By Jean-Noé Landry (Executive Director, Open North) and Mélanie Robert (Executive Director, Information Management and Open Government, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)
Open data has spread rapidly across all levels of government in Canada. Many municipalities were early adopters and now have thriving and popular open data programs and initiatives. From coast-to-coast-to-coast, towns and cities are adopting open data policies, developing open data roadmaps as part of their open government strategic plans, launching open data portals, and increasingly offering more public data in open formats. Still more cities large and small are intrigued by open data and want to use it to serve their residents better.
To help cities accelerate open government, Open North, with support from the Government of Canada, is piloting the development of a do-it-yourself (DIY) open data toolkit for municipalities. The DIY toolkit, which will be available on the open.canada.ca portal, will provide comprehensive guidelines and a step-by-step process to allow municipalities to initiate an open data program.
In particular, the toolkit will cover a range of topics including open data basics, governance, principles and policy, standards, use cases, infrastructure, operations, community engagement, risk assessment, and forward planning. The toolkit is expected to spur a new generation of open data initiatives across the country. This will, in turn, enhance government transparency, accountability, and service delivery while providing new opportunities for economic development and social innovation. In addition to the advisory committee (with members drawn from multiple municipalities across Canada) overseeing the development of the toolkit, initial conversations with provinces and territories have reflected the utility of this initiative for municipalities across Canada. We are also pleased to have the International Open Data Charter Secretariat participate in the design of the project to align the content of the toolkit with international best practices.
This project is a timely opportunity to build on Open North's existing and new relationships with leading Canadian cities and international partners to support the expansion of the local open data ecosystem. Cities see their peers moving ahead. We must ensure that they don't fall behind. For the federal government, the DIY toolkit is part of a broader commitment in our Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership, in which we committed to expanding "collaboration with provincial, territorial, and municipal partners on further standardizing and harmonizing the delivery of open government data across jurisdictions."
The DIY toolkit will be presented at the Canadian Open Data Summit, and will be released shortly after.
Jean-Noé Landry, Executive Director of Open North, heads Canada's leading not-for-profit organization specialized in open data and civic technology. Open North focuses on strategic planning and applied research on open data, stakeholder engagement and data needs assessments, civil society advocacy initiatives, and technological projects and services, including its online Citizen Budget simulator used by more than 75 cities across North America.
Mélanie Robert is the Executive Director of Information Management and Open Government at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). She leads the Government of Canada's efforts to be more open, transparent and accountable and to manage information as effectively as possible. She is also the Open Government Partnership's Point of Contact for the Government of Canada.