A look at the Numbers…: Open Data in Canada

March 1, 2019


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We’re celebrating the worldwide Open Data Day on March 2nd, 2019 by looking at Canada’s open data numbers and accomplishments.

To mark this occasion, we’d like to highlight a few facts that show the growth of open data in the Government of Canada. We also want to share some of the steps we are taking to improve our Open Government Portal information service.

The Open Government Portal

The Open Government Portal, first launched in 2011, now houses over 80,000 datasets. In 2018, the Open Government Portal received 3.4 million page views from Canadians and over 350,000 dataset downloads. Almost 70 departments and agencies have contributed their data, including geospatial datasets, non-geospatial data, Open Maps and datasets through a pilot project with the Government of Alberta.

The portal holds over 500 open information records and includes documents such as publications and ministerial transition binders. The information service provides access to 876,000 Proactive Disclosure records from 117 Government of Canada institutions including departments, agencies, and Crown Corporations. These records cover over 10 categories including ATI summaries, Contracts, Grants and Contributions, and Travel.

Canada also played a lead role in the establishment of the International Open Data Charter. More than 50 governments around the world adopted the Charter, which launched in 2015. As a result of all this work, today Canada is ranked first alongside the United Kingdom on the World Wide Web Foundation’s 2018 Open Data Barometer.

What’s next to make open data better in Canada?

We plan to:

  • Add visualizations to high value datasets. Building on tools like Open Maps and GC InfoBase, we will be highlighting a tool created by the Public Service Commission. This tool will visualize data from the latest Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey. We will also use the launch of the tool to develop more visualizations using other datasets such as Proactive Disclosure and Service Inventory.
  • Release an update to the portal’s landing page. This will highlight pages with a high volume of traffic and will make the pages easier to navigate. As part of this change, we will also be updating our open data and information search catalogue. This update will improve the look and feel of searches, as well as the “discoverability” of our data and information.
  • Improve the Suggest a Dataset page to highlight actions taken by organizations around requested datasets. We want to highlight what datasets were released based on a request, and in cases where they have not yet been, what the roadblocks are in releasing the requested data.

What kind of data do you feel is missing? How can we make our site more user-friendly? Do you have an open data success story to share?


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The Open Government Portal Team members are the people behind the open.canada.ca website and the Open Government Registry. They are the developers and analysts responsible for the creation and maintenance of all of the functions offered through the Open Government Portal including the open data, open information, and proactive disclosures that are searchable on the site. The Open Government Registry is the platform that powers the site, so all information and data resources you see on the portal are submitted through the Registry. Internally, the team offers technical advice to government departments and agencies to help them release the data and information you find on this site. They are champions of open data and work daily to make the federal government more transparent.

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