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Implement Directive on Open Government (CA0030)



Action Plan: Canada, Second Action Plan, 2014-2016

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Canada End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Canada Progress Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



The Government of Canada will issue mandatory policy requiring federal government
departments and agencies to maximize the release of data and information of business
value subject to applicable restrictions related to privacy, confidentiality, and security.
Eligible data and information will be released in standardized, open formats, free of charge, and without restrictions on reuse

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 1. Implement the Directive on Open Government

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will issue mandatory policy requiring federal government departments and agencies to maximize the release of data and information of business value subject to applicable restrictions related to privacy, confidentiality, and security. Eligible data and information will be released in standardized, open formats, free of charge, and without restrictions on reuse.

The proactive release of data and information is the starting point for all other open government activity. It is the foundation on which all other aspects of Canada's Action Plan are based. Accordingly, the Government of Canada will firmly establish an 'open by default' position in its mandatory policy framework by issuing a new Directive on Open Government.

The Directive on Open Government will provide clear and mandatory requirements to government departments aimed squarely at ensuring the availability of eligible government information and data of business value while respecting any restrictions related to privacy, security, and confidentiality. Business value takes on a broad definition in this context, including data and information that document the business of government, decision making in support of programs, services and ongoing operations, as well as departmental reporting. Furthermore, the directive will support broader accountability and transparency, and ensure that open government requirements are considered in the development and implementation of all federal programs and services. Departments and agencies will also be required to develop inventories of their data and information, plan for the release of eligible holdings, and lay out a schedule for their release.

Maximizing the release of data and information will enable Canadians to better engage with their government and hold it accountable, creating an environment that supports meaningful civic engagement and drives social and economic benefits through the innovative reuse of data and information.

Deliverables to be completed in 2014-16:

  • Issue a new Directive on Open Government to require federal departments and agencies to maximize the release of eligible government data and information of business value subject to applicable restrictions related to privacy, confidentiality, and security.
  • Require federal departments and agencies to publish open government implementation plans that describe planned activities to meet the requirements of the directive, including the following:
    • Establishing and maintaining inventories of data and information holdings;
    • Prioritizing the publication of data and information based on public demand;
    • Publishing data and information in accessible and open formats on federal open government websites under an open and unrestrictive licence; and
    • Reporting annually on progress made.
  • Establish tools and guidance for the publication of departmental data inventories, subject to privacy, security, and confidentiality requirements.

Responsible institution: Treasury Board Secretariat

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: November 2014   End date: 30 June 2016

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to improve the proactive release of information and data across government departments by establishing a Directive on Open Government that would outline clear and mandatory requirements for the release of information and data. The Directive would require federal departments and agencies to publish a plan detailing how they would establish and maintain information and data inventories, how they would prioritize the publication of information and data in an open and accessible format based on public demand, and how they would report annually on their progress. Ultimately, the deadline for implementing the Directive is 31 March 2020.


Mid-term: Limited

The Government of Canada released a Directive on Open Government on 9 October 2014, but had not progressed on publishing implementation plans or establishing tools and guidance for the publication of federal departmental data inventories by the end of 2014. For more information please see the 2014-2015 mid-term IRM report.

End of term: Substantial

Regarding the development of tools and guidance for data inventories, a Data Inventory Template and a Guidance on Completing the Data Inventory document have been completed and provided to departments and agencies. An interdepartmental working group was set up to facilitate the implementation of this commitment.

Progress on publication of the open government implementation plan remains limited. According to data provided to the IRM researcher, a total of 56 open government plans have been submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat. While this does constitute a step toward the fulfillment of this milestone, none of the plans were published at the time this end of term report was written.

The 56 were in the process of being reviewed by TBS. The 56 departments represent a significant portion of bodies subject to the government’s Information Management Policy,  Policy on Information Management,  including the Directive on Open Government. According to correspondence with the IRM researcher, the Directive on Open Government is applicable to 91 federal departments and organizations.  Personal correspondence with IRM researcher, September 12, 2016  This means that approximately 62% of departments and agencies have developed an open government implementation plan. The milestone was thus coded as having limited completion given that 38% of departments and agencies still have to submit their plans, and that none of the plans been published at the end of term report period.

With two of the three milestones under this commitment having been completed, the overall commitment was coded as having been substantially completed. That said, much work remains to be done around the development of implementation plans and in the overall implementation of the Directive.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

As was noted in the mid term progress report, this commitment does have the potential to open government if implemented well. However, at this end term point it is difficult to say that the commitment yet to result in additional openness. There are no public results or indicators of progress that could be seen as measures of change. The Directive has been issued, and guidance documents have been developed -they are being used within government. However, no departmental or agency open government plans have been publicized and it remains impossible to determine what type of information and data will eventually be released or how that differs from the information and data that was released under older, existing guidelines. There is still no evidence or information about the format(s) of the information and data to be released. Much legwork appears to be happening inside of government so that the potential of this commitment to open government can eventually be realized, but at this time it has not yet resulted in a visible change, outside of government, to Canadians.

Public accountability: Did not change

As is the case with access to information, the incomplete nature of this commitment makes it difficult to find concrete evidence of improvements to public accountability at this time.

Carried forward?

Parts of this commitment were carried forward to the next action plan. Commitment 3 of the new, Expand and Improve Open Data, reiterates the development of open government implementation plans. It also commits to the release of new data and data inventories, going beyond just the implementation plans.  Among other things, the new plan commits to “develop and publish departmental inventories of federal data, as required by the Directive on Open Government, to support collaboration with the public on setting priorities for the release of open data.”  Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership 2016 – 2018,  


  1. User-Friendly Open Government

    CA0064, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Financial Transparency and Accountability

    CA0065, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Corporate Transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  4. Digital Government and Services

    CA0067, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  5. Open Science

    CA0068, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Healthy Democracy

    CA0069, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  7. Access to Information

    CA0070, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue

    CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Reconciliation and Open Government

    CA0072, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Open Government Community

    CA0073, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Enhance Access to Information

    CA0042, 2016, Access to Information

  12. Streamline Requests for Personal Information

    CA0043, 2016, E-Government

  13. Expand and Improve Open Data

    CA0044, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Provide and Preserve Open Information

    CA0045, 2016, E-Government

  15. Define an Approach for Measuring Open Government Performance

    CA0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Develop Open Government Skills Across the Federal Public Service

    CA0047, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Embed Transparency Requirements in the Federal Service Strategy

    CA0048, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections

    CA0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Enhance Openness of Information on Government Spending and Procurement

    CA0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Increase Transparency of Budget and Other Department of Finance Information

    CA0051, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Starred commitment Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding

    CA0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Improve Public Information on Canadian Corporations

    CA0053, 2016, E-Government

  23. Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data

    CA0054, 2016, Access to Information

  24. Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)

    CA0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0056, 2016, Access to Information

  26. Align Open Data Across Canada (Open Data Canada)

    CA0057, 2016, Access to Information

  27. Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act

    CA0058, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  28. Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives Around the World

    CA0059, 2016, Access to Information

  29. Engage Civil Society on Open Government

    CA0060, 2016, Public Participation

  30. Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making

    CA0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Promote Open Government Globally

    CA0062, 2016, Access to Information

  32. Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services

    CA0063, 2016, Access to Information

  33. Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0030, 2014, Access to Information

  34. Starred commitment Open Data Canada

    CA0031, 2014, Access to Information

  35. Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0032, 2014, Access to Information

  36. Open Data for Development

    CA0033, 2014, Access to Information

  37. Open Data Core Commitment

    CA0034, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Starred commitment Open Science

    CA0035, 2014, Public Participation

  39. Starred commitment Mandatory Reporting on Extractives

    CA0036, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  40. Open Contracting

    CA0037, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  41. Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures

    CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Openness

  42. Digital Literacy

    CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building

  43. Open Information Core Commitment

    CA0040, 2014, Access to Information

  44. Consulting Canadians

    CA0041, 2014, Marginalized Communities

  45. Starred commitment International Aid Transparency Initiative: Publish Plan to Make CIDA Activities Available and Accessible

    CA0010, 2012, Aid

  46. International Aid Transparency Initiative: Implement Plan

    CA0011, 2012, Aid

  47. Opening Government of Canada Records: Increase Access to Archived Federal Documents at Library and Archives Canada

    CA0012, 2012, Records Management

  48. Opening Government of Canada Records: Issue New Mandatory Policy on Document Classification

    CA0013, 2012, Records Management

  49. Opening Government of Canada Records: Make Classified Information Available Online

    CA0014, 2012, E-Government

  50. GCDOCS: Deploy Wave One of Electronic Record and Document Management Solution

    CA0015, 2012, E-Government

  51. GCDOCS: Deploy Across Federal Government

    CA0016, 2012, E-Government

  52. GCWEB: Develop Consolidated Web Presence

    CA0017, 2012, E-Government

  53. GCWEB: Implement New Platform

    CA0018, 2012, E-Government

  54. Data.Gc.Ca: Expand Number of Datasets Available

    CA0019, 2012, Access to Information

  55. Data.Gc.Ca: Implement Data.Gc.Ca Portal

    CA0020, 2012, Access to Information

  56. Data.Gc.Ca: Improve Standardization of Data

    CA0021, 2012, Access to Information

  57. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish Resource Management and Performance Data

    CA0022, 2012, Access to Information

  58. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance Search and Data Tools

    CA0023, 2012, Access to Information

  59. Consulting Canadians: Develop New Platform for Consultation

    CA0024, 2012, E-Government

  60. Consulting Canadians: Develop Standard Approach to Use of Social Media

    CA0025, 2012, E-Government

  61. Consulting Canadians: Pilot a Crowdsourcing Initiative

    CA0026, 2012, E-Government

  62. Consulting Canadians: Enable Use of Common Online Tools

    CA0027, 2012, E-Government

  63. Open Regulation: Federal Regulators to Post Forward Regulatory Plans

    CA0028, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  64. Open Regulation: Simplify Engagement Activities

    CA0029, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  65. Open Government Directive: Issue Directive on Open Government

    CA0001, 2012, E-Government

  66. Open Government Directive: Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0002, 2012, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Issue Open Government Licence

    CA0003, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  68. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Adopt Open Government Licence

    CA0004, 2012,

  69. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of Online Request and Payment Service

    CA0005, 2012, Access to Information

  70. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution

    CA0006, 2012, Access to Information

  71. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make Completed ATI Request Summaries Searchable

    CA0007, 2012, Access to Information

  72. Virtual Library: Begin Design of Virtual Library

    CA0008, 2012, E-Government

  73. Virtual Library: Launch Virtual Library

    CA0009, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership