The Open by Default pilot: an experiment in radical transparency


July 21, 2017

I’m excited to present you with our latest step in Open Government: the Open by Default pilot. Through this one-of-a-kind initiative, government departments are sharing their working documents and data with the public, as they are being created.

The documents are a diverse selection of flash reports, field notes, project plans, documentation, meeting minutes and more. It’s another step in our ongoing effort to make the Government of Canada more transparent, and strengthen collaboration with the public.

What is the Open by Default pilot, and why does it matter?

The Open by Default pilot is a ground-breaking initiative designed to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the federal government’s works in progress. For the first time, we’re providing access to some of the raw materials used in government decision making. In doing so, we hope to shine fresh light on what we do and provide another opportunity for you to engage and collaborate with your government.

Why is this important? We believe that government openness and transparency are essential, and that it should start from the beginning. Observing the process from the very start is one way to better understand how the Government of Canada works for you. For public servants, this experiment encourages us to be open by default from the get-go, never forgetting the people we serve.

How can you contribute?

The Open by Default pilot is brand new for the Government of Canada, so we don’t have all the answers yet. In the same spirit of openness that is driving this project, we will be seeking your help to make it better: to give you the information you want and need, and to make it easy to find.

The more content we share through the Open by Default pilot, the more partnerships we can create. This pilot isn’t just about open and transparent governance, it’s about working together to improve service delivery and increase economic benefits for Canadians. It all starts with information-sharing. We encourage you to work with us to discover how Open by Default can benefit you.

I invite you to explore and share the documents found in the Open by Default pilot portal. Use them for work, in your studies and for your personal interest. Like the documents in the portal, this is a living project, and we want to hear your ideas on how to improve it. Tell us how it’s working (or not), and what else you would like to see. You can leave a comment below, reach us through our feedback form, email, or tweet us @OpenGovCan.

Alex Benay
Chief Information Officer, Government of Canada

Alex Benay currently serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada. Prior to this appointment, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation since July 2014.

From 2011 to 2014, he was Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText. He has played a leadership role in Canada’s digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.

Blog comments

Amelita - August 24, 2017

Good day,

I just want to request about the status of my application. I don't know what to expect. All emails I received were addressed for general users, no implications whether I'm successful or rejected. It's been 2 months and 2 weeks past since the submission of my application.
Please advise.

Thank you!

open-ouvert - August 25, 2017


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, including historic statistics on immigration and visa applications, but we don't deal with these services directly.

You may be able to check your application status online through this tool:

Other than that, your best bet would be to your local IRCC office:

Sorry I could not be of more help.

The Open Government team

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