Increase transparency of grants and contributions funding - Commitment 11

Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Canadian Heritage
Pillars
Foundational
Reporting period

Mid-term (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017)

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Each year, the Government of Canada provides funding to support initiatives focused on career development, employment, homelessness, seniors, youth, and others through its various grants and contributions programs. Disbursing these funds works to meet the objectives of the Government and ultimately helps to better serve Canadians. Reporting on grants and contributions by departments is currently asymmetrical, with limited capacity to search reports across government. Furthermore, data is currently only required for grants and contributions with a funding amount in excess of $25,000. Data published across government is in non-standard formats, thus making it more difficult to share.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will provide one-stop access to consistent, standardized searchable data on grants and contributions programs across the federal government.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Federal departments and agencies with the authority to deliver grants and contributions funding are currently disclosing data on agreements in excess of $25,000 in order to foster greater transparency and openness. To further support the Government’s commitment to transparency and openness, information on agreements less than $25,000 will be disclosed voluntarily by departments, and information published will be standardized and consistent across government departments and agencies, improving the quality of the data, and allowing for increased searchability.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP values of transparency, civic participation, and public accountability.

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

  1. Provide Canadians with centralized access to standardized information on grants and contributions funding that is proactively disclosed by federal departments via a common, searchable portal on open.canada.ca:
    1. Establish a standardized, common template for federal departments to publish their data through the centralized portal;
    2. Increase access to grants and contributions information through a decrease to the required disclosure amount from $25,000 to $1;
    3. Provide training to federal departments on how to upload their data; and
    4. Ensure historical data previously disclosed by federal departments on grants and contributions funding is searchable via the central portal.
  2. In consultation with internal and external stakeholders, expand the amount of information on grants and contributions funding disclosed by departments to align with international standards.
  3. Pilot an approach to improving transparency in the delivery of grants and contributions by Canadian Heritage, including publication of:
    1. An increased level of detail in the data proactively disclosed on individual grants and contributions awarded by the department;
    2. Performance results against published service standards; and
    3. Data on events and celebrations funded by the department.

Expected result

Canadians will have easy access to standardized information on all grants and contributions funding by federal departments through open.canada.ca.

Description of results

  1. Seventeen departments have begun publishing their Grants and Contributions disclosures on open.canada.ca. As a result, there are over 37,000 grants and contributions disclosures available and searchable on open.canada.ca.
    1. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in collaboration with 32 federal departments, external collaborators, and international influencers, has developed a common reporting template, as well as guidelines on how to report. Voluntarily, seven departments have begun disclosing more information in accordance with the proposed guidance. Additionally, external stakeholders and data users have been involved, and have commented on the success of the work on the commitment thus far. Finally, the new document nears completion.
    2. Language in draft updated Government of Canada guidelines indicates that the threshold for grants and contributions will be lowered to $1.
    3. Since July 2016, numerous in-person training sessions have been held with departmental contacts. Additionally, a GCpedia page was created to provide public servants with training manuals, data profiles as well as a streaming training session.
    4. Key decisions regarding the transfer of federal departments’ historical data to open.canada.ca are currently being considered.
  2. A committee and sub-working groups, including 96% of federal grants and contributions money (32 departments) has been formed for the co-development and consultation process. A draft standard has been developed and endorsed by the appropriate sub-working groups. A draft guideline has been developed and is undergoing consultation and discussion. External stakeholders and primary users of data have been engaged on multiple occasions.
    1. All Canadian Heritage grants and contributions in excess of $1 were posted on Canada.ca as of August 31, 2016. Canadian Heritage hosted 2 related consultations in October and November 2016. Canadian Heritage currently meets 25 of the 29 requirements proposed by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
    2. Canadian Heritage is currently publishing service standard results for each program for two standards – acknowledgement and decision – on a semi-annual basis.
    3. Data on events and celebrations funded by the departments are published monthly through proactive disclosure.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. The migration of government grants and contributions to open.canada.ca is ongoing. Key decisions regarding retention and disposition, migration of legacy content and mandatory reporting dates to the open.canada.ca portal are currently being considered.
    1. Next steps for establishing a standardized, common template for federal departments to publish their data through the centralized portal include:
      • Consulting broadly using open.canada.ca;
      • Amending the template following consultations;
      • Seeking internal approval of the final documents; and
      • Putting the new requirements into effect using a 3-wave departmental implementation approach.
    2. N/A – completed.
    3. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue proving support to departments through training both online and in person. Once all departments have migrated to open.canada.ca, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to provide support to departments publishing their disclosures.
    4. Discussions are underway to develop a forward approach to the migration of historical content to the portal. Once key decisions regarding the migration of legacy content, as well as other key issues such as retention and disposition and mandatory reporting have been made, they will be communicated to departments and next steps will be determined for the migration of historical data.
  2. Broad external consultations using open.canada.ca to ensure citizen views are incorporated, will take place later in 2017. 
    1. Maintain monthly updates into centralized Government-wide reporting on Canada.ca. Undertake work to address the remaining four data elements; look to be considered as a “wave 1” department.
    2. Canadian Heritage will maintain semi-annual publication of service standard results for programs and will soon include results on a third standard – payment.
    3. Canadian Heritage will continue to publish data on events and celebrations monthly through proactive disclosure.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Substantial
  3. Substantial

Additional information

The efforts undertaken as part of this commitment have led to quite a bit of recognition of the Office of the Comptroller General’s work at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Specifically, its story of co-creation and co-development is being shared, and its approach is being more broadly adopted across the government. To assist with this, the Office of the Comptroller General is developing a ‘What We Heard’ report, which will provide information on its process, consultation, the work undertaken.

The work undertaken to develop a new, common reporting template has also allowed a collaborative process of developing guidance, which will also be made publicly available. This guidance was developed in consultation with 32 departments to ensure it works for everyone, and it is a built in component of the reporting standard. This will be made public as part of the Guideline & Reporting Standard, to ensure the public understands exactly what is being reported on.