Develop open government skills across the federal public service - Commitment 6


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Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Canada School of Public Service
Reporting period

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

Other actors involved: GovLab, the Government of Canada’s policy community

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Public servants in the Government of Canada must change how they design and deliver programs and services to support Canada’s commitments to transparency and public engagement. An openness mindset needs to be integrated into day-to-day business activities. Open data, for example, is useful not only to those who regularly evaluate and use data to support financial, statistical, and socio-economic analysis, but also to non-data specialists working in policy, operational, and service delivery areas. Sharing and leveraging data, information, and technology across the government can help innovation flourish.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will support a shift to greater transparency and engagement within the public service through Open Government learning material and opportunities for public servants.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Individuals working in departments across government will have access to learning material to build their skills and capabilities for using open data, open information, and open dialogue to support better operational and policy decisions. Furthermore, to boost the value of available open data to Canadians, public servants can be guided to understand how to set priorities for data or information publication, based on its potential value to users both inside and outside of government.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

  1. Provide enhanced information management learning opportunities and additional materials to raise public servants’ awareness and understanding of open government principles and practices, including:
    • Using open data and information to support policy analysis and development;
    • Sharing best practices in digital public engagement;
    • Setting priorities for the release of open data and information based on potential public impact and benefit; and
    • Implementing the Directive on Open Government.
  2. Lead and/or participate in educational forums and workshops designed to further the understanding of how to increase government transparency and foster civic engagement.
  3. Through public consultation on the 2016 Government of Canada IT Strategic Plan, consider feedback on how software solutions, including open source, can be best leveraged to meet strategic objectives.

Expected result

Federal public servants will be better equipped to apply open government principles to day-to-day work to provide citizens with easier access to government.

Description of results

    • As of June 30, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat had recorded 34 learning events with federal public servants involving approximately 1,800 learners from at least 26 federal organizations.
    • These learning events have covered topics such as an introduction to open government, detailed information on the Government of Canada’s work on open government, open data, open information, open dialogue, open licensing, open source, open maps, and open policy making.
    • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has had a significant role in showcasing and advancing open policy making at the 2017 Innovation Fair, the Policy Community Conference, and as one of the pillars of the Canada Beyond 150 training program.
    • The Canada School of Public Service and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat hosted the first armchair discussion ever made accessible to Canadians at large, Open Government Starts with You. The audience was comprised of 98 Canadians from outside the public service and 287 public servants connected via webcast, and 71 public servants in attendance. The two organizations also hosted a second armchair discussion on open data, available here.
    • The Canada School of Public Service worked in close collaboration with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to identify learning gaps and possible learning solutions that would better support this commitment, as well as operational needs and open government policy related decisions.
    • The Canada School of Public Service created an Open Government Learning Framework, identifying key learning objectives in enterprise leadership and organizational management, as well as individual skills and competencies for supporting and implementing open government principles and practices. Existing Canada School of Public Service learning products that support them were identified.
    • The Canada School of Public Service has established a new open government learning page on its GCcampus application, a place where public servants have access to a number of learning opportunities (online and classroom courses, development programs, external resources, etc.) that help raise awareness and build understanding of how to use open data, open information and open dialogue. As of June 30, the page has had 1,893 visits.
    • The Canada School of Public Service offers a variety of learning products that support open government, on topics ranging from access to information and privacy fundamentals, to advanced information management methods, to how to use GCDOCS as a tool to ensure that open information is discoverable and accessible. Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 a total of 35,755 learners from 109 federal organizations have registered for the 14 available Canada School of Public Service courses (online and classroom) that support open government.
    • With regard to setting priorities for the release of open data and information and implementing the Directive on Open Government, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has coordinated the completion and release of departmental data inventories required under the Directive. On the basis of the inventories, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has engaged various actors, including the Industrial Research Assistance Program and other partners across government, to identify high priority data sets. It has also maintained its Suggest a Dataset function on
    • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has contributed to maintaining a well-informed open government community, including by providing regular updates to departmental open government coordinators at monthly open government working group meetings and by maintaining an active blog and social media presence, including through Government of Canada platforms such as GCcollab, GCconnex and GCpedia
  1. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has participated in several forums over the past year to build capacity and advance understanding around open government. Specific events include: lectures at universities and engagement with academics, including through the Academic Days on Open Government Issues; the 2016 GovMaker conference; the annual conference of the Association for Technological Development in Education; local events of the International Association for Public Participation; Go Open Data; a panel organized by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat on the implications of open data for Indigenous Peoples; several events with subnational open government leaders, including the Canadian Open Data Summit; several hackathons; and numerous events with international partners and counterparts, including through the Open Government Partnership, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank. The Privy Council Office has also contributed to advancing this work, having developed and delivered public engagement learning opportunities, including five 1-day training sessions for 135 participants within 4 months, with 2 train-the-trainers sessions to build learning sustainability in the federal public service.
  2. The Government of Canada IT Strategic Plan 2016-2020 was open for public consultation through summer and fall 2016. It was posted externally for comments and a half day industry event was held in August. A What We Heard report was completed in December 2016 but has yet to be published. Feedback received through consultations identified open source as an omission in the Strategic Plan.

    In February and March 2017, consultations were held with the federal government Chief Information Officer and Information Management Senior Officer communities to gather additional input for a second version of the Strategic Plan. This included the integration of information management and addressing omissions identified through public consultation.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat aims to establish a learning hub on so that learning resources can be posted publicly. Having raised awareness of the opportunity of open government in the federal public service, it also aims to provide more specialized training, in addition to publishing an online introductory course and a Do-It-Yourself Open Data Toolkit that are currently both in development. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to develop content to raise awareness of open government.
  2. Going forward, the Canada School of Public Service will continue to integrate open government content into its learning products, where applicable. It will also continue to participate and organize learning opportunities with its partners. Going forward, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to participate and organize educational forums. It will also continue to support partners in this work, including by continuing to support subnational governments to advance skills for open government, as agreed at the June meeting of the Canadian Open Government Working Group.
  3. The next version of the Government of Canada IM/IT Strategic Plan (2017-2021) will address comments identified during consultations around open source to introduce a strategy for the use of open source software and open standards for the Government of Canada.

    Two other strategic actions associated with ‘open’ will also be included in the IM/IT Strategic Plan. These include ‘Shift the culture and processes toward open by design’ and ‘Expand open government training and outreach’. The target timeframe for publishing the Strategic Plan is fall 2017.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Substantial
  3. Substantial
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