Open Information Core Commitment (CA0040)
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
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 (open.canada.ca). 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 open.canada.ca 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
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.
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 open.canada.ca 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 canada.ca 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, http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/policy/Pages/access-policy.aspx 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 open.canada.ca. 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? http://www.claconference.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/J7_Rethinking-Federal-Library-Services_EN_Marin-Comeau_O-Connell.pdf
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, https://www.canada.ca/en/government/policy/dept.html and are testing a working prototype of the searchable repository developed in fulfillment of this milestone.
The Canada.ca 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 Canada.ca website,” http://open.canada.ca/en/action-plan-commitment-11-open-information-core-action-plan-commitment 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.
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 open.canada.ca 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, http://open.canada.ca/en/content/third-biennial-plan-open-government-partnership
User-friendly open government
CA0064, 2018, Capacity Building
Financial transparency and accountability
CA0065, 2018, E-Government
CA0066, 2018, Beneficial Ownership
Digital government and services
CA0067, 2018, Capacity Building
CA0068, 2018, Capacity Building
CA0069, 2018, Civic Space
Access to Information
CA0070, 2018, Capacity Building
Feminist and inclusive dialogue
CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building
Reconciliation and open government
CA0072, 2018, Capacity Building
Open government community
CA0073, 2018, Capacity Building
Enhance Access to Information
CA0042, 2016, Legislation & Regulation
Streamline Requests for Personal Information
CA0043, 2016, E-Government
Expand and Improve Open Data
CA0044, 2016, E-Government
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, Capacity Building
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, Capacity Building
Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)
CA0055, 2016, Capacity Building
Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)
CA0056, 2016, E-Government
Align Open Data across Canada (Open Data Canada)
CA0057, 2016, Capacity Building
Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act
CA0058, 2016, Capacity Building
Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives around the World
CA0059, 2016, Aid
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, Capacity Building
Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services
CA0063, 2016, Civic Space
Implement Directive on Open Government
CA0030, 2014, Open Data
Open Data Canada
CA0031, 2014, Open Data
Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)
CA0032, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Data for Development
CA0033, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Data Core Commitment
CA0034, 2014, Open Data
CA0035, 2014, Science & Technology
Mandatory Reporting on Extractives
CA0036, 2014, Extractive Industries
CA0037, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement
Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures
CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Transparency
CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Information Core Commitment
CA0040, 2014, Right 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, E-Government
Data.gc.ca: Implement data.gc.ca portal
CA0020, 2012, E-Government
Data.gc.ca: Improve standardization of data
CA0021, 2012, E-Government
Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish resource management and performance data
CA0022, 2012, E-Government
Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance search and data tools
CA0023, 2012, E-Government
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
CA0004, 2012, Records Management
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of online request and payment service
CA0005, 2012, Fiscal Transparency
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution
CA0006, 2012, Fiscal Transparency
Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make completed ATI request summaries searchable
CA0007, 2012, Right to Information
Virtual Library: Begin design of virtual library
CA0008, 2012, E-Government
Virtual Library: Launch virtual library
CA0009, 2012, E-Government