Creating Canada's new plan on open government

June 17, 2016

By: Thom Kearney, Open Government team member

We just posted our draft plan for the next two years of Open Government, and thought we would set the stage with some background on the process we have undertaken so far.

The international Open Government Partnership (OGP) sets direction for how Action Plans are developed. The guidelines encourage countries to be transparent about the process, promote participation, consult in a variety of ways, and provide feedback to participants. We’ve designed Canada’s approach to follow this model.

On we launched consultations on a renewed approach to open government, and provided background material as well as an overview of the process. To spread the word, we promoted these consultations on the web, through social media, and to our email subscribers.

We invited participation in a few ways. Canadians could:

  • Post, vote, or comment on ideas online for potential open government commitments
  • Submit ideas and comments via a Contact Us form, our address, or mail
  • Tweet using the #opengovcan hashtag
  • Attend one of seven workshops we hosted in cities across Canada

We also joined the community at events like the Canadian Open Dialogue Forum, the National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit, the Open Knowledge Foundation Festival, and tech community meetings in Kitchener-Waterloo.

We’ve tracked everything we’ve heard and every comment we’ve received, regardless of whether it was said at a workshop table, tweeted, emailed, or written online – so far we’re up to 1,119 ideas submitted. We have distributed these ideas to departments and policy leads as we go, and we code and tag each comment by themes and possible government responses and actions. Each comment gets reviewed by at least three people, to make sure that we’re coding things accurately.

Crunching these numbers gives us a really good sense of the trends and overall needs and interests of the community. We are working hard to release a What We Heard report to provide an overview of the comments and ideas we received.

Drafting the plan

Our analysis of consultations and submissions, alongside discussions with departments and vigorous debate, has informed our drafting process. The next step is to make adjustments to this draft plan based on the feedback we receive, and then finalize the plan for publication.

The final plan will set our roadmap on open government for the next two years, though there’s still room to grow and evolve. Our goal is to establish a culture of “open by default” in the Government of Canada, and for there to be many more “open” initiatives than can be captured in a single document.

Tracking progress

The OGP guidelines on national action plans also include evaluation and transparency measures: for each two-year action plan, we write annual self-assessment reports to provide updates on progress, and a third-party researcher selected by the OGP writes independent progress reports. This is how we’re held to account for progress on the final deliverables in each plan.

What’s next

We posted the draft plan with options for you to provide your feedback and suggested improvements. The plan will be available for public comment until June 30, after which we’ll make final adjustments to the draft and prepare our final plan for publication.

We always welcome your input – including about how you want to be consulted in the future. Let us know at

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I 'm wonder if my claim was a provied.

Thanks for the space for people not from canada but see canada as a place where they get family or resource for better living. Open government started last year but i have very less knowledge of this may be the Indian authorities on this side might have participated in this. The outside resources if positive bring energy. The basic resources i.e food, clothing and shelter bring circulation of funds from savings in banks and payment of tax and the money given as loan or the government income and the spending by the government for the people increases the growth. Can you help us in sharing how the youth are tracked in terms the level of education and the speed with which they support family and pay tax for running the government, what courses needed for youth when they want to connect with Canadian professionals? I am in finance stream and tutor in commerce. The youth concept is very good including the seniors involvement in terms of how they saw canada grown before and now?

Hi, thank you for your comment. For data and information on education I recommend you visit the following website:

We also host many datasets on our portal that are relevant to youth and education. I recommend you browse them using key words through the following link:

For specific information not found on our portal I would recommend you contact us at

Momin, the Open Government team.

since Canada now has a carbon plan. Why were we the people not given a chance to participate in this process. Why does this GOVT. THINK THIER PLAN WILL WORK WHEN SO MANY OTHERS HAVE FAILED, MISERABLY This whole piece of legislation is nothing more than a tax grab with unreasonable goals, stupid to think the oil sands will be phased out. what is going to replace natural gas, wind power, solar panels or whatever can be dreamed up to justify this mess. LOOK WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ONTARIO THE SYSTEM THEY HAVE IN PLACE IS NOTHING MORE THAN STUPIDITY,PEOPLE ARE LOSING THIER ABILITY TO LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF THE HIGHEST UTILITY BILLS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.WHERE IS OUR PROTECTION FROM SUCH STUPIDITY? WHY ISNT THE FEDERAL GOVT. NOT STEPPING UP TOHELP THE MIDDLE CLASS SURVIVE THIS MASSIVE BLUNDER?

Thanks for your comment, Mac. This comment system leads to the team responsible for transparency and accountability work in the public service. We host datasets and records about many things, but we don't deal with policies. You may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament for your concerns.
Karin - the open-ouvert team

It's a very long way from open government dropping a carbon tax on all of us even the provincial gov was blind sided. I don't trust our prime minister one bit. Just hope he does not drive Canada so far in to the ground that the next prime minister has something to work with.

There is a lot of good work done here. It's a huge cultural shift for the government to make, particularly after the last decade.

Idea #1 - Included - Develop an open data standard for Grants & Contributions data -

Idea #2 - Not Included - Make code available for reuse across GoC & release to the public as Open Source Software -

Idea #3 - Included - Endorsing parliamentary openness in Canada's National Action Plan -

Idea #4 - Not Included - Engaging parliamentary data users to better respond to their needs -

Idea #5 - Not Included - Expand GitHub usage in GoC -

Idea #6 - Not Included - Beneficial ownership transparency -

Idea #7 - Not Included - Postal Codes -

Idea #7 - Mostly Included - Open science -

Idea #8 - Not Included - Open Inventions -

Idea #9 - Not Included - Mandatory Payment Reporting in the Extractive Sector -

Obviously you can't do everything, but some acknowledgement of the ideas that have critical mass but are perhaps outside of the scope would be useful.

Thanks for your comment.

We be publishing a full What We Heard report on this New Plan for Open Government, which will provide a summary of the main comments and ideas we received in all phases of our consultation, as well as some information on how they were (or why they were not) incorporated into the plan. Expect to see this a few weeks after the final plan is published, and thanks for helping us out by providing your feedback!

Open Government Team