By Clay Bates, Executive Director, Digital Practices and Technology – Cyber Security and Digital Solutions

NS Safe Check-in was first launched on July 17th, 2020 to help the manage visitors arriving in Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic Bubble.  Over the course of the next 18 months, this service was needed to keep pace with changing public health border restrictions.  It was one part of a larger border strategy; the former Nova Scotia Digital Services worked closely with our colleagues across multiple departments (such as the Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Wellness) to make sure we aligned with Public Health directives.  We’re excited to share that earlier this year, the Safe Check-in design and delivery process was included in the Digital Government Case Study Series from the Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), Code For Canada, and Policy Ready.

Woman reading sign about mandatory self-isolation when arriving at the airport.
The NS Safe Check-In is a great example of our response to user needs.

There were a lot of people who helped with Safe Check-in over the life of the service – including a core delivery team and a DevOps team who were ready to reuse existing technologies to ship this new service quickly.  Many colleagues in digital support and across Service Nova Scotia and other parts of government answered emails, took calls and helped users navigate the service, and were integral to meeting the urgent need of keeping Nova Scotians safe. 

This case study helps highlight how having a strong human and digital government capacity can help in delivering a quick and sustainable service during a crisis.  I’m truly proud of this service and the people who came together to deliver it. 

We retired Safe Check-in on February 14, 2022, which was another major moment.  It’s important to see services retire when they no longer meet users’ needs, and it was a happy moment to see borders open up in the wind-down of pandemic measures. 

Picture of a plane wing used as the the link to the case study.
Read the case study to learn more.

Though the context of our organization was a little different during 2020 – we had just become the Nova Scotia Digital Service, a new team created in late 2019 – there are valuable lessons from our journey with “Safe Check-in” to share with the wider digital government community. Now in 2023, as the new Department of Cyber Security and Digital Solutions (CSDS), it’s really great to look back and see how far we have come.  It’s also a great way to learn more about how we work. 

I hope you can take a moment to check out the case study and learn more about our service and approach.  Hopefully it will provide some insight into some of our vital services and how we have evolved over the last few years.