Note to Readers
The Mid-Term Self-Assessment on Open Government Action Plan 2014-16 will take place later this year. We thank you as always for your support, and we look forward to being able to hear your views at that time.
The Open Government team
Summary Reports of in-person or on-line discussions on Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 and related dataset
The Government of Canada consulted with Canadians across Canada, both online and in person, to learn what Canadians think should be included in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0. This page provides discussion and comment summaries. For more detailed information, download the Open Government Action Plan Consultation Data.
Our thanks to everyone who took part!
- Civil Society Organization (CSO) Meetings Summary
- Canada's draft Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 – Online Feedback Summary – For the period October 1–31, 2014
- Blog – Idea Dialogue Summary
- Public Workshop, Halifax, September 11, 2014
- Expert Panel, Fredericton, September 10, 2014
- Phase 3: Activity Discussion – Online Feedback Summary – For the period September 1–30, 2014
- Public Workshop, Edmonton, August 27, 2014
- Public Workshop, Toronto, July 24, 2014
- Public Workshop, Vancouver, July 22, 2014
- Public Workshop, Montréal, July 16, 2014
- Expert Panel, Waterloo, July 4, 2014
- Phase 2, and Phase 3: Activity Discussion – Online Feedback Summary – For the period July 1–August 31, 2014
- Public Workshop, University of Ottawa, June 27, 2014
- Phase 2 – Online Feedback Summary – For the period June 6–30, 2014
- Canadian Library Association 2014 National Conference and Trade Show, Victoria, May 29, 2014
- Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2014, Brock University, St. Catharines, May 25, 2014
- Phase 1: Consultation Plan – Online Feedback Summary – As of June 5, 2014
- Phase 2: Idea Dialogue – Online Feedback Summary – As of June 5, 2014
- American Records Management Association, NCR Program Meeting: Ottawa, Sheraton Hotel, April 30, 2014
Civil Society Organization (CSO) Meetings Summary
Between February 6, 2014 and September 11, 2014, we spoke with 50 representatives from 27 organizations about the development of the Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0. The most common suggestion that arose from these meetings was to have the federal government demonstrate leadership in facilitating multilateral collaboration across provincial, territorial, and municipal jurisdictions, as well as civil society organizations, on mandatory reporting for extractives, open science, open budgets, and open data standards.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities was identified by several participants as an important stakeholder to connect with in order to explore opportunities for collaboration. It was also suggested that specific goals be established to be met through effective multilateral collaboration. A possible example is the adoption of common standards across jurisdictions.
Many participants expressed a desire for the Government of Canada to adopt a more collaborative approach generally, and the suggestion was made to include training for public servants to enhance their collaborative skills.
Reform and modernization of the Access to Information Act (ATIA) was the main topic at several meetings. One suggestion to reduce the use of exemptions when responding to access to information requests was to make the criteria for withholding information harm based. Transparency was another popular theme and suggestions included the creation of a public registry of company ownership.
Finally, the consultation process itself was discussed with some participants calling for more promotion to increase the public awareness of the events. The importance of keeping the consultative process transparent was emphasized to ensure that a diverse range of views be incorporated into the final version of the Action Plan.
Civil Society is a core audience for Open Government, and the Government of Canada looks forward to strengthening relationships with these groups. The following table lists the meetings, organizations, and topics discussed.
Open Government Action Plan Civil Society Meetings
|Location & Date||Organizations Involved||Topics Discussed|
|Halifax, September 11, 2014||Impact Integrity Management
Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia
The Hub Halifax
Centre for Law and Democracy
|Reform of the ATIA, modernization of the administration of ATIA, consulting and engaging with civil society and key stakeholders.|
|Teleconference, June 20, 2104||Open Government Community of Practice , including Innovation Labs, Community, Provincial and Municipal public servants||The role the federal government could play in convening and facilitating collaboration between municipalities, provinces, territories and the federal government.|
|Teleconference, March 27, 2014||Charity Data Standardization||Standardisation of grant information.|
|Victoria May 28, 2014||Open Victoria||Impact of federal policies on local practices and the role the federal government could play in connecting local groups across the country.|
|Ottawa, April 17, 2014||Roundtable on Geomatics
Public Policy Forum
|Roundtable as an example of a sophisticated model for collaboration amongst stakeholders from various jurisdictions and sectors. A potential model for Open Data Canada.|
|Teleconference, April 10, 2014||Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (University of British Columbia)||Participation of the Centre in Vancouver consultations and the general importance of participation in a healthy democracy.|
|Vancouver, Open Data Summit, February 21, 2014||Cities, local community, business and academic representatives (120 attendees)||Open Government Licence and the need to extend the open community.|
|Ottawa, February 6, 2014||Publish what you pay
Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption
Canadians for Tax Fairness
Engineers Without Borders
|Beneficial ownership transparency, international aid transparency, extractive industries transparency, and open budgeting.|
Canada's draft Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 – Online Feedback Summary – For the period October 1–31, 2014
44 submissions were received. Highlights from the submissions are as follows:
Open Information Core Commitment:
Access to information and Privacy (ATIP) Services:
- Modernize the data and information management (IM) regime through an Open IM framework.
- Strengthen Access-to-Information (ATI) laws and systems.
- The Canadian Access to Information Act (ATIA) is in dire need of updating.
- The draft Action Plan 2.0 makes no mention of reform/modernization to the Access to Information Act and continues to ignore the Act's structural weakness (the most glaring problem with Canada's open government framework).
- The subject of Access to Information was not included as part of the Consultation on Canada's Action Plan 2.0.
- Canada's ATIP legislation has fallen far behind many other countries.
- Access to Information should apply to all records created by any entity that receives significant funding from or is connected to the government, and any exemptions under ATI law should be discretionary.
- ATI should assign responsibility to individuals for the creation and maintenance of each record, with severe penalties to apply for not maintaining records properly, and for unjustifiable delays in responses to requests. Anyone who does factual/policy research for the government should be allowed to speak freely about their findings.
- Explicit powers should be afforded to the Information Commissioner as well as provisions for increased funding and enforcement of the ATI system, and regularly review the ATI Act (every 5 years).
- Continued development and expansion of open government in Canada should result in a reduced need for access to information requests.
"Open Docs" Virtual Library:
- There is a need for broad, external consultations in the development of this activity, for long-term preservation and accessibility, and for sufficient resource allocation to departments, e.g. Library and Archives Canada.
- Partner with academic institutions or non-governmental organizations to ensure that all forms of government information remain accessible.
- Undertake research and development of best-practices relating to long-term preservation.
- The mandate for this commitment should rest with Library and Archives Canada.
- The consolidation of the management of federal publications should be added to this commitment as an additional deliverable.
Mandatory Reporting on Extractives:
- The draft Action Plan 2.0 does not go far enough with this commitment to provide single-window online access to the information disclosed on mandatory reporting on extractives.
- The data must be disclosed in open and machine-readable formats, and in a standard template with uniform definitions, in a searchable repository.
- The government of Canada should commit to ensuring that the principles of the G8 Open Data Charter are applied to the information disclosed by extractive companies under this new reporting standard. The government should create a repository where all submissions are to be filed, searchable by year and company and available in XML or CSV formats.
- Treat this commitment like the National Pollution Release Inventory.
Open Data Canada:
- The government's priority should be its role as publisher, making ample data available quickly, while ensuring quality.
- As data publishers, municipal, provincial and federal governments should adhere to data standards such as:
- Machine-friendly use of tables (headers in first row)
- Self-descriptive headers
- Standardized syntax
- Minimum CSV format for all tables
- API access
- This commitment should account for the fact that Open Government activities/commitments need to be scalable and distributed, i.e. the activities must have properties that allow them to be comprehensively replicated by anyone.
- Librarians should participate in the standardization and implementation phase of Open Data Canada.
Next-Generation Consulting Canadians:
- This commitment must be balanced with inclusive alternative format measures to account for differentials in capacity and means to use digital media.
- Canada's Action Plan 2.0 should include a commitment as follows: The Government of Canada will complete public consultations with citizens, civil society and the private sector on how to ensure that open data of continuing value remains accessible and usable and continues to be collected.
- The Government of Canada should develop a series of consultation guidelines that departments and agencies are encouraged to use and that include a clear description of how feedback and input will be integrated into planning and decision-making processes, i.e.
- "Provide participants with relevant data in support of consultation efforts;
- Guidelines should include provisions to make it clear what is open for influence and what is not;
- Consultation processes should allow participants to remain involved as ideas move into legislation or implementation; and,
- Suggestions for the next consultation process:
- Circulate a stakeholder list in advance asking who is missing?
- Provide disposition of what input was use and what was not, and why;
- Develop high-level education materials on what Open Government is so that participants can be better informed; and,
- The government should clearly state that principles and standards for public consultations will be developed in partnership with civil society and the broader public.
Beneficial Ownership Transparency:
- The draft Action Plan 2.0 does not include a commitment on beneficial ownership transparency
- What will the government do to promote honesty and transparency in the disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies to inhibit the laundering of dirty money?
- The government should create a public registry of the beneficial owners of Canadian companies.
- Making information on beneficial ownership available publicly allows financial institutions, law enforcement authorities and citizens to track the source, movement, and destination of illicit funds, and to crack down on money launderers and tax evaders.
- Canada's Action Plan 2.0 should include a commitment to create a public registry of the beneficial owners of companies. If this is not included, it would be helpful to understand why it has been overlooked.
Open Government Directive:
- Apply user experience practices to help ensure that information can be easily found by the public.
- The term "business value" is misleading and seems to ignore social value.
- Suggestion to add the following sentence to the Directive: "Maximizing the release of data and information will enable Canadians to better engage with their government, hold it accountable, support meaningful civic engagement, and drive social and economic benefits through the innovative reuse of data and information."
Canadian Open Data Exchange:
- Follow the principles of linked data by including linked open data as an explicit goal.
- A lack of transparency exists. (Openness is limited to the current government's political interest.)
- There is a misplaced emphasis on the commercialization of information.
- The government's capacity to collect and study data has been reduced (long form census).
- This commitment does not include public and civil society as stakeholders, and does not include the societal value, only the commercial value.
Open Data Core Commitment:
- Open by default will require consistent promotion, training and leadership to achieve the desired cultural change.
- MISA/ASIM Canada is interested in working with other governments on open data standards to be adopted by all governments, and they would like to be kept informed of progress.
- Data analysis and mapping are two areas that should have more emphasis in the plan.
- Representational state transfer (RESTful) APIs have not received mention in the draft Action Plan 2.0.
- Digital Literacy is a good idea. The federal government should seek partners who have existing expertise in the development of online tools and training materials, such as those in the academic, NGO or private sectors rather than undertake this type of work in addition to core responsibilities of the federal government.
- Open Government is about a new mindset in information sharing, collaboration and re-use across the government. The government should undertake strategic capacity building efforts for an open culture.
- The Government of Canada should create an Information and Data Innovation Unit that delivers demonstrable change inside government through data and information-centric innovations.
- Open science must be realized as soon as possible.
- The Government of Canada should endorse the Open Contracting Global Principles.
Shared Services Canada:
- A commitment to shared services initiatives is crucial to moving open data forward.
- The Treasury Board Secretariat should provide an assessment of all proposed Action Plan commitments and explain why some were chosen and not others.
- All governments of Canada should adopt common whistleblower legislation that protects informants and publicly identifies those found guilty. Integrity Commissioners should have expanded powers to enforce consequences and protect whistle-blowers. The system should be audited every three years.
Civil Society Collaboration:
- Each action plan commitment should have a civil society partner, in addition to any industry partners.
Specific Data Requests:
- Please reinstate the long form census.
Public Workshop, Halifax, September 11, 2014
A workshop was held with participants from academia, business, community and local governments. Discussions focused on strengthening proposed activities for Canada's second Action Plan on Open Government.
Participants voted to discuss the following four proposed activities for inclusion in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0: Open Data, Open Data Institute, Open Dialogue, and Open Information.
Ideas generated include:
- Create, or facilitate the creation of a consolidated Open Data catalogue that all three levels of government can use;
- The issue of data preservation was raised and how long data sets will be maintained. It would be a problem if a business relies on Open Data that is deleted when its retention period is over;
- A transparent prioritization process that engages the consumers is needed. Get their input on what data is important to them.
Open Data Institute
- Partner with more like-minded efforts such as the Round Table on Geomatics and SMART communities;
- The Open Data Institute (ODI) should have regional nodes;
- The ODI should be inclusive (this needs to include small to medium business and not for profit organizations and citizens) and be pan-Canadian ( all three levels of government, academic institutes, industry and business);
- This element needs an open and public governance model.
- Train public servants on how to listen and engage real time in relationship with citizens;
- Create an institute for open dialogue that would invite partnership from and between citizens, interest groups and government towards improving Open Government which will lead to increasing trust and a better democracy;
- Create or participate in an open national online forum -- The Canadian Open Government Forum -- a place for multi-jurisdictional cooperation and open consultation;
- Departments should have dedicated "Open Data Outreach Officers;"
- The Open Government consultation brought together "birds of a feather," the government can get Open Government traction by convening more such interactions.
- The goal of Open Information should be to ensure the free flow of information between government and citizens;
- The Virtual Library should be designed to be an open and comprehensive repository of actual documents as well as Universal Resource Locators (URLs). They should be searchable for discoverability and extensibility, and have standards and a classification system. Make the library as open as the data in it, and be committed to preserve documents. There should be transparency in the classification system and process;
- Access To Information (ATI) Reform – Suggestions included: Broad consultations among civil societies, citizens, business, etc. on difficulties with access to information - implementation and greater resources towards ATI; Greater authority and power for the Information Commissioner;
- The federal government needs to set a good example; Create standards and influence provinces and municipal governments.
How can the Government of Canada better engage with the public and civil society on Open Government?
- Have a national Hackathon: Set it up like a television show contest; make it a national competition starting at municipal levels and graduating to provincial and then federal levels; leads to appearance on the "Dragon's Den?";
- Branding idea: establish a voluntary program to show an Open Government emblem or badge, like the "intel inside" campaign, to show if something is generating or using Open Data. – i.e. sticker on a traffic light saying – this is creating Open Data – or something on an application – saying this is using Open Data.
- Crowd-source ideas to the public in order to create better engagement models;
- Provide a budget to public servants to go out and chat with the public – enable public servants to engage with the public – shift into the role of listening;
- Political will is driven by the interest of the people. Demonstrate the art of the possible with hackathons, etc.;
- Celebrate successes, particularly multi-jurisdictional ones;
- Reach out to marginalized communities;
- Provide guidance on how can we take a session like today and help create a community within the city that allows them to continue the conversation after the session…effectively create an Open Government Forum for two way conversation. The Government of Canada should participate but not necessarily drive it;
- Do some mapping on civil society – include lots of initiatives. How we can be smart about connecting them?;
- Get into high schools with civics and Open Data literacy programs;
- Change culture when engaging with citizens; See it as a conversation about getting help; See it more as a collaboration.
- Civic literacy is falling through jurisdictional cracks;
- The government has work to do fostering goodwill with civil society (referencing Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) audits of charities);
- Open Dialogue/government efforts should be easier to find; a dedicated website may help (data.gc.ca presents a certain lens;
- Open Government needs resources at the departmental level.
Expert Panel, Fredericton, September 10, 2014
Consultations were held with participants from academia, community and business. Discussions focused on strengthening proposed commitments for Canada's second Action Plan on Open Government.
The participants voted to discuss the following three proposed activities for inclusion in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0: Open Data Institute, Open Data Canada, and the Open Government Directive.
Ideas generated include:
Open Data Institute
- Within two years the Open Data Institute (ODI) should be a trusted resource that stakeholders can rely upon for Open Data initiatives;
- Have a network governance partnership that is inclusive; Federal - provincial table of clerks, Public Sector CIO Council, Canadian Federation of municipalities, Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and provincial equivalents, other industry associations;
- Service development – have a vendor neutral framework for solutions, expertise, as part of the tool set
- Have a standards wiki - share and agree on Open Data standards, share best practices;
- Two participants volunteered to take leadership role in a Standards wiki for ODI.
Open Data Canada
- Within two years all Canadian jurisdictions should participate to identify common principles and standards and have adopted a common license;
- Federal government should lead or facilitate a national Open Initiative to coordinate, encourage and support provinces and municipalities to adopt Open Government; New Brunswick would like to be the pilot;
- Provide pre-packaged Open Source platforms that provinces and cities can use to host and share data;
- Federal government supports jurisdictions in a citizen engagement process to inform the creation of an Open Government charter.
Canada's Directive on Open Government - Creating a Culture of "Open by Default"
- Directive should establish a means to prioritize and vet data;
- Look for data and consult the people involved, i.e. permanent employees (ground level);
- Direction should come from the top given that public doesn't trust the government. It would be good if it came from the Prime Minister;
- Release a public report on the performance to date, on a yearly or quarterly basis;
- Correlate data in a way that is tangible to the public. Make it somehow personal for people so they understand the value to them;
- Directive should demand regular public reports and encourage collaboration between silos. Follow the Health Canada example in New Brunswick.
How can the Government of Canada better engage with the public and civil society on Open Government?
- Support an arms-length organization to coordinate, perhaps with a common online platform for anyone that wants to contribute to making a better society;
- It was suggested to get Rick Mercer to do a rant on Open Government to show public how it really works;
- Two participants indicated that they would be starting a "Code for Canada" initiative modeled after Code for America;
- There was a desire to work more on indicators of success; how do we know Open Government is working?;
- Estonia showed what Open Government in Canada could be in the future. It has had amazing effects on their economy and society. There is part of a growing movement to put New Brunswick on the map as the leader for a digital society, which includes Open Government, digital identity, access to services, and application development for the development of new services.
Phase 3: Activity Discussion – Online Feedback Summary – For the period September 1–30, 2014
Six new ideas were submitted by respondents:
- Open Data - Access to Information Requests
Each time a published Access to Information request is accessed, the original requestor should be reimbursed a certain percentage dollar amount until fully refunded. If the original requestor of a given Access to Information request has been fully reimbursed, the released documents should be published immediately online, and no subsequent requestors of the documents should have to pay for them.
- Cost Recovery
All departments must publish all amounts paid to another department, in response to charges applied by that other department for rendering a good/service. Such practise will make true budget amounts known, revealing transfer payments that are disguised as cost recoveries.
- Open by Design (ObD)
Make all non-classified/non-protected information automatically available to all as it is created.
- Data Curation Critical
More emphasis on data management design and data curation is required.
- Build it and they will come, not necessarily...
Open data is good only if it is at a level of granularity that can deliver something of value to the public. Unfortunately, the vast majority of government data is confidential or can only be provided at a high level of granularity, which makes it of limited value.
- Reaffirm and expand Canada's commitment to aid transparency
The government should reaffirm and expand its commitment to aid transparency and International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by:
- Continuing to improve on the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)'s publication to IATI;
- Expanding IATI publication to cover all development activities in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD);
- Extending the IATI publishing requirement to all government departments that disperse official development assistance;
- DFATD completing its pilot of the IATI budget identifier and sharing lessons with the IATI community; and,
- Providing Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with encouragement, support and tools to report to IATI.
198 comments were submitted as part of the Online Feedback Summary for the period September 1–30, 2014.
Of this number, 178 comments related to the Mandatory Reporting on Extractives proposed activity for inclusion in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0.
Comments 1 – 178
Activity theme: Mandatory Reporting on Extractives
Highlights from comments on establishing mandatory reporting standards on the payments made to governments in Canada and abroad by Canadian companies in the mining, oil, and gas sectors are as follows:
Accountability at home and in the countries these corporations operate in was the subject of round table discussions several years ago. Voluntary recommendations are not enough. We need a truly independent ombudsman with power to enforce transparency and accountability from the mining companies, especially in countries with little or unenforced regulation to protect the local people, their livelihood and the environment.
The Canadian Mining Companies, along with oil, and gas companies whether in Canada or outside Canadian borders…must be accountable and subject to Canadian laws regardless of where they operate.
An objective would be raising awareness of what actually occurs during extractive processes and debunking social stereotypes regarding the industry.
Canada is a worldwide leader in the extractive industry and has the opportunity to create real change for the better in it. This activity will empower citizens to make the right decision for their future.
Easy to access extractives industry information will create a willingness to act on these issues.
Mandatory reporting for extractive corporations in the USA stock exchanges has proven to be a very useful tool in the efforts to tackle rent seeking behavior in resource-rich developing countries, making this economic sector more transparent.
More information for both policy makers and the public is a staple to democracy and can only lead to more informed decisions in the field.
This is a critical issue Canadians care deeply about.
Given Canada's vast natural resources, it should be a leader in the extractives industry.
This activity is key step toward increasing democracy in Canada.
This sort of transparency is indeed important for investors who want to put their retirement savings into companies that are ethical.
If we cannot see what our other hands are doing, we will never develop the social resilience needed to resolve the most major of our issues (and by extension, achieve our greatest of hopes and dreams).
This activity is a good place to start, Canada. Begin leading the world by the example of courageous honesty, because it will show the world just how operationally efficient a transparent economic environment can be.
Requiring companies to report on their financial transactions will be one step towards safeguarding the people and environments in which they work, particularly abroad.
The more transparent, accountable and predictable the environment for investors and operators, the more assured they can be of making a good return on their investment, while demonstrating their commitment to respect for the law and respect for the people affected by their investments. The extractives sector does not have a good history -- preventable accidents, poor oversight, terrible pollution, human health hazards left unaddressed, bribery and corruption -- all have been features of the sector for decades. Canada is a big player in this area -- we make a lot of money from it, and we are known around the world for our role as investors and technological innovators.
This activity is an absolutely crucial step to take—not just to protect Canada's reputation as a caring, compassionate nation but also because the process of extraction of valuable resources affects real individuals and communities.
Publicly available, project-level reporting of payments should be required for all countries in which extractive companies operate, with no exemptions.
Legislation would force the "grey" players to come up to the standards of the leaders in this area and level the playing field.
Publish this information in a standard format in a centrally accessible place—not on each company's website. That way, it will be possible to do legitimate side-by-side comparisons. This will greatly enhance the reputation of Canadian companies and force the ones who are playing less ethically to rise to higher standard.
There are far too many examples (some recent) where oil, gas and mining companies have not dealt well with issues or dangers or in a timely manner.
This activity deters corruption and ensures that people are getting a fair share of the benefits from their natural resources.
Accessibility (i.e. no or very small access fees) should be the ability of citizens in any part of the world to research and investigate the actions of extractive industries based in Canada, and challenge them in in Canadian legal venues if needed.
A big issue in Canada is the lax regulatory regime and permissive exploratory regulations that make Canada the preferred headquarters for many mining companies. Mineral "rights" should not override human rights, First Nations' land claims, and designations of parks and public lands.
This activity should include reporting any money given to the Canadian government.
Canadians deserve to know how extractive companies' revenues are spent.
The earth is more than just a resource for profitable extraction. We have to change our attitudes towards the only home we have.
A very large proportion of these extractive companies are headquartered in Canada.
Canada significantly impacts the world through mining. Transparency will empower civil society around the world to hold their own leaders accountable to making the most of their mining revenue.
The government must involve both industry and civil society throughout implementation, and insure the reporting process is efficient and effective.
Introducing mandatory transparency reporting is a great step towards helping foreign communities hold their governments to account for the fees and revenues they're receiving. The funds are already flowing to these countries, yet they're not being put to use for raising citizens to a better standard of living. It's a low-cost initiative for Canada with high-impact for citizens of extractive countries. Industry and investors in this space have already publicly endorsed this approach. It's a question of how, not if.
Make oil and mining companies accountable to the Government of Canada, through mandatory reporting, so that the best interests of the Canadian people and our land will take priority over the self-interest of oil and mining companies.
Canada is a global market leader in the extractives industry; this means what we do, the example we set, matters. And our ethics matter.
Without mandatory reporting, the Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 will be toothless.
Where applicable, public disclosure of data should be coordinated with the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
There is the issue of the theft of large sums of revenue from the governments of developing countries and nations with emerging economies because international and national mining and resource companies use sophisticated methods of transfer pricing to move the product outside of the country before maximising the profit on those resources. Transparent reporting of all aspects of the extraction process and the revenue stream should be introduced into law to insure that Canadian resource companies are not taking advantage of governments in the developing world. The loss of extractive industry profits represents more money than all of the Official Development Assistance provided by donor nations.
The government has an obligation to provide clear parameters for companies regarding the content and presentation of reports. Canada has an opportunity to set the standard for other jurisdictions.
This activity is a tremendous opportunity for Canada to take a step forward and show that it's ready to become an international leader in transparency with regards to the economic and humanitarian effects of mineral extraction both abroad and at home. This activity should aim to collect enough informative data regarding: licence fees, rental and entry fees, royalties, and other costs incurred by Canadian mining companies so that Canadian citizens, investors, and legislators can make pragmatic informed decisions around ethical mining practices and ultimately hold these companies accountable for their actions. This will require the drafting and implementation of reporting standards as well as the creation of a simple distribution platform. Further action must be taken to ensure that companies that are reporting spending information do so in an honest and transparent manner. Education and promotion of this undertaking within mining companies will be imperative to ensure that they are comfortable with the ideas presented in this activity. This activity should be actively promoted among circles of engaged Canadian citizens. It may be useful to involve members or the governments of countries in which Canadian mining companies are active as well as MLAs and Council members of jurisdictions in which mining companies operate. The inclusion of mining, and oil and gas SMEs would also be useful in ensure that all information collected is legitimate. The inclusion of industry and civil leaders would also help promote the creation of a fair and effective standard.
This activity should:
- Support the passage of strong legislation by committing to develop a disclosure regime that requires mining, oil and gas companies publicly disclose payments on a project-by-project and country-by-country basis to all levels of government, both in Canada and abroad; and
- Stipulate that this disclosure will be made available in Open Data format, in accordance with the G8 Open Data Charter. As the co-chair of the Open Data working group, Canada should show leadership by not only requiring that data be made available in open and machine readable format, but by committing to create a centralized repository of reports that will store reports for a minimum of ten years.
Within a two-year span a fully functional database should be made publicly available. Engaging with citizens and civil society institutions would be key to forming how this database should be shaped, and for receiving feedback on the format of the disclosures.
Rare minerals are almost exclusively found in heavily-conflicted areas. Canadians should have the right to know where the minerals used in their consumer goods are coming from.
Within a two-year span, this legislation should be in force and at least one fiscal year's worth of information about payments that Canadian companies have made to governments, disaggregated by project, should be publicly available, and easily accessible and searchable in a stable archive, providing the ability to extract the data.
Comments 179 – 198
GitHub is a great tool and is already used in developing code for non-sensitive websites and applications.
The government should be using GitHub more, notwithstanding the absence of a clear approval process or recommendation for code written by public servants to be open source.
Activity theme: Open Information – Openness, Transparency, Accountability
A contradiction exists between the Government of Canada's Open government/data strategy and the political gamesmanship coming from the federal government.
Reform Canada's Access to Information Act (ATIA) substantially. It is out of date, having not been substantially improved since 1983.
The government should also:
- Address over-classification, the misuse of exceptions, delays in responding to requests for information; and
- Commit to a comprehensive review of the standards and practices regarding classification.
The most important activity to include in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 is to modernize and undertake an in-depth reform of the Access to Information Act.
Activity theme: Open Dialogue
Co-Create Canada would like to participate in the development of the Consulting Canadians platform, to work with citizens in creating solutions to problems together with public servants—as an equal voice.
Refer to the City of Surrey, British Columbia, for some good applications of the Open Dialogue concept.
The government should develop a set of principles and standards for all consultation processes. This effort would itself need to be based on a broad process of consultation.
Activity theme: Open Science
A commitment to Open Science* is essential for science in Canada moving forward.
* Access to published papers (via "green" or "gold" open access options) and ensuring raw data and code/analysis scripts associated with such papers are also available
If rumors that science is being muzzled in Canada are true, may the Open Science activity help us to right this wrong.
The government should commit to publishing all federally funded research, including everything done by academics as part of their regular duties, subject to an exception for a right of first publication.
Activity theme: Canada's Directive on Open Government – Creating a Culture of "Open by Default"
The Directive on Open Government is necessary and exemplifies plain common sense for citizens in democracies to have access to information concerning the actions, policies and spending of the governments they elect.
Does the Directive on Open Government also cover code and software, thereby encouraging the use of open source licenses within the Government of Canada/Public Service?
Take specific measures to harness the "open by default" power for access to information via, e.g.:
- Automatic, real time central tracking of ATI requests, their processing, and their metadata; and
- Pre-tagging of exempt information in documents as they are being created.
Activity theme: Open Contracting
The Canadian government should establish a high bar for contract transparency, requiring that all contracts above $5000 are disclosed in full.
The Open Contracting activity should be much more concrete. All contracts above a particular dollar figure, e.g. $5,000, should be disclosed proactively. Redactions would apply only in relatively rare cases where trade or business secrets were included in the actual contract.
Activity theme: Open Information on Budgets and and Expenditures
By providing citizens with additional budgetary and expenditure information, via the Open Information on budgets and expenditures activity, they will be able to more effectively engage government on how their tax dollars are spent!
Activity theme: Open Data Institute
Civil society—which needs to be at the heart of the Open Data Institute (ODI) activity—is currently absent from the list of partners with whom the government plans to work to develop the ODI.
Theme: The Potential of Open Data
The activities included in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 should be domestic in nature, i.e. focusing on improving openness and transparency within the country. Providing support to developing countries to advance their Open Data activities should not be part of such activities.
The consultative processes remains problematic, including:
- An absence of clear communications about the process, particularly regarding the dates of consultations' phases;
- An excessive degree of government control;
- Low participation levels, owing to non-robust outreach efforts by government; and
- A lack of trust between the government and some civil society sectors.
Public Workshop, Edmonton, August 27, 2014
A session was held with citizens, academia, business and civil society, and included the participation of the President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement. Three activities were discussed: the Directive on Open Government, Open Information, and the Open Data Institute (ODI).
Canada's Directive on Open Government - Creating a Culture of "Open by Default"
- "Open by default" carries many caveats. Maybe it should be "open by design", e.g. bake open data into procurement and project planning.
- Two years is not long enough to affect culture change. A 5–10 year view is required.
- Need to consult with departments and other jurisdictions to harmonize sometimes conflicting policies, and to create standards and common approaches to security, quality control, prioritization, value framework, etc.
- Need measurement and enforcement mechanisms that work. Key performance indicators might include # of projects using open data, value generated, # of case studies produced, etc.)
- Constant communication and sharing of case studies that demonstrate value (make the creation and sharing of cases a requirement of the directive?)
- Establish an innovation fund that departments could access for open projects.
- Improve funding for government information programs (specifically staffing) such as digitization staff at Library & Archives Canada, and Access to Information program staff.
- Integrate the Directive with other improvement initiatives so that it does not become a disconnected silo;
- Develop an economic model for Open by Default;
- Make Open Government part of the procurement process, i.e. all contracts specify data is open, or what information about a contract will be released;
- Extend the directive for voluntary adoption by other jurisdictions;
- Describe the economic model, do we need to sell or give away data?
Open Data Institute
- Viewed as an organization that would be a repository of knowledge; a clearing house for standards and best practices;
- ODI should work to reduce barriers to entry by providing standards, bootstrap toolkit, and resources on how to implement open data.
- Establish "brigades" of experts that can travel to provide expertise to smaller jurisdictions.
- Establish and coordinate communities of practice.
- ODI should coordinate and leverage existing organizations such as Open North, GeoThink, Professional Associations, ICMA, IPAC, MISA, librarians, data researchers and other jurisdictions.
- Explore the possibility of providing a common platform/framework.
- Need to better define the roles and responsibilities of ODI. Define the structure and publicize it.
- Provide leadership on topical issues; ODI should be a vehicle to move things forward.
Open Information - Openness, Transparency, Accountability
- Ultimate goal should be to develop a robust open ecosystem for longer term use and access of government information;
- Establish the virtual library as a comprehensive repository (not directory) for all Government of Canada publications, and staff this repository with experts in information management
- Rebuild trust with the library community. Re-integrate information stewards (e.g. librarians, civil society) into the information management processes.
- Initiate a process for re-writing and modernizing the access to information act. Legislation mandating access to government publications, data, and narrowing exclusions and restrictions in current legislation—with enforcement mechanisms that work.
- Improve existing ATI by publicly releasing responses to ATI requests.
- Develop a robust open federal information ecosystem that collects AND organizes AND distributes information for immediate use and long term archival access.
- Develop common (across 3 levels of government) metadata, and controlled vocabulary for open data.
- Expand proactive release of information to lessen the burden on the ATI system.
- Create a policy to address inequity between cities and provinces, encourage community, tech and public join together on this;
- Conduct a high level policy review; Engage with other jurisdictions and civil society groups, perhaps through an advisory panel;
- Create legislation mandating personal best practices;
- Involve other jurisdictions' UN Consultative Status, where certain external organizations are granted additional access to information and decision making. This could be a model.
- Communication and working to improve overall literacy were consistent themes.
- The federal government has an important role to play in convening and developing the Open Data (and open government) ecosystems in Canada.
- Consultations should continue and become deeper and more focused.
- Build a common platform for all. Provide technology, mandate, framework, and funding by the Government of Canada. Help diminish duplicated efforts…
- Sharing experiences with other countries to see their solutions
- Information and data literacy under ESDC and provide a national program to teach literacy across Canada
Public Workshop, Toronto, July 24, 2014
Two sessions were held with participants from business and civil society. The afternoon session included the participation of the President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement.
Ideas that emerged:
- Bring meaningful dialogue to the people and use their input.
- Inform the public about Open Government by simplifying the language so that it can be easily understood. Provide context on the data and information published.
- Educate internally and externally at all levels, e.g. Civics 101 and open data, and the app economy.
- Nurture data literacy via a federal strategy that involves provinces/territories, universities and high schools. Link data literacy education to summer jobs. Encourage open data clubs/hubs in Canada (to be organized like a non-partisan political party).
- Hold the public service to account through a rating platform to drive improvement, e.g. "rate a service," "rate your MP," "rate your policy," and "rate an institution."
- Use transparency and collaboration to create connectivity between the various levels of government. Find a pilot, perhaps health promotion, to co-design and co-produce a solution. Learn from experience and report back.
Public Workshop, Vancouver, July 22, 2014
Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Dan Albas and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat representatives met with participants from business, the community, academia and the public service. Discussions focused on questions of how Open Government could enable a start-up culture, and on improving civic engagement across all levels of government.
Ideas that emerged:
- Conduct experiments in participation; use the right exercise for the right purpose (citizens' assembly, PlaceSpeak, crowdsourcing platform, a "wikipedia" for government regulations). "Direct democracy is kind of terrible for policy development."
- Reform, update and strengthen the Access to Information (ATI) Act and system. Remove the policy advice exceptions from the ATI Act.
- Provide data access education and awareness. Market Open Government: what it means for citizens and how to get involved.
- Employ a simple informative, engagement process for government. Establish a Google-like gate way that respects privacy concerns, does not edit comments and is personalized and non-jurisdictional. Keep the human element in there. It's about building trust. Content should be non-biased.
- Assist with commercialization of start-ups. The incubation isn't always the challenge. Make education and help available to start-ups regarding how to compete and create a business. Make procurement easier for small government contracts.
- Proactively disclose the broadest and most essential research results in a timely and routine fashion.
- Improve sharing of data internally within levels of government as well as with the public.
Public Workshop, Montréal, July 16, 2014
A workshop was held with participants from business, academia, government, civil society and the general public.
Ideas that emerged:
- Between jurisdictions: The federal government is the only entity that has the capacity to federate all of the data. Some non-governmental data of public interest could even be included in these portals.
- With civil society: When someone has questions around data, there should be a door for them to knock on and be received.
- Digital Literacy
- Refer citizens to resources at data.gc.ca.
- Establish communities of practices in order to support collaboration.
- Governance and Performance Indicators for Open Government within the GC
- Hold a thematic consultation on the governance of the Canada's Open Government Initiative.
- Identify quantitative key performance indicators to evaluate the progress of the Action Plan.
- Do not re-invent the wheel; some standards are already available.
- Address open-contracting especially, and other international standards.
Expert Panel, Waterloo, July 4, 2014
A workshop was held with participants from business and academia, as well as Peter Braid, the MP for Kitchener‑Waterloo. Discussions focused on questions of how Open Government could enable a start-up culture and improve civic engagement across all levels of government.
Ideas that emerged:
- Standardization of data sets (and approaches to make them available) is essential for discovering new market opportunities.
- Enable better access to data by removing barriers within bureaucracies (get the data out quickly).
- Civic engagement works best when it is focused on a particular problem.
- Government needs to be more agile to support start-up cultures (update and respond to feedback).
- Libraries could play a valuable role as connectors for civic engagement and exploring business opportunities.
Phase 2 and Phase 3: Activity Discussion – Online Feedback Summary – For the period July 1–August 31, 2014
11 new ideas were submitted.
- Develop apps to render better yields of crops, air and water quality, while monitoring the effects on the environment.
- Establish an Open Government community like GitHub for sharing code specific to the development of government apps.
- Bridge the gap between direct civic participation and student engagement in government decision making. For example, see the Canadian Civic Crowdfunding Service & Student Engagement Portal.
- Simply Worded Legislation
Federal, provincial and municipal governments should simplify the language of laws and regulations (e.g. Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation) so that they are clearly expressed, and laypeople can understand them.
- Modernize the Access to Information Act: And narrow/eliminate exemptions and exclusions in the Act.
- Adopt a clear strategy and policy for open standards: The Government of Canada should develop its open data policies to address the importance of Open Information and Communication Technologies Standards*.
* According to the 2009 Directive on Management of Information Technology:
"Aligning its departmental IT management practices, processes and technology architecture with federal government strategy, directions, standards and guidelines as they become available and as they evolve . . ."
- Data are assets to be accounted for:
Treat data as assets. People are now fighting to gain access to it, including "dormant" data on myriad government servers (at every level). Maximize access to this data but not to such data being free of charge. If an application developer can now extract inert data, why should the government and the citizens who paid for the collection of that data not be compensated?
- User-friendly data:
Create systems that allow existing data to be accessed and analyzed more easily, especially census and other Statistics Canada data.
- Publicize this consultation more widely:
The Consultation on Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 needs to be more widely publicized both within the public sector (to take on Blueprint 2020 ideas) and to the public.
- Ownership of suggestions:
Institute a sense of "ownership" for users' suggestions via a data.gc.ca system to allow users to easily learn the status of their submission.
- Leveraging Open Data for Social Innovation: A Partnership of the Non Profit Sector & the Government of Canada
- Publish existing public information about the non-profit sector as open data (e.g. incorporation data, contracts, grants and contributions, and evaluations);
- Develop a credible partnership and shared plan with the sector, including development of interoperability between published datasets as well as identify more datasets for publication;
- Create funds for organizations to find creative ways to use this newly available information; and
- Develop a plan for the Government of Canada to leverage this data internally.
18 comments were submitted:
Theme: Open Source Software:
- Establish a clear Government of Canada (GC) position and strategy position for open source software. (Only a reference to an old related document currently archived at Library and Archives Canada exists.)
- Develop open source software that is convenient for the user, and not only for government employees.
- Encourage the public sector to contribute back to existing open source projects.
- Ensure that authors of lower level software are not able to corrupt/manipulate the intent of the policy.
- Too much policy is being authored outside of government by entities that are non-transparent and unaccountable.
- Build on previous open source software efforts, e.g. NRC Open Source Software Guidelines on GCpedia.
- Use an open source software licence that is compatible with as many other popular licenses as possible.
- Dedicate proper funding for this GC open source software initiative.
- Plan for open source software maintenance, e.g. Identify a central Government of Canada office—staffed with professional programmers—responsible for supporting software developers and dealing with copyright issues.
Theme: Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 Consultation
- Redirect money to developing alternative and renewable energies and reopen our government libraries.
Theme: Open Science
a) Clarify the meaning of the "open science initiative". (No mention of that phrase exists on GCpedia's open government pages.)
b) Government and industry must work TOGETHER to design a scientific publication system that recognizes the publication industry's costs and the Government of Canada's Open Science requirements to ensure that public research is made public, i.e. not duplicating materials published by large academic publishers on government web sites.
c) Allocate a budget and assign a mandate to the Open Science initiative objective, which will let civil servants realize this objective
Theme: Beneficial Ownership Transparency
- Create a centralized public registry of the beneficial ownership of all companies registered, operating, and traded in Canada in order to provide Canadian law authorities, journalists, civil society organizations and others with important corporate information.
Theme: Transparency in the Mining Sector
- The Government of Canada should align its recent commitment to mandatory disclosure reporting with open data standards, notably the G8 Open Data Charter. House this data in a centralized, searchable and stable archive.
Activity theme: Open Data Institute (ODI)
- Create application programming interfaces (APIs) that are free and open to anyone that wants to access Canadian Government data programmatically.
Activity theme: Open Data
- Make Health Canada's website (and other Government of Canada websites) searchable. Canadians shouldn't have to use other agencies' sites or search engines to find what should be at their fingertips.
- Provide an HTTP Rest interface, rather than download endpoints. Publication of data needs to be built into government workflow automatically, without the need for additional human labour. Data entered should be instantly published as open data.
- Open data needs to be filtered for security content, given the context of the data. (Business rules would need to be applied.)
- Existing datasets must be examined and sanitized.
Public Workshop, University of Ottawa, June 27, 2014
Action Plan 2.0 ideas that emerged:
- Change ATI legislation to reduce fees and wait times. Clarify language and make sure implementation is consistent across departments.
- Enlist the appropriate support groups for Action Plan 2.0 activities, which will bind the groups by common interest to achieving the activities. Name partners as is done in the UK.
- Dedicate resources in all departments for Open Government.
- Work with cities and provinces to link the open data sets at the appropriate level of government.
- Establish standards for platforms and data sharing, and later for dialogue and information.
- Continue the CODE Appathon to ensure that dialogue continues, and consider more sustainable small contracts to fix problems, e.g. hackathon winners eligible for follow-up contract.
- Establish funding for small open data projects, based on a published list of problems for consideration.
- Open up the RFP process to allow bidders to propose alternative, more cost-effective solutions to the given problem.
- Establish an office of public engagement.
- Establish a series of consultation principles/criteria, with a recommendation for adherence by departments and agencies.
- Ensure that when the GC holds a consultation, the right parties are consulted.
- Be transparent on how ideas/suggestions are being used and incorporated into the Action Plan.
- Ensure the long-term preservation of Canada's documentary and public policy heritage.
- Expand the scope of government information and prevent its loss, e.g. GC website consolidation initiative.
- Adopt user-centric design in everything you do.
Responses to the question "Why is Open Government important to me?"
- Open Government lets me be involved—leads to co-governing.
- Equal opportunity to access information across geography.
- Fighting tax evasion, corruption and mismanagement.
- I want the facts without the political spin.
- The unfiltered history of public policy is important to understand.
- It is part of how we need to change the world—the only way we can deal with the complex problems facing us, is to harness the innovators and make everyone (government and citizens) accountable.
- Open data should be standardized.
Phase 2 – Online Feedback Summary – For the period June 6–30, 2014
Thirteen new ideas were submitted.
- Increase the disclosure of government contracting information by including details on planning, decision making, scoring and awarding contracts.
- Publish all criminal convictions obtained in violation of federal government regulations, including mention of related offences, penalties and any federal corrective measures taken.
- Improve the integrity of mandatory record keeping in the Government, legally requiring all ministers, ministerial office staff and employees to create, maintain and archive a record of all actions, decisions and transactions.
- Increase the active engagement between public servants and citizens by sending more public servants out into communities to promote the Web Experience Toolkit or the Canada.ca Open Source "work in progress."
- Create a central registry of all federal regulations, and increase stakeholder and general public awareness of federal requirements and restrictions.
- Ensure software produced in the Government of Canada is open source.
- Create a comprehensive online Government of Canada (GC) library that comprises every GC‑issued/commissioned publication and website for the past 30 years, including:
- Publications submitted by stakeholders to committees in the House of Commons and Senate; and
- Research conducted by the Library of Parliament to support committee work (not research conducted for individual MPs).
- Release data on all funding disbursements, e.g. loans and grants from the Government of Canada, using an open data standard (include recipient, amount, intended results, status, and timeline).
- Engage different interest groups (e.g. youth, aboriginals, immigrants, disadvantaged and senior citizens) who may face barriers to Open Government participation with targeted Open Government initiatives.
- Establish a data innovation grant for making new and existing government data sources available to the public to promote broad citizen interaction with data.
- Create tools and design processes that enable and encourage citizens to better participate in and also monitor the federal budget and its implementation.
- Leverage data to create healthcare solutions, increasing care efficiency, quality of health services, and government accountability, e.g. enabling patients to view and download their own personal health records online.
- Create/support the implementation of open data literacy programs by local organizations, or by accredited data literacy courses at colleges and universities.
Canadian Library Association 2014 National Conference and Trade Show, Victoria, May 29, 2014
Participants self-identified as government, public librarians and a councilwoman who was a member of a local library board. (Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia were represented.) The audience included representatives who had made written submissions on Canada's Action Plan 1.0.
Action Plan 2.0 ideas that emerged:
- More promotion and education is required on why Open Government is important and what it means to citizens and government agencies, e.g. use libraries as a channel or catalyst for education about Open Government.
- Consider a reduction in the number of Access to Information requests as an indicator of the success of Open Government.
- Work to integrate federal, provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions.
- Change culture to one of "open by default"; communicate the importance of sharing openly and early, e.g. if it is created by the Government of Canada, then it should be made open by default and access to it should be maintained (and not lost in an exercise taking out the redundant, outdated or trivial content).
- The management of legacy holdings should be a part of any planning: relevant and timely mean different things to different communities. Researchers need more than the current reports.
- Statistics Canada should always publish data sets with a Public User Micro Data File.
Responses to the question "Why is Open Government important to me?"
- Means that government data, information and records of dialogue are preserved and remain available for research purposes, e.g. the loss of Aboriginal Canada Portal data (which was closed on February 12, 2013, as part of the GC Web Renewal initiative).
- Helps restore faith in government by replacing negative perceptions with positive ones, ultimately increasing voter turnout.
- Fills in the gaps in the library information network resulting from budget cutbacks.
- Allows for collective problem solving, particularly in "smart" communities, e.g. utility companies measuring and sharing neighborhood energy use so that individuals can compare their use to those around them, thereby encouraging energy conservation.
- Can save money by creating efficiencies and reducing redundant service offerings.
- Open access is a fundamental part of Open Government.
Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2014, Brock University, St. Catharines, May 25, 2014
Discussions were held with delegates who self-identified as being academia or involved in non-profit organizations.
Action Plan 2.0 ideas that emerged:
- Education and awareness around government decision making and policy process leads to better citizen engagement.
- Make all data, including Statistics Canada's, readily available.
- Ban PDFs—always make data machine-readable.
- Draft parliamentary legislation for Open Government.
Responses to the question "Why is Open Government important to me?"
- Returns value to tax payers.
- Helps address a lack of trust between citizens and government.
- Facilitates a two-way exchange between producers of policy and consumers of policy (public).
Phase 1: Consultation Plan – Online Feedback Summary – As of June 5, 2014
Comments submitted focus on four main topics:
- Consultation process
- Hold more in-person Open Government Action Plan 2.0 consultations (i.e. include Manitoba and Saskatchewan).
- Use real names (i.e. not a possible alias) when attributing comments.
- Data management
- Further leverage data.
- Identify the needs of users.
- Engage public servants to foster open data.
- Open Science
- The current academic journal business model requires that government-funded research is essentially paid for twice. (Government funds research, which is next submitted to journals, published and then sold back to universities and other public institutions through expensive subscription costs.)
- Several comments reflect that the Government of Canada's commitment to transparency leaves something to be desired, e.g.
- Curtail the government's invasion of individual privacy.
- Stop following the U.S. model of government security.
- Several comments reflect that the Government of Canada's commitment to transparency leaves something to be desired, e.g.
Phase 2: Idea Dialogue – Online Feedback Summary – As of June 5, 2014
Eight new ideas were submitted:
- Create a public registry of owners for all companies operated, registered and traded in Canada.
- Establish a global standard for financial transparency in the extractive industries (disclosure of payments to governments on a project-by-project and country-by-country basis).
- Government data requires a more "granular" level of detail.
- Allow Canadians to vote (online) on bills prior to MPs' voting.
- Complete outstanding Action Plan 1.0 commitments, i.e. Web 2.0 citizen engagement platform and crowdsourcing initiative.
- Upload Government of Canada corporate records (Report on Plans and Priorities, Departmental Performance Report, Management Accountability Framework, briefing materials, etc.) on data.gc.ca to allow aggregation of data according to contextual Blueprint 2020 themes.
- Open Data's structured information requires indexing.
- Comprehensive datasets: Combine numerous Government of Canada datasets into a single, very large table. (This renders open data ready for big data analysis, facilitating insight.)
Comments submitted focus on three themes:
- Encourage the use of open data and make it more accessible and understandable, both for the general public and for machines:
- Provide funding to organisations to make use of the data.
- Feature examples of how data is used (apps developed) on data.gc.ca.
- Use platforms that will allow for data visualizations.
- Encourage the innovative use of open data.
- Improve data.gc.ca's search function and data quality (e.g. granularity, indexation and comprehensiveness of datasets).
- Provide community outreach for data and examples of Open Government.
- Invest in information management. (Integrate it in every project at the starting point. Technology alone is not the answer.)
- Address Access to Information measures rather than access to data.
- Allow scientists to discuss their research and data.
American Records Management Association, NCR Program Meeting: Ottawa, Sheraton Hotel, April 30, 2014
A workshop on Canada's Action Plan Open Government 2.0 was held April 30, 2014 in Ottawa to coincide with a program meeting of the Ottawa chapter of the American Records Management Association (ARMA), the association of professional records managers.
The majority of the 43 people who participated self-identified as public sector employees, but representatives from the private sector and academia were also present.
Action Plan 2.0 ideas that emerged:
- Expand promotion and education on why Open Government is important, and what it means to citizens and government agencies. For example, one idea was to add information to tax returns about government services, providing a breakdown of the government services made possible by taxes.
- The public and interested stakeholders should be involved in prioritizing what data and information should be released proactively.
- Increase and strengthen citizen engagement opportunities, both formal opportunities (such as the Open Government consultations) and informal opportunities (such as enabling public servants to collaborate with citizens and stakeholders).
- Make the idea of "Open by Default" a fundamental part of Government of Canada policy. That is, instead of targeting data and information to release, operate on the principle that all data and information will be proactively posted publicly unless security, copyright, or privacy concerns exist.
- Explore the accountability structures within government to ensure that Open Government is a priority for the leaders who will assist in making it a reality.
Responses to the question "Why Open Government is Important to me?":
- Allows me as a citizen to make informed decisions, it helps me feel in control;
- Enables me as a public servant to re-use and leverage information to create solutions, wisdom, and prosperity in Canada and globally;
- Helps me be more effective and learn about new business practices;
- Assists me in understanding what the government is doing with my tax dollars;
- Helps to re-build trust in government by de-politicising information;
- Allows public servants to collaborate with the people who can help find innovative solutions (e.g. other government departments, academics); and,
- Hopefully signals a real culture change.