Service Level Agreement


GC Articles and GC Lists are  products managed by the Canadian Digital Service (CDS) at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). GC Articles is a web publishing platform. GC Lists is a subscription management product that is embedded in GC Articles. If a GC Articles Site Administrator is not enabling subscriptions, GC Lists service-levels do not apply. We designed and developed these products for the communications and web publishing communities within the Government of Canada. 

This agreement covers the responsibilities of CDS, GC Articles Site Administrators, and our infrastructure provider: Amazon Web Services (AWS). 


Canadian Digital Service (CDS)

  1. Hosting and supporting the GC Articles and GC Lists  system.
  2. Handling support requests and inquiries during regular business hours (9am – 5pm Eastern Time). 
  3. Patching security vulnerabilities in a timely manner, where CDS determines the level of threat a security vulnerability possesses. Major vulnerabilities are patched as soon as possible but no more than a week after the root cause is found. External dependencies for code are subject to longer timelines. Any infrastructure-level patching is the responsibility of AWS (For more information see their service terms:
  4. Restoring the system to operation in case of any unplanned outages.
  5. Alerting GC Articles Site Administrators if GC Articles is to be inaccessible for whatever reasons as soon as CDS learns of this. 
  6. Ensuring that the infrastructure providers don’t disconnect the GC Articles system due to misuse by GC Articles Site Administrators. 
  7. Ensuring that the system is available for use, with page load time less than 10 seconds in Canada on high-speed Internet, unless the product is experiencing a denial of service attack. Page load times may vary depending on the content published.

CDS retains the right to suspend a user’s service at any time for anything it deems as inappropriate use.  GC Articles Site Administrators will be notified by email when and if access is suspended. 

GC Articles Site Administrators

  1. Do not upload or publish protected or classified information. GC Articles is for sharing non-sensitive information for public availability . 
  2. Understand how your department or agency implements the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity and the Policy on Service and Digital
  3. Inform the Canadian Digital Service immediately if you have any privacy or security concerns about GC Articles or GC Lists.
  4. Publish content that can be easily found, understood and used using the Content Style Guide.
  5. Publish all content in both English and French and follow the Policy on Official Languages.
  6. Ensuring that the appropriate approvals for usage of GC Articles and GC Lists has been obtained within the GC Articles Site Administrators department, agency, or organization. GC Articles Site Administrators will provide CDS with the contact information for these approvers. CDS uses this information to know with whom to communicate about substantive modifications or dissolution of the service.
  7. Uploading  virus-free content to GC Articles and GC Lists. 
  8. Avoiding any misuse including using it for a purpose not previously discussed with CDS.
  9. Providing CDS with access to performance measurement information for the purposes of evaluation. This could include sharing the difference in the time to publish between GC Articles and other publishing platforms.
  10. For GC Lists: 
    1. Review the GC Lists Privacy Notice, applicable to all GC Articles sites with subscriptions.  
    2. Understand and comply with how your department or agency implements the Policy on Privacy Protection.
    3. Create an account on GC Notify and accept their terms of use. 
  11. Sharing this agreement with GC Editors and GC Writers. 

Infrastructure Providers 

  1. Delivering emails with end-user data to the provided government email address(es).
  2. Providing Amazon AWS service cloud infrastructure.
  3. Enforcing the AWS terms of service. (

CDS is not responsible for issues or outages with AWS infrastructure that may impact system uptime and availability. CDS is also not responsible for Amazon infrastructure failure, AWS, or AWS’s Simple Email Service. CDS is responsible for updating GC Articles Site Administrators on any information pertaining to an AWS outage.

Uptime guarantee

CDS guarantees that the GC Articles system will have 99.0% uptime with no more than 1% downtime during regular business hours in a year. 

CDS commits to a service availability rate of 99.0%—excluding urgent scheduled maintenance and planned maintenance periods (as defined herein)—for the hosted services  across each calendar quarter in the contract period. This service-level agreement (SLA) covers Infrastructure running the codebase and the database. 

Downtime is defined as an unplanned interruption to the service resulting in a user perceptible reduction in the existing quality of service or an event that will impact the existing service to the customer.

As GC Articles uses a continuous delivery approach, sometimes patching multiple times a day without any downtime. If we have to plan any downtime we will contact GC Articles Site Administrators with five business days notice and try to ensure that planned downtime does not interfere with their operation of the system. 

This uptime guarantee excludes any downtime experienced by Amazon as they are our infrastructure provider. Amazon promises 99.9% uptime. 


Service response time and contacts

CDS will respond within two business days to support requests.  Support is limited to 9am – 5pm ET on regular business days. 

CDS will provide reactive support services to monitor, track, and remedy issues raised by either its own internal monitoring tools or raised via the GC Articles reporting channels.

IssueInitial responseOngoing updates
Service is unavailable5 hours, during regular business hoursEvery two business hours thereafter
Service is affected (performance issues, intermittent errors)1 business day1 per (business) day
Service is functioning (e.g., data is being collected and received by GC Articles Site Administrators) 2 business days2 business days 

Planned maintenance periods

A planned maintenance period is a scheduled complete or partial loss of service for normal maintenance work. CDS will notify the GC Articles Site Administrators by email two days before any planned maintenance periods, which  will be scheduled for non-peak periods of activity. CDS will not consider a loss of service during these periods to be a service outage. 

Notice of service deprecation

In case CDS is no longer able to support and operate GC Articles due to factors beyond its control, CDS will notify by email GC Articles Site Administrators two months in advance. 

In the event that CDS needs to depreciate the service GC Articles will work with GC Articles Site Administrators to ensure they have the data collected and still retained by the product, as well as an options analysis for alternative solutions. 

GC Articles  is open source and available to stand up your own version based on the code found on Github ( 

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