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Open Data Core Commitment (CA0034)



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, Public Participation

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



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

Commitment Text:

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 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 ( 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

Commitment Aim:

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).


Mid-term: Substantial

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

End of term: Substantial

The Government’s end of term self-assessment report  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.”   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.”   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 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.  

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.  

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 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 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.  Such transparency is “an essential building block towards empowering citizens, governments and donors to collaborate and maximise development impact..”

Carried forward?

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
  • 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,

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:


  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