OneTeamGov Canada — Then and Now

Frank Assu
Oct 21 · 5 min read

On May 21, 2019 a OneTeamGov Global Unconference was hosted for the first time in Canada.

As one of the founding members of the team that brought the OneTeamGov movement from weekly breakfasts, after work meetups, and meetings that were held only in a few cities (Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg) I have seen a significant rise in interest to the movement since the Victoria Global Unconference.

We have relied on our OneTeamGov friends from the UK, thank you so much for your guidance and support! So many to name, I don’t want to leave anyone out, so I will just say that all of you who helped us in this journey are forever in our hearts and minds!

What is OneTeamGov Canada? It is part of a global community working together to radically reform the public sector through practical action. It is driven by optimism and the desire to make things better, and united by a set of Core Principles.

The Mission of OneTeamGov Canada: The community is made up of people who are passionate about public sector reform (we deliberately want this to be wider than just government), with the emphasis on improving the services we offer to citizens and how we work. We believe the public sector can be brilliant, and we’re committed to making it so.

You don’t have to work for the government to be in the community, nor be a public servant in the wider sense, nor indeed be in Canada; we need diverse perspectives, with people of all sectors, areas, and interests helping. We think we’re unstoppable if we work together.

The heart of the OneTeamGov movement is the community that has embraced it. It is a community of people who are passionate about building better public services to improve people’s lives. It is open to anyone regardless of position or sector, and we are actively looking for input from all levels of government, citizens, and basically anyone who wants to move forward.

The OneTeamGov Canada movement took off this past year and half or so, from those small meetups that saw attendance ranging from 2 or 3 to 10 or more some days, into the Global Event that was held in Victoria, BC on May 21, 2019.

For our first major event in Canada I thought it went very well, and I think overall many will agree that it was a great inaugural event! One that the people and attendees of Victoria and BC will be proud to say they were the first Hosts! Often times it was a daily and weekly struggle to defend our location choice but we stayed the course and saw many people attend from across Canada, England, Wales, United States and of course a large turnout from BC. We had representation from the Canadian Government, Ontario Provincial Government, BC Government, and a few Municipal Governments. I think there were over 18 federal departments that participated.

After the May Unconference we saw a huge increase in awareness and interest for the movement across the country. Weekly breakfasts still occurred in Ottawa, with some having two different times to accommodate attendees; Victoria started having regular meet ups, thanks to Heather-Lynn Remacle one of the organizers of the global event! As well Toronto joined in on the fun with meet ups of their own! Winnipeg continued their meetups along with Vancouver; and there was even a monthly virtual OneTeamGov meetup! On the horizon Montreal is close to hosting their own meetups! That is amazing to see! (sorry for all the ! but it is needed :) )

So where does that put us now? Well for starters there will be not 1 but 2 OneTeamGov Canada events on December 17, 2019 held at the same time in two different parts of the country! One will be in Ottawa, ON and the other in Vancouver, BC! Wow, two major events when just over a year ago we were struggling to host one event.

What can you expect from the Ottawa event? Like our other events, the OneTeamGov Ottawa Unconference will be outcome-focused. We want people to take away practical ideas to improve public services in their area of work. Rather than a programme of meetings or lectures, the event will be an Unconference — a series of sessions defined by participants on the day. The aim will be sharing experiences, your practice, inspiration, understanding, learning from others and building your own call to action.

John G. Diefenbaker Building — Photo Credit: Google Images, Wikimedia Commons

Registration for the Ottawa Unconference is open now, click here to access. The event will take place at Old City Hall, in the John G. Diefenbaker building.

The Vancouver OneTeamGov event will be slightly different in that it will be limited to 60 participants, as it will take place in a cozy setting in the Library Square Building in downtown Vancouver, BC. This event is being hosted by the BCFedCouncil and the BCFedLeaders Team, a group that is unifying leaders at all levels for a high performing public service.

This event was inspired by a desire to bring learning events that are cross sectional, grass roots, and connects with everyone. They wanted to highlight how we all want to learn, grow, and share as people and government workers.

You can register for the Vancouver event here.

Library Square — Photo Credit: Google Images, Daily Hive Vancouver
Inside Library Square — Photo credit: Google Images, newtobc.ca

The best part of being involved in the OneTeamGov movement is that everyone has a voice, and the guiding principles ensure that. Sharing and learning with others around the world is a moral imperative, because everyone deserves to have effective and accessible public services. To that end, there are now OneTeamGov chapters throughout the world, in places like. England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Global Community.

Being a part of a global network of people who share a common goal is something that is exciting to me. There are many things that unite people across the globe, but having a community that as founding One Team Government member Kit Collingwood says focuses on reforming government for the benefit of citizens, giving better advice, offering better services, and creating a better place to work, makes this truly special.

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