As the Government of Canada’s Chief Information Officer, part of my role is to discuss the evolution of Open Data with parliamentarians. After my most recent presentation on Parliament Hill, it struck me how remarkable it was that in a few short years the notion of opening up government data to make it re-useable without restriction to the public has gained such support across the Government of Canada, as well as captured the interest of our country’s top legislators.
Our considerable progress and Canada’s commitment to Open Government will be clearly apparent to all during the Grand Finale of the Canadian Open Data Experience, CODE.
The CODE finalists will take centre stage in front of a judging panel and promote the apps they created in a 48-hour coding sprint that took place at the end of February. Everyone involved is thrilled to see the contestant’s creativity using Open datasets from many departments and agencies.
These kinds of results represent only the beginning of what Minister Clement envisioned last summer when the Government of Canada launched its updated Open Government Portal at data.gc.ca. The Minister challenged Canadian entrepreneurs to take the raw materials found there—calling Open Data Canada’s “21st century natural resource”—and to create valuable, user-friendly apps.
Through CODE, we are seeing new apps created with federal government datasets, and on March 28, one of them will win the $25,000 Grand Prize provided by sponsor OpenText. Open Data represents more than business entrepreneurs developing consumer-friendly apps. Open Data enthusiasts, including all the teams that participated in CODE, are at the forefront of a huge economic opportunity for Canada—the creation of an apps economy!
We shouldn’t forget that the Open Government movement is about greater openness and accountability, strengthening democracy and driving innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians. Events like CODE have helped us see what is possible when technology meets ingenuity and motivation. By facilitating access to government Open Data for stakeholders, academics, students, and private sector IT enthusiasts, Canadian Open Data has already started to drive benefits beyond what the data was intended to support.
Join with me in tracking the Open Data movement through data.gc.ca and other sources, and very soon, applauding the winning teams for CODE.
I look forward with great anticipation to congratulating the winners, all the finalists and to future Open Data events!
Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada