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CSPS Virtual Café Series: Estonia's Digital Innovations (DDN2-V41)


This event recording presents the latest digital governance innovations in Estonia, including what fuels the government to embrace technology and transparency, and how they leverage feedback to identify innovative solutions.

Duration: 00:41:14
Published: November 10, 2023
Type: Video

Event: CSPS Virtual Café Series: Estonia's Digital Innovations

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CSPS Virtual Café Series: Estonia's Digital Innovations

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Transcript: CSPS Virtual Café Series: Estonia's Digital Innovations

[Video opens with CSPS animated logo.]

[Taki Sarantakis appears full screen. Taki is seated on a stage with the Canadian flag visible behind him.]

Taki Sarantakis: Hi, I am Taki Sarantakis, the President of the Canada School of Public Service, and today we're going to do something really cool. We are going to do our part two on Estonia, and we have a very special guest with us today,

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen. The Estonian flag is seen behind Anett.]

Taki Sarantakis: Anett Numa, from Accelerate Estonia. Before we begin we're going to do a land acknowledgement because it's very important to remember that we continue to live in the land that people were here far before the Europeans. So, I'm joining you today from the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabe people. And I encourage you to take a moment to reflect upon the land and its history from wherever you might be joining us today or in the future as you watch this video.

So, Estonia, we've heard about it. We get told, oh, Estonia! Oh, let's see what they do in Estonia. What did they do in Estonia? So, talk to us a little bit about what they do in Estonia.

Anett Numa: We're having a very good life.

Taki Sarantakis: <Laugh>. Yes. And why is that?

Anett Numa: Because we have a lot of time to enjoy our own activities and hobbies and everything because the government has made sure that people actually have the freedom to do whatever they like to, because the government stuff, the services and everything are provided online, and we want to make sure that things are done on the background, so you don't actually even need to communicate with your government or ask for the services, so that we approach to people from our own site. And as 99% of the government services are fully functioning online, that means that there is very little cases that you need to actually contact the government. I don't know, like going in in person or something. There's only one single service that is currently functioning on paper,

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: and this is getting divorced.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Anett Numa: And I hope that doesn't happen to you too many times in a year or so. So, that's very little, little services.

Taki Sarantakis: So, in Canada, we have forms. And we love forms. And whether they are federal forms or provincial forms or municipal forms or private sector forms or recreational forms, we have forms. We spend our lives going, [here's] my address. Here's my postal code. Here's the name of my kid. What's my postal code again? No, I moved. You don't do that in Estonia?

Anett Numa: We don't have time for that.

Taki Sarantakis: You don't have time for that because you're living life?

Anett Numa: Exactly. And it's that everything is already prefilled. And once I have already submitted that information to the system

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: no government agency has the right to ask me information two times. So, we're using this once only policy, that once I have submitted this information online, that's it. We then duplicate information also for the security reason, so that if any other institution needs to know your tax information or your address or anything, then they can easily just ask from the other portals, like our data exchange platform. Not like reaching out to you, Taki, and being, okay, can you tell us the information that you have already submitted

Taki Sarantakis: Fill out a form.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Anett Numa: thousands of times already to submit this again because I'm pretty sure you have way more cooler things to do in your life than submitting the forms, right?

Taki Sarantakis: Well, I'm not cool, but others are. There are some Canadians that are super cool and I'm sure they would love to have their time back in terms of not filling out forms and telling people multiple times the same thing.

So, quite honestly, quite seriously, you register for swimming lessons, you get your hydro bill, you get your electricity bill, and they don't ask you to fill out forms? They don't ask you to fill out your address?

Anett Numa: No, I mean, like I said, it's just like if the information is already somewhere online, which means, like our population registry for example, for the home address,

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: then that's it. And then the other portals are just connected to this system on the need to know basis, asking our information from there, not knocking on my door and being like, Anett, tell us where you live if I have already. Or if I change my home address as well, I do it once on the portal itself, I sign a document and everything and that's about it. And I remember when I bought my first home as well it was very simple so that everything was already connected when I signed <inaudible> and I can do that also online. I can buy a home online, I mean being here in Canada if I want to, and that's super simple. So, it's already connected as well.

And then also the service provider has actually contacted me and said, okay, you are now the owner of that apartment, so do you want to continue a contract with us as an electricity service provider or the water, or do you want to change the supplier? And it was super simple. I just confirmed that, okay, the contract goes on my name. I didn't really have to show up somewhere and be like, okay, I need another service provider or, guys, this is me. I now own this apartment. They were informed. And, again, it saves so much of my time and that I could enjoy the first few days in my new home, not actually going, there were different forms, like, hi, I am the new homeowner there. So, yes.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: So, moving is a big life event and we all know that when we move, again, you call the cable company, you call the heating company,

[Taki Sarantakis appears full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: you call the electricity company, you call everybody. In Estonia, they call you and they say, would you like to continue? Would you like to stop? Another big life event that a lot of people have is having a baby. Tell us what happens when you have a baby in Estonia

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: after – you know, you don't have to tell us how you deliver babies, because I'm sure it's

Anett Numa: <Laugh>. I don't know.

Taki Sarantakis:  It's kind of universal, but how does the state interact with the baby once the baby is born?

Anett Numa: So, like I said, this is also a life event that is very special for the families. And also, usually it's a process itself that you want to enjoy and not think about anything else than like focusing on a little princess or prince that has just been born. And we have also made it super easy. So, once you deliver a baby, if I may say so?

Taki Sarantakis: Yes.

Anett Numa: In the hospital then, on the background already, the baby will get the personal code. The system would also,

Taki Sarantakis: Is that like a number?

Anett Numa: There is a number, yes. So, it's an 11-digit number and just fully, automatically based on your birthdate and things like this. So, automatically you get the code for the baby and then when both of the parents are also there, then the hospital is registering both parents to be linked to the new baby. And then they will also get the question, and first of all messaging, congratulations on your newborn baby. And now you can also choose which one of the parents is staying home with the kid. We have wonderful,

Taki Sarantakis: And that's for benefits, right?

Anett Numa: Exactly. So, we provide the child benefits for two years so that you can stay at home with a baby for the first two years. You're fully paid for one and a half years, and then half a year it's, I can't remember the percentage, but it was like 80 something. And yes, it's super simple.

Taki Sarantakis: So again, no application?

Anett Numa: They already know you've given birth and when a hospital has registering like this already, that's it. And then you choose the person and then also the next step is, we already know where is your home address, and most likely your baby will come with you, right? To live with you.

Taki Sarantakis: They like to live with their parents, sometimes even in their thirties.

Anett Numa: <Laugh>. I know, it can be annoying.

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: So, they also can find a school to go to. So, we start school at the age of six and seven, depending on the kid. And then they can also already choose a school and just select, I think there's two or three options that are closest.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: So, you don't, when your child turns four or five or six, again, no form. You don't have to say, here's where I live,

Anett Numa: No, it's done.

Taki Sarantakis: and my child goes... So, it's all done automatically.

Anett Numa: It's all done. Yes.

Taki Sarantakis: In the background, as you said, you don't have to worry about it?

Anett Numa: No, not at all. Yes.

Taki Sarantakis: The state is just providing services.

Anett Numa: Exactly. I mean, it's important that your kid could be able to go to the nearest school, and again, that you don't have to drive around. We know how crazy traffic is. And then if you have to drop them off everywhere, it's super annoying. So, they can go to the closest school and then you can already reserve a place for your kid there. And of course, if there are any changes coming you can also change the residence, and then also put your kid to another school later. But it's just about enjoying the first six, seven years with your little one, and all this stuff is done already in the background.

Taki Sarantakis: Yes.

Anett Numa: We really appreciate that because again, it's giving more time for people.

Taki Sarantakis: Yes. Now I've heard you say that your government has estimated how much time this gives back to people, to every citizen. What was that estimate again?

Anett Numa: It's just actually one of the services. So, we sign all the documents online, which means that all the contracts and things, transactions and everything that you need to do. So, it's five days per year for one person.

Taki Sarantakis: So, it gives everybody, on average

Anett Numa: Like an extra week of vacation.

Taki Sarantakis: An extra week of their life back.

Anett Numa: Yes. But if you add also all the other services that you can access online that you don't have to go somewhere in person. And especially when we right now are thinking about also sustainability and the climate change, then also that we don't actually have to drive to the nearest public institution. But we can do everything from home, which means that also we're doing something different.

Taki Sarantakis: Except that you can't get divorced. <Laugh>.

Anett Numa: Yes. But like I said, I hope it doesn't happen too often in your life that you get divorced.

Taki Sarantakis: So, driver's license, healthcare card, unemployment insurance, pension, banking information, hydro information, property taxes, everything, everything, everything online.

Anett Numa: Yes.

Taki Sarantakis: So, is that scary?

Anett Numa: No. I would say actually the other way around. I guess first of all, it's a lot of comfort that also all the services are just linked to one single card and your personal code, basically. That's how we identify people, by their personal code. So, it's not even Taki, as a name. But the system itself recognizes you as your personal code, which helps to do a lot of analysis also when it comes to the personal code, like I said, it's your gender, your age, so you can also use that information. But regarding the scary part, actually transparency for us is the key thing. And the trust between the government and the citizens

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: and all these government services that we provide online have actually helped us to build that kind of trust, because people can track who has been accessing their information. I feel like this is the best thing that you can do for citizens that really shows that, okay, we don't track your information. And if anybody would do that, there are consequences. And there are cases that there have been consequences. If I would check your information right over here on paper there are only the fingerprints that you could have. But that's about it. So, that's the tricky part.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: So, there's no official looking at filing cabinets and going, oh, this is how much Anett makes, or, oh, this is

Anett Numa: We don't even allow to print anything down on paper. Again, this is duplication of information if you do so. So, if you go to the public institution and you see them printing down something, I would be, wait, wait a minute! You can't do that, it's my information, it shouldn't be there on paper. Because then you can keep that information and its application. So, publication is not allowed at all in our system,

Taki Sarantakis: Yes.

Anett Numa: So, we don't allow anybody to do that.

Taki Sarantakis: Now, one of the things that we do in Canada is we go to the doctor's office, we go to the hospital. Very personal, in some cases routine, in some cases very special, in a good way or in a bad way, moments. And we have to give personal information all the time. We have to say, here's what medication I'm on. We have to say, here's the last time I got this shot. Have you ever gotten a shot or a vaccine for this or for that? And a lot of the times the answer is, I don't know, did my parents give me that? Did I get that shot in grade two? Did I get that other thing in grade four? I don't remember, I don't know. In Estonia, is that all available for your physician when you go to the hospital or the doctor?

Anett Numa: Yes, of course, but what I really like is also that we have, I think it's around five or six different layers of access to your information. So, if you're just a dentist then you can't just go and see all my other doctor visits. If you're my family doctor, yes, then you should have a full picture of how you can consult me the best way. But when it comes to a specialist, it's a very limited access to your information. And we are also,

Taki Sarantakis: And is that your choice, or is it somebody else's?

Anett Numa: I mean, this is by the law but also there is additional layers there that I can also opt out my doctor visits if I feel like this was very personal. I grew up in a very small place, right? And my family doctor knew everybody from my family, and everybody knew her because it was such a small community. So, sometimes also you don't want to share your medical information with somebody that actually knows a lot about you.

Taki Sarantakis: And that's the key. It's your medical information.

Anett Numa: Exactly. So, actually we have a way of saying that also I'm the owner of my data, my information, and the government just helps me to store that information.

Taki Sarantakis: Exactly.

Anett Numa: So, they actually just provide me the service of storing that information. But I'm the one who is making the decisions here.

Taki Sarantakis: Yes. It seems to me that that's very key, that your data is your data. It's not that you're giving your data over to the state to use in any way it seems fit.

[Taki Sarantakis appears full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: You're giving your data over to the state so the state can serve you.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Anett Numa: Yes, exactly. And again, if collecting data also helps the state to make smarter decisions,

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa: I'm up for this because when it comes to making decisions sometimes, you just see some of the decisions made by the government, then you're like, okay, why was this done that way? But if there is actual information that they have collected, but also in a way that they don't see your name or anything there, but just based on a very large analysis.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: Yes. Like the metadata.

Anett Numa: Yes, exactly. So, if they actually make smarter decisions and we get a better quality of the services, then why should I be against that? So, we try to also move very quickly towards that we actually use that information we collected in policy making processes as well. And I think, especially when it comes to like the medical sector, it massively helps to actually design better, like what do you eat at school as a kid, or how many sport classes do you have? Or is there any need for mental health assistance in different schools? I mean, this is the basis.

Taki Sarantakis: Now in Canada we do that too, but we do it through an instrument called the census, which is a point-in-time snapshot. And, basically, it's every 10 years. And we take that data and we say, well, here's now where we should be building schools. Here's now where we should be building old age homes. Here's now where we should be opening hospitals, here's where we should be closing hospitals. But it's a point in time. And it sounds like your data is dynamic, that it's in real life where people are moving to, where certain areas the demographics are the people are getting younger and you need more schools, or the people are getting older and you might need more hospitals, et cetera. Tremendous, tremendous benefit to citizens to be able to have the real world data matching what the state is providing you at any given time.

Anett Numa: Yes, one of my favourite public institutions is our statistics department, I think it's called that way?

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa:  I can share that information sometime later. It's so cool. They have a lot of analyzers and actually a lot of Estonian citizens follow their own social media because there's a lot of data that's collected, thanks to all of our systems, and then they do a lot of analysis and reflections on our society and our behaviours, and just very cool statistics.

So, if you think about it, a statistics department is a very, very highly followed platform on social media by the citizens, which is not very common in other societies. But we're trying to just kind of keep it cool, so that it also educates people, so they also understand data.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: Data is cool.

Anett Numa: Yes. I think data is cool. And when we have that data, why not use it for good? At the end of the day, everybody wants to get access to high quality stuff. And we want to make sure that our people do get access to quality services. I guess that's what matters. And then if people have a good life there, and it's not just about the citizens, but it's also about the entrepreneurs. Coming from such a small place, we want to make sure that if you open a business there, it has to be an enjoyable process of also operating your business.

Taki Sarantakis: It must take, what, 10 days to open a business in Estonia?

Anett Numa: 15 minutes.

Taki Sarantakis: 15 minutes? Okay. That's pretty cool.

Anett Numa: I opened mine at the office, I'm running also a private business, which I'm also super happy that our government allows that if you even work in ministry that you could still do your part-time stuff also in the background. And it was just 15 minutes for me. And automatically, again, all this information was moving. When I also opened a bank account for my business this information was already in my bank as well. I just clicked the name of my company and all the data was there. And then basically it was two days and then I got my business card as well. And it was all done and I could start running my business. And of course when it comes to tax declarations and everything, it's always prefilled and you don't need to download the PDFs and be like, okay, here's what I have paid for.

Taki Sarantakis: Put in your address again, and here's where I live, and here's where...

Anett Numa: Exactly. And also regarding transparency that's very cool, because it helps to lower the level of corruption cases as well. Like in a government sector so that everything is so transparent that it's very, very difficult to hide anything that you do. And I can even go to our entrepreneurs portal, and I can type in a random company's name and I can see their reports. It's publicly available. So, if I also start collaborating with another business, like finding a new business partner, then I can be sure that this business partner is not lying about their results, but there is actual reports that are available for citizens to use. And we do it often so it's very, very transparent.

[Taki Sarantakis appears full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: Part of the culture. So, now obviously you guys must have the best quantum super computers. You must have technology from 2047. You've got special access to technology that nobody else in the world has. Canadians don't have it. Americans don't have it. Israelis don't have it. People in Singapore don't have it. You guys have technology that's proprietary and completely Estonian and nobody else in the world has it, right?

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Anett Numa: Not true at all.

Taki Sarantakis: Oh!

Anett Numa: <Laugh>. No, we're not somewhere in the future.

Taki Sarantakis: You don't make your own super computers?

Anett Numa: We are in the future with leadership.

[Anett Numa appears full screen.]

Anett Numa:  So, if I would put it into numbers, around 80% of our success stories [are] fully based on decision makers and leaders that have been really just believing in that kind of change. And then there is only 20% that is based on technology. Of course, technology has to support the process, but it doesn't mean that our technology is different than in anywhere else. I mean, we use the same computers and stuff that all the other countries are doing as well. But there's just there is no such thing as a leadership. And when it comes to also a couple of other countries that are very successful in providing services,

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Anett Numa: these are the same reasons. They also have a very strong leadership, and people or teams really working on the same goal. And this is something that has been already happening in Estonian for the last 30 years. We already drafted the first document of the parliament in 1994 that this change is going to start to happen, the first basis of using information technology, and it has progressed, of course, in a very high level today, when we talk about the emerging technologies, the new AI and all this stuff.

[Taki Sarantakis appears full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: So, it's not technology driving the population. It's not technology driving the political masters. It's not technology driving the bureaucratic actors. It's actually leadership. It's just saying, this is important. We want to do it, and we're going to do it.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: Now all of this sounds like magic. And some of us don't believe in magic. So, we actually want to see it because anybody can say they can do something. We actually want to see all the things you've been talking about. Are you willing to show us?

Anett Numa: Absolutely. I mean, this is always interesting for others to see. And I feel like we are, in Estonia, in a very much of a comfort zone, thinking that this is how it should be. And I really like to say that we have the most demanding customers that you can find anywhere in the world.

So, as soon as a service is down for a few minutes, or the UX design is not on a level that you would expect this to be from the government, then people are complaining. And I feel like it's the most amazing thing because if you have demanding customers,

Taki Sarantakis: Constant feedback.

Anett Numa: that means you are actually improving your systems. And the state portal that we have now – I'm super proud of this, the design and everything – it's simple to use. And even for people that are not so tech savvy, it just flows and you know where to find information. And again, it takes very little time for you to get access to your service because it's easy to find where the services are or not, or that you need to approach this institution to get access.

Taki Sarantakis: So, that was a lot of tell. Now we're going to move to the show portion. So, give us a moment. The video people are going to do something magic behind the scenes to make it look all seamless. And in a moment or two, you will see Anett actually showing us all of the things that she's been talking about over the last 20 minutes or so. Let's go log on.

[Anett Numa appears standing in front of a video screen. Several different icons to access portals can be seen, as described.]

Taki Sarantakis: All right. Our technicians have done their magic. We are back. And now we're going to see Estonian magic. So, Anett, this is I guess the public screen for the platform that we've been talking about. And look, for the Canadians, look how nice and clean this looks. It's organized by life events: I have fallen ill; I'm having a baby; I'm getting married; I'm moving. There's information on the side. This is all public. This has nothing to do with you as Anett. Now let's go into you as Anett. Let's see how this works when you're on the inside.

Anett Numa: Yes, just as a mark you can see that here, that you don't even have to log into the system to really get the full picture, like what kind of services you can use here.

Taki Sarantakis: So, I can do this here in Canada?

Anett Numa: Easily. Yes. And, of course, we are providing the e residency for people around the world who would like to access the Estonian business market. And if you check up there as well, we have the entrepreneur portal as well, so that you can log in as an entrepreneur which also helps a lot of people. So, that also navigates the business services. And we're going to see in a second, these are the most popular services that people are using as an entrepreneur.

So, your certificate of incapacity for work, application for the different kinds of holiday pay, and the average salary part. And then there is also the social insurance portal as well. And then some of the articles that you need to know. So, if there are any changes coming in the state as well, then that's also super simple that you can just see here. Even again, like I said, you don't even have to log in. But let's log in, then I'll show you what I can see as a citizen here.

Taki Sarantakis: The other really nice thing there is that the state pushes out information to those where and when they need it.

Anett Numa: Yes. And if you take a look here, there is the ID card solution, the solution we have had for the last 20 plus years. And then there is mobile ID, that's like a sim card on my phone, and Smart ID, which is provided by a private sector company actually. And they're providing this in many other states as well. And of course, Estonia is part of the EU, then we can also select here in the list if I would be from any other country. If I come from Italy, I could be in Rome and also log in with my Italian ID card as well. But I would recommend that we go and choose the Smart ID. So, what I need to know for this is my personal code, and we talked about this a lot of times before.

Taki Sarantakis: But this is, this is public. This is like your phone number.

Anett Numa: Yes. Like I said, it's the information that is publicly available and the government is using for also accessing my – not accessing my information, but identifying me. So, that's simple. And let's click continue. And what's going to happen, I luckily have also my phone right over here.

Taki Sarantakis: So, now this is private. This is only for you. Of course, we're broadcasting this, but?

Anett Numa: Yes, but you don't see anything that you shouldn't see, so that's all okay. So, there is a confirm for code here. I received a notification on my phone that asked me to confirm that I'm the one logging into the system here. And then there are three options for three ways to log in. And I can see seven, four, five and eight. And this is still also here. I will select that one. And then it asks me my PIN number one. I added my PIN number one, and we have two different <inaudible>. So, if you encrypt and sign documents, then it's then it's PIN number two, and then PIN number one for when you just log into the system.

Taki Sarantakis: So, two PINs.

Anett Numa: Yes.

Taki Sarantakis: Known only to you, an identification code every time you log on. And that's it.

Anett Numa: That's it. Yes, exactly. And now we can see a not so pretty picture of me for a document picture that that I use. And then I can see that my ID card is valid, my Estonian passport. And then also the driving license information, the prescription side that I'm...

Taki Sarantakis: So, you don't drive, otherwise there would be a driving license, too.

Anett Numa: <Laugh>. Yes, that's a joke that my friends are still making fun of me that I don't have a driving license. But yes, it's a longer story. But I would actually recommend that we're going to go and check out the data tracker instead of that passport picture. <Laugh>. And now I can also choose here that I want to see if somebody has been checking my information from the population registry. We can click on this and then I can see that there is a different kind of request. This is my personal code that I use to log into the system, and I can see that in the last couple of days I've checked my own information and I can even see here what I've been like looking for. And it kind of describes everything. So, it's super simple to see.

We will click on the third page here, then there could be something else. Let's go forward. Yes. Okay. So, there is also a private sector company linked here. So, private sector companies can also have access to our information, but on a very need to know basis, so that they only access information that they're allowed to access. And usually they just get yes or no answers if they have any questions. And if I feel that there is something here in the list that I have no idea what it is, like the notary board has been accessing my information, then I can make a request and they have to give me an entire report why they're accessing my information.

And if there is no reason for this than just curiosity, then there are consequences, like I said before, and nobody wants to face them if you have been working so hard in order to get a new position. And there are cases when some of the doctors have been checking information of the patients that are not their patients, then also it can really end up very, very badly. So, my recommendation is not to do that. And that's why I feel like it has become such a normal thing that we don't stalk about each other. I mean, we respect each other's privacy because we know that whenever we do it, you can see that here. And I think this is a very good example.

If we click again here on the information systems, we can see that there are many more of different kinds of portals that I can also track that information.

Taki Sarantakis: Now are these different databases that we're clicking? The land registry, the foreign registry.

Anett Numa: Yes. It connects with the other portals as well here, but it's a one stop shop, so that if I click on something else here, I can see all the information in one place, so I don't have to go and log into different portals and again, waste my very valuable time. And I can just easily do that here.

Taki Sarantakis: So, for us, as Canadians, if we were to do this, we would have to go to a <inaudible> site; log on; remember a thing. Then we'd have to go to our doctor's system, if our doctor is online; log on; different password; a different every – on and on and on. But here, all the databases come to you and through the one portal, it's seamless, it appears.

Anett Numa: Yes, that was the comfort that I was telling you about before. It's just that it takes very little time. And I've been asking my friends, how often do you actually go and check that information if somebody has been accessing your information? I mean, people don't even think about this anymore because...

Taki Sarantakis: Very high, high trust.

Anett Numa: it feels very – yes, we used it already that we don't see such kind of things. And I would recommend to do it once per six months, just to make sure that there hasn't been any kind of request here.

Taki Sarantakis: Like going to your dentist.

Anett Numa: But of course, also, if there is some kind of analysis done by some kind of institution, then you can still see that they have been also using your information for collecting data and maybe also protecting the data for the future. So, you can also easily see that here.

The only thing that we cannot see here is when you're under criminal investigation, but I think this is obvious that the police are not going to warn you, like, Taki, we're going to check your information and you have around five business days to get out of here from Canada, and we can't catch you because ...

Taki Sarantakis: They give me 10 days.

Anett Numa: That's good. For us, there is no time that we give to people. So, if that's a criminal investigation, we check their backgrounds, but very important to know as soon as the investigation is over then we also provide them an entire report saying that we were accessing your information. But when there's police, for example, stopping you on a street, just making sure that you have a valid driving license or anything else then you can still see that here. So, that's very, very important. And surprisingly police is the most trusted institution in Estonia and in the public sector.

Taki Sarantakis: Yes. Now, your local transit system has contacted you through this platform. Tell us why they contacted you.

Anett Numa: The local, you mean the banking side?

Taki Sarantakis: No, the bus or transit.

Anett Numa: Oh, the bus. Okay. Yes, that one here. So, Ridango is a company and here it's written like Pilet E, which is ticket, that e and Estonia. And in Tallin, in the capital city, we access public transportation for free. But you have to pay your taxes in Tallin, so you need to really live there. So, your home address has to be in Tallinn. So, from the system, I use this green card that I swipe every time that I go to the bus or tram. And then easily, just once per month, they automatically, you can see at 10 o'clock in the evening, automatically the system just made sure that I still live in Tallinn. So, once per month, just confirming. And they just got information, like a green light. She still lives in Tallinn, so whenever she goes to the bus now, then she can use it for free.

Taki Sarantakis: So it's still free. It's still valid. She hasn't moved. They don't ask you, they just use the system in the background.

Anett Numa: Exactly.

Taki Sarantakis: And do they actually know where you live, or?

Anett Numa: No, of course, no. So, actually it's very, very simple with this institution, because they actually get just yes or no answer. And the yes or no answer is actually coming from our the postal code. So, it's not your apartment number, it's not your street number, because the only thing that we know is your area, and the postal code says everything, like which district you are living in. So, it's very, very simple. And again, we know that this company does not have a massive database of people's addresses or I would have to contact them as a service provider and saying, hi guys, I actually just moved. So, maybe you would just decline the access to public transportation. If I will do that, then they will get the green light, and then next time I'm going to go to the bus and it says, sorry, but you need to buy a ticket.

Taki Sarantakis: Yes. So, I want to poke around on the public site in a moment, just for a few minutes. Is there anything else you want to show us before we log off?

Anett Numa: No, I think it's okay already, just plenty of services that we already covered.

Taki Sarantakis: So, then the feedback where the systems says, oh, did you, were you happy? Were you unhappy? Which is the current? Could we go back to the life events screen?

Anett Numa: Yes.

Taki Sarantakis: Because, again, Canadians can actually...

Anett Numa: So, we have to click again, just up there on the left side, you see that E? And then it leads us back to the main page.

Taki Sarantakis: So, now Canadians are free, or anybody in our audience is free to go look at this because this is the public site. But I just want to scroll down and see. So, again, you're going to the hospital; you're having a baby; you'd like to start a company; you have a car; I lost my job. You see the language is very clean, very simple, very accessible. Let's just imagine that we've had one of life's big, big tragedies, which is losing my job. Can we just read more?

Anett Numa: Yes. But also if you saw that before, it was just one single sentence that we saw that first. And we also have been analyzing that. It's so important when it comes to sometimes the public sector language, is that people are really using very, very difficult language for....

Taki Sarantakis: Right, fill out form T 964 dash....

Anett Numa: Yes, for a lot of citizens, it's so difficult to understand the language that the public servants are using. So, it was very, very simple so that people would understand. And here I can also see again, why and how, the forms, the services, it's just kind of..

Taki Sarantakis: Oh, but wait a sec. We said there were no forms. How come there's a form?

Anett Numa: Again, these things are prefilled.

Taki Sarantakis: Oh, prefilled.

Anett Numa: They just have you go and click on these things here. And if you want to know which kind of <inaudible>, and also that's quite simple. And here on the right side as well, we see a lot of questions that people might have.

Taki Sarantakis: Now, I want to know, I want to go to the right and see for how long am I entitled to benefit. So, I think it's about the fourth one on the right?

Anett Numa: Yes, this one here?

Taki Sarantakis: One more below, I think.

Anett Numa: Yes. So, I will click on this here, and then it shows already the answer here. So, it's from 1st of August, 2020, on the first 100 days of receiving the benefits, you'll receive also 60% of each day, and then 40%. So again, it's just a few sentences here, and then it gives people a very clear picture. And of course, you can click on these links here and actually get more information if you want to dive deep into the details. But, for us, these are the things that we really need to know, and again, takes very little time for me to understand and answer these questions.

Taki Sarantakis: So clean, simple, understandable. But as you click, very comprehensive too. It navigates your life events in a way that not only respects your time but respects you as a person.

[Taki Sarantakis and Anett Numa appear full screen.]

Taki Sarantakis: Welcome back, Anett Numa, from Accelerate Estonia. Thank you so much for showing us the art of the possible. It's not only the art of the possible but it truly is world leading. It is the North Star. It is what every country that respects its citizens should be aspiring to.

And for our Canadian friends out there, whether you're federal, provincial, municipal, or private sector, we have now seen what a little country can do. And it's not an excuse that they're a little country. Sometimes it's harder as a little country to do these things. You have less resources, you have less people to be able to put this together. As Anett told us over and over again it's about leadership. It's not about technology. And hopefully, Anett, you have shown us – not hopefully – you have shown us today's reality in Estonia, but hopefully you've shown us a near reality for Canada.

So, on behalf of Canada School of Public Service, on behalf of all the people that are watching this video inside and outside the Government of Canada, thank you so much for coming here to share a tremendous success story. And congratulations to your country and may you continue to lead the way in this important, important area.

Anett Numa: Thank you very much, Taki. And it has been very interesting also to understand the Canadian system a little better. And I'm pretty sure there is a lot of things that we can actually continue to do together. So, to make sure that the next time you're going to come and show me the Canadian portals that I'm going to be impressed. <Laugh>.

Taki Sarantakis: I would love nothing more. As the father of two young children, I want them to grow up in a country where the services are given to them by their government in a way that's as painless as possible for their own benefit and for all of your children. Thank you again.

Anett Numa: Thank you.

[The CSPS logo appears on screen.]

[The Government of Canada Logo appears and fades to black.]

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