It’s been a big year for open government in the Government of Canada! We launched a new National Action Plan on Open Government, took on the role of lead government chair of the Open Government Partnership, and tied for first place on the 2018 Open Data Barometer.
Here are a few of my highlights from 2018. This is a totally subjective list, based entirely on views from the trenches. As always, so many of the big wins have been thanks to the work of a dedicated community across the federal government, across Canada, and around the world. Let me know if I missed any of your highlights!
First, a reminder: what is open government?
Open government is about making government more accessible to citizens. At its core, it comes down to:
- Accountability; and
- Citizen participation.
We use tools like open data and dialogue to support open government. You can learn more about our work on our website, open.canada.ca. When we get open government right, it allows us to drive innovation, service delivery, economic opportunity and healthier democracy.
And now, a few of our highlights
These highlights go above and beyond our usual, everyday work of coordinating and enabling open government. On a daily basis, we manage open.canada.ca, push forward on open data and proactive disclosure, and engage partners across government and across the country on commitments in our national action plans.
- January – we were thrilled to launch the Government of Canada’s Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government.
- February and throughout winter and spring – we worked hard to create Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government, including through online engagement, webinars, and travel to 14 cities– check out our website for information on how we built the plan, including on what Canadians asked us to include!
- March – as part of engagement to help develop the plan, we held a consultation on Reddit and received lots of great input.
- April – beyond our usual work, we supported a number of international initiatives, including an open government review of Argentina by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and an Inter-American Open Data Program through the Lima Commitment at the Summit of the Americas.
- May – we coordinated and organized activities as part of Open Government Week, including a debate on whether open data is dead. We were also very excited to see our Prime Minister argue in favour of open data in an op-ed.
- June – we finished implementing our 3rd National Action Plan on Open Government! We completed or substantially completed everything that we committed to. You can see how we did in our Self-Assessment Report. We were busy on a number of other fronts: we piloted a great upgrade to our website, allowing users to find open data from the Government of Alberta through our federal open data search. We released a guidebook on open government. We also released a list of high value data sets for us to prioritise going forward.
- July – we participated in the annual summit of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Tbilisi, Georgia where we announced that we’ll be hosting the next global summit in (check out the website).
- August – we worked through hundreds of comments that we received on a draft of our 4th National Action Plan that we had released on Google docs.
- September – we were absolutely honoured and humbled to find ourselves tied for first place on the 2018 Open Data Barometer.
- October – we took on the role of lead government chair of the Open Government Partnership; together with our civil society co-chair, Nathaniel Heller, we launched our vision for our leadership. You can learn more about the vision in our Minister’s op-ed in TechVibes.
- November – we participated in the Canadian Open Data Summit where we made lots of progress towards a 2019 work plan for the Canada Open Government Working Group, our federal, provincial and territorial working group. There was also lots of happening on the international front with open data featuring the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (check out CUSMA Article 19.18 on Open Government Data), the OGP Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting that we participated in, and a new Memorandum of Understanding on Open Government with the Government of Argentina.
- December – to end with a bang, we launched the Government of Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government! We are very excited about the plan, which gives us our marching orders for the near future and is based on engagement with over 10,000 Canadians. We also participated in a meeting of the OGP Steering Committee (minutes here).
Sincere thanks to everybody who made this work possible, especially in the departments and agencies across the Government of Canada. 2019 promises much more excitement with a new national action plan to implement and the global open government community coming to visit us in May!
Jaimie leads work to coordinate and implement the Government of Canada’s commitments on open government. She is an alumnus of the Government of Canada’s Accelerated Economist Training Program, the Organization of American States’ Fellowship on Open Government, and Action Canada, Canada’s premier leadership development program. Find her on Twitter at @jaimieboyd.