Towards a New Open Government Guidebook

July 25, 2018


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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

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