Engage civil society on open government - Commitment 19


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Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Reporting period

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

Other actors involved: Civil society partners

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The participation of both civil society and government is essential to the success of any open government initiative. On the recommendation of the Open Government Partnership, the Government of Canada will establish a permanent mechanism for improving meaningful public dialogue, to move beyond informing and consulting to enhanced citizen collaboration and empowerment.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will create ongoing mechanisms for strengthening dialogue with civil society in support of open government activities.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Canada initially established a multi-stakeholder advisory panel to support development and implementation of Canada’s first two Action Plans. Canada is committed to cultivating an effective relationship with civil society by designing and nurturing a renewed mechanism to support constructive, ongoing dialogue between government and non-government stakeholders. Led by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, this renewed mechanism will establish a strong link between government and civil society. It will engage regularly to track progress on Canada’s commitments, identify potential new areas of focus, and help raise awareness of open government issues across Canada.

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. Develop and maintain a renewed mechanism for ongoing, meaningful dialogue between the Government of Canada and civil society organizations on open government issues across the country.
  2. Undertake targeted engagement activities to discuss open government issues in specific domains with key civil society stakeholders.

Expected result

Civil society will be able to access a formal mechanism for regular, two-way conversation on open government issues with the federal government.

Description of results

  1. The open government team and its Canadian civil society network counterparts have arrived at an agreement around draft terms of reference to establish a permanent mechanism for ongoing dialogue.
  2. Targeted engagement activities to discuss open government issues in specific domains with key civil society stakeholders undertaken include:
    1. As noted in the Commitment 20 update, civic tech and public engagement practitioners       have been engaged in the work to build an online eco-system of tools for citizens and government to engage.
    2. The Commitment 22 update describes online and in-person consultations held by the Canada Revenue Agency on the rules governing charities’ political activities completed in December 2016.
    3. The Canada Revenue Agency also conducted “Serving You Better” consultations with small and medium businesses and accountants in December 2016.
    4. The Open Data Exchange launched Cross Canada Tour in February 2017 to find out what is working and what is not working when it comes to getting open data into the hands of open data users, especially the private sector. Open Data Exchange visited centres across the country to better understand their perspectives.  Reports were created for each leg of the Tour.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. Member selection (both government and civil society) will be completed over the summer. The Forum will then co-develop a work plan for the group.

    Anticipated Forum deliverables include the shared development and delivery of public consultations for ideas and commitments for inclusion in the Fourth Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership - 2018-20.

  2. Next steps include:
    1. Create and test more methods and tools to enable online engagement, and share results.
    2. Official Government response to the Consultation Panel’s report will be issued to help inform regulation of charities going forward.
    3. Work on deliverables identified in the June 2017 consultation report to improve services for small and medium businesses through to 2019.
    4. Results are being compiled with a blueprint for action expected to be issued before fall 2017.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Substantial