Open Call: Helping governments move at the speed of need
April 30, 2020
Across the country, governments and public servants are mobilizing to confront the impacts of COVID-19. They’re gathering data and sharing it with residents so they can remain informed. They’re allocating resources like protective equipment and ventilators across our healthcare system. They’re processing millions of financial assistance claims, and managing the largest repatriation effort in national history.
While the scale of COVID-19 may be familiar to the public sector — tackling big, collective problems is among the reasons why government exists — the pace is not. We went from business as usual to sheltering in place en masse in a matter of days. The decline in our GDP last month was the steepest we’ve seen since 1961. And at its peak, Service Canada was receiving 1,000 financial assistance applications a minute.
Digital tools and methods are central to government’s ability to manage such a crisis, but traditional IT procurements and development cycles can take months, even years. Residents and businesses need information and support now, and governments must move at the speed of that need.
That’s why we’ve created Open Call. In collaboration with the Canadian Digital Service and the Canada School of Public Service, we’ve assembled a catalogue of open source tools that governments can use to quickly respond to COVID-19 and deliver what matters to constituents.
If you’re not sure where to start with Open Call, or need help deploying the tools in the catalogue, we can help! We represent a community of public servants and civic technologists who can enable you to move at the speed of need.
➡️ Fill out our support request form, tell us about the challenges you’re facing, and we’ll connect you with the coaching, training, or technical assistance you need. And thanks to the Government of Canada, we’re offering that support for free.
Open Call already features apps to help governments release a COVID-19 self assessment, communicate more effectively with residents during the pandemic, build data visualizations, manage and match resources, or recruit volunteers. Our team is continuing to find and curate new tools every day, so expect the catalogue to grow in both breadth and depth.
The curated tools in Open Call are free, reusable, and can be easily shared among different levels of government. Many of them are already being used by governments here in Canada — or around the world — and can be adapted to local needs. And thanks to open licenses and code hosted on Github, teams can start using these tools today!
We know that some governments are struggling to deploy the services their constituents need, while others have built incredible, shareable solutions. Open Call is our attempt to connect the two.
So if you’re working at the intersection of technology, the public interest and COVID-19, please check out Open Call. By leveraging the tools in the catalogue, you’ll not only be helping your constituents, you’ll also be helping your colleagues in governments across the country do the same.