Drupal in Government Ottawa Showcase - A Great Success



June 18, 2010

The Drupal Showcase that we organized on June 15th was a great success. This event was organized & sponsored by OpenConcept and we were able to bring together over 75 people to learn about how and why public servants are using Drupal effectively to communicate.

We had representatives from 15 government departments including: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (FAIT), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Department of Justice (DoJ), Library and Archives Canada (LAC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Public Works & Government Services Canada (PWGSC), Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat(TBS), and Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND) as well as the City of Ottawa.

The showcase began with an overview of why Drupal by Lee Hunter who works as a government contractor and is also a member of the Drupal Documentation Team.  This was followed by a presentation by Devin Crawley & Michael Keara about implementing a user-centred approach in Drupal and outlining the approach used by the Ottawa Public Library (OPL).  It was great having the OPL present as the event was also held in the Library & their support helped to bring more people into the event. Patrick Lajeunesse gave a great talk about using Drupal to prototype a CLF compliant Intranet and provided great examples from Agriculture Canada. The final presentation from government was by the Department of National Defence whose presentation outlining their use of Drupal for their Social Networking Intranet was quite inspiring. Jayson Peltzer provided some examples of how they are using Drupal & MediaWiki for all of their social networking needs.  The last presentation was by CIPPIC's David Fewer & Kent Mewhort who addressed their findings on Government of Canada contributions to GPL Projects. I decided not to present my report on the Drupal 7 Accessibility Initiative and it's implications for the CLF & AODA, but will find time to do that in another time. 

The event was recorded thanks to volunteers at FOSSLC. FOSSLC is a non-profit corporation dedicated to education, community, and business development involving open source technologies. They have been very active in promoting free software around the world and will be putting on an Open Source Technology showcase in August. Emma Jane Hogbin will be presenting a workshop there on Basic Design for Drupal.

I took some pictures of the event and added them to a Flickr Set. If there are other photos you've taken, please tag them with drupalgov.






We are happy to provide both a PDF version of the Ottawa Public Library's presentation as well as a video version:


We are also able to broadcast the presentation by Patrick Lajeunesse on Prototyping a CLF compliant Intranet in Drupal at Agriculture Canada:


Sadly we had problems with the sound with the CIPPIC presentation so there is no video of this presentation. I've included both a PDF as well as a more interactive presentation however that was used to help make sense of Government of Canada's responsibilities around copyright & free software. I will include a link to the final copy of their findings on this subject when it is released!

I'm happy to say that both Thom Kearney and Thomas Prowse wrote their observations up in their blogs. If there are others, please add them to the comments.

We did get interest in this session from across Canada & indeed as far as the Atlantic. It would have been very interesting to have had a discussion about approaches to Intranets for Government departments between the Patrick, Jayson & the folks behind the Drupal Intranet portal built for the province of BC's 30,000 employees. Sadly they didn't have the budget to come to the session, but perhaps more government departments will (even between different levels of government) will start talking, sharing ideas & passing around code. A good starting point is sharing a list of modules used and any modules they generated generated like the White House did.

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.