speaker photo

Sean Boots (he/him)

Former federal public servant

Open government program manager, Government of Yukon

From 2016 to 2023 Sean Boots worked at the Canadian Digital Service (CDS). He previously worked as a product designer with VOTO Mobile, a Ghana-based social enterprise focused on empowering under-heard communities, as a developer at Global Affairs Canada working on the Travel.gc.ca website redesign, and in a variety of other technology and policy roles.

He rejoined the federal government in fall 2016 to help launch CDS as a new digital service delivery initiative. Sean has played a core role in building the culture of CDS, equipping colleagues with modern equipment and software, and launching and scaling services including GC Notify and COVID Alert. His work on COVID Alert through 2020 and 2021 included a number of federal government firsts related to security, privacy, and working in the open. He led the development and writing of CDS’s two major strategic publications, Beginning the Conversation and Roadmap 2025. In 2022 he was a Public Servant-in-Residence with Carleton University, analyzing trends in federal government contract spending and publishing policy recommendations to improve the government's procurement practices.

Sean is a co-founder of Ottawa Civic Tech, studied Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, and enjoys working at the intersection of technology and public policy. He writes about government technology efforts at sboots.ca.


Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery

November 6, 2023  4:05 PM – 4:30 PM
Efforts to transform how the Canadian government delivers digital services have stalled; public service morale is at the lowest point in years. Meanwhile, public and media recognition of the importance of "state capacity" (can the government actually deliver programs and services?) is growing. What needs to change to close this gap? See more.

Beeck Center Takeover: Open Source Government Services: The Promise and The Realities

November 7, 2023  9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Open source software is in our computers and our phones, in our cars and our airplanes — and, of course, in many government systems. But government systems using open source software and being open source software are two different things. Decades into the life of the open source software world, governments large and small still spend enormous sums of money on systems that are closed and proprietary. With all of the potential benefits of open source government services, why is it still this way? See more.

Humans to heroes

November 8, 2023  6:15 PM – 6:45 PM
Public servants are unsung heroes. Working to improve people’s lives and change things for the better, all while navigating complicated political environments and the constraints and barriers of their own organizations. This panel builds on Brian Whittaker’s Humans of Public Service and Sean Boots’ Public Service Heroes series, and features public servants from the United States and Canada who fearlessly represent the best of what we strive for as public servants. Join us to hear how they’ve made an impact in their public service work, and how we can change our organizations for the better. See more.
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