications Canada in 2004, the CGD returned to the Department of Public Services and Procurement, where it had been at its inception.

In addition, the billing system migrated to SAP/SIGMA, the financial system used in most federal government departments, and invoices are now sent electronically via email.

In 2012, a method to adjust the CGD insertion rates was put in place. Specifically, the consumer price index was used to calculate the annual increase of the costs to publish in the Canada Gazette. This had become a pressing matter since the rates had remained unchanged from 1991 to 2012!

In addition, clients and messengers who deliver notices in person for publication in the Canada Gazette may now place them in a specially marked drop box belonging to the CGD, located directly outside its office.

Exchanges

The CGD sometimes has the opportunity to visit other countries, or to host foreign delegations, with the aim of comparing the processes and practices of each. The CGD visited England and France, and welcomed delegations from China, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands and Egypt.

In addition, the CGD is an active member of the Queen’s Printers Association of Canada. The Association is a national organization, composed of representatives from each province and territory in Canada, as well as representatives from the federal government, all of whom are responsible for the publication and printing of the official government documents in their respective jurisdictions. These representatives meet on an annual basis to share information and best practices related to the publication and printing of government documents, and to examine partnership opportunities among jurisdictions.

In 2011, the CGD had the honour of hosting this meeting in Ottawa. Each entity member of the Association must organize, in turn, the annual conference of the Queen’s Printers, and the CGD was given this important mandate in 2011. If the current schedule is maintained, the CGD will once again host the Association in 2023!

What has changed and what is to come

Many aspects of the CGD and the Canada Gazette have evolved in the past 15 years. Some notices are no longer published in the Canada Gazette, such as the relocation of head office and the surrender of charter, and others have been added, such as the publication of notices on the evaluation and categorization of certain chemical substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Further, the CGD collaborated with the Department of Justice to repeal section 13 of the Statutory Instruments Regulations with a view to enabling the transition to an exclusively electronic publication of the Canada Gazette, and also to support the Government’s greening initiatives as part of its sustainable development strategy. The paper copy of the Canada Gazette no longer exists since April 1, 2014.

The CGD also made changes to the presentation of its publication at the request of the Department of Justice, which has been presenting its laws and regulations in a new format since January 1, 2016. The CGD followed its lead in early 2016.

In all aspects of technology, service and administration, the CGD will continue to strive to meet and exceed all expectations.

Click on In the past fifteen years… a sequel to 160 years of the Canada Gazette to view the bilingual PDF version (1,204 KB) of the booklet.

To read the PDF version, you must first install PDF reader software. A list of free downloadable software is available on the Public Services and Procurement Canada Web site.