Call for the adoption of new “May to Must” cloud computing policy for Canada (updateable briefing note)
December 12, 2014

What can Canada learn from Australia's new cloud computing policy?

Government agencies need to think and act smarter when it comes to investing in ICT. The availability of cloud services offers an opportunity for government to deliver services more efficiently, as well as providing services that are more responsive to business and community needs…Under the Government's Cloud Policy agencies now must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money. (Australian Communications Minister, Malcom Turnbull)

Contact: Cathi Malette, Media Support or 613-236-6550

Ottawa, ON... CATAAlliance, Canada's largest high tech association, today launched an advocacy Campaign to encourage Canadian governments at all levels to adopt mandatory Cloud Computing policies modeled after Australia's progressive cloud model.

Known as the May to Must Cloud Computing Campaign for Canada, it would help establish government as a technical leader in the marketplace with important flow-on effect benefits to the broader economy.

CATA CEO, John Reid, said, "Improved adoption of cloud services by the government sends an important signal to the private sector. If government agencies were perceived to be treating cloud services as risky, this could reduce the adoption in the economy more generally."

He added, "It is encouraging to see the progressive steps being taken by the Australian government to propel uptake of Cloud, not just in a restricted public-cloud way, but in a full-spectrum use of Cloud solutions. When a Government mandates cloud, what excuse do other businesses have?"

CATAAlliance cited Australia, as model for government modernization, and has taken the initiative to invite Australian thought leaders to share their best practices with officials at Shared Services Canada (SSC), the Canadian department mandated to transform the delivery of services to citizens.

CATA CEO, John Reid, said, " We are committed to ensuring the success of the Government of Canada's modernization initiatives as it works to reduce operational costs and upgrade aging technical infrastructure. Adopting best practices, such as those exemplified in the Australian government will accelerate process and cost efficiencies and have a direct impact on the government's bottom line."

"Equally important", according to Reid," is the need to face our declining innovation metrics. We have the opportunity of creating Citizen Centered Services using the Cloud Computing."

Canada's Starting Point: Still lagging Behind

According to the Conference Board of Canada, despite a decade or so of innovation agendas and prosperity reports, Canada remains near the bottom of its peer group on innovation, ranking 13th among the 16 peer countries. Countries that are more innovative are passing Canada on measures such as income per capita, productivity, and the quality of social programs. So far, there are no conclusive answers—or solutions—to Canada's poor innovation ranking.

Reid added, "What can we learn from the Australian model and then apply to Shared Services Canada's frameworks in order to accelerate Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship performance? How can we get to first place by adopting 21st Century cloud computing models in the delivery of services to citizens?"

Australia's best practices: May to Must for Canada?

The Australian Government procures approximately $6 billion of ICT services annually and combined with state and territory governments, public sector expenditure on ICT accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the domestic market. It is committed to leading by example, demonstrating the benefits of investing in and using cloud services.

To this end, the Australian Commonwealth Government released its updated cloud computing policy - Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy – Smarter ICT Investment, in October 2014.

The Policy sets out the Commonwealth's new 'cloud first' policy and is intended to stimulate the take up of cloud computing by Commonwealth government agencies.

The moves follow similar policies adopted by both the US and British governments in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Under the Policy, 'non-corporate' Commonwealth entities (such as government departments and most other Commonwealth agencies, but excluding Commonwealth bodies corporate) are required to replace any existing information communication and technology (ICT) services with cloud based services where such services:

  • are fit for purpose
  • offer the best value for money (as defined by the Commonwealth Procurement Rules)
  • provide adequate management of risks to information and to ICT assets (as required by the Commonwealth's Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF)).
  • The Policy marks a further step from the 'may choose' language of 2011's Australian Government Cloud Computing Strategic Direction paper and the 'explicit obligation to consider' in last year's Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy to a 'must adopt'2 stance, subject to the considerations referred to above.

The Policy's goal is to drive the use of cloud ICT services in the Commonwealth public sector to 'reduce costs, lift productivity and develop better services'. The Policy requires non-corporate Commonwealth entities to:

  • use ICT refresh trigger points (including planned system implementations and upgrades) as opportunities to evaluate cloud services
  • adopt public cloud services for testing and development needs and for hosting public facing websites
  • evaluate private, community, public or hybrid cloud services for operational systems as defined by information requirements
  • consider opportunities to develop/adopt cross entity or portfolio cloud services and/or build on initiatives established by other entities
  • comply with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements and select cloud services commensurate with the requirements of the information
  • update the Agency Solutions Database after acquiring a cloud service
  • use the extensive existing Australian Government guidance on ICT (including the Australian Government strategies, policies, better practice guides and frameworks for ICT) to assist in the evaluation of cloud based ICT options.

With this new Policy the Commonwealth is declaring its intent and desire to drive the adoption of cloud computing at the Commonwealth level. The Policy expresses the view that there is much room for increased take up of and expenditure on cloud computing by Commonwealth agencies.

The Commonwealth cites statistics showing cloud procurements through AusTender since July 2010 have totaled approximately $4.7 million, a small proportion of the approximately $6 billion that the Commonwealth spends on ICT annually.

Accordingly, the new Policy potentially represents a significant opportunity for the providers of ICT services, so long as they and their potential customers can clear the 'fit for purpose' and PSPF hurdles.

View the full cloud computing policy document and related materials at this URL:

For additional insights into Australia's mandatory cloud computing policy from a recent CATAAlliance Webinar, please download (tbc) the following audio and presentation files:

May to Must (mp3 download, tbc)

May to Must Cloud Computing Policy for Canada: SSC Council Lead shares perspectives for success

view video

In this video commentary, John Cousens, Lead, CATA Advisory Council, Shared Services Canada (SSC) offers views on Canada's Cloud Adoption leadership and then makes the case for taking steps to bring Canada in step with global best practices for organizational modernization.

Cousens & Reid conclude, The May to Must Cloud Computing Campaign for Canada forms an integral part of the industry's competitive Innovation Nation program, a program developed under the tutelage of Canada's leading entrepreneur, Sir Terence Matthews that lays out what we must do as a nation to move us from a 13th place ranking to first place in innovation rankings. Quo vadis?"

Video interviews with thought leaders (watch for new videos)

    View video one with Anil Karmel, CEO, C2Labs & Co-Chair, NIST Cloud Security Working Group as he offers insights in balancing security and risk in a cloud connected enterprises, as well as, speaking to cloud adoption leadership in Signapore.

    View video two with Steve Woodward, CEO, Cloud Perspectives as he talks about the benefits of Cloud and the importance in having sandboxes for experimenting with cloud computing applications.

    View video three with Brandon Kolybaba, CEO CloudA as he offers important Cloud adoption insights.

     View video four with Charles Duffet, CATA CIO, as he comments on the merits and urgency of the Campaign.

++ Action Items
Community Mobilization & Engagement

Please join our moderated Shared Services Canada (SSC) Forum created for executives to access briefing materials, share information and provide guidance and feedback on matters relating to the mission, mandate and operations of Shared Services Canada (SSC). It comprises some 1900 members from across Canada, representing both small and large enterprises, as well as thought leaders from the public and private sectors.

Please send electronically and/or print out and fax the May to Must Cloud Computing Campaign communiqué and follow up with a phone call to your local MP, media and network of contacts, inclusive of posting on your social media.

In order to join in advancing the Campaign and to receive alerts and updates, please email with May to Must Cloud Computing in the subject line.