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Open Information Core Commitment (CA0040)



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

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Library and Archives Canada, National Research Council Canada

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Right to Information

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 , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



The Government of Canada will expand the proactive release of information on
government activities, programs, policies, and services, making information easier to
find, access, and use.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 11. Open Information Core Commitment

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will expand the proactive release of information on government activities, programs, policies, and services, making information easier to find, access, and use.

Digital technologies have made it far easier for governments to create, repurpose, and disseminate information than ever before. Robust information management and next-generation search and discovery services will significantly improve the sharing of government information in support of government transparency and accountability. At the same time, public access to government research and analysis will open the door to the unlimited reuse of this information in new and innovative ways.

Throughout public consultations, Canadians have expressed a desire to see the Government of Canada expand its open information activities and facilitate easier access to published federal information. The Government of Canada will continue to take bold steps to make government information more widely available. This involves a range of activities, including ensuring more effective records management across all federal departments and agencies as the foundation of transparency and accountability; developing new public-facing open government resources such as a new online virtual library to preserve and improve access to historical and archival records; and providing better and more efficient access to information services to Canadians.

Providing open information will help to build a more engaged and informed citizenry, promote informed policy making, and enable better management of public resources.

Deliverables to be completed in 2014-16:

  • Modernize the administration of Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) services across the federal government, including the following:
    • Expansion of online ATI request-and-pay services to additional federal departments and agencies across government;
    • Access to a searchable database of all completed ATI requests, and the ability to request the released documents;
    • Publication of statistical information on extensions and consultations related to access requests;
    • Development of standardized, whole-of-government services and solutions to expedite ATIP requests and enable Canadians to track the status of their ATIP requests; and
    • Establishment of an expanded whole-of-government training strategy to help government officials understand and manage their responsibilities under ATIP legislation.
  • Develop and launch a virtual library on the new government-wide open government portal ( This new service will provide access to federal publications through an online, searchable repository of published federal documents of all kinds.
    • Complete public consultations with citizens and civil society to support development of the virtual library service;
    • Establish a government-wide system and web architecture for the release of government information assets; and
    • Standardize release procedures, formats, and metadata.
  • Improve the management and accessibility of government records, and facilitate faster responses to requests for information through the roll-out of GCDOCS, a government-wide records management solution for the federal government.
  • Increase Canadians' access to federal records by removing access restrictions on archived federal documents held by Library and Archives Canada.
  • Develop and pilot a single online discovery and access platform for federal science library services and collections.
  • Provide consolidated, searchable access to regulatory information from federal departments and agencies involved in regulatory activities.
  • Improve access to all online Government of Canada information through the new whole-of-government website:
    • Intuitive user-centric design based on government-wide web standards;
    • Whole-of-government search functionality; and
    • Faster access to frequently used services and information.

Responsible institution: Treasury Board Secretariat, Library and Archives Canada, National Research Council Canada

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: November 2014   End date: 30 June 2016

Commitment Aim:

The overall aim of this commitment is to improve the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of information regarding federal activities, programs, policies, services, and information. It also aims to expand the proactive release of information.


Mid-term: Substantial

During the first year of the second action plan, the online request-and-pay service was expanded to ten additional federal institutions, bringing the total number of institutions using the service to 31. Summaries of completed access requests were made available and searchable online. Six training modules had been developed regarding access to information. The ‘Open Information’ component of site was serving as the virtual library providing access to over 170,000 digital information resources. A readiness survey had been completed to support the implementation of GCDOCs. The Library and Archives of Canada had reviewed six million pages for declassification since 2014 and had opened four million during the first year of the second action plan. An implementation plan had been developed for the Federal Science Library pilot. Some planning discussions had taken place around the notion of a consolidated, searchable access to federal regulatory information function, and the website was updated in December 2014.

End of term: Substantial

Two additional institutions were added to the online request-and-pay system during the second year of the action plan, bringing the total number of federal institutions using the service to 33. According to documentation the government provided the IRM researcher, this is the maximum the pilot is able to support. The 33 institutions participating received approximately 90% of the access requests made to government in 2014-2015.  The status of the virtual library the GCDOCs remains unchanged – both were rolled into the third action plan. 

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) continued its block review process. According to interviews with officials from Library and Archives, 4,829,285 pages were reviewed and access restrictions were removed from 3,621,034 between July 2015-July 2016.  Correspondence with the IRM researcher, September 2, 2016.  The Library and Archives prepared a draft ‘Directive on Making Government of Canada Records Available’ in support of its Access Policy Framework.  Library and Archives, Access Policy Framework,  This Directive is meant to facilitate implementation of the Directive on Open Government by minimizing legal and policy restrictions preventing Canadians from accessing federal information held at the LAC. The LAC is also engaged in a process to digitize image holdings: 6,728,158 images were digitized between 1 July , 2015 and 30 June, 2016. Further, it conducts regular harvesting and archiving of government sites for long-term preservation, and has submitted 78 datasets to the open data portal of  Correspondence with the IRM researcher, September 2, 2016.  As an institution whose mandate involves the provision of information, the LAC’s initiatives go above and beyond the commitments of the second national action plan

The Federal Science Library saw significant progress during the second year of the action plan: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, the National Research Council, and Natural Resources Canada implemented a federal science library portal, thus completing the pilot.  Why a Federal Science Library?  

Some progress was seen with the sixth milestone related to consolidated searchable access to regulatory information. According to documents provided to the IRM researcher, all federal departments and agencies centralized their regulatory information on one site  Policies, Regulations, or Laws by department or agency,  and are testing a working prototype of the searchable repository developed in fulfillment of this milestone.

The portal has not seen significant change in the second year of the action plan. While the architecture for the site is in place and has been modified based on the usability testing mentioned in the mid-term report, 88 departmental websites remain to be migrated.  Document provided to the IRM researcher  Given that the milestone, according to government, was meant to allow for “Access to all online Government of Canada information and services improved through the new whole-of-government website,”  the milestone is considered substantially complete given the number of remaining departments that remain to be migrated.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

With the exception of the work being done by the LAC, which has resulted in the removal of access restrictions from a significant number of documents, much of this commitment was focused on improving the discoverability of existing information and not on facilitating the flow of new information. With the exception of the science library, all initiatives related to this commitment are ongoing or were not fully complete at the time of assessment. The commitment has made minor but positive, incremental steps toward the opening of government.

Carried forward?

Much of this commitment was carried forward to the third action plan. The third action plan’s second commitment relates to the streamlining of requests for personal information. Milestones include:

  • Develop a central website where Canadians can submit personal information requests to any government institution, with the first phase of roll-out targeted for 2018.
  • Implement a 30-day guarantee for requests for personal information, backed by a commitment to provide a written explanation to the requester and the Privacy Commissioner if a request takes longer than 30 days to fulfill.

The third action plan’s fourth commitment also carries forward the notion of providing and preserving open information. Milestones include:

  • Enhance the Open Information Portal on to improve access to digital publications made available by the federal government and develop a strategy to ensure the sustainability of access over time.
  • Develop and publish clear guidelines on the preservation and retention of digital content.
  • Increase Canadians’ access to records documenting the continuing memory of the Government of Canada.
  • Update Library and Archives Canada’s online archive of the Government of Canada’s web presence to ensure Canadians’ long-term access to federal web content.
  • Expand the implementation of the government-wide information technology solution for the effective management of federal records and documents (GCDOCS) as a foundation for improved transparency:  Roll out this common solution managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to 125,000 government workers across government departments by June 2018.  Government of Canada, Third National Action Plan,


  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