Enhance openness of information on government spending and procurement - Commitment 9

Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Finance
Public Services and Procurement Canada
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?

Understanding how well the Government is doing as a whole, or in key areas of interest, is challenging because data is presented across multiple reports and information sources. Canadians expect their government to implement effective and efficient programs and services, and to report transparently on whether they are meeting their intended goals. A clear understanding of what resources are being used by departments to deliver programs and services is fundamental to Parliament’s role of holding government accountable for delivering on its priorities. Information on planned spending and results for government activities is currently provided through mandatory departmental reports, including Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) and Departmental Performance Reports (DPRs).

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will increase the transparency of government spending and procurement to hold government accountable for public expenditures.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

As part of the Government of Canada’s new Policy on Results, mandatory departmental reporting is being re-focused on each department’s long-term mandates as well as their immediate priorities. Related data from planned and actual activities is available on a searchable online database that provides quick and easy access to detailed information on government spending and people management. This data is presented in a manner which facilitates Canadians’ analysis and broader understanding of where government resources are being invested.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

  1. Release an interactive tool that will increase the granularity of data and information made available and enable Canadians to better understand federal departmental spending:
    • Expand the types of data, graphics, and analytics available including:
      1. Planned and actual results;
      2. Comparisons between historical and planned spending; and
      3. Spending on specific components such as salaries, capital, transfer payments, etc.
    • Enable users to explore government spending of the most interest to them based on key data elements (e.g., target group, program type, priority area, etc.).
  2. Enhance online content pertaining to government finances on open.canada.ca to make information and tools on government spending readily accessible to Canadians.
  3. Provide targeted and timely material to make government accounting and financial reporting more consistent, transparent, and understandable to Canadians.
  4. Pilot updating the BuyandSell.gc.ca site to record the full details of contracts (in addition to awards), contract amendments, and the final termination of contracts.
  5. Participate in a case study to share best practices from Public Service and Procurement Canada’s pilot of the Open Contracting Data Standard on BuyandSell.gc.ca.

Expected result

It will be easier for Canadians to see how government resources are being distributed across the areas that interest them. They will have greater online access to government financial information. They will also be able to follow the procurement process from start to finish according to international standards.

Description of results

  1. The InfoBase has been updated to include:

    Significant changes have also been made to improve the look and functionality of the InfoBase, making it more user-friendly for Canadians.

  2. The following datasets were added to the Open Data portal:

    The How government works – Government finances topic on Canada.ca was updated to point to the most recent budget (Budget 2017).

  3. For Budget 2017, the department released the following additional content to make the budget more transparent and understandable:
  4. Public Services and Procurement Canada increased transparency on contracts for standing offers and supply arrangements, via the release of the Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements Application.

    The department also introduced increased detail on standing offers and supply arrangements issued to suppliers, including call-up values, socio-economic benefits, multiple price lists and supporting files, and authorized provincial/territorial users.

  5. So far, best practices from the Open Contracting Data Standard pilot include the importance of linking procurement data from all phases of the procurement process (i.e., from requisition to spending on a procurement). This serves to provide improved analysis of the contracting data flow, increase transparency, and improve cost evaluation and traceability across the procurement process by linking related procurement data. The linked procurement data, as prescribed by the Open Contracting Data Standard pilot, should serve as requirements for future implementation of contracting systems. We came to the conclusion that any new service or procurement system should generate by-default data in Open Contracting Data Standard format. Formatting as per Open Contracting Data Standard should not be an afterthought.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to improve the content and overall functionality of the InfoBase over the coming year including:
    • Expanding available human resources information;
    • Exploring ways to help users find information more quickly and effectively (including expanding the use of tags); and,
    • Implementing an InfoBase feedback survey to better understand the overall user experience and focus efforts for future improvements.
  2. In order to complete this deliverable by June 2018, Finance Canada will implement open data best practices to facilitate the addition of further datasets to open.canada.ca. It will release datasets that were identified as eligible for release in their open data inventory and will add additional links to relevant resources under Government finances on Canada.ca
  3. In order to complete this deliverable by June 2018, Finance Canada will continue to develop overviews, summary reports, and digital materials that are consistent, transparent and understandable to Canadians.
  4. Public Services and Procurement Canada will make progress on the enhanced Supplier Registration Information service, to bring increased integrity to supplier registration for contracting, which will enable the creation of authoritative and traceable contracting data.
  5. Public Services and Procurement Canada will introduce requisition data to link to existing tender and contracting data on Buyandsell.gc.ca, including updated content regarding data gaps and best practices. They will also update content on Buyandsell.gc.ca to share best practices from using the Open Contracting Data Standard. This deliverable is on track to complete progress on the Open Contracting Data Standard pilot for June 2018, in accordance with the introduction of the requisition data. The inclusion of spending data will be initiated after June 2018.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Limited
  3. Limited
  4. Substantial
  5. Limited