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Canada

Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding (CA0052)

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, Canadian Heritage

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Public Participation, Records Management

IRM Review

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

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding Why do this: Each year, the Government of Canada provides funding to support initiatives focussed on career development, employment, homelessness, seniors, youth, and others through its various grants and contributions programs. Disbursing these funds works to meet the objectives and goals of the Government and ultimately helps to better serve Canadians. Proactive reporting on grants and contributions by departments is currently distributed, with limited capacity to search across government. Furthermore, data is currently only required for Gs&Cs with a funding amount in excess of $25,000. Data published across government is in non-standard formats, thus making it more difficult to share. How will it be done: Federal departments and agencies with the authority to deliver Gs&Cs funding are currently required to publicly disclose data on agreements in excess of $25,000 in order to foster greater transparency and openness. To further support the Government’s commitment to transparency and openness, information on agreements less than $25,000 will now also be disclosed, and the consistency of the data published will be improved to allow for increased searchability.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

11. Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will provide one-stop access to consistent, searchable data on grants and contributions (Gs&Cs) programs across the federal government.

Milestones:

11.1. Provide Canadians with centralized access to standardized information on grants and contributions funding that is proactively disclosed by federal departments via a common, searchable portal on open.canada.ca:

Establish a standardized, common template for federal departments to publish their data through the centralized portal;

Increase access to Gs&Cs information through a decrease to the required disclosure amount from $25,000 to $1;

Provide training to federal departments on how to upload their data; and

Ensure historical data previously disclosed by federal departments on grants and contributions funding is searchable via the central portal.

11.2. In consultation with internal and external stakeholders, expand the amount of information on grants and contributions funding disclosed by departments to align with international standards.

11.3. Pilot an approach to improving transparency in the delivery of grants and contributions by Canadian Heritage, including publication of:

An increased level of detail in the data proactively disclosed on individual grants and contributions awarded by the department;

Performance results against published service standards; and

Data on events and celebrations funded by the department.

Responsible institutions: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat; Canadian Heritage

Supporting institution(s): N/A

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.

Editorial note: This commitment is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented and therefore qualifies as a starred commitment.

Context and Objectives

The current system for reporting grants and contributions is distributed across government, is not standardised, and only applies contracts over $25,000. This commitment aims to advance access to information and public oversight over government grants and contributions. The commitment will centralise and expand information on grants and contracting by federal departments on the open.canada.ca website, aligning the expansion of information with international standards, and piloting a grants and contributions publication approach with Canadian Heritage. The milestones are relatively clearly defined, including measurable and verifiable outcomes such as dropping the required disclosure amount to $1 and centralising reporting on the open.canada.ca portal. These deliverables would provide for a significant expansion of published information and would work toward unifying and standardising the different reporting systems currently in use. In stakeholder consultations, representatives of Powered by Data noted that the commitment was closely related to a proposal they had submitted during the 2016 ideas consultation, though they noted that the commitment also reflects ideas already advanced by champions within government.[Note94: Conversations with Powered by Data took place at a focus group in Montreal on 20 September 2017 and via phone on 29 September 2017.] Powered By Data confirmed they were pleased with both the government’s initial engagement in developing the milestones and with the progress on the commitment thus far. Overall, the commitments are scored as having a transformative impact, in part due to the importance of the pilot being carried out by Canadian Heritage, which has the potential to significantly improve Canada’s financial disclosure system in the years to come.

Completion

Overall, the commitment is on schedule to be completed.

With regard to Milestone 11.1, the Treasury Board Secretariat has made over 37,000 grants and contributions disclosures available on the open.canada.ca website.[Note95: See: open.canada.ca/en/search/grants.] In addition, training sessions and online materials have been developed and uploaded by the Treasury Board Secretariat to an internally available GCpedia page.[Note96: Training materials are available at: http://www.gcpedia.gc.ca/wiki/Proactive_Disclosure_on_Open.Canada.ca (this link is only functional on networked Canadian government machines, though the IRM reviewer was able to view an offline copy with the assistance of Treasury Board Secretariat staff).] The Office of the Comptroller General has developed a draft guideline to lower the threshold for grants and contributions to $1, which has been opened to public consultation.[Note97: See: open.canada.ca/en/grgca-ldrosc-consultation.] This represents substantial progress toward completion.

Regarding Milestone 11.2, the Office of the Comptroller General has brought 32 departments into the consultation process,[Note98: In response to queries, Jacob Topic of the Office of the Comptroller General provided a list of six external consultation meetings, and a further 26 internal consultation meetings, which took place. External stakeholders consulted include Powered by Data, Imagine Canada, Open Calgary, and the Council of Ontario Universities.] and developed a draft standard and a draft guideline.[Note99: See: open.canada.ca/en/grgca-ldrosc-consultation.] This also represents substantial progress toward completion.

With regard to Milestone 11.3, all Canadian Heritage grants and contributions in excess of $1 are being posted online, along with service standard results for their programming.[Note100: See: open.canada.ca/en/search/grants?_ga=2.162107004.1347862626.1499174882-1187550498.1490712190&f%5B0%5D=org_name_en%3ACanadian%20Heritage and http://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/service-standards/service-standards-results.html.%5D This represents substantial progress, and the commitment is on schedule.

Early Results

Although work on the broader standards, in line with milestones 11.1 and 11.2, remains under development, Canadian Heritage’s pilot project is well underway and has increased the level of information available. Though it is too early to comment on the overall impact, Powered By Data has begun working with the information, and expressed confidence the information will assist civil society.

Next Steps

As noted above, Powered by Data has been a key partner in the development of this commitment. In conversations with the IRM researcher, they were positive regarding the government’s engagement in developing this commitment, as well as the overall quality of the data as released. The IRM researcher recommends carrying this commitment forward to future action plans and build on its potentially transformative impact. The Canadian Heritage pilot, which includes information about results alongside granting information, is a particularly promising area to continue and expand in future action plans.

Powered By Data also noted that more needed to be done to expand the audience using open data. At present, consultation and engagement avenues are only aimed toward those who are already familiar with the benefits and uses of open data.

In addition to expanding engagement, Powered By Data provided several suggestions for improving the accessibility and usability of this information going forward. Machine readability was a key recommendation here, in terms of requiring that grantees report back using consistent formats to facilitate cross-comparison. Geographic searchability is another area that might be expanded, allowing users to search based on where a project occurred (as opposed to the geographic location of the grantee). Similarly, Powered By Data suggested a nexus with Commitment 16, insofar as expanding this open data program to include grants from other jurisdictions would provide significant utility.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

11. Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding

Commitment Text: The Government of Canada will provide one-stop access to consistent, searchable data on grants and contributions (Gs&Cs) programs across the federal government.

Milestones:

11.1. Provide Canadians with centralized access to standardized information on grants and contributions funding that is proactively disclosed by federal departments via a common, searchable portal on open.canada.ca:

Establish a standardized, common template for federal departments to publish their data through the centralized portal;

Increase access to Gs&Cs information through a decrease to the required disclosure amount from $25,000 to $1;

Provide training to federal departments on how to upload their data; and

Ensure historical data previously disclosed by federal departments on grants and contributions funding is searchable via the central portal.

11.2. In consultation with internal and external stakeholders, expand the amount of information on grants and contributions funding disclosed by departments to align with international standards.

11.3. Pilot an approach to improving transparency in the delivery of grants and contributions by Canadian Heritage, including publication of:

An increased level of detail in the data proactively disclosed on individual grants and contributions awarded by the department;

Performance results against published service standards; and

Data on events and celebrations funded by the department.

Responsible institutions: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat; Canadian Heritage

Supporting institutions: N/A

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.

 

Editorial Note: This commitment is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented. Therefore, it qualifies as a starred commitment. 

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to advance access to information and public oversight over government grants and contributions. It called for centralising access via a common portal, expanding the amount of information available on grants and contributions funding, and having the Department of Canadian Heritage pilot an advanced open data programme.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

Over the first year of implementation, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat made over 37,000 grants and contributions disclosures available on the open.canada.ca website.[Note87: See “Search Government Grants and Contributions,” Government of Canada, open.canada.ca/en/search/grants.] It developed and uploaded training sessions and online materials to an internally available GCpedia page.[Note88: Training materials are available at http://www.gcpedia.gc.ca/wiki/Proactive_Disclosure_on_Open.Canada.ca. (This link is functional only on networked Canadian government machines. The IRM researcher viewed an offline copy with the assistance of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat staff.)] It also developed a draft guideline to lower the threshold for grants and contributions to one dollar (Milestone 11.1).[Note89: See https://open.canada.ca/en/grgca-ldrosc/guidelines-reporting-grants-and-contributions-awards.%5D Regarding Milestone 11.2, the Office of the Comptroller General brought 32 departments into the consultation process[Note90: In response to queries, Jacob Topic of the Office of the Comptroller General provided a list of six external consultation meetings and 26 internal consultation meetings. External stakeholders consulted include Powered by Data, Imagine Canada, Open Calgary, and the Council of Ontario Universities.] and developed a draft standard and a draft guideline.[Note91: See https://open.canada.ca/en/grgca-ldrosc/guidelines-reporting-grants-and-contributions-awards.%5D With regard to Milestone 11.3, all Department of Canadian Heritage grants and contributions in excess of one dollar were posted online, along with service standard results for their programming.[Note92: See “Search Government Grants and Contributions,” Government of Canada, open.canada.ca/en/search/grants?_ga=2.162107004.1347862626.1499174882-1187550498.1490712190&f%5B0%5D=org_name_en%3ACanadian%20Heritage; and “Service Standards Result for Canadian Heritage Funding Programs,” Government of Canada, http://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/service-standards/service-standards-results.html.%5D

End of term: Complete

The draft Guidelines on the Reporting of Grants and Contributions Awards (Milestones 11.1 and 11.2), came into effect on 1 April 2018.[Note93: See “Guidelines on the Reporting of Grants and Contributions Awards,” Government of Canada, https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32563&section=html.%5D They were developed in dialogue with several government departments, as well as Powered by Data, a civil society organization, and through a consultation which received over 200 responses.[Note94: The feedback process and a summary of responses are available at https://open.canada.ca/en/grgca-ldrosc/consultation-guidelines-reporting-grants-and-contributions-awards.%5D The guidelines include a requirement that all departments post their reports on open.canada.ca, a removal of the $25,000 reporting threshold, enhanced information about recipients, projects and programmes, and an ability for departments to do batch reporting to address concerns around data sensitivities and privacy. The deadline for the first wave of implementation has been set for 30 August, with full implementation scheduled for 1 April 2019. However, it is fair to consider these milestones as complete, given that the new standards are in effect and leading departments have already begun to comply. The Department of Canadian Heritage, for example, reports that the open.canada.ca portal started posting data on all grants and contributions of $1 and above since 2015-16.[Note95: Interview by IRM researcher, 14 September 2018.]

Under Milestone 11.3, the self-assessment points to the 2018 Celebrate Canada dashboard as an example of the provision of information on department-funded events.[Note96: See “About Celebrate Canada Days 2019,” Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/celebrate-canada-days/about-celebrate-canada-days.html.%5D The Department of Canadian Heritage also reports that the development of its internal Service Standards dashboard has greatly enhanced tracking functionality. The dashboard currently operates as an internal tool, and its development does not count toward enhancing access to information or public accountability. However, the Department of Canadian Heritage mentioned that a version of the dashboard may be scaled out for public access in the future.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Outstanding

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the outset of this action plan, the system for reporting grants and contributions was distributed across government, was not standardised, and applied only to contracts over $25,000. This commitment was the only one in Canada's third action plan marked as transformative, and its completion has had a strong positive impact on expanding the availability of information as well as its accessibility. In particular, the Department of Canadian Heritage's pilot programmes represent a significant expansion of the amount of information available on grants and contributions. The fact that advanced standards are now being rolled out across government significantly raises the impact of progress made during the action plan. In interviews with the IRM researcher, the Department of Canadian Heritage stressed that the implementation of the new Service Standards has had a strong positive impact on monitoring and tracking of programme implementation. As noted above, because of the internal nature of the dashboard, it does not directly count toward OGP goals. However, it does constitute substantive improvements to efficiency and performance from Canada's action plan programming.

Carried Forward?

This commitment does not appear to have been included in the fourth action plan. However, discussions with the Department of Canadian Heritage suggest that work to further develop this programming will likely continue.


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, Civic Space

  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, Civic Space

  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