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Open Contracting (CA0037)



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

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Public Procurement

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



The Government of Canada will coordinate single-window access to a broad range of
open contracting information from across federal departments.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 8. Open Contracting

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will coordinate single-window access to a broad range of open contracting information from across federal departments.

The federal government spends millions of dollars every year on procurement activities, and Canadians need to understand how this money is spent and what is being received in return. Access to this information is essential to ensuring accountability for the stewardship of public money. In addition, parties involved in public contracts must understand that open, proactive disclosure of contracting data is a condition of doing business with the Government of Canada.

The Government of Canada has demonstrated global leadership in this area through its robust disclosure regime for contracting data. Since 2004, federal departments and agencies have been required to proactively disclose information on contracts awarded over $10,000 on their websites. Furthermore, the Government of Canada's website for procurement data has been influential in the design of the Open Contracting Partnership's (OCP's) draft international Open Contracting Data Standard. Canada supports the steps taken by the OCP to strengthen the openness and transparency of procurement processes in the international community through the establishment of Open Contracting Global Principles.

By improving upon the disclosure of contracting data, the Government of Canada will strengthen the openness and transparency of its procurement processes and increase Canadians' knowledge of how their tax dollars are being spent.

Deliverables to be completed in 2014-16:

  • Release data on all contracts over $10,000 via a centralized, machine-readable database available to the public.
  • Increase the level of detail disclosed on government contracts over $10,000.
  • Provide guidance to federal departments and agencies to increase consistency in open contracting.
  • Pilot the Open Contracting Data Standard ‚ 0.3.3 on the website for federal contracts awarded by Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Responsible institution: Treasury Board Secretariat, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: November 2014   End date: 30 June 2016

Commitment Aim:

The purpose of this commitment is to improve transparency around procurement practices within the Government of Canada.


Mid-term: Substantial

At the mid term mark, a new “Search Government Contracts” feature had been built into and launched with the new portal in November 2014, and the government had started planning toward the fulfillment of the second milestone under this commitment to define the scope and the schedule for releasing more detailed information on government contracts over $10,000. The Open Contracting Data Standard had been applied on a pilot basis to one government department—Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

End of term: Substantial

Progress was made toward increasing detail on disclosure, with 31 December 2016 set as the date for increased level of detail disclosed on contracts over $10,000. According to documentation provided to the IRM researcher in preparation for this report, “guidance has been drafted and presentations were provided to departments and agencies” in an effort to fulfill that third milestone. While this is a step forward, work remains to move the guidance from draft to final form - the government noted that it will be necessary to continue with “periodic guidance and training.”  For the fourth milestone, the update provided to the IRM researcher by the Canadian government was identical at both the mid term and end term periods.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

This commitment does provide users with the ability to download and work with contracting information via the Open Government Licence. However, civil society actors noted during the public comment period for the mid term progress report that the .JSON schema it uses might be difficult for some to work with.  Summary of public comments:  However, .JSON is the recommended format set by the international Open Contracting Data Standard.

Public Accountability: Marginal

The government has a proactive disclosure policy for contracts over $10,000 that predates the second national action plan, but it indicated that it will be increasing the level of detail provided on contracts over that size threshold awarded after 31 December 2016. Given that it has yet to be applied, it is difficult to determine the extent to which this commitment “opened government.” However, the ‘search government contracts’ feature added to the portal does facilitate the retrieval of existing contract information, which enhances accountability.

Carried forward?

Commitment 9 of the new national action plan is to enhance information on government spending and procurement. Among milestones that seek to enhance information on government spending more generally, there are two milestones that relate specifically to procurement:


  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

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