Mid-term Self-assessment Report (November 2017)
1. Introduction and background
Canadians expect their government to be open, transparent and accountable. They also expect meaningful results delivered in a fair, efficient and responsive manner. The Government of Canada made clear commitments to rise to these expectations; within the federal government, every Minister’s mandate letter reminds departments that “Government and its information should be open by default.”
In an effort to make concrete progress towards a more open government based on citizen participation, the Government of Canada released its Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership in July 2016. The Plan was structured around four priority areas: open by default; fiscal transparency, innovation, prosperity and sustainable development; and engaging Canadians in the world. Each of the twenty-two commitments in the Plan reflects one of these priority areas to advance open government. The Plan is being implemented over a two year period between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. At this mid-term point, the Government of Canada is reporting on what it has accomplished so far, for the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.
The Government of Canada has made good progress implementing commitments in the plan, but there is still a lot of work to do. This self-assessment report seeks to offer a frank self-assessment of our progress to date, but it is also an invitation to partners, citizens and public servants to be more involved and to help mainstream open government as a critical element of public policy in Canada.
The Government of Canada welcomes feedback on this report, on open government efforts, and on progress described in the new dashboards for each of the 22 commitments. The goal of the dashboards is to report more frequently on progress and encourage citizens to provide comments and suggestions at any point through the life-cycle of this two-year Open Government Plan.
2. National Action Plan process
Participation and co-creation when developing the National Action Plan
Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership was developed through extensive consultations over a three-month period with Canadians and with stakeholders in civil society, business, academia, and other sectors, seeking ideas and feedback on how government could become more open, accountable, and transparent.
To ensure that the Plan met the needs and expectations of Canadians and stakeholders, a variety of public consultation and engagement activities were undertaken. These activities were conducted in two main phases: an idea generation phase and a consultation on the draft Plan. During these two phases, ideas, comments, and feedback were collected through a number of different channels, both online and in-person.
In total, 1,451 individuals took part in the consultations, including 312 individuals who took part in in-person consultation events. These participants generated over 1,200 unique comments and ideas about open government in Canada. A detailed What We Heard report was developed and published on the results of the consultation and how the comments received were incorporated into the Plan.
Participation and co-creation when implementing, monitoring, and reporting a National Action Plan
In June 2017, online dashboards were created to publicly track Canada’s progress on its Third Biennial Plan. This approach provides an opportunity to adopt more continuous and rigorous tracking, facilitate stakeholder engagement, and help identify and address any issues early. In addition to identifying key indicators and targets for each of the 22 commitments, challenges have been posed to citizens with invitations to help address them. Comment boxes and contact information for each commitment are provided with the intent to enable increased engagement and involvement of stakeholders and citizens in the implementation of commitments.
3. IRM recommendations
In February 2016, the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) published its report on Canada’s progress in implementing its second Action Plan. This mid-term report provided key recommendations on areas to focus future open government activities including: reforming Access to Information legislation, establishing an active permanent dialogue mechanism, supporting the collection and analysis of additional Canadian data, increasing data quality and diversity, and developing and publicizing a clear policy on the preservation of digital material. The observations and recommendations of this independent assessment of Canada’s open government activities inspired many of the commitments in Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership and have helped to make the plan more concrete and the open government activities more successful.
4. Implementation of National Action Plan commitments
The status of Canada’s implementation of its current Open Government Plan is summarized in the following table. Significant progress has been made, with 21 of the 22 commitments on schedule to complete all deliverables by the end of the Action Plan in June 2018.