Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to making its programs, services, and functions accessible to people in as many ways as possible. We are committed to keeping up with the worldwide shift towards online portals to access information and services of all kinds.
Our goal is that, to the greatest extent possible, people should be able to access Government of the Northwest Territories' programs and services how they want, where they want, and when they want.
The eServices team within the Department of Finance is close to a major milestone that will support our work towards this goal of greater accessibility: the launch of the new NWT eServices Portal. This new portal will allow people and businesses to access programs and services online, from one safe, reliable location. It is worth noting that, over the past six months, the importance of online services has only been further highlighted as our residents have adapted to working remotely and socially distancing. The goal of the portal is to provide users with secure and convenient online access to GNWT programs and services through a single account. Once it is launched, by the end of 2020, residents will be able to use it to register for and renew their healthcare cards; request birth, death and marriage certificates. Existing driver and motor vehicle services, existing MyECE services, and an improved online application for Northwest Territories fishing licenses will also be accessible, all through the new portal. This initial bundle of services is just the start of our efforts to bring more programs and services online, and we plan to add a second bundle of services to the portal in early 2021. Additional ongoing releases will continue to be prioritized, planned, and launched moving forward.
Mr. Speaker, we all know that the demand for online programs and services is high; as Minister of Finance, I am committed to making sure that our department works across government to ensure that we are doing our best to meet the needs of people and businesses by bringing the right programs and services online through the portal. Further, we are committed to protecting the security and privacy of our users' data. As we speak, the eServices team is conducting thorough privacy and security assessments of the portal, all integrated back-end systems and each service being connected.
As I stated earlier, it is important that we provide our people and businesses with access to programs and services how they want, where they want, and when they want. So let me very clear about another aspect of this improvement: the new eServices Portal creates an additional way to access the GNWT's programs and services. It does not take away or diminish the other access points to government services. For clarity, this means that a resident can choose to access a program or service online or can continue to access that program or service how they always have, on the phone, in person, or through other access points. This milestone shows how we will execute our commitment, as a government, to providing the best possible service and constantly exploring innovative and creative ways to improve that service. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.