Commitment 11: Open Information Core Commitment

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Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Library and Archives Canada
Public Services and Procurement Canada
National Research Council
Pillars
Open Information
Reporting period

End-of-term (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016)

Status

On Schedule

Expand the proactive release of information on government activities, programs, policies, and services, making information easier to find, access, and use.

Deliverables Status / Final Results Lessons Learned Completion Level

Modernize the administration of Access to Information and Privacy services across the federal government:

  • Expand online request-and-pay services
  • Provide searchable access to completed ATI requests
  • Publish statistics on extensions and consultations
  • Expand whole-of-government training strategy
  • Develop whole-of-government services and solutions

Twelve new institutions joined the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request pilot, including two departments with high levels of ATIP requests: Public Services and Procurement Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. Thirty-three institutions are now able to receive ATI request-and-pay requests online. These 33 institutions receive 90% of the total access to information requests received by the Government in 2014-15. The percentage of ATI requests submitted online increased from 61% in 2014-15 to 72% in 2015-16.

Canadians now have access to a searchable database of completed ATI requests on Open.Canada.ca. In addition, requesters may:

  • initiate informal requests online for the documents released in response to a selected ATI request; and
  • download all ATI summaries as a single, machine-readable dataset.

Institutions covered by the Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act now post summaries of completed ATI requests directly on Open.Canada.ca.

Data on access to information and personal information requests, including information on extensions and consultations related to access requests, are part of the statistical information published on www.infosource.gc.ca  and released as open data on Open.Canada.ca.

The Government of Canada announced in Budget 2016 that it would make it easier for Canadians to access government information, including their own personal information held by government, by creating a simple, central website where Canadians can submit requests to any government institution. Work to develop the central website has been initiated. The first phase of roll-out is targeted for 2018

In 2014, the Information and Privacy Policy Division launched a Director General Steering Committee on the Modernized Vision for the ATIP Training program. The proposed Vision aimed to develop a coherent, cost-effective government-wide approach to ATIP training that would reduce duplication and redundancies in financial, human and material resources amongst institutions.

The Steering Committee established six priority ATIP training areas. These priority areas were:

  • Privacy Impact Assessments;
  • Privacy Breach prevention, management and reporting;
  • ATIP Awareness training for the executive cadre within government;
  • Cabinet Confidences and the revised consultation process;
  • Most Frequently Invoked Exemptions; and
  • ATIP General Awareness.

A collaborative approach was taken where a number of departments took the lead to develop training components for each of these priorities. The components were to be implemented in a phased approach that would serve as an overarching ATIP awareness strategy that spans government-wide.

The Canada School of Public Service currently offers ATIP General Awareness courses to employees and courses specific to ATIP Specialists (Access to Information and Privacy Fundamentals; Access to Information in the Government of Canada and Privacy in the Government of Canada). In addition, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans completed the ATIP Awareness training for Executives and Health Canada completed Privacy Impact Assessments online module which is currently offered to a few departments. The training modules for the remaining three priority areas are in various stages of completion.

Institutions will continue to collaborate to move this work forward when additional resources are made available during 2016 to 2018, including completing training modules for the three priority areas as well as integrating all training modules into one overarching ATIP awareness program.

The current pilot has reached its maximum capacity with 33 institutions using the service. The pilot demonstrated the feasibility of an online channel for receiving ATIP requests. The Government of Canada announced in Budget 2016 that it would make it easier for Canadians to access government information, including their personal information, by creating a simple, central website where Canadians can submit requests to any government institution. Work to develop the website has been initiated. The first phase of roll-out is targeted for2018.

One key best practice that led to the success of completing this action item was the early and regular engagement with institutions in order to support them in meeting their posting requirements.

The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request pilot project was a valuable approach to test the feasibility of an online channel for receiving ATIP requests.

The key lesson learned was the importance of dedicating resources to provide ongoing support and coordination for horizontal initiatives. 

Substantial

Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Develop and launch a virtual library on the new government-wide open government portal.

  • Complete public consultations to support development of the virtual library service.
  • Establish a government-wide system and web architecture for the release of government information assets via the virtual library.
  • Standardize release procedures, formats, and metadata for virtual library.

In May 2015, Canadian librarians and government information management experts were consulted on the planned direction for the Open Information Portal. The Government of Canada’s Open Information Portal was launched and integrated into Open.Canada.ca. Progress to date is considered to be Phase 1 of the portal’s development.

The portal consolidated and provided single-window, searchable access to over 170,000 digital information resources from the Government of Canada Publications collection (publications.gc.ca) and from Library & Archives Canada. All digital information resources that it provides are available for free download via this service and are licenced under the Open Government Licence - Canada. A common metadata profile for open data and open information has been developed and shared with data and information experts internal and external to the Government of Canada.

The Open Information Portal is an ongoing commitment and a work in progress which has carried through the Third Biennial Plan (2016-2018) to continue the Portal’s next phase of development.

Limited

Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Improve the management and accessibility of government records, and facilitate faster responses to requests for information through the roll-out of GCDOCS, a government-wide records management solution for the federal government.

A readiness assessment survey has been completed to support the prioritization of the roll-out of GCDOCS to federal institutions and an onboarding plan has been developed and approved.

In addition, a suite of standardized tools and resources to ensure consistency of implementation across departments have been developed including:

  • IM Common Core (IMCC) configuration: mandatory configuration settings around Systems Rules, Metadata and Information Architecture
  • Common configuration of the Application Governance & Archiving (AGA) for Microsoft® SharePoint® to allow for a consistent approach for the use and implementation of collaboration software in alignment with GCDOCS.

Approximately 125,000 users have access to GCDOCS or RDIMS (predecessor), with 25,000 users from 11 departments on the PSPC managed service. Six departments have deployed GCDOCS on the Secret Network.

This is an ongoing commitment and a work in progress, requiring significant effort. The Government is seeking to increase its capacity to make progress on this initiative.

Limited

Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Increase Canadians’ access to federal records by removing access restrictions on archived federal documents held by Library and Archives Canada.

In support of this commitment, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) initiated a new risk-based process called “block review”, a systematic review of blocks or series of government records currently held in LAC’s permanent holdings. This project will open more federal government records consistent with Canada’s Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

  • 9,621,034 pages have been reviewed, and 8,829,282 pages opened since July 1, 2014.

In support of its Access Policy Framework, Library & Archives Canada (LAC) has issued a draft of its Directive on Making Government of Canada Records Available to minimize legal and policy restrictions that impede access to federal holdings held by LAC. This instrument will support GC compliance with TBS Directive on Open Government requirement 6.5.

A continuing challenge that departments will face is ensuring legal and policy restrictions on access, which encompasses both security and ATIP are appropriately addressed.

Substantial

Rolled over in 2016-18 Plan

Develop and pilot a single online discovery and access platform for federal science library (FSL) services and collections.

FSL portal for discovery and shared library collections management was implemented for departmental staff in four science departments and agencies including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Health Canada (HC), National Research Council (NRC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Shared funding and support model developed for ongoing operations.

LAC provided assistance as needed throughout the project.

Signs are positive that FSL scales well and partnership can be expanded to include other departments. The shared technology platform has proven the potential for affordable modernization of library service delivery at an affordable cost.

Experience gained from onboarding the initial wave of departments and agencies will be applied to future FSL adopters. Assets such as project plans, accountability matrices, business process mapping and funding/costing models will be reused for future implementations.

Complete

Provide consolidated, searchable access to regulatory information from federal departments and agencies involved in regulatory activities

Implementation plan for providing regulatory information search capacity is complete.

As an interim measure, links to all department and agencies regulatory information have been gathered on a page for users to easily find. https://www.canada.ca/en/government/policy/dept.html

A working prototype of the searchable repository has been created.

This prototype was tested in focus groups with users, and refinements to the prototype have been made based on this feedback.

Migration of content into this searchable repository will coincide with the overall migration of departmental websites into Canada.ca, and the searchable repository will be available to Canadians once a critical mass of content has been assembled.

N/A

Substantial

Access to all online Government of Canada information and services improved through the new whole-of-government Canada.ca website:

  • Intuitive user-centric design based on government-wide web standards;
  • Whole-of-government search functionality;
  • Faster access to frequently used services and information

Under our first action plan, Canada.ca was launched in December 2014, to bring together content from 1,500 federal websites into a single, user-centric, government-wide website.

  • The Government of Canada’s most requested services and information have been placed front-and-centre on Canada.ca to facilitate quick and easy access for users.
  • Two department’s websites have been migrated into Canada.ca, with 88 remaining to be migrated, as of June 2016.
  • Procurement, initial configuration, and deployment of an outsourced Cloud based Managed Web Service (Adobe, Amazon and Akamai as providers) has been completed.
  • The results of usability testing of Canada.ca with a team of 3,400 Canadians have led to key enhancements, including a few changes to the themes that help users navigate the site.

N/A

Complete

Additional Deliverables Beyond the Action Plan

Work underway to digitize 32 million images related to the First World War and make available online. Over 10 million images have been digitized between July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. In 2015-16, LAC undertook the largest web archival project to date for a federal election (1.6 terabytes), and also collected websites on the First World War Centenary, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (which will become the core of a pan-Canadian web archive led by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation starting in September 2016), and is currently crawling for Rio 2016 and Canada 150 collections. In March 2016, LAC re-launched the Government of Canada Web Archive (GCWA), which now provides public access to most of our federal web archival holdings collected from December 2005-December 2015. LAC did a fifth comprehensive collection of the entire federal web presence in 2015-2016.    

Relevance

Supports the principles of transparency and accountability, and is targeted at helping address the OGP Grand Challenges of improving public services, increasing public integrity, and effectively managing public resources by implementing solutions to improve Canadians’ access to government data and information.

Ambition

The Open Information Core Commitment supports ambitious, whole-of-government change in a number of ways including:

  • transforming the administration of Access to Information government-wide and facilitating efficient and effective responses to requests for federal data and information;
  • enhancing departments’ capacity to respond quickly to requests for information by improving the enterprise-wide management of federal government records and removing access restrictions to federal archives; and
  • providing Canadians with centralized, searchable access to government publications, laws/regulations, and other Government of Canada information and services via common government-wide portals and platforms.