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Canada

Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) (CA0056)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Canada Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev)

Support Institution(s): Open Data Exchange (ODX)

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Data, Private Sector, Public Participation

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) Why do this: As governments at all levels continue to make more and more open data available to the public, it will be important to help support the private sector in extracting knowledge and value from that data to build their businesses. In order to develop new products, retain talent, and achieve prosperity, competitiveness, and productivity for Canada, Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) was established in 2015 as a partnership among the private, public, and academic sectors to support the commercialization of open data by Canadian companies. How will it be done: The ODX will take advantage of key opportunities to work collaboratively with stakeholders at all levels to increase the number of open data companies in Canada and to explore new methods for improving access and extracting value from open data.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

15. Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)

Commitment Text:

The Government of Canada will partner with the private sector to better understand how companies are using open data, and raise awareness of the possibilities that exist for Canadian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the value of open data.

Milestones:

15.1. Complete a comprehensive mapping of 150 Canadian companies that are using open data to launch new products and services, create commercial and non-profit ventures, optimize their business processes, conduct research, and/or make data-driven decisions.

15.2. Launch an online platform at http://www.opendata500.com/ca to showcase Canada’s Open Data 150.

15.3. Establish a national network of open data users within industry to collaborate on the development of standards and practices in support of data commercialization.

15.4. Collaborate with private industry on three demonstration projects to illustrate the commercialization potential of open data in priority sectors.

15.5. Incubate 15 new data-driven companies by June 2018.

Responsible institution: Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario in collaboration with Canada’s Open Data Exchange

Supporting institutions: Communitech; Canadian Digital Media Network; OpenText; D2L; University of Waterloo

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/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Canada_AP3.pdf.

Context and Objectives

This commitment seeks to support private sector utilisation of open data. As an ancillary goal, it is designed to bridge gaps in understanding how the private sector can extract value from open data, with the intended result of encouraging its use by Canadians. Although the milestones are written in a relatively clear and specific manner, it is worth noting that some of them appear to be continuations of milestones initiated under the previous action plan. Moreover, the milestones do not expand the availability or usability of information beyond the participant companies, though there may be potential wider impact as a result of ODX’s broader activities. Nonetheless, the commitment’s potential impact is assessed as moderate. Its limited scale, in terms of participation and impact, also restricts its relevance to the OGP value of civic participation, though it still qualifies as relevant.

Completion

This commitment is on schedule to be completed.

Open Data Exchange (ODX) completed its mapping of Canadian companies (Milestone 15.1) by the end of June 2017 and launched the results on its website.[Note128: See: https://codx.ca/od150-results-of-150-canadian-companies-for-canada-day/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=OD150.] ODX also completed and launched the online platform to showcase this information, as required under Milestone 15.2.[Note129: See: http://canada.opendata500.com/.]

In order to network participants together, ODX carried out a national tour, and posted reports from Atlantic Canada,[Note130: See: https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-atlantic-canada/. ] Central Canada,[Note131: See: https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-central-canada/. ] and Western Canada[Note132: See: https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-western-canada/. ] on their website. Although it is difficult to directly connect this work to the level of progress made in establishing a national open data industry network, Milestone 15.3 should nonetheless be achievable within the action plan timeframe.

For Milestone 15.4, the self-assessment reports that the three demonstration projects are on schedule, and that ODX is considering expanding its program to include a fourth.[Note133: The draft self-assessment for Commitment 15 is available at: http://open.canada.ca/en/mtsar/commitment-15-stimulate-innovation-through-canadas-open-data-exchange-odx.]

In terms of Milestone 15.5, it is difficult to assess specific progress, since ODX’s 'incubation' activities can constitute a range of things, including expert advice, financial assistance, and technical services. According to the self-assessment, 64 companies have participated in its 'data concierge' services,[Note134: See: https://codx.ca/services/concierge/.] eight companies in its 'Communitech Data Hub,'[Note135: See: https://www.communitech.ca/how-we-help/workspace/communitech-data-hub/.] and eight companies engaged through ODX Ventures.[Note136: See: https://codx.ca/odx-ventures/.] This represents substantial progress, though the endpoint remains somewhat uncertain, and it is tough to tell which of these counts as having been 'incubated'.

Early Results

ODX’s programs continue to progress. One participant, representing ChillWall, told the IRM researcher that their business had been substantially helped by the program, both in terms of receiving financial support to carry their work forward and in terms of guidance and mentorship from the ODX team.[Note137: Interview with Michael Campanelli, 5 October 2017.]

Next Steps

Business development is an important benefit of open data, and the IRM researcher recommends carrying this commitment forward. However, several civil society stakeholders questioned the level of funds currently devoted to promoting private sector development, particularly in comparison to the relative lack of resources available for civil society organisations pursuing similar aims. The IRM researcher recommends creating a parallel structure for incubating civil society programs, particularly to utilise and foster Canadian NGOs who specialize in open data as a conduit and driver of engagement similar to the way ODX operates for the private sector. A parallel civil society voice is also important to balance the role that ODX has in engaging with data producers. If conversations with public authorities on the benefits and values of open data are dominated by private sector voices, this will inevitably shape the prioritisation and approach to disclosure that these officials adopt, which could reflect private sector needs more than those of civil society. The IRM researcher also recommends instituting better transparency structures for ODX itself, including publishing robust financial information and reporting on its website.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

15. Stimulate Innovation through Canada's Open Data Exchange (ODX)

Commitment Text: The Government of Canada will partner with the private sector to better understand how companies are using open data, and raise awareness of the possibilities that exist for Canadian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the value of open data.

Milestones:

15.1. Complete a comprehensive mapping of 150 Canadian companies that are using open data to launch new products and services, create commercial and non-profit ventures, optimize their business processes, conduct research, and/or make data-driven decisions.

15.2. Launch an online platform at http://www.opendata500.com/ca to showcase Canada's Open Data 150.
 

15.3. Establish a national network of open data users within industry to collaborate on the development of standards and practices in support of data commercialization.

15.4. Collaborate with private industry on three demonstration projects to illustrate the commercialization potential of open data in priority sectors.

15.5. Incubate 15 new data-driven companies by June 2018.

Responsible institution: Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario in collaboration with Canada's Open Data Exchange

Supporting institutions: Communitech; Canadian Digital Media Network; OpenText; D2L; University of Waterloo

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/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Canada_AP3.pdf.

Commitment Aim

This commitment focused on supporting private sector utilisation of open data. It also held an ancillary goal of bridging gaps in understanding of how the private sector can extract value from open data. Canada's Open Data Exchange (ODX) serves as the vehicle for this work. The ODX's government-delegated activities include:

Mapping companies which are using open data to launch new products;

Launching an online platform to showcase this work;

Establishing a network of private sector open data users;

Conducting three demonstration projects on the potential of open data; and

Serving as incubator for 15 companies.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

The midterm assessment noted that this commitment was on schedule. The government completed the mapping of Canadian companies (15.1) and the online platform to showcase this information (15.2).[Note130: See Kelsey Vere, “OD150—Results of 150+ Canadian Companies for Canada Day,” 4 July 2017, Open Data Exchange, https://codx.ca/od150-results-of-150-canadian-companies-for-canada-day/; and homepage, Open Data 150, http://canada.opendata500.com/.] The Open Data Exchange reported that significant progress had been made on networking private sector open data users together, including through a national tour by ODX.[Note131: See John Chiappetta, “ODX Cross-Canada Trip Report: Atlantic Canada,” 20 April 2017, Open Data Exchange, https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-atlantic-canada/; John Chiappetta, “ODX Cross-Canada Trip Report: Central Canada,” 15 June 2017, Open Data Exchange, https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-central-canada/; and John Chiappetta, “ODX Cross-Canada Trip Report: Western Canada,” 29 May 2017, Open Data Exchange, https://codx.ca/odx-cross-canada-trip-report-western-canada/.] The midterm self-assessment reported that significant progress had been made on the demonstration projects (15.4). The assessment also noted that a large number of companies had participated in ODX assistance programmes in various capacities. However, some uncertainly exists regarding the meaning of “incubate” as applied in the action plan and which level of participation counts toward Milestone 15.5.

End of term: Complete

The government completed Milestone 15.1 at the midterm. By the end of the action plan, the number of companies included in the mapping had grown to 161.[Note132: See Open Data Exchange, OD 150: Celebrating the Next 150 Years of Canadian Business, 2017, https://codx.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/OD150_finalinfographic.pdf.] The online platform (15.2) remains online. Under Milestone 15.3, Canada's self-assessment report states the following: “Open Data Exchange [ODX] has developed robust networks of both data providers (government open data providers) and data users as well as intermediaries and enablers to support the creation and evolution of open data supply chains.”[Note133: The self-assessment is available at https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/9da9faf5-deb1-48db-8f16-91055d942d65.] The IRM researcher followed up by email with ODX and was told that '[the] networks are constituted by the individual connections we have made while executing on the ODX business plan. They don't fit neatly into one network. We can provide you with the number of newsletter subscribers, projects, Cross Canada Tour participants, Data Hub session attendees, etc. if you like.'[Note134: Email received from Kevin Tuer, managing director of Canada's Open Data Exchange, on 7 September 2018.] This evidence suggests that the government treated Milestone 15.3 as a continuation of ODX's core programming, in combination with the developments included in the other milestones. In that sense, the milestone has been completed, though it represents less of a step forward than its language may have suggested.

Regarding Milestone 15.4, the ODX provided the IRM researcher with information about its contributions to four projects: Desire2Learn's digitized education standards, the city of Guelph's civic solutions accelerator, and the city of Stratford's Smart Parking project, and the Miovision active traffic management system. This milestone has been completed. Under Milestone 15.5, the self-assessment states that 18 companies have been funded through the Open Data Exchange Ventures programme. Further, 261 companies have engaged using the mentor and concierge services, and the Communitech Data Hub (ODX's home base) houses over 40 companies.[Note135: The self-assessment is available at https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/9da9faf5-deb1-48db-8f16-91055d942d65.] Therefore, the government has completed this milestone. However, the general terms of the reporting, and the lack of clarity on how these processes are interpreted in relation to the “incubation” process, suggest that, like 15.3, this milestone was treated as a continuation of ODX's core programming.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Major

Civic Participation: Marginal

The Open Data Exchange (ODX) was established in 2015 as a partnership among the private, public, and academic sectors. Its stated purpose involved supporting the commercialisation of open data by Canadian companies. Private sector development is an important benefit of open data, and some aspects of ODX participants' programming is very impressive. However, this commitment faces limitations because gains in access to information are mainly restricted to the programme's participants, as opposed to the public at large. Nonetheless, certain projects, such as the demonstrations in Guelph and Stratford, have substantial value. ODX's participants have spoken positively about their involvement.[Note136: Michael Campanelli, interview by IRM researcher, 5 October 2017.]

Additionally, this project has led to marginal changes regarding civic participation. There exists little indication that these programmes have helped to enhance public engagement or to influence government decisions. Indeed, consultations carried out as part of the midterm assessment exposed civil society's unease with the focus on private sector development with no concomitant programme to channel resources to nongovernmental organisations working in this space.

Carried Forward?

Canada's fourth action plan does not include the Open Data Exchange.


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