Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX): Action Plan Commitment 3


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Lead implementing department(s)
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Open Data
Reporting period

End-of-term (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016)


On Schedule

Establish an open data institute to support collaboration with the private sector, civil society, academia, and other levels of government to promote the commercialization of open data.

Deliverables Status / Final Results Lessons Learned Completion Level

Establish the Open Data Exchange (ODX) as a national marketplace for open data to undertake the following:

  • Developing new tools and applications that use government data;
  • Establishing a framework for open data standards;
  • Consulting with industry champions on demonstration projects for the commercialization of open data in priority sectors;
  • Launching a national outreach program;
  • Incubating new data-driven companies.

In , Canada announced funding for Communitech Corporation to establish the Open Data Exchange (ODX), located in Waterloo, Ontario.

Developing new tools and applications that use government data – ODX has:

  • Established a mentorship and concierge service to work directly with companies to help them either gain access to open data or architect systems to process open data;
  • Run workshops to improve participants' open data and analytical skills; and
  • Developed the ODX Ventures program that will provide assistance to companies on a project-by-project basis to build open data powered products and services.

Establishing a framework for open data standards

Open data standards remain a challenge with data providers and data users. As such, ODX has been developing a stronger working relationship with data providers at all levels of government and advocating working towards, at minimum, common file formats to ease ingestion of data from different government sources. As market sectors mature, ODX anticipates that open data standards will emerge to fit the needs of the applications as is already evident with environmental and geospatial data. In the interim, ODX will continue to work with its partner, ThinkData Works, to allow companies to access open data sources through a common application programming interface (API).

Consulting with industry champions on demonstration projects:

ODX has convened an Advisory Board, that is predominantly private-sector-led, to provide input into ODX strategy and to advise on trends and opportunities in open data. ODX has also launched the first two of three planned demonstration projects. The first project focuses on the digitization of provincial education standards, with D2L as the private sector lead. The second is working with the City of Guelph on an open data challenge to engage the private sector to create solutions to civic challenges such as energy efficiency, water quality, and improved management of parking resources. The latter has garnered much attention from other municipalities across Canada and ODX is evaluating the opportunity to productize the offering.

Launching a national outreach program

ODX has launched its national outreach program, which includes several initiatives to connect with creators of and users of open data across the country, including:

  • Launching the Open Data 150 (OD150) project, to identify companies using open data and how they have integrated open data into their business models. Moreover, ODX will use the OD150 to connect companies to market opportunities, an instance of which has already come to fruition with the second demonstration project involving the City of Guelph Civic Challenge;
  • Partnering on the Open Cities Index, which ranks cities on their degree of openness, and,
  • Launching the ODX Connect program in partnership with the Canadian Digital Media Network to help open data enabled companies go global by helping them enter new markets.

Incubating new data-driven companies

Given the early nature of the open data ecosystem in Canada, ODX spent its first year laying the necessary groundwork to support open-data start-ups. Formalized collaboration agreements founding partners and several third party partners are in place to launch projects or provide access to value add resources for new companies. As an example, ThinkData Works provides the open data search functionality on the ODX website.

ODX has connected with many companies through its concierge/mentor program, the OD150, demonstration projects and skills development programming. In an effort to further accelerate the creation and evolution of open data driven business models, ODX is further engaging with companies via the ODX Connect program. Through these programs, ODX has been incubating companies over the majority of its first year of existence. As these programs mature, there will be an opportunity to dig deeper into open data market needs and work with even more companies.

Canada's Open Data Exchange was funded through the 2014 federal budget and was launched in May 2015 as a three-year initiative. One year into its mandate, substantial progress has been made and ODX is on track to deliver against its stated goals at the end of the three-year mandate.

Time is required to build capacity to close the gap between the data providers and the data users, develop collaborations and partnerships, and undertake promotional activities outside and within Canada.


Rolled over in
2016-18 Plan

Additional Deliverables Beyond the Action Plan

ODX is seeking to launch an Open Data Ventures Initiative, which would secure additional collaborators for small scale Open Data commercialization/technology development projects.


Supports the principles of civic participation and increasing access to new technologies for openness and accountability. Activities are targeted at helping address the OGP Grand Challenge of improving public services by promoting collaboration among various sectors to demonstrate and catalyze the effective use of open data to meet socio-economic objectives.


Creates a platform and toolsets to help the private sector use government data to launch new products and create new companies to spur economic growth and create new jobs.

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