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Canada

Develop Open Government Skills across the Federal Public Service (CA0047)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Canada Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat; Canada School of Public Service

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Open Data, Public Participation, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Canada End-Term Report 2016-2018, Canada Mid-Term Report 2016- 2018

Starred: No

Early Results: NR

Design i

Verifiable: No

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: NR

Description

Develop Open Government Skills across the Federal Public Service Why do this: Public servants in the Government of Canada must change how they design and deliver programs and services to support Canada’s commitments to transparency and public engagement. An openness mindset needs to be integrated into their day-to-day business activities. Open data, for example, is useful not only to those who regularly evaluate and use data to support financial, statistical, and socio-economic analysis, but also to non-data specialists working in policy, operational, and service delivery areas. Sharing and leveraging data, information, and technology across the government can help innovation flourish. How will it be done: Individuals working in departments across government will have access to learning material to build their skills and capabilities for using open data, open information, and open dialogue to support better operational and policy decisions. Furthermore, to boost the value of available open data to Canadians, public servants can be guided to understand how to set priorities for data or information publication, based on its potential value to users both inside and outside of government.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Develop Open Government Skills across the Federal Public Service

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will support a shift to greater transparency and engagement within the public service through Open Government learning material and opportunities for public servants.

Milestones:

6.1. Provide enhanced information management learning opportunities and additional materials to raise public servants’ awareness and understanding of open government principles and practices, including:

Using open data and information to support policy analysis and development;

Sharing best practices in digital public engagement;

Setting priorities for the release of open data and information based on potential public impact and benefit; and

Implementing the Directive on Open Government.

6.2. Lead and/or participate in educational forums and workshops designed to further the understanding of how to increase government transparency and foster civic engagement.

6.3. Through public consultation on the 2016 Government of Canada IT Strategic Plan, consider feedback on how software solutions, including open source, can be best leveraged to meet strategic objectives.

Responsible institutions: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat; Canada School of Public Service

Supporting institutions: GovLab; the Government of Canada’s policy community

Start date: Not specified

End date: Not specified

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full commitment text, visit: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Canada_AP3.pdf.

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to improve attitudes of public servants toward openness, as well as increase understanding of openness across the Federal Public Service. This will facilitate the implementation of new policies and procedures. The commitment calls for a range of training programs and educational and skills-development initiatives. Several stakeholders, including Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Canadian Association of Journalists, and the Canadian Unitarian Council, cited the pervasive 'culture of secrecy' as a priority area to be addressed.[Note59: Toronto consultation, 15 September 2017.] However, the Canadian Association of Journalists noted that the milestones are primarily focused on skills development, rather than changing the culture which was at the root of the problem, and that a lack of buy-in to the value of transparency at senior levels can prevent even well-meaning and well trained public servants from releasing information.[Note60: Toronto consultation, 15 September 2017.] Canadian Journalists for Free Expression further suggested that the incentive structures needed to change to ensure that officials do not face sanction for releasing information, a sentiment which was echoed by Open North.[Note61: Montreal consultation, 20 September 2017.] Overall, while it is easy to track progress towards the specific milestones included here, the level of progress toward this broader goal is more difficult to track, reducing the score for specificity and limiting the potential impact of this commitment to minor. This challenge could potentially be relevant to the work being carried out under Milestone 5.3, to develop a proper assessment of progress towards developing a culture of open government.

Completion

The government reports substantial progress toward Milestone 6.1. According to documents from the Canada School of Public Service shared with the IRM researcher, the government has provided open government training for 35,755 public servants from 109 federal organisations.[Note62: Documents were received via email on 28 September 2017.] Though these courses predate the current action plan, the Canada School of Public Service reports that they were updated and upgraded. The self-assessment also reports that 34 learning events for 1,800 federal public servants were held by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as well as the creation of an Open Government landing page in GCcampus, which is not available online but has been shared with the IRM researcher.[Note63: The draft self-assessment is available at: http://open.canada.ca/en/mtsar/draft-consultation-mid-term-self-assessment-third-biennial-plan-open-government-partnership.]

For Milestone 6.2, the government’s self-assessment lists involvement in several educational forums and workshops, as evidenced by embedded links, including the Canadian Open Data Summit, a Go Open Data panel, and five one-day training sessions for 135 participants, with two train-the-trainers sessions, developed and delivered by the Privy Council Office.

The government’s self-assessment reports substantial progress toward Milestone 6.3. The Treasury Board Secretariat posted the government’s IT Strategic Plan online for comments in Summer and Fall 2016,[Note64: See: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/information-technology/information-technology-strategy.html.] with further consultations held in February and March 2017 with the federal Chief Information Officer and Information Management Senior Officer communities.

Each of these milestones is scored as being on track for completion, with substantial progress made. However, it is also worth noting that the milestone language here is vague, and does not provide measurable outputs, making it difficult to assess full completion.

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends carrying this commitment forward into the next action plan. Training is by its nature an ongoing process as new federal public servants enter the workforce and as protocols continue to evolve. However, civil society sees broader cultural change as more important than skills development in reducing resistance, particularly at senior levels, to information disclosures. Future action plans could consider the broader need to shape institutional culture alongside more direct skills-based training programs. Open North also suggested that simplifying and reducing the procedure required for public servants to publish information could be helpful at promoting a broader culture of open government.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

6. Develop Open Government Skills across the Federal Public Service

Commitment Text: The Government of Canada will support a shift to greater transparency and engagement within the public service through Open Government learning material and opportunities for public servants.

Milestones:

6.1. Provide enhanced information management learning opportunities and additional materials to raise public servants' awareness and understanding of open government principles and practices, including:

Using open data and information to support policy analysis and development;

Sharing best practices in digital public engagement;

Setting priorities for the release of open data and information based on potential public impact and benefit; and

Implementing the Directive on Open Government.

6.2. Lead and/or participate in educational forums and workshops designed to further the understanding of how to increase government transparency and foster civic engagement.

6.3. Through public consultation on the 2016 Government of Canada IT Strategic Plan, consider feedback on how software solutions, including open source, can be best leveraged to meet strategic objectives.

Responsible institutions: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat; Canada School of Public Service

Supporting institutions: GovLab; the Government of Canada's policy community

Start Date: Not specified

End Date: Not specified

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full commitment text, visit http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Canada_AP3.pdf.

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to increase understanding of openness across the federal public service and to improve institutional cultures in openness and transparency. The commitment includes training programmes and educational and skills-development initiatives. It specifically includes information management learning opportunities, forums and workshops on transparency and civic engagement, and software solutions.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

The midterm assessment reported that the government had provided open government training for 35,755 public servants from 109 federal organisations. It also conducted 34 learning events for 1,800 federal public servants (Milestone 6.1).[Note46: Documents were received via email on 28 September 2017.] Milestone 6.2 deliverables included the Canadian Open Data Summit, a Go Open Data panel, and five one-day training sessions for 135 participants. The government also hosted two train-the-trainer sessions, developed and delivered by the Privy Council Office. Under Milestone 6.3, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat posted the government's Information Technology Strategic Plan online for comments in summer and fall 2016.[Note47: See “Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020,” Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/information-technology/information-technology-strategy.html.] TBS held further consultations in February and March 2017 with the federal chief information officer and other staff connected to information management senior officer communities.

End of term: Complete

Although completion is difficult to assess based on commitment language, all three milestones appear to have been completed.

Under Milestone 6.1, according to the government's self-assessment, the government held 45 additional learning events in the second year of implementation. These sessions trained approximately 4,600 federal public servants.[Note48: See, for example, “Open Source Software and Open Standards in Public Administration,” Canada School of Public Service, https://csps-efpc.gc.ca/events/oss/index-eng.aspx; “Open Government: An Ongoing Process,” Canada School of Public Service https://www.csps-efpc.gc.ca/events/air/arc/2017-eng.aspx#a20171214; and “Let's Talk Digital First,” Canada School of Public Service, https://www.csps-efpc.gc.ca/events/air/arc/2018-eng.aspx#a20180627.] The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) also initialised its Open Government Learning Hub, which was launched in October 2017.[Note49: See “The Open Government Learning Hub,” Government of Canada, https://open.canada.ca/en/learning-hub.] The self-assessment references 16 open government forums that the TBS participated in during the second year of implementation (Milestone 6.2). These included the National Data Services Framework Summit, GovMaker 2017, and the Go Open Data Conference.[Note50: See “National Data Services Framework Summit 2017,” Research Data Canada https://www.rdc-drc.ca/activities/national-data-services/; “GovMaker Conference,” GovMaker, https://govmakerconference.ca/; and homepage, Go Open Data Conference, http://2018.go-opendata.ca/.] Under Milestone 6.3, the government updated the Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan in November 2017 to include a commitment to develop a strategy for the use of open source technology.[Note51: Available at “Government of Canada Strategic Plan for Information Management and Information Technology 2017 to 2021,” Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/information-technology/strategic-plan-2017-2021.html.] TBS specifically mentions “open source” in its updated “Policy on Management of Information Technology,” effective 1 April 2018.[Note52: Available at “Policy on Management of Information Technology,” Government of Canada, https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12755.] The self-assessment also notes the development of a draft Open First Whitepaper by the government of Canada's new Enterprise Architecture Review Board. This paper will inform progress on open source software and open standards.[Note53: Available at “Open First Whitepaper,” GitHub, https://github.com/canada-ca/Open_First_Whitepaper.]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

This commitment aimed to boost the skills and capacity of government departments in using open data, open dialogue, and open information. Such professional development will support better operational and policy decisions, and boost the value of available open data to Canadians. The effects of training can be difficult to assess in concrete terms. The challenge lies in evaluating the government's skill and capacity levels at the outset of this plan. The researcher can say, generally, civil society felt that a culture of secrecy was well entrenched across the bureaucracy.[Note54: Toronto consultation, 15 September 2017, and Montreal consultation, 20 September 2017.] This commitment constitutes an important action area—the 2017 midterm assessment recommended it be carried forward. However, it is difficult to assess results involving the institutional challenges at the heart of Canada's open data limitations. Particularly, these challenges include the need to promote a culture shift toward broader acceptance of the importance of openness. As a result, the commitment is coded as having a marginal effect. This rating could have been improved if the commitment had set and achieved more specific and clearly defined outcomes.

Carried Forward?

The fourth action plan includes additional open data trainings in Milestone 1.2. That plan's Milestone 4.4 includes further advances in open source government.


Canada's Commitments

  1. User-friendly open government

    CA0064, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Financial transparency and accountability

    CA0065, 2018, E-Government

  3. Corporate transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  4. Digital government and services

    CA0067, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Open science

    CA0068, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Healthy democracy

    CA0069, 2018, E-Government

  7. Access to Information

    CA0070, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Feminist and inclusive dialogue

    CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Reconciliation and open government

    CA0072, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Open government community

    CA0073, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Enhance Access to Information

    CA0042, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  12. Streamline Requests for Personal Information

    CA0043, 2016, E-Government

  13. Expand and Improve Open Data

    CA0044, 2016, E-Government

  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, Capacity Building

  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, Capacity Building

  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, E-Government

  26. Align Open Data across Canada (Open Data Canada)

    CA0057, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act

    CA0058, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives around the World

    CA0059, 2016, Aid

  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, Capacity Building

  32. Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services

    CA0063, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  33. Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0030, 2014, Open Data

  34. Starred commitment Open Data Canada

    CA0031, 2014, Open Data

  35. Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0032, 2014, Capacity Building

  36. Open Data for Development

    CA0033, 2014, Capacity Building

  37. Open Data Core Commitment

    CA0034, 2014, Open Data

  38. Starred commitment Open Science

    CA0035, 2014, Science & Technology

  39. Starred commitment Mandatory Reporting on Extractives

    CA0036, 2014, Extractive Industries

  40. Open Contracting

    CA0037, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  41. Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures

    CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Transparency

  42. Digital Literacy

    CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building

  43. Open Information Core Commitment

    CA0040, 2014, Right 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, E-Government

  55. Data.gc.ca: Implement data.gc.ca portal

    CA0020, 2012, E-Government

  56. Data.gc.ca: Improve standardization of data

    CA0021, 2012, E-Government

  57. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish resource management and performance data

    CA0022, 2012, E-Government

  58. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance search and data tools

    CA0023, 2012, E-Government

  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, Records Management

  69. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of online request and payment service

    CA0005, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  70. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution

    CA0006, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  71. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make completed ATI request summaries searchable

    CA0007, 2012, Right to Information

  72. Virtual Library: Begin design of virtual library

    CA0008, 2012, E-Government

  73. Virtual Library: Launch virtual library

    CA0009, 2012, E-Government