Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government

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Table of contents

  1. Message from the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
  2. Letter from the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Open Government
  3. Introduction
    1. Progress achieved to date
    2. Canada’s global open government leadership
    3. Developing Canada’s plan for 2018 to 2020
    4. From comments to commitments
    5. Our guiding principles
  4. 1. User-friendly open government
  5. 2. Financial transparency and accountability
  6. 3. Corporate transparency
  7. 4. Digital government and services
  8. 5. Open science
  9. 6. Healthy democracy
  10. 7. Access to information
  11. 8. Feminist and inclusive dialogue
  12. 9. Reconciliation and open government
  13. 10. Open government community
  14. Annex A: Summary of Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government
  15. Annex B: Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) of national action plan commitments
  16. Annex C: How our identity affects our experiences: What is "intersectionality"?

Message from the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Scott Brison
The Honourable Scott Brison
President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

I am pleased to present Canada’s 2018-20 National Action Plan on Open Government. Building on the foundation of our first 3 plans, this plan launches 10 new commitments, while continuing to promote openness, transparency, and accountability in the Government of Canada.

Open government plays a critical role in ensuring citizens are served by their governments in ways that are responsive, efficient and fair. It connects people to the governments who serve them, and helps make policies and services more citizen-centred.

This plan is an example of open government. In our most ambitious public engagement process to date, it was developed with contributions from thousands of Canadians. More than 10,000 people from coast to coast to coast provided their ideas and suggestions online and in person. I want to thank everyone who participated in helping to shape the future of open government in Canada.

In 2018-19, Canada is also leading the global open government movement as co-chair of the international Open Government Partnership. In this role, we have committed to a vision of open government that focuses on 3 priorities: inclusion, participation and impact. The 2018-20 National Action Plan on Open Government complements and supports our international activities. It outlines how we’ll improve financial transparency, upgrade our digital services, and keep making government more open for Canadians.

I invite you to read this plan and see for yourselves what we’ll be doing over the next 2 years to reinvent government for the digital era.

The Honourable Scott Brison
President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Letter from the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Open Government

The Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government is a group of 8 civil society representatives and 4 federal government officials who provide input and advice on the development and implementation of the Government of Canada’s open government activities. Multi-stakeholder forums of this type are an international best practice, and the Open Government Partnership requires that all member countries maintain a forum to enable regular multistakeholder consultation on OGP implementation.

Canada’s Multi-stakeholder Forum (MSF) on Open Government is a unique platform for strengthening open government across Canada. It provides for ongoing and continuous engagement and dialogue between government and civil society. Its creation represents an earnest attempt at co-creating and building a common platform for shaping and influencing the actions and policies of government.

This is the first year that the MSF has been in place to guide the development of one of Canada’s open government plans. It has played a central role in developing Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government.

Establishing the MSF

The MSF launched in late 2017. The MSF emerged from sustained calls from the open government community for such a Forum. It was also a top recommendation from the OGP’s Independent Review Mechanism.

To create the MSF, a group of dedicated volunteers ran an open process across the country to identify the right mix of people to advance discussions. Establishing the MSF was based on the recognition that the open government movement is meant to be a dialogue between partners inside and outside government. Sometimes this dialogue takes the form of collaboration and sometimes it means responding to constructive critiques.

The role of the MSF in developing the National Action Plan

Launching the 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government offers an opportunity to take stock of how the MSF is working. It provides an important opportunity to assess whether we are being successful in reflecting Canadians’ needs into open government commitments. It is also an opportunity to provide the MSF’s assessment of the plan, and the development process for the plan.

We’ll be clear: we view the current status of our collaboration as a starting point. This has been a learning year. It has allowed us to identify many challenges for meaningful collaboration and co-creation, but we remain committed to the vision of the MSF. It can provide an opportunity for its members to better understand each other’s realities and concerns and to explore how to work together. We appreciate that everyone came to the table with deep expertise, sharp insights, and a commitment to work together.

From the government perspective, we learned that we need to do far more to secure a deep and meaningful commitment to the MSF process across the entire government. We need to find a way to connect the work of the MSF to decision points for the many programs and policies that run in parallel to open government. This means that we need to align our work more closely to budget cycles and policy development processes. We also need to do a better job to ensure that public servants understand that open government is not a box to be checked off but rather a new way to do things. It is a new lens through which we can review our goals, our methods, our processes, our accomplishments… and even our failures. We need to enshrine the principle of genuine openness between collaborative partners. This is not only about listening; it’s about acting.

From the civil society perspective, there was a sense that the 2018-2020 National Action Plan initiative was not ready for incorporating civil society contributions into the process. Initial timelines for deliverables and public engagement were tight, expectations to have access to public officials in various key departments were high, and there was a realistic belief that the pent-up collection of previously recommended but unaddressed commitments would be foundational components of the 2018-2020 Plan. It was a challenge for the civil society members, both volunteering their limited time and potentially compromising their reputations in the broader civil society community, to remain committed and actively engaged in the process. Civil society members contributing to the 2018-2020 Plan had to rationalize that the process was an important and necessary growing pain to establish a more fruitful foundation for future National Action Plans.

Results: learning to work together

From the perspective of the MSF as a whole, we did not reach consensus on the direction of the National Action Plan, or even how it should be developed. But we still believe in the value of this process and the possibilities it raises. We believe in the value of co-creating and we think that we have taken meaningful steps and learned important lessons to realize that value.

The government members found the MSF helpful in creating momentum around particular commitments to chart bolder paths forward. The civil society members of the MSF appreciated that the government members were truly committed to the principles of open government and collaboration and actively sought to understand civil societies’ concerns and frustrations.

We recognize that members have different roles as both part of the MSF and as officials, advocates, and leaders in other capacities. As such, members continue to be free to express their thoughts about the National Action Plan and to advocate for the progress they want to see.

The 2018-2020 National Action Plan is undoubtedly better because of the MSF and its discussions. That said, we recognize that there is room for improvement and progress. It is precisely that belief that drives the open government movement: that we can always do better. We hope that the MSF can build on what we accomplished, mature into a stronger body, and drive ambitious open government reforms that have lasting and meaningful impact on Canadians’ lives.

Introduction

Open government is an approach to governance that focuses on transparency, accountability, and citizen participation.

The Government of Canada is committed to open government. We have made good progress in recent years, working with partners in government and civil society across Canada and around the world to support and promote the principles of open government. But we need to do more. This 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government is our commitment to the people of Canada, and our plan for how we will continue to raise the bar on open government.

This Plan comes at a moment of global importance for the open government movement. Rapid digital progress is increasing people’s expectations for their governments. Citizens want us to show we are ready and capable, and we will look out for them.

Taking action to build public trust in government institutions is of ongoing importance. Open government can be an important way to renew that trust. It can show how governments are working, how they seek to understand citizens’ needs, and how they serve those needs. It can also help to keep governments honest and accountable.

At the same time as open government is growing in international importance, it is also undergoing a significant shift. Early open government reforms focused on publishing more government data and information. For governments, the goal was simply to open up as much information as possible, with the expectation that citizens would do the rest.

More and more, governments are recognizing that they need to provide the tools that make government information and data useful and reusable for everyone. The information and data governments provide need to be published in a way that makes them accessible to and usable by everyone. There is also greater focus on the importance of citizen participation in government decision-making processes. Governments must not only hear citizens’ questions and concerns; they must listen to them and take steps to address them.

Most importantly, there is a growing recognition that government is not open unless it is open to everyone. When governments open up opportunities for citizens to speak up and participate, they need to ensure that all people can make their voices heard. It is critical that governments design public engagement processes that are welcoming to communities that have too often been marginalized or under-represented.

As the Government of Canada continues to expand and transform its open government efforts, we always come back to our core definition of what it is we want to achieve: "a governing culture that fosters greater openness and accountability, enhances citizen participation in policymaking and service design, and creates a more efficient and responsive government." But this next stage is about enshrining open government into everything we do. It’s about shifting the capabilities, behaviors and processes, and making government open by default.

Progress achieved to date

Canada’s commitment to open government is reflected in the sustained, incremental progress that has brought together partners from across the Government of Canada and in governments and civil society organizations across the country.

As part of the implementation of our 2016-18 National Action Plan, we took significant steps to make government more open, including:

  • establishing a Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government, bringing together government and civil society representatives to provide strategic direction for our work
  • increasing the transparency of information on grants and contributions using a collaborative approach
  • publishing the full data tables from the federal budget, just one week after the tabling of the budget in the House of Commons
  • creating a new search function on open.canada.ca, allowing users to search through Government of Canada and Government of Alberta data through a single site

In all, we were able to complete implementation of 16 of the 22 commitments in our 2016-2018 Plan and significant progress was made on the other 6 commitments. You can learn more about our successes and the lessons we learned in our End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report.

The 2016 to 2018 Plan gave us an important framework to guide our open government efforts. But it could never capture all that the Government of Canada is doing to advance openness. As of September 2018, there are 67 departments and agencies contributing data and information to the open.canada.ca open government portal. Over the last 3 years alone, the Government of Canada has done more than 300 public consultations to ensure our work meets the needs and expectations of Canadians. And through learning materials, workshops, and training sessions, we have reached thousands of public servants to help them understand how they can make their work more open and accountable to Canadians. Other notable actions taken by the Government of Canada to enhance openness during the 2016 to 2018 period include:

  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat launched its @OpenGovCan Twitter account, allowing Canadians to keep up with our work and learn more about open government in Canada and around the world
  • Library and Archives Canada launched Co-Lab, a tool that allows any Canadian to contribute to making history more accessible by transcribing, tagging, translating and describing digitized images in Library and Archives Canada’s collection
  • Changes were made to the House of Commons Standing Orders to better align the federal Budget and Estimates processes, ensuring Canadians and Parliamentarians have more accurate, detailed information, and they are better able to hold government to account for how it spends taxpayer dollars
  • Departments and agencies across the Government of Canada held dozens of public consultations on issues as diverse as the legalization of cannabis, a new Government of Canada Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy, the protection of oceans, the Government of Canada’s approach to big data and innovation, the transition to a low carbon energy future, and the federal budget

Canada’s global open government leadership

Canada’s accomplishments in open government have been recognized on a global scale. In March 2017, Canada was elected to the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) for a 3-year term. The OGP is the leading global forum on open government issues. It works with member governments around the world to create concrete commitments to make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable. They provide structure to Canada’s open government work through their 2-year National Action Plan process, which allows us to make commitments and report regularly on how we are following through on those commitments.

In September 2017, Canada accepted the role of co-chair of the OGP’s Steering Committee. This is a position of unprecedented leadership for Canada in the global open government community. Canada is honoured to serve as lead government co-chair of the OGP Steering Committee from October 2018 to October 2019.

The Government of Canada will work in close collaboration with our civil society co-chair Nathaniel Heller, Executive Vice President for Integrated Strategies at Results for Development.

In October 2018, we released our OGP co-chair strategy which included our priorities of inclusion, participation, and impact. We also committed to reporting publicly on progress on our leadership commitments. Canada also announced that we would host an OGP Global Summit in May 2019, welcoming the world to Ottawa to share experiences and face common challenges in open government.

Developing Canada’s plan for 2018 to 2020

From November 2017 to April 2018, the Government of Canada conducted an extensive public engagement process to understand Canadians’ priorities and expectations with regard to the fourth Plan. This was the Open Government team’s most ambitious public engagement event to date. You can find more information about this process in our What We Heard – Summary Report.

In total, more than 10,000 people participated through in-person and online events, providing suggestions and ideas for the 2018-2020 Plan. In-person events were held in 14 cities across Canada, and online events included a Reddit discussion, webinars on key thematic areas, an online questionnaire, and an ongoing Twitter dialogue. Ideas were also submitted via email and online through open.canada.ca. In the course of the consultation, over 5,000 ideas and comments were received from Canadians across the country.

Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government

In addition to the extensive public engagement process, Government of Canada officials also engaged with civil society representatives through Canada’s Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government.

Launched in January 2018, the Multi-Stakeholder Forum is composed of 12 members, 8 from civil society and 4 from the Government of Canada. The Forum supports ongoing dialogue between government and Canadian civil society on open government. Its mandate is to provide input and advice on the Government of Canada’s commitments on open government, identify new areas of focus, and build the open government community across Canada.

Civil society members of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum identified a number of key action areas for inclusion in the National Action Plan, such as access to information, feminist open government, and beneficial ownership transparency. The Multi-Stakeholder Forum met in-person or via teleconference regularly to discuss the broad direction of the plan as well as individual elements of commitments.

Feminist and inclusive peer review

As we began the process of developing our National Action Plan, the Open Government team discussed options for ensuring that the commitments in the plan reflected the needs and expectations of under-represented communities, including equity-seeking groups like women, girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirit (LGBTQ2) people, racialized communities, persons with disabilities, young Canadians, low-income Canadians, and others.

For the first time ever, the Government of Canada has undertaken a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)Footnote 1 assessment of its open government plan, which you can find in Annex B. It is an important way to examine how various intersecting identity factors might impact the effectiveness of our open government work. Furthermore, taking onboard the advice of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, we recognized the need to engage external experts in conducting a GBA+ assessment to ensure commitments reflected broader expertise in inclusive and feminist policy-making.

We therefore decided to reach out to 4 experts to ask them to conduct a peer review of our draft National Action Plan, make recommendations, and suggest changes. Our 4 peer reviewers were:

  • Nasma Ahmed, facilitator and developer
  • Elodie Joy Jacquet, Dialogue and Public Engagement Consultant, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
  • Saadia Muzaffar, tech entrepreneur, author, and advocate
  • Leslie Shade, Professor and Associate Dean, University of Toronto

The full input provided by our peer reviewers can be found in our What We Heard Report. This peer review process influenced the way we wrote our commitments, and the way we understood the key principles underlying all of our work.

From comments to commitments

Based on the input received through the public engagement process, the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, and the feminist and inclusive peer review, the Open Government team worked closely with departments across the Government of Canada to develop 10 draft National Action Plan commitments. Where possible, commitment text was co-created (drafted in collaboration) with both internal (government) and external (civil society) partners.

These 10 draft National Action Plan commitments were made publicly available and over a 3-week period Canadians were invited to provide their thoughts on the draft commitments. Almost 600 comments and ideas were received, which have helped to improve and shape the plan’s final commitments.

The commitments in our 2018-2020 Plan cover a wide range of areas, and each commitment includes specific milestones and success indicators. We believe we have drafted an ambitious, forward-thinking Action Plan that not only reflects the OGP values of transparency, accountability, and participation, but also reflects our co-chair priorities of inclusion, participation, and impact. We look forward to working with our partners throughout the federal government, across Canada, and around the world to implement these commitments between now and August 31, 2020.

Our guiding principles

What is captured in the commitments below are the specific actions we will take to make government more open. But we also know there are core principles that we must apply to all our open government initiatives. These are the principles that will guide our work every day, through every step in every process we take:

  • Inclusion: The inclusion of citizens in decision-making processes is the core of democracy. In all our work, we will be inclusive and welcoming of everyone, with special focus on supporting meaningful participation from communities who are marginalized, at risk, or left out of government decisions.
  • Gender equity: We know that the commitments in our plan may affect different people in different ways based on various aspects of their individual identities. We are committed to the inclusion of women, girls, and non-binary people in all open government activities, and we will apply an intersectionalFootnote 2 lens to all commitments and open government activities.
  • Accessibility: We will continue to ensure that the open information and data we provide and our public engagement activities are accessible to all, using a variety of in-person and online platforms to reach a wide audience of Canadians.
  • User-centric thinking: We know that governments sometimes work and communicate in ways that are hard for Canadians to understand. We will work to communicate in plain language, and we will think about our intended audience when we publish new information. We will also work to design programs and services that respond to the needs of Canadians, and we will talk to Canadians to understand those needs.
  • Reconciliation: We must do more to ensure that our open government work reflects the needs and expectations of our partners in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across the country. The implementation of all our commitments will be guided by Canada’s renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. We will also be guided by the fundamental principle of "nothing about us, without us" so that all programs, policies, and services affecting Indigenous peoples are designed in consultation and in collaboration with them.
  • Collaboration: The global open government movement is only as powerful as the people that fuel it. Our progress is made more meaningful, and ultimately more sustainable, if we remain open to a diversity of views and experiences, and we learn from each other. We will work in collaboration with partners inside and outside government, across Canada and around the world. We will identify best practices, share lessons learned, and support each other to open up government and better serve citizens. We will be learning along the way, and sharing these lessons, as our efforts will help shape a new way for government to work.

1. User-friendly open government

Issue to be addressed

Canadians want their government to reflect the values of transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in all of its work. To do this, the Government of Canada needs to put citizens at the centre of its open government efforts. The more Canadians know about and understand the work government does, and the more they are able to actively participate in it, the more we can all harness the social and economic potential of open government.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will provide opportunities for Canadians to learn about open government. We will also improve the openness of federal government data. We will:

  • make improvements to open.canada.ca
  • help Canadians learn more about Government of Canada work on open government
  • improve the quality of open data available through open.canada.ca
  • expand the Open by Default pilot project
  • provide tools for government and citizens to work together
  • develop open data privacy guidelines

Lead department(s)

Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)’s Federal Geospatial Program (FGP); Statistics Canada (StatCan); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Milestones

Table 1: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

1.1 Make improvements to open.canada.ca to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and contribute to the open government community

(TBS)

Pilot launched for users to submit datasets, visualizations, and reports based on open government data or information

At least 20 user-submitted records available by June 2020

Space provided on open.canada.ca for stories of open data impact, including user-submitted stories

At least 50 stories available by June 2019

Quarterly reporting on progress on releasing datasets submitted via the Suggest a Dataset form on open.canada.ca

December 2018

Regular public reporting on improvements, user research and feedback on open.canada.ca, including on top task success rates

June 2020

1.2 Help Canadians learn about Canada’s work on open government through learning materials, information sessions, and enhanced training for public servants

(CSPS / TBS)

Materials for teachers and educators drafted and published

June 2019

Outreach to at least 50 teachers or educators to encourage them to review and use these materials

March 2020

70% of teachers using the material are satisfied with it

March 2020

At least 300 public servants from at least 15 Government of Canada departments or agencies trained through learning activities indicate a better understanding of open government following the learning activity

June 2020

A Government of Canada Digital Academy is established, and at least 40 nominated participants complete its premium course curriculumtable 1 note a

August 2019

3 workshop events are held to train federal public servants on employing administrative data in decision-making

June 2020

Public open government and open data webinars are held at least every 2 months

6 held by October 2019

12 held by June 2020

Participants are happy with webinar content and format (at least 70% satisfaction measured by a short survey after each webinar)

June 2020

1.3 Improve the quality of open data available on open.canada.ca

(NRCan / StatCan / TBS)

Data quality criteria developed and published, and workshops are held with government officials to develop their capacity to improve quality of datasets

June 2019

A new data quality rating system to supplement current "Rate this dataset" function is developed in consultation with users and national partners and available on open.canada.ca

June 2020

200 frequently downloaded datasets are reviewed for qualitytable 1 note b, standardization, complete metadata, contextual documentation, and plain language descriptions

June 2020

An additional 500 geospatial datasets reviewed using the Federal Geospatial Platform (FGP) data quality assessment criteria from NRCan

1.4 Expand the Open by Default pilot to make working documents from government officials open by default, subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy, confidentiality, and security

(TBS)

Open by Default pilot is expanded to capture working documents produced by the Open Government team at TBS

June 2019

New innovative technologies are implemented to improve accessibility and availability of documents in both official languages in order to comply with the Official Languages Act, the Treasury Board Policy on Official Languages, and the Standard on Web Accessibility

April 2020

A subset of working documents produced by at least 3 government departments, in addition to the Open Government team at TBS, is available through the Open by Default portal

June 2020

1.5 Co-create a public, digital collaboration space where citizens and government employees can work together

(TBS)

A public, digital collaboration space is launched, and made available for Canadians and government officials to use. The collaboration space will:

  • allow users to register with a single, easy-to-use sign-in
  • allow Canadians and government officials to share files, work collaboratively, and participate in community discussions

June 2019

1.6 Develop open data guidelines to protect the privacy of citizens, businesses, and institutions

(StatCan)

A series of workshops is delivered by Statistics Canada to train participants on the application of guidelines for the anonymization of datasets

June 2019

1.7 Help Canadians understand the data and models used to design and study government programs

(ESDC)

Microsimulation models, including underlying datasets, results and supporting documents, are made publicly available to help to explain how the government uses these models to design programs and to estimate their impacts

December 2019 and ongoing

Table 1 Notes

Table 1 Note 1

Premium curriculum may include content on development, design and user experience, disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence and data science. Agile, open data and working in the open will likely be recurring themes throughout all premium curriculum.

Return to table 1 note a referrer

Table 1 Note 2

Data quality may include things like relevance, accuracy, timeliness, accessibility, interpretability, and coherence. For more information, check out the Government of Canada’s Policy on Informing Users of Data Quality and Methodology.

Return to table 1 note b referrer

2. Financial transparency and accountability

Issue to be addressed

Many Canadians find it difficult to understand how the government spends their tax dollars. Governments can improve financial transparency by providing tools and information to make their spending easier to understand and by releasing more detailed information to allow citizens to hold governments to account.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will continue to improve the transparency of its spending and its open contracting to make it easier for Canadians to understand federal budgets, track funding decisions, and examine government procurement and spending processes. We will:

  • make government budget and spending information easier to find and understand
  • publish an analysis of gender-based impacts for all Budget measuresFootnote 3
  • ensure Canadians have access to open data on Government of Canada procurement
  • explore adoption of common contracting data standards across Canada

Lead department(s)

Department of Finance Canada (FIN); Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Milestones

Table 2: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

2.1 Make government budget and spending information easier for Canadians to find and understand

(FIN / TBS)

Parliamentarians and Canadians are engaged in reviewing the Government’s progress in improving the timeliness, completeness, and transparency of the Budget and Main Estimates

October 2019

Based on feedback received in the engagement above, recommendations are published on the approach to the Budget and Main Estimates for 2020 to 2021 and future years

February 2020

The description and detail of budget spending plans is improved, including more detailed information on budget allocation by department

February to March

GC InfoBase is expanded to allow Canadians to easily follow funding and results, from announcement to implementation, for all Government of Canada programs

March 2019

Government of Canada Guidelines on the Reporting of Grants and Contributions Awards are updated to ensure proactive disclosure of grants and contributions data continues to meet Canada’s legal and policy requirements

June 2020

2.2 Publish the Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) for all new announced budget expenditure and tax measures in future budgets

(FIN)

Canadians and Parliamentarians have access to information on the gender and diversity impacts of budget measures.

February to March 2019

2.3 Ensure Canadians have access to open data on Government of Canada procurement

(PSPC / TBS)

Pilot data that tests the implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is undertaken, which includes a cross-section of at least 300 contract records for a variety of contracts, including major projects. Pilot data will include all stages of the procurement cycle (planning, tender, award, contract, and implementation).

December 2019

3-5 public workshops on open contracting are held to analyze what types of contracting data are currently available and assess barriers to releasing open contracting data.

  • The workshops consider the results of the open data pilot.
  • Workshops include participation from civil society, procurement experts, and industry representatives.
  • A report is developed outlining input received and recommendations developed during the workshops.

June 2020

Tender, award, and contract data aligned with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is published for all contracts for fiscal years 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018. Data is published on open.canada.ca and is updated on a regular schedule.

August 2020

PSPC’s new e-Procurement Solution (EPS) is designed to increase the release of open contracting data for all PSPC contracting records. A report is published on progress in developing the EPS, including reporting on progress in aligning open contracting data with the international Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS)

June 2020

Government of Canada Guidelines on Proactive Disclosure of Contracts are updated to ensure proactive disclosure of contracts data continues to meet Canada’s legal and policy requirements

June 2020

2.4 Explore adoption of common contracting data standards across Canada

(PSPC)

Representatives of federal government and provincial and territorial governments have met to discuss potential adoption of common contracting data standard for tender notices

August 2019

Government officials have further explored adoption of common contracting data standards across the broader procurement cycle

June 2020

3. Corporate transparency

Issue to be addressed

Concealing information about corporate ownership can facilitate:

  • tax evasion
  • money laundering
  • terrorist financing
  • human rights abuses
  • corruption

By improving corporate transparency, governments can safeguard against the misuse of corporations and other legal entities while continuing to facilitate the ease of doing business in order to foster growth and innovation.

In Canada, the responsibility for corporate law is shared between federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Additionally, international collaboration and information-sharing where appropriate can support more effective work in this domain by identifying best practices and common challenges. Coordination is therefore needed to address corporate issues effectively.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments to implement the federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers’ December 2017 Agreement to Strengthen Beneficial Ownership Transparency. We will:

  • require federal corporations to hold beneficial ownership information
  • engage with key stakeholders on possible options to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information

Lead department(s)

Department of Finance Canada (FIN); Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)

Milestones

Table 3: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

3.1 Implement legislative amendments to require federal corporations to hold accurate and up to date beneficial ownership information, and eliminate use of bearer shares

(FIN / ISED)

Amendments made to the Canada Business Corporations Act

July 2019

3.2 Work with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders representing various perspectives on possible options to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information, including retention and disclosure obligations relating to such information and the exploration of a public registry option

(FIN / ISED)

Consultations, framed by a discussion document, with stakeholders from civil society, private sector, academia and other sectors are held to discuss issues relating to beneficial ownership information, including emerging best practices in other jurisdictions

July 2019

Federal recommendations are provided to provincial and territorial governments on improving timely access to beneficial ownership information

August 2019

3.3 Continue to work with provincial and territorial governments to support coordinated implementation of the Agreement to Strengthen Beneficial Ownership Transparency

(FIN / ISED)

All elements of the Agreement are implemented by the federal government

August 2020

4. Digital government and services

Issue to be addressed

The Government of Canada is going digital, and that means we need to fundamentally change the way we work. We want our investments in digital government to make Canadians’ lives better, and we want the benefits of digital government to reach as many people as possible. To achieve this goal, we need to follow the principles of transparency, accountability, and accessibility in implementing new and evolving government digital technologies and services.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will apply the principles of openness to its digital services, allowing it to meet evolving user expectations while enhancing transparency and inclusion. We will:

  • develop a Government of Canada digital policy and data strategy roadmap for the federal public service
  • engage with Canadians on what digital and data transformation means for them
  • create a performance dashboard to track service to Canadians
  • publish analytics on Canada.ca website traffic
  • prioritize open source code in developing digital solutions
  • improve transparency and awareness of the Government’s use of artificial intelligence (AI)

Lead department(s)

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); Library and Archives Canada (LAC); Privy Council Office (PCO); Statistics Canada (StatCan); Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Milestones

Table 4: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

4.1 Create a digital policy for the Government of Canada

(TBS)

Canadians are engaged on the development of a Treasury Board digital policy. Public input is solicited and accepted via online platforms

June 2019

Input received is included in a summary report to be released publicly

November 2018

A Treasury Board digital policy is published. The policy will integrate requirements with respect to service, information technology, information management and data, as well as components of cybersecurity

June 2019

4.2 Develop a data strategy roadmap for the federal public service

(PCO / StatCan / TBS)

A data strategy roadmap is developed for the federal public service to strengthen the government’s management and use of data for decision-making. The strategy will:

  • foster trust in the government’s data stewardship
  • demonstrate to Canadians that the government uses data for decisions that can improve their lives

December 2018

4.3 Engage with Canadians on what digital and data transformation means for business, civil society, and Canadianstable 4 note a

(ISED)

Canadians are informed and engaged, offering bold ideas through online forums and at least 25 in-person events

Feedback from diverse stakeholders helps to inform future policy work

December 2018

4.4 Create a performance dashboard to track service to Canadians

(TBS)

Data on service delivery performance for all major service departments is collected and published via a dashboard on open.canada.ca

The dashboard indicates which services are available online, and specifies service standards, fees, volumetric data, and performance results

December 2019

4.5 Publish analytics on Canada.ca website traffic in a timely manner, in the spirit of sites like http://analytics.usa.gov

(ESDC)

As a first phase, analytics are understandable and available and for public review for the top pages on the Canada.ca site and key service portals

June 2019

4.6 Prioritize open source code in development and procurement of digital solutions

(LAC / TBS)

Code for all new projects presented to the Enterprise Architecture Review Board (EARB) is publicly released within 6 months of launch, or a justification is published

March 2019

Guidance is provided to departments on how to remove barriers for developers by publishing source code under open licenses

Guidance is provided to departments on the use of open standards

A business case for Open Source is published

September 2018

A registry of open source code and open source software is established to provide consolidated access to government open source resources

September 2018

Source code used in LAC’s Co-Lab crowdsourcing tool is opened up and available publicly for other institutions to use

March 2019

An open source day event is organized

September 2018

4.7 Improve transparency and awareness of artificial intelligence (AI) supported public services

(CSPS / ISED / TBS)

AI supply arrangements and other procurement vehicles are available to support departments in experimentation and innovation

September 2018

A Treasury Board directive on decision support systems is developed to set rules on how departments can use AI ethically to make decisions

January 2019

An algorithmic impact assessment tool is available to help institutions better understand and mitigate the risks associated with automated decision-making systems

July 2019

An international conference on AI is hosted by Canada in fall 2018. The Summit will focus on themes of the G7 Statement on AI, in particular, enabling environments that facilitate responsible adoption of AI

December 2018

Through the CSPS Digital Academy, an AI curriculum is established at the Canada School of Public Service to help build literacy on AI among federal public servants. Curriculum will support the data analyst community, raise awareness of AI supported public services across the government, and help to reach common nomenclature aligned with existing best practices

January 2019

Workshops, conferences, and AI days are organized to increase awareness and assist public service to skill-up on AI and other emerging technologies. Where possible, events will be open to other sectors and to the public

Ongoing

Table 4 Notes

Table 4 Note 1

For more information, see the website for Canada’s National Digital and Data Consultations.

Return to table 1 note a referrer

5. Open science

Issue to be addressed

Public access to science conducted or collected by the federal government has great potential value, but government-funded science is sometimes hard to access. This is because it is not open, easy to find, or communicated in a way that resonates with Canadians. Many Canadians also do not know how to find information about federal scientists who are working on issues of interest to them.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will make federal science, scientific data, and scientists more accessible. We will:

  • develop a Canada Open Science Roadmap to provide a plan for greater openness in federal science and research activities
  • provide a platform for Canadians to find and access open access publications from federal scientists
  • raise public awareness of federal scientists’ work and of open science
  • promote open science and solicit feedback on stakeholder needs
  • measure progress in implementing open science and the benefits it can provide

Lead department(s)

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC); National Research Council Canada (NRC); Office of the Chief Science Advisor; Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs)

Milestones

Table 5: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

5.1 Develop an Open Science Roadmap for the Government of Canada

(Office of the Chief Science Advisor, with support from SBDAs)

A Canada open science roadmap is developed to provide a plan for greater openness in federal science and research activities. It is shared with the science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs)

July 2019

Science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs) have released their action plans in keeping with the Canada open science roadmap

March 2020

5.2 Pilot an open science portal to provide access to open access publications from federal scientists

(NRC, Office of the Chief Science Advisor, and TBS, with support from SBDAs)

A roadmap for the future of the Canadian Federal Science Repository prototype is published, including post-pilot next steps

August 2019

A pilot portal for open access federal science publications is launched

March 2020

Report on options for integrating federally funded open science into the pilot portal

June 2020

5.3 Launch a platform allowing Canadians to more easily:

  • find National Research Council science professionals
  • find and access publications and pre-prints they have published
  • understand what they are working on
  • connect with them via social media networks

(NRC)

An online, searchable directory of NRC scientists that other departments can join is in operation by fiscal year 2019 to 2020

March 2020

The platform leverages existing digital identification systems, such as ORCID iD

March 2020

Options are explored to link the NRC directory to the existing Government of Canada directory, which is led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

May 2020

5.4 Promote open science and actively solicit feedback from stakeholders and federal scientists on their needs with respect to open data and open science

(ECCC)

10 open science engagement sessions held with federal scientists and invited stakeholders across Canada

5 by June 2019

10 by June 2020

A report on identified user needs is published and used to inform ongoing and future open science efforts

June 2020

5.5 Measure the Government of Canada’s progress in implementing open science, and the benefits open science can provide to Canadians

(ECCC, with support from SBDAs)

Indicators for measuring the benefits of open science for Canadians are developed and published

June 2019

Indicators report on the benefits of open science for Canadians is published

June 2020

Yearly reporting on progress against existing metrics measuring implementation of open science by SBDAs

Reports released in June 2019 and June 2020

6. Healthy democracy

Issue to be addressed

There is growing evidence that trust in public institutions is low and citizens are concerned about campaigns of false information and "fake news."Footnote 4 These factors can present a threat to healthy democracy. It is critical for Canadians to have the tools and information to think critically about public policy, so they can participate more effectively in democratic processes.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will build the resilience of Canadian democratic institutions in the digital age, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. We will:

  • strengthen democratic institutions in Canada through modernized election laws
  • strengthen international capacity to identify and respond to evolving threats to democracy
  • support a healthy and reliable news ecosystem in Canada
  • champion diversity of content, and quality and transparency of information online

Lead department(s)

Canadian Heritage (PCH); Global Affairs Canada (GAC); Privy Council Office (PCO)

Milestones

Table 6: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

6.1 Strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in Canada, both in advance of and following the 2019 federal election

(PCO)

Election laws are modernised to be more secure, transparent and accessible, including by:

  • modernizing Elections Canada and reinforcing the role of the Commissioner of Canada Elections
  • prohibiting foreign funding
  • increasing transparency around how Canadians are targeted by traditional and online and advertising

October 2019

Government of Canada delivers on Budget 2018 commitment to support a new process that would ensure that federal leaders’ debates are organized in the public interest and improve Canadians’ knowledge of the parties, their leaders and their policy positions

October 2019

6.2 Leverage the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM)table 6 note a to strengthen international capacity to identify and respond to a diversity of evolving threats to democracy, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated responses

(GAC)

The RRM is fully operationalized, and the coordination unit at Global Affairs Canada is established

November 2018

The RRM Focal Points convene on a regular basis

Ongoing through June 2020

The RRM will be tried and tested during its first year of operation

January 2020

6.3 Leverage existing Canadian Heritage programs, including Youth Take Charge and Canada History Fund, to support a healthy democracy

(PCH)

Projects and initiatives are supported with a focus on digital, news and civic literacy for Canadians

June 2020

6.4 Support a healthy and reliable news ecosystem

(PCH)

Government of Canada delivers on Budget 2018 commitment to provide $50 million to support local journalism in underserved communities

June 2019

Work has been completed to better align the Canada Periodical Fund with the reading choices of Canadians and an increasingly digital world

June 2019

New models are explored that enable private giving and philanthropic support for trusted, professional, non-profit journalism and local news

June 2019

Media organizations are consulted to consider how the government can further support the transition to digital media

June 2019

6.5 Champion international norms to support diversity of content, and quality and transparency of information online

(PCH)

The Government of Canada hosts a working session for experts on diversity of content in the digital age to advance the national and international conversation on principles that should guide action in this space

June 2019

Table 6 Notes

Table 6 Note 1

The RRM was launched after the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June 2018. Government of Canada officials have already begun to operationalize the mechanism, establish a Canada-based coordination unit, and leverage open source analytical tools to monitor threats.

Return to table 6 note a referrer

7. Access to information

Issue to be addressed

Canadians want to have easier access to information held by the Government of Canada, including their own personal information.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will advance its commitment to more open and transparent government. We will:

  • undertake a full review of the Access to Information Act
  • improve tools available to people who request government information
  • improve transparency about personal information that the government holds

Lead department(s)

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Milestones

Table 7: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

7.1 Undertake a broad review of the Access to Information Act, including examining:

  • the extent of coverage of the act, including the range of institutions that are subject to the act and who can make requests
  • ways to improve the timeliness of responses to requests
  • the regime of exemptions and exclusions
  • appropriate protections for information relating to Indigenous peoples and governance
  • how new technologies could be used to improve the functioning of the system and service to the user

All sectors of Canadian society, including Indigenous organizations and representatives, will be engaged through online consultations and in-person engagement on issue clusters

(TBS)

The full review begins within one year of royal assent of Bill C-58

Stakeholders are engaged through online consultations and in-person engagement.

Indigenous organizations and representatives are engaged about how the Access to Information Act needs to evolve to reflect Canada’s relations with Indigenous peoples, including how information and knowledge of Indigenous communities is protected and accessible.

The full review will begin within one year of royal assent of Bill C-58

7.2 Issue a plain language guide offering clear explanations of exemptions and exclusions under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and their relationship to the work of federal institutions

(TBS)

A plain language guide is issued

June 2019

7.3 Increase the number of summaries of previously-released access to information requests posted to open.canada.ca and available through informal requests

(TBS)

50% of institutions publishing summaries by June 2019

June 2019

75% of institutions publishing summaries by June 2020

June 2020

7.4 Make it easier for Canadians to access government information by improving the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request Service

(TBS)

The number of participating government institutions is expanded by 50 institutions in each year of the Action Plan

June 2020

Canadians, including users from a variety of backgrounds and levels of ATIP experience are engaged to improve the ATIP Online Request Service through user testing and feedback

At least 2 rounds of user testing conducted before June 2020

7.5 Enable government institutions to provide requesters with responses to access to information requests electronically, subject to any necessary limitations to protect privacy and security

(TBS)

Rather than receiving paper copies or through compact discs, requesters can receive their requests through a digital means

June 2020

7.6 Improve online information about how to make an access to information or personal information request

(TBS)

User testing demonstrates that users find the online information about how to make an access to information or personal information request helpful

January 2020

7.7 Improve transparency about the personal information held by government by making descriptions of Canadians’ personal information holdings (known as personal information banks, or (PIBs)) available on open.canada.ca in a consolidated, searchable format

(TBS)

PIBs from 60 government institutions are available via open.canada.ca

June 2019

8. Feminist and inclusive dialogue

Issue to be addressed

Open government should benefit all Canadians. Yet many communities continue to be under-represented in government engagement processes. These communities seeking equality can include women, girls, LGBTQ2 people, racialized communities, persons with disabilities, young Canadians, low-income Canadians, and others who face barriers in accessing government information and participating meaningfully in the government’s decision-making

Commitment

The Government of Canada will support greater inclusion and diversity in its public engagement. We will apply an intersectionalFootnote 5 lens to open government activities and work to ensure that the voices and experiences of marginalized and under-represented communities are represented, considered, and included. In particular, we will:

  • test ways to make government engagement and consultation processes more open to everyone
  • implement Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagements and consultations
  • build capacity for government officials to design, facilitate, and support more open and inclusive dialogue
  • engage Canadians on gender equality
  • support initiatives that build the capacity and longer term viability of women’s organizations
  • increase access to gender and inclusion data
  • put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes
  • ensure our own National Action Plan on Open Government is as inclusive as possible by conducting a rigorous analysis of gender-based impacts of all commitmentsFootnote 6

Lead department(s)

Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Statistics Canada (StatCan); Status of Women Canada (SWC); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Milestones

Table 8: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

8.1 Test best practices for inclusive dialogue and engagement

(TBS)

10 public engagement or awareness-raising sessions organized in partnership with community organizations representing equality-seeking communities

April 2020

At least 4 best practices tested as part of in-person events, for example, use of alternative venues, event amenities such as child care and transportation, and event structure

April 2020

Report on inclusive engagement practices and guidance for government departments published

August 2020

8.2 Promote development of skills and competencies required to design, facilitate, and support open and inclusive dialogue in policy development, with support materials and capacity building activities

(CSPS / TBS)

Competencies for supporting open and inclusive dialogue are part of a policy competency framework for public servants

March 2019

Capacity-building activities are developed and offered to public servants

September 2019

Open and inclusive dialogue case studies and supporting materials are published and shared with the public

September 2019

8.3 Implement Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagement and consultations

(SWC)

A guide to integrate GBA+ in public consultations and engagement has been developed and implemented, as part of the Guide to Public Engagement

December 2018

8.4 Engage Canadians on gender equality by hosting a national roundtable on GBA+, leading a national conversation on gender equality with young Canadians, and developing a strategy that engages men and boys as partners in advancing gender equality

(SWC)

In-person or online engagement sessions held:

  • Roundtable: targeting approximately 250 stakeholders reached in person
  • Engaging men and boys: targeting approximately 90 organizations engaged on the development of a strategy

June 2020

Engagement sessions include participation from youth, Indigenous people, officials from different levels of government, academics, civil society representatives, and industry representatives

June 2020

Information discussed during engagement sessions are shared in public reports (for example, What We Heard Reports, website platform)

June 2020

8.5 Support initiatives that build the capacity and longer-term viability of women’s organizations

(SWC)

Capacity supports (for example, resources, tools, strategic plans, sustainability plans) are generated by funded projects

June 2020

8.6 Increase access to relevant and timely gender and inclusion data

(StatCan / SWC)

More than 50 indicators are released to improve access to sex-disaggregated and gender data to support GBA+ analysis

June 2019

Data strategies are developed, including concepts and standards, to address gaps as the relate to the concerns of LGBTQ2 communities

October 2019

A gender-based violence (GBV) knowledge centre is established to serve as a hub to coordinate federal initiatives under Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, support data collection and research, and disseminate and mobilize GBV-related knowledge and evidence

Fall 2018

Annual reports to Canadians on the GBV Strategy’s results are released

June 2020

Data and research in priority areas related to gender-based violence are released

June 2020

8.7 Put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes

(ESDC)

A Federal Housing Advocate and National Housing Council are appointed and are starting to consult and collaborate with stakeholders, including people with lived experience of housing need and homelessness

August 2020

An independent National Advisory Council on Poverty is established to provide advice to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. The Council will be representative of Canada's diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, regions, Indigenous people, and official languages, and include members with lived experience of poverty

December 2019

8.8 Conduct GBA+ for all commitments in Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government

(TBS)

A feminist and inclusive peer review of National Action Plan commitments has been conducted

August 2018

A GBA+ review of National Action Plan commitments has been completed

October 2018

9. Reconciliation and open government

Issue to be addressed

The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership, open government activities.

The Government of Canada acknowledges the great harm some of its policies and laws have caused to Indigenous people and their cultures, heritage, and languages. Government must strive to ensure this history is not repeated by working to ensure Indigenous perspectives, values, and lived experiences are included in decisions about the policies, laws, relationships, and decisions that impact their lives. As expressed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), government must also "respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories, and resources."

Commitment

Open government is a way to ensure that government decision-making processes represent and are informed by the voices of the people that will be affected by them. The Government of Canada will engage directly with First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders and stakeholders to explore an approach to reconciliation and open government, in the spirit of building relationships of trust and mutual respect.

This commitment has been purposely designed to allow for significant co-creation and co-implementation, encouraging First Nations, Inuit, and Métis rights holders and stakeholders to define their own approaches to engagement on open government issues. We recognize that, in contrast to other commitments, government cannot act alone to define an approach. Instead, we must work in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities and engagement processes that we could explore in the coming years to allow us to continue our journey of reconciliation and relationship-building.

Lead department(s)

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA); Statistics Canada (StatCan); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)

Milestones

Table 9: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

9.1 Work with Indigenous peoples to advance open government

(TBS)

Through in-person and online dialogue, scope is assessed for stronger collaboration with Indigenous peoples on open government and data governance

August 2020

All members of the Open Government team in TBS receive OCAP training (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession)

April 2019

Options are explored, in collaboration with the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) and the Canada School of Public Service, for supporting officials in departments across government to receive OCAP training

June 2020

9.2 Build capacity for Indigenous communities and organizations to use data and research for their own requirements and needs

(StatCan)

In co-development with Indigenous organizations and communities, 15 workshops are delivered in Indigenous communities on the use of open government data to support improved social and economic outcomes. Where possible, remote participation options will be provided

June 2020

9.3 Work with Indigenous peoples to identify ways in which transparency around consultation and engagement activities can be enhanced

(CIRNA)

Systems supporting consultation and engagement are updated to enhance transparency

August 2020

10. Open government community

Issue to be addressed

As the global open government movement has matured in recent years, we have increasingly recognized that open government initiatives have the potential to transform the lives of citizens. But these efforts can be vulnerable to changes in political leadership and competing government priorities. For open government to be sustainable, we need to make efforts to foster a strong, cohesive community across Canada and around the world that can continue to push for ambitious reforms in all levels of government.

Greater collaboration across the open government community can also lead to more effective work, as good practices and lessons learned can be shared to help others identify challenges and opportunities.

As lead government co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Canada has an unprecedented opportunity to convene and support the open government community around the world and here at home.

Commitment

The Government of Canada will demonstrate leadership at home and abroad, working with partners in government, civil society, and the private sector to share lessons learned and support a collaborative approach to align and advance open government efforts. In particular, we will:

  • launch an ambitious strategy as co-chair of the OGP Steering Committee, in partnership with its civil society co-chair, Nathaniel Heller of Results for Development
  • help to advance the responsible release and use of open data in OGP countries
  • support international events to drive peer learning and measure open government impact internationally
  • build capacity for governments worldwide to design more inclusive open government initiatives
  • strengthen collaboration with other governments in Canada through the Canada Open Government Working Group, and expand the working group to include representatives of national municipal organizations

Lead department(s)

Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); International Development Research Centre (IDRC) through Open Data for Development (OD4D); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); partners in provincial, territorial, and municipal governments across Canada

Milestones

Table 10: Commitment milestones and indicators
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our deadline?

10.1 Demonstrate global leadership during Canada’s term as lead government co-chair of the OGP Steering Committee

(TBS)

A co-chair strategy, co-created with our civil society co-chair, and developed in collaboration with governments and civil society (both domestic and internationally), is published and assessed quarterly in January, April, July, and October 2019

Strategy published October 2018

Commitments fulfilled by June 2020

Canada hosts an OGP summit in spring 2019 that showcases open government to a domestic and international audience

May 2019

10.2 Support the OGP Thematic Partnership on Open Data, helping to advance the responsible release and use of open data in OGP countries

(IDRC)

The Open Data for Development Network, hosted at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and supported by Global Affairs Canada, will:

June 2020

Provide technical support to 10 OGP governments and civil society in developing countries for implementing open data commitments

June 2020

Support research and innovative initiatives on the availability and use of open data for better service delivery, gender equality, inclusion, progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, or transparency and accountability in 10 countries

June 2020

10.3 Support international events to drive peer learning and measure open government and open data impact internationally

(IDRC / TBS)

Co-hosted the International Open Data Conference 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

September 2018

Independent global assessments on the status of open data are supported around the world in a State of Open Data report and through the next edition of the Open Data Barometer

July 2019

Canada has participated in at least 2 bilateral peer learning events and at least 3 international forums, and included language on open government in at least 3 international declarations

June 2020

10.4 Build capacity for more feminist open government initiatives worldwide

(IDRC)

An international coalition has been established that will work to make open government processes more inclusive. This group releases an Action Plan with commitments and progress markers

May 2019

Research is funded in various regions to contribute to an evidence base for the impact of gender equality in open government on public service delivery

December 2018

A synthesis publication is released and shared, with future actions and recommendations outlined

May 2019

10.5 Building on current collaboration between the Governments of Canada and Alberta, extend federated open data search pilot to additional provinces and onboard at least 2 municipalities

(TBS)

Government of Canada has federated open data with at least 2 additional provinces and 2 municipalities

May 2019 to onboard 2 provinces

May 2020 to onboard 2 municipalities

10.6 Implement a pilot project to move toward cross-jurisdictional common data standards in line with the International Open Data Charter and other international standards

(TBS)

Cross-jurisdictional metadata mapping is completed with a common set of core elements

February 2019

A pilot project to standardize 5 high value datasets across jurisdictions from among the list of high value datasets previously identified by the Canada Open Government Working Group is completed

September 2019

At least 5 more subnational governments in Canada have adopted the Open Data Charter

May 2020

10.7 Promote data literacy and management for public servants within all levels of government

(CSPS / TBS)

Data literacy and management resources have been identified and are made available to government employees

September 2019

10 data literacy events are held to promote employees skills in open data

May 2020

Annex A: Summary of Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government

Table 11: Summary of Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government
Commitment Milestone Lead

1. User-friendly open government

1.1 Make improvements to open.canada.ca to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and contribute to the open government community

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

1.2 Help Canadians learn about Canada’s work on open government through learning materials, information sessions, and enhanced training for public servants

  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

1.3 Improve the quality of open data available on open.canada.ca

  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

1.4 Expand the Open by Default pilot to make working documents from government officials open by default, subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy, confidentiality, and security

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

1.5 Co-create a public, digital collaboration space where citizens and government employees can work together

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

1.6 Develop open data guidelines to protect the privacy of citizens, businesses, and institutions

  • Statistics Canada

1.7 Help Canadians understand the data and models used to design and study government programs

  • Employment and Social Development Canada

2. Financial transparency and accountability

2.1 Make government budget and spending information easier for Canadians to find and understand

  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

2.2 Publish the Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) for all new announced budget expenditure and tax measures in future budgets

  • Department of Finance Canada

2.3 Ensure Canadians have access to open data on Government of Canada procurement

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

2.4 Explore adoption of common contracting data standards across Canada

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada

3. Corporate transparency

3.1 Implement legislative amendments to require federal corporations to hold accurate and up to date beneficial ownership information, and eliminate use of bearer shares

  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

3.2 Work with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders representing various perspectives on possible options to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information, including retention and disclosure obligations relating to such information and the exploration of a public registry option

  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

3.3 Continue to work with provincial and territorial governments to support coordinated implementation of the Agreement to Strengthen Beneficial Ownership Transparency

  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

4. Digital government and services

4.1 Create a digital policy for the Government of Canada

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

4.2 Develop a data strategy roadmap for the federal public service

  • Privy Council Office
  • Statistics Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

4.3 Engage with Canadians on what digital and data transformation means for business, civil society, and Canadianstable 11 note a

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

4.4 Create a performance dashboard to track service to Canadians

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

4.5 Publish analytics on Canada.ca website traffic in a timely manner, in the spirit of sites like http://analytics.usa.gov

  • Employment and Social Development Canada

4.6 Prioritize open source code in development and procurement of digital solutions

  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

4.7 Improve transparency and awareness of artificial intelligence (AI) supported public services

  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

5. Open science

5.1 Develop an Open Science Roadmap for the Government of Canada

  • Office of the Chief Science Advisor
  • With support from science-based departments and agencies

5.2 Pilot an open science portal to provide access to open access publications from federal scientists

  • National Research Council Canada
  • Office of the Chief Science Advisor
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • With support from science-based departments and agencies

5.3 Launch a platform allowing Canadians to more easily:

  • find National Research Council science professionals
  • find and access publications and pre-prints they have published
  • understand what they are working on
  • connect with them via social media networks
  • National Research Council Canada

5.4 Promote open science and actively solicit feedback from stakeholders and federal scientists on their needs with respect to open data and open science

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

5.5 Measure the Government of Canada’s progress in implementing open science, and the benefits open science can provide to Canadians

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • With support from science-based departments and agencies

6. Healthy democracy

6.1 Strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in Canada, both in advance of and following the 2019 federal election

  • Privy Council Office

6.2 Leverage the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to strengthen international capacity to identify and respond to a diversity of evolving threats to democracy, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated responses

  • Global Affairs Canada

6.3 Leverage existing Canadian Heritage programs, including Youth Take Charge and Canada History Fund, to support a healthy democracy

  • Canadian Heritage

6.4 Support a healthy and reliable news ecosystem

  • Canadian Heritage

6.5 Champion international norms to support diversity of content, and quality and transparency of information online

  • Canadian Heritage

7. Access to information

7.1 Undertake a broad review of the Access to Information Act, including examining:

  • the extent of coverage of the act, including the range of institutions that are subject to the act and who can make requests
  • ways to improve the timeliness of responses to requests
  • the regime of exemptions and exclusions
  • appropriate protections for information relating to Indigenous peoples and governance
  • how new technologies could be used to improve the functioning of the system and service to the user

All sectors of Canadian society, including Indigenous organizations and representatives, will be engaged through online consultations and in-person engagement on issue clusters

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.2 Issue a plain language guide offering clear explanations of exemptions and exclusions under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and their relationship to the work of federal institutions

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.3 Increase the number of summaries of previously-released access to information requests posted to open.canada.ca and available through informal requests

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.4 Make it easier for Canadians to access government information by improving the ATIP Online Request Service

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.5 Enable government institutions to provide requesters with responses to access to information requests electronically, subject to any necessary limitations to protect privacy and security

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.6 Improve online information about how to make an access to information or personal information request

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

7.7 Improve transparency about the personal information held by government by making descriptions of Canadians’ personal information holdings (known as personal information banks, or PIBs) available on open.canada.ca in a consolidated, searchable format

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

8. Feminist and inclusive dialogue

8.1 Test best practices for inclusive dialogue and engagement

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

8.2 Promote development of skills and competencies required to design, facilitate, and support open and inclusive dialogue in policy development, with support materials and capacity building activities

  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

8.3 Implement Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagement and consultations

  • Status of Women Canada

8.4 Engage Canadians on gender equality by hosting a national roundtable on GBA+, leading a national conversation on gender equality with young Canadians, and developing a strategy that engages men and boys as partners in advancing gender equality

  • Status of Women Canada

8.5 Support initiatives that build the capacity and longer-term viability of women’s organizations

  • Status of Women Canada

8.6 Increase access to relevant and timely gender and inclusion data

  • Statistics Canada
  • Status of Women Canada

8.7 Put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes

  • Employment and Social Development Canada

8.8 Conduct GBA+ for all commitments in Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

9. Reconciliation and open government

9.1 Work with Indigenous peoples to advance open government

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

9.2 Build capacity for Indigenous communities and organizations to use data and research for their own requirements and needs

  • Statistics Canada

9.3 Work with Indigenous peoples to identify ways in which transparency around consultation and engagement activities can be enhanced

  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

10. Open government community

10.1 Demonstrate global leadership during Canada’s term as lead government co-chair of the OGP Steering Committee

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

10.2 Support the OGP Thematic Partnership on Open Data, helping to advance the responsible release and use of open data in OGP countries

  • International Development Research Centre

10.3 Support international events to drive peer learning and measure government and open data impact internationally

  • International Development Research Centre
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

10.4 Build capacity for more feminist open government initiatives worldwide

  • International Development Research Centre

10.5 Building on current collaboration between the Governments of Canada and Alberta, extend federated open data search pilot to additional provinces and onboard at least 2 municipalities

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

10.6 Implement a pilot project to move toward cross-jurisdictional common data standards in line with the International Open Data Charter and other international standards

  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

10.7 Promote data literacy and management for public servants within all levels of government

  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Table 11 Notes

Table 11 Note 1

For more information, see the website for Canada’s National Digital and Data Consultations

Return to table 11 note a referrer

Annex B: Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) of national action plan commitments

Canada’s work on open government, including the 2018-2020 National Action Plan above, covers a wide range of sectors and policy areas. While the analysis below seeks to identify GBA+ considerations relating to commitments in the Plan, it is only a brief overview of the key issues to be addressed. All commitment lead departments are expected to work to address GBA+ considerations throughout the implementation of their commitments.

One of the fundamental qualities of open government initiatives is that they should be open to all. The principles of openness and transparency seek to return data, information, influence, and power to the people that governments are designed to serve. It is therefore crucial that communities that remain under-represented in the highest circles of public power and influence be empowered by Canada’s open government initiative.

One important consideration is how open government efforts may have different impacts on people of different genders. Open government initiatives are typically designed to be gender neutral. However, there is evidence that women around the world tend of have lower levels of access to information and fewer opportunities to participate in government consultations and engagement processes. Feminist open government is a central theme of our 2018-2020 National Action Plan, with a number of commitments focused on empowering women, girls, and LGBTQ2 people. This includes commitments to:

  • implement GBA+ in public engagement and consultations
  • increase access to relevant and timely gender and inclusion data
  • fund research that contributes to an evidence base for the impact of gender equality in open government

Gender is not the only dimension that can affect how Canadians experience open government. During the National Action Plan development process, many Canadians raised concerns that increasing digitization of government services and information could leave some people behind. In particular, lower levels of digital literacy among Canadian seniors and less reliable internet access in rural and remote communities can make digital government inaccessible to those groups. While issues of digital access are not addressed directly in the 2018-2020 National Action Plan, they will continue to be a priority for the Government of Canada. For open government specifically, consultation and engagement activities will continue to be designed to incorporate both digital and in-person options for participation. This ensures that open government activities can reach a geographically diverse audience through digital channels, while still providing some opportunities for Canadians to participate in their own communities.

As part of the 2018 to 2020 Plan, the Government of Canada has also committed to exploring new ways to make public consultation and engagement processes more inclusive to all. As part of the Feminist and inclusive dialogue commitment, the Government of Canada will test best practices for designing more inclusive engagement events. These best practices will be based on what Canadians have told us they need to make it easier to participate in government processes. They could include, for example:

  • exploring more community-oriented venues for events (for example, libraries)
  • providing meals or childcare for event participants
  • covering the costs of public transportation for those who want to attend events

The goal of this commitment is to understand how the Government of Canada can better design consultation and engagement events to include all Canadians, including people with disabilities, low income Canadians, and families with children.

Finally, one of the most important dimensions of making open government more inclusive is establishing relationships of mutual trust and respect with marginalized and under-represented communities. For open government to be successful, our work needs to reflect a wide range of experiences. But doing so requires us to engage thoughtfully, meaningfully, and consistently with community groups and organizations that represent those diverse experiences.

This process of reaching out directly to all communities affected by our work requires patience and understanding. It is not directly reflected in the commitments of our 2018-2020 National Action Plan because it is a process that cannot be easily defined. Its success cannot be measured in the number of engagement events held, or the type of comments received. We can only know that we have succeeded if more Canadians feel they are better able to engage with the government to make their voices heard in decision-making processes that affect them.

One way we have represented this process of relationship-building is in our reconciliation and open government commitment, where we commit to spending the full Plan implementation period engaging in dialogue with Indigenous rightsholders and stakeholders to assess scope for stronger collaboration on open government and data governance. We have also made inclusion, reconciliation, and collaboration key principles guiding our work on the implementation of this Plan.

Annex C: How our identity affects our experiences : What is "intersectionality"?

In our 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government, we talk about applying an ‘intersectional lens’ to all of our work. But what is intersectionality?

One of the original definitions of the word comes from Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and law professor at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School. Crenshaw’s work focuses primarily on the issues of gender and race. She was the first scholar to use the word ‘intersectionality’, and built the concept as a theory within feminist theory.

Her 1991 article, "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color," mapped the understanding of intersectionality by black feminists and social justice projects, looking at the race and gender dimensions of violence against women of colour. Reflecting on intersectionality in 2017, Crenshaw described it as "a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things."

Continued context around the word intersectionality has been provided by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Blige in their book, Intersectionality:

Intersectionality is a way of understanding and analyzing the complexity in the world, in people, and in human experiences. The events and conditions of social and political life and the self can seldom be understood as shaped by one factor. They are generally shaped by many factors in diverse and mutually influencing ways. When it comes to social inequality, people’s lives and the organization of power in a given society are better understood as being shaped not by a single axis of social division, be it race or gender or class, but by many axes that work together and influence each other. Intersectionality as an analytic tool gives people better access to the complexity of the world and of themselves (Hill Collins and Bilge, 2016, p. 2).

They further argue that using intersectionality as an analytic tool requires unpacking 6 core concepts: inequality, relationality, power, social context, complexity, and social justice.

For the open government team, applying an intersectional lens to our work means striving to understand how various intersecting identity factors might impact the effectiveness of our open government work, and how we can design our open government initiatives in a way that responds to the needs and expectations of all Canadians by thinking about how those intersecting identities are affected by what we do.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2018,
ISBN: 978-0-660-29109-3