Header image: laptop in bed

3am government

Zeena Abdulla
2 min readDec 20, 2016


Earlier this year, as we were about to embark on this Digital Government adventure, someone in the provincial leadership challenged me to describe why digital government matters to people.

Naturally, I started to talk about our quest to make government work better in big and small ways, to work more efficiently, to make services simpler and easier to access. I talked about effectiveness, service design, quality measures, and more.

He shook his head.

“But, why does digital government matter?”

That’s when it hit me.

We are 3am government.

When you’re lying awake at night worried about something — your child’s fever, an eviction notice, how you’re going to pay for your teenager’s education — what do you do?

You probably pull out your phone, or sit down in front of a computer, and start searching on Google. You find some links, read some articles; some of the information you find is helpful, and a lot of it isn’t.

In all those cases above and so many more, the government can help you when you can’t sleep. What if, while you were searching on Google, one of our pages came up first? And what what if that page was written in a simple, helpful, friendly way?

The government might have a program or service to help you solve your problem — what if you could sign up for it right there, on your phone, in bed, in the middle of the night? Just follow some simple instructions, and we’ll sort it all out for you.

That’s digital government: government that is there for you, day or night, even at 3am when you can’t sleep because you’re worried about something. We’re here to help, so you can go back to bed.

What a year it has been since then. We’ve accomplished so much, but most importantly, we’ve begun laying the tracks for even more to come. We’re excited to continue this important work with so many people, inside and outside of government, in the new year.

As we approach the holidays, we’ll be slowing down our posting schedule here on the blog, but we won’t be slowing down on our commitment to serve the people who need government services — whether it’s at 2pm on a weekday afternoon or 3am on New Year’s morning.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for coming along on the ride. We’ll be touch again soon.

Zeena Abdulla, bureaucracy hacker.