Open Data Core Commitment (CA0034)
The Government of Canada will continue to unlock the potential of open data through a series of innovative and forward-looking projects that drive government-wide progress
on open data and prioritize easy access to high-value federal data.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 5. Open Data Core Commitment
The Government of Canada will continue to unlock the potential of open data through a series of innovative and forward-looking projects that drive government-wide progress on open data and prioritize easy access to high-value federal data.
Having launched its next-generation portal for federal open data, and released the Open Government Licence under Canada's first Action Plan, the Government of Canada is now focused on continuing to raise the bar on ensuring high-quality open data services for Canadians.
Through its open data initiatives to date, the Government of Canada is providing Canadians with access to timely, comprehensive, high-value data in open, reusable formats. More than 40 departments and agencies have already made available over 200,000 datasets on everything from weather and border wait times to product recalls and Canada's vast collection of maps and geospatial data. Moving forward, we will accelerate the release of high-value data, and continue to enhance and improve our open data platforms and services. By driving the proactive release of open data, we will increase government transparency, drive innovation, and maximize Canadians' potential reuse of federal data.
In 2014, the first Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) was piloted to challenge innovators across the country to test their talent and liberate the data available on data.gc.ca. From 28 February 28 to 2 March 2, more than 900 participants raced against the clock to code an open data application in the largest hackathon in Canadian history. Over the next two years under Action Plan 2.0, the Government of Canada will work with partners, other levels of government, and the private sector to expand this flagship activity to further engage open data users across the country to promote the availability and reuse potential of federal open data.
In addition, we will continue our efforts to increase the transparency of Canada's international development assistance through open data, which contributes to greater aid effectiveness and increases the ability of citizens in partner countries to hold their governments to account on development progress.
Deliverables to be completed in 2014-16:
- Continue to prioritize and expand the release of open data from federal departments and agencies under a single Open Government Licence.
- Complete public consultations with Canadians and civil society organizations in support of the prioritization of open data releases.
- Launch a new government-wide open government portal (open.canada.ca) with expanded open data services:
- Interactive, thematic open data communities (e.g., health and safety) and enhanced consultation functionality and online forums;
- Directory of open data services across Canada;
- Expanded developers' tools to support reuse of federal data;
- Enhanced data discovery; and
- Standardized release procedures, formats, and metadata.
- Expand and deliver the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) as the premier national open data competition to drive creative and ambitious innovation in Canada:
- Increase promotion of CODE activities and events;
- Expand the use of regional hubs to increase participation in all areas of Canada; and
- Create sub-themes to focus application development on everyday challenges facing Canadians.
- Consolidate the management of federal geospatial data across the Government of Canada to make this information more accessible and reusable via federal open government websites.
- Broaden adoption of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard in the Government of Canada, and encourage other Canadian actors to publish their own data, in particular, civil society organizations.
Responsible institution: Treasury Board Secretariat
Supporting institution(s): None
Start date: November 2014 End date: 30 June 2016
This commitment is very broad in scope, containing multiple milestones aimed at improving access to high quality open data services for Canadians. It includes expanding the release of open data across the federal government under a single Open Government Licence, conducting consultations on open data with Canadians to better understand the sorts of data sets they would like to access, launching a new open government portal with expanded data services, and expanding the national open data competition known as CODE. The commitment also includes consolidating the management and improved accessibility of federal geospatial data, and broadening the adoption of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
The third and fourth milestones were completed during the first year of the action plan’s implementation and are discussed at length in the mid term progress report. Data release processes, a harmonized metadata standard, and a data inventory were completed in advance of releasing a new federal geospatial platform – this constitutes substantial progress toward the fifth and sixth milestones. With regard to the milestone on IATI, Finance Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) had started to publish according to the standard in April 2015. Over 500 data sets were added to the open data portal as a step toward expanding the release of data, outlined in the first milestone. Three limited, small consultations were done related to the second milestone. Further details can be found in Canada’s IRM Progress Report 2014-15. Report available here http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/1.Canada14-15_English_Final_0.pdf
End of term: Substantial
The Government’s end of term self-assessment report http://open.canada.ca/en/action-plan-commitment-5-open-data-core-action-plan-commitment noted identical progress on the number of datasets added to the open data portal as was found at the mid term review. According to the Government’s self-assessment at the mid term mark: “Since July 1, 2014, more than 500 new datasets have been added to the Government of Canada’s open data portal from 24 federal institutions under the Open Government Licence – Canada.” http://open.canada.ca/en/commitment/05-open-data-core-commitment And, according to the Government’s end of term self-assessment: “Since July 1, 2014, more than 500 new datasets have been added to the Government of Canada's open data portal from 56 federal institutions under the Open Government Licence – Canada.” http://open.canada.ca/en/action-plan-commitment-5-open-data-core-action-plan-commitment The number of contributing federal institutions has increased according to the Government’s end of term self-assessment, but the overall release of datasets is the same according to the Government’s own assessments. Given this the coding for completion in the table above remains unchanged.
With regard to milestone number two, the Government of Canada developed a prioritization guide based on a consultation exercise held at the International Open Data Conference in 2015. As the IRM mid term report noted, this consultation exercise was somewhat problematic. In addition, users are able to ‘suggest’ a dataset’ on the open.canada.ca website. While there are questions about the quality of the consultative exercises completed, this milestone is marked complete.
The fifth and sixth milestones, however, were completed: the Federal Geospatial Platform was launched on June 14, 2016. Its geospatial data is made available to the public via the Government’s Open Map Portal. http://open.canada.ca/en/open-maps
No additional departments or agencies adopted the IATI standard in the second year of the action plan, but the three that have adopted the standard account for over 90% of Canada’s official development assistance. Canada positioned itself to further promote adoption of the IATI standard by taking over as chair of IATI’s Governing Board and leading its Members’ Assembly during 29-30 June, 2016. http://www.aidtransparency.net/governance/governing-board
Did it open government?
Access to information: Major
A new open government portal was launched to replace the older open data portal. This was an important step in reframing the open government narrative in Canada as it emphasizes open government more broadly, and not simply open data as was the case with the older portal. The new website offers further information regarding open data across Canada and some tools and guidance for those wanting to learn more about open data and how to work with it. In this way, access to information was improved. This includes both the flow of some new information, but also the discoverability of information that may have already been in the public domain.
Similarly, the Open Maps portal of the open.canada.ca website provides users with the ability to find and use data through a mapping interface.
Over 500 new datasets were added to the open data portal under the Open Government Licence. As was noted in the progress report, however, there are concerns about lack of diversity in the datasets available, and the timely release of datasets. Moreover, implementation of the IATI standard remains low outside of the government. As was noted in the mid-term progress report, the government could be more active in encouraging non-governmental actors to publish their own data according to the standard, including private companies. Canada’s new role within the governance structure of IATI could provide such encouragement.
Civic participation: Marginal
Further work is also needed when it comes to public consultations. As was noted in the mid term progress report, the public consultations on open data were limited. No additional consultations were held during the second year of the action plan’s implementation. The ability to “Suggest a Dataset” via the open.canada.ca website is a useful feature on the website, but does not fall into the category of a public consultation.
Successful completion of the CODE appathon enhanced public participation. By attracting about 1300 participants from different parts of the country and resulting in 125 submissions, this event drew attention to open government data and prompted the public to work with the data. However, this constitutes short term public participation as opposed to sustained participation. Moreover, the scope was limited to working with existing data sets.
Public accountability: Major
Adopting the IATI standard across the large majority of government departments providing development assistance can increase accountability by providing relevant information on aid spending. The information is published in XML format and linked back to the IATI Registry. https://www.iatiregistry.org Such transparency is “an essential building block towards empowering citizens, governments and donors to collaborate and maximise development impact..” http://www.aidtransparency.net/about/why-iati
The first milestone is carried forward to the new action plan. Commitment three of the new plan is to ‘expand and improve open data.’ Beyond the milestone related to implementing the directive on open government, mentioned earlier in this report, other milestones under commitment three include:
- Set a baseline for the total volume of open data to be released over time and establish departmental targets for the publication of releasable data over the next five years.
- Develop and refine guidance to help federal departments and agencies set priorities for the release of high-value open data and understand the specific circumstances under which data cannot be released for privacy, security, and/or confidentiality reasons.
- Provide access to high-quality, open statistical data and information from Statistics Canada, free of charge, in machine-readable formats under an open license and accessible via open.canada.ca.
- Improve Canadians’ access to data and information proactively disclosed by departments and agencies through a single, common online search tool.
- Adopt the International Open Data Charter and initiate implementation of the Charter requirements. Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership 2016 – 2018, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Canada_AP3.pdf
The milestone related to the federal geospatial data is also carried forward in the form of Commitment 13, ‘Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data.’ Here the government has committed to:
- Improving access to open geospatial data through the expansion of open maps.
- Developing geospatial data and web service standards.
- Developing Geospatial Applications. Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership 2016 – 2018, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Canada_AP3.pdf
User-Friendly Open Government
CA0064, 2018, Access to Information
Financial Transparency and Accountability
CA0065, 2018, Access to Information
CA0066, 2018, Anti-Corruption
Digital Government and Services
CA0067, 2018, Automated Decision-Making
CA0068, 2018, Access to Information
CA0069, 2018, Anti-Corruption
Access to Information
CA0070, 2018, Access to Information
Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue
CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building
Reconciliation and Open Government
CA0072, 2018, Access to Information
Open Government Community
CA0073, 2018, Access to Information
Enhance Access to Information
CA0042, 2016, Access to Information
Streamline Requests for Personal Information
CA0043, 2016, E-Government
Expand and Improve Open Data
CA0044, 2016, Access to Information
Provide and Preserve Open Information
CA0045, 2016, E-Government
Define an Approach for Measuring Open Government Performance
CA0046, 2016, Capacity Building
Develop Open Government Skills Across the Federal Public Service
CA0047, 2016, Access to Information
Embed Transparency Requirements in the Federal Service Strategy
CA0048, 2016, Capacity Building
Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections
CA0049, 2016, Capacity Building
Enhance Openness of Information on Government Spending and Procurement
CA0050, 2016, Capacity Building
Increase Transparency of Budget and Other Department of Finance Information
CA0051, 2016, Capacity Building
Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding
CA0052, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve Public Information on Canadian Corporations
CA0053, 2016, E-Government
Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data
CA0054, 2016, Access to Information
Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)
CA0055, 2016, Capacity Building
Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)
CA0056, 2016, Access to Information
Align Open Data Across Canada (Open Data Canada)
CA0057, 2016, Access to Information
Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act
CA0058, 2016, Anti-Corruption
Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives Around the World
CA0059, 2016, Access to Information
Engage Civil Society on Open Government
CA0060, 2016, Public Participation
Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making
CA0061, 2016, Capacity Building
Promote Open Government Globally
CA0062, 2016, Access to Information
Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services
CA0063, 2016, Access to Information
Implement Directive on Open Government
CA0030, 2014, Access to Information
Open Data Canada
CA0031, 2014, Access to Information
Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)
CA0032, 2014, Access to Information
Open Data for Development
CA0033, 2014, Access to Information
Open Data Core Commitment
CA0034, 2014, Access to Information
CA0035, 2014, Public Participation
Mandatory Reporting on Extractives
CA0036, 2014, Anti-Corruption
CA0037, 2014, Anti-Corruption
Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures
CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Openness
CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Information Core Commitment
CA0040, 2014, Access to Information
CA0041, 2014, Marginalized Communities
International Aid Transparency Initiative: Publish Plan to Make CIDA Activities Available and Accessible
CA0010, 2012, Aid
International Aid Transparency Initiative: Implement Plan
CA0011, 2012, Aid
Opening Government of Canada Records: Increase Access to Archived Federal Documents at Library and Archives Canada
CA0012, 2012, Records Management
Opening Government of Canada Records: Issue New Mandatory Policy on Document Classification
CA0013, 2012, Records Management
Opening Government of Canada Records: Make Classified Information Available Online
CA0014, 2012, E-Government
GCDOCS: Deploy Wave One of Electronic Record and Document Management Solution
CA0015, 2012, E-Government
GCDOCS: Deploy Across Federal Government
CA0016, 2012, E-Government
GCWEB: Develop Consolidated Web Presence
CA0017, 2012, E-Government
GCWEB: Implement New Platform
CA0018, 2012, E-Government
Data.Gc.Ca: Expand Number of Datasets Available
CA0019, 2012, Access to Information
Data.Gc.Ca: Implement Data.Gc.Ca Portal
CA0020, 2012, Access to Information
Data.Gc.Ca: Improve Standardization of Data
CA0021, 2012, Access to Information
Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish Resource Management and Performance Data
CA0022, 2012, Access to Information
Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance Search and Data Tools
CA0023, 2012, Access to Information
Consulting Canadians: Develop New Platform for Consultation
CA0024, 2012, E-Government
Consulting Canadians: Develop Standard Approach to Use of Social Media
CA0025, 2012, E-Government
Consulting Canadians: Pilot a Crowdsourcing Initiative
CA0026, 2012, E-Government
Consulting Canadians: Enable Use of Common Online Tools
CA0027, 2012, E-Government
Open Regulation: Federal Regulators to Post Forward Regulatory Plans
CA0028, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
Open Regulation: Simplify Engagement Activities
CA0029, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
Open Government Directive: Issue Directive on Open Government
CA0001, 2012, E-Government
Open Government Directive: Implement Directive on Open Government
CA0002, 2012, E-Government
Open Government Licence: Issue Open Government Licence
CA0003, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
Open Government Licence: Adopt Open Government Licence
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of Online Request and Payment Service
CA0005, 2012, Access to Information
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution
CA0006, 2012, Access to Information
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make Completed ATI Request Summaries Searchable
CA0007, 2012, Access to Information
Virtual Library: Begin Design of Virtual Library
CA0008, 2012, E-Government
Virtual Library: Launch Virtual Library
CA0009, 2012, E-Government