Towards a New Open Government Guidebook

July 25, 2018


  • RSS
  • Cite

Since the Open Government portal launched in 2011, we’ve learned a lot about releasing data and information. We’ve heard from data users and curators, worked through challenges and shared knowledge.

We’ve now compiled these best practices into an Open Government Guidebook to make the process of releasing data easier and clearer for government organizations. Ultimately, we are hoping to help others identify and release more data and information that’s consistent, understandable, of high-quality, and in user-friendly formats.

A Guide to Open by Default

The Government of Canada has a mandate to release data and information by default. That is, unless there’s a security, privacy, or confidentiality reason, everything should be in the public sphere. However, there’s a lot of work to follow the policy direction in the Directive on Open Government. We need protocols for protecting personal information, standards so that datasets from different departments are comparable, and goals for understandability and timeliness.

The Open Government Guidebook provides in-depth guidance and clarifies the requirements for departments and agencies to ensure that government takes consistent approaches to data and information practices. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Background on how open data and information works in the Government of Canada, including the policy and legal environment
  • How releasing on fits with the Access to Information Act, proactive disclosure practices, and the Open by Default pilot
  • Guidance on the entire process from data governance, to release, to community engagement
  • Detailed appendices on process, security, accessibility, official languages, and more

We need your input

The guidebook is now available for your input. We want this document to evolve over time as we adapt new practices and policies. We know that the Open Government community is rich with knowledge. This is why we need your expertise to help us refine it! To provide us your feedback, connect with us by email or in the comment box below.

We would like to thank all the organizations and individuals who supported the development of this tool to date, from over 25 organizations across the Government of Canada. We also took inspiration and content from the guide created in 2015 by Open Government Ontario.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to review our many drafts and for the advice that keeps making open data in Canada better.

The Open Government Portal Team

Add new comment

Rules of Engagement

We look forward to hearing from you. Your ideas and feedback are central to the development of both the Open Government portal and the Government of Canada’s approach to Open Government.

While comments are moderated, the portal will not censor any comments except in a few specific cases, listed below. Accounts acting contrary to these rules may be temporarily or permanently disabled.

Comments and Interaction

Our team will read comments and participate in discussions when appropriate. Your comments and contributions must be relevant and respectful.

Our team will not engage in partisan or political issues or respond to questions that violate these Terms and Conditions.

Our team reserves the right to remove comments and contributions, and to block users based on the following criteria:

The comments or contributions:

  • include personal, protected or classified information of the Government of Canada or infringes upon intellectual property or proprietary rights
  • are contrary to the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act, 1982
  • are racist, hateful, sexist, homophobic or defamatory, or contain or refer to any obscenity or pornography
  • are threatening, violent, intimidating or harassing
  • are contrary to any federal, provincial or territorial laws of Canada
  • constitute impersonation, advertising or spam
  • encourage or incite any criminal activity
  • are written in a language other than English or French
  • otherwise violate this notice

Our team cannot commit to replying to every message or comment, but we look forward to continuing the conversation whenever possible. Please note that responses will be provided in the same language that was used in the original comment.

Our team will reply to comments in the official language in which they are posted. If we determine the response is a question of general public interest, we will respond in both official languages.


Submitted by Richard Phaneuf on August 02, 2018 - 5:07 PM

Si pertinent, il faut mettre en lien la donée et le parti politique au moment de la donnée et le comté. Juste pour s’assurer que le parti au pouvoir n’ont pas 80% des dépenses.

Submitted by Maryse Boisvert on April 19, 2020 - 9:42 PM

Nous sommes des travaillons d'une épicerie et nous devons travaillez coller et devons vivre avec le virus des clients. Notre employeur ne veut pas nous donner 2$ de l'heure de plus tandis que que les gens restent à la maison avec un certain montent d'argent. Aidez-nous
Bien à vous
Maryse Boisvert

Submitted by Agnes padreque on September 23, 2018 - 9:34 AM

How to get all my funds information at Canada?