End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report on Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership 2016-2018

On this page

  1. Introduction and background
  2. National Action Plan process
  3. Recommendations of the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism
  4. Implementation of National Action Plan commitments

1. Introduction and background

The Government of Canada has committed to being open and transparent. This commitment is based in part on the belief that openness and engagement with citizens and civil society can help design and deliver high-quality and impactful policies, programs and services.

The Government of Canada’s commitment to open government is reflected in the Prime Minister’s mandate letters to Cabinet ministers, which reinforce the expectation that federal departmentsFootnote 1 will do their part to ensure an open and honest government that:

  • is accountable to Canadians
  • lives up to the highest ethical standards
  • advances Canadians’ priorities with a renewed sense of collaboration

The government is fulfilling its commitment to open government through initiatives such as the following:

  • the Open Government Portal (open.canada.ca), which provides access to open datasets and open information resources from departments across the Government of Canada
  • the Open by Default pilot portal, which is testing a way to allow Canadians to explore working documents as they’re being created
  • hundreds of consultations and public engagement processes undertaken by federal departments over the last 3 years

Canada is also demonstrating its commitment to open government globally as an active member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since 2012. In 2017, Canada was elected to the OGP Steering Committee, and in , Canada assumed the role of lead government co-chair of the OGP.

Canada released its third biennial plan to the OGP in . The plan comprises 22 commitments to advance open government, grouped into 4 themes:

  1. open by default
  2. fiscal transparency
  3. innovation, prosperity and sustainable development
  4. engaging Canadians and the world

The plan was implemented between , and . The commitments in the plan were designed to help deliver on core open government values, including transparency, accountability, and citizen participation.

In accordance with OGP requirements, the Government of Canada published a Mid-Term Self-Assessment Report in . Canada’s progress on implementation is assessed by an independent researcher through the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). The IRM’s mid-term report was published in . In this End-of-Term Self-Assessment Report, the Government of Canada reports on what it has accomplished between , and .

In summer 2017, the Government of Canada launched a Progress Tracker for the Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership to provide quarterly updates on progress in implementing open government commitments. This tracker went beyond the OGP’s requirements for annual reporting, because it identified challenges and successes in addition to providing regular updates on progress.

Over the last year, the Government of Canada has made meaningful progress in implementing its commitments in the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP. This report seeks to offer a frank assessment of:

  • what we accomplished
  • what we learned along the way

We have tried to be transparent about our challenges and failures, while highlighting our successes and accomplishments.

2. National Action Plan process

Participation and co-creation throughout the OGP cycle

In advancing open government, the Government of Canada has sought to increasingly institute permanent feedback loops with citizens. Key tools for doing so include:

  • Suggest a Dataset web page: Citizens can:
    • indicate a dataset they would like to see released
    • indicate their interest in a dataset by voting for it to help the Government of Canada prioritize areas of high interest
    • return to the web page to check on the status of the dataset
  • Comments on open.canada.ca: Users are encouraged to provide comments on open.canada.ca. A comment box or feedback link appears on every open.canada.ca page and is monitored continually.
  • Email: The Open Government team at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has an inbox (open-ouvert@tbs-sct.gc.ca) that it uses to encourage comments, suggestions and feedback.
  • Social media: @OpenGovCan is a dedicated Twitter account for sharing information and engaging with the open government community. Similarly, Your Government at Work on Facebook and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s LinkedIn page are additional platforms for sharing information with and soliciting feedback from citizens.

Participation and co-creation when developing the National Action Plan

Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the OGP was developed through extensive consultations over 3 months with Canadians and with stakeholders in civil society, business, academia and other sectors. The Government of Canada sought ideas and feedback on how government could become more open, accountable and transparent.

To ensure that the plan met the needs and expectations of Canadians and stakeholders, a variety of public consultation and engagement activities were undertaken. These activities were conducted in 2 main phases:

  1. an idea-generation phase
  2. a consultation on the draft plan

During these phases, the Government of Canada collected ideas, comments and feedback through several channels, both online and in person.

In total, 1,451 individuals took part in consultations, including 312 individuals who took part in in-person consultation events. These participants generated over 1,200 unique comments and ideas about open government in Canada. The Government of Canada published a detailed What We Heard report to outline the results of the consultations and how comments were incorporated into the plan.

Participation and co-creation when implementing, monitoring and reporting on the National Action Plan

All Government of Canada departments that were leading commitments were encouraged to consider how to work in partnership with stakeholders in civil society, the private sector, the media and academia to support the implementation of commitments under the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP. Notable areas where co-implementation occurred include:

  • working with Canada’s provinces and territories to develop a list of high-value datasets for release to make it easier for Canadians to compare data across federal, provincial and territorial governments
  • working with the Government of Alberta to pilot and launch an online federated multi-jurisdictional open data search service to allow Canadians to search and access data from across jurisdictions, regardless of the origin of the data
  • creating new Guidelines for Reporting on Grants and Contributions Awards, which require departments to report on all grants and contributions awards, not just those over $25,000:
    • the guidelines were developed in collaboration with participating federal departments and external stakeholders
    • an online consultation was held to engage Canadians on the path forward for public reporting of grants and contributions
  • collaborating with other governments that have either:
    • already introduced legislation that is similar to the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, or
    • demonstrated an interest in increasing the transparency of the extractive sector

Launched in , Canada’s Multi-Stakeholder Forum is a formal mechanism for regular 2-way communication on open government between the federal government and civil society. In addition to holding its regular meetings, the forum has been brokering additional meetings, discussions and working sessions between experts and stakeholders from civil society and government program leads.

To date, the forum’s work has focused largely on developing Canada’s National Action Plan on Open Government, with less effort focused on the co-implementation of commitments in the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP. However, the Government of Canada intends to work with forum members to the greatest extent possible in co-implementing and monitoring Canada’s National Action Plan for 2018 to 2020.

3. Recommendations of the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism

In , the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) issued a mid-term report on Canada’s progress in implementing the first year of the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP. The report recommended the following key areas of focus for future open government activities:

  • improving consultations for the next action plan, including consultations on co-creation standards
  • earmarking specific resources to implement OGP commitments
  • working with First Nations peoples to develop mutual commitments for improving openness, engagement and transparency
  • passing robust reforms to the Access to Information Act
  • harnessing Canada’s existing open data expertise to boost the accessibility and usability of published information

The observations and recommendations in the report are being taken into account in the development of Canada’s National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020. For example, the Government of Canada undertook its most ambitious open government engagement process to date in support of the development of the plan for 2018 to 2020. Further details on this process will be outlined in the plan for 2018 to 2020 and the associated What We Heard report.

In addition, the Government of Canada is committing to working toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples under its National Action Plan for 2018 to 2020. We 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 draft commitment was designed to allow for significant co-creation and co-implementation, encouraging First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders and stakeholders to define their own approach to engagement on open government issues.

The Government of Canada values all the recommendations that the IRM made in its mid-term report. The areas of focus listed above, and those offered in the mid-term report, have contributed significantly to the development of Canada’s National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020. For example, the IRM recommended that we publish more information on the budget and more Department of Finance Canada information. Canada’s draft National Action Plan for 2018 to 2020 commits to creating and deploying tools for citizens to better understand this information. Also, our draft commitment on open government learning follows the IRM recommendation to educate public servants and politicians on open government.

4. Implementation of National Action Plan commitments

Table 1 summarizes Canada’s progress in implementing its current Open Government Plan. Significant progress has been made over the last year:

  • 16 of the 22 commitments have been completed
  • the remaining 6 commitments have been substantially completed
Table 1. Completion level of Canada’s Action Plan commitments
Action Plan commitment Completion level
1. Enhance access to information Substantially completed
2. Streamline requests for personal information Substantially completed
3. Expand and improve open data Completed
4. Provide and preserve open information Substantially completed
5. Define an approach for measuring open government performance Completed
6. Develop open government skills across the federal public service Completed
7. Embed transparency requirements in the federal service strategy Completed
8. Enhance access to culture and heritage collections Substantially completed
9. Enhance openness of information on government spending and procurement Substantially completed
10. Increase  transparency of budget and other Department of Finance Canada information Completed
11. Increase transparency of grants and contributions funding Completed
12. Improve public information on Canadian corporations Completed
13. Increase the availability and usability of geospatial data Substantially completed
14. Increase openness of federal science activities (open science) Completed
15. Stimulate innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange Completed
16. Align open data across Canada (Open Data Canada) Completed
17. Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act Completed
18. Support openness and transparency initiatives around the world Completed
19. Engage civil society on open government Completed
20. Enable open dialogue and open policy-making Completed
21. Promote open government globally Completed
22. Engage Canadians to improve key Canada Revenue Agency services Completed

Commitment 1: Enhance access to information

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, working with Justice Canada and the Privy Council Office
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

The Access to Information Act maintains openness and transparency by enabling public debate on the conduct of government institutions, which in turn makes the Government of Canada more accountable to Canadians. The act has not been significantly updated since 1983. In recent years, participants in open government consultations, the Information Commissioner and other stakeholders have noted the need to update the act.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will move forward on a first round of concrete proposals to improve the Access to Information Act, informed by the views of parliamentarians, the Information Commissioner, and Canadians. It will then undertake a full review of the act by 2018.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

This commitment will put more information in the hands of Canadians and provide greater transparency on the use of public funds.

The government’s specific commitments to improve the act in the near term include:

  • making government data and information open by default, in formats that are modern and easy to use
  • eliminating all fees, except for the initial $5 filing fee
  • providing requesters with a written explanation when information cannot be released
  • giving government institutions and the Information Commissioner authority to decline to process requests that are frivolous or vexatious
  • giving the Information Commissioner the power to order the release of government information
  • ensuring that the Access to Information Act applies appropriately to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministers’ offices, and administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts
  • undertaking a mandatory legislative review of the Access to Information Act every 5 years
  • strengthening performance reporting on the access to information program

To make early progress on these commitments, on May 5, 2016, the Government of Canada issued an Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act. The directive sends a strong message to all federal institutions that government information belongs to the people it serves and should be open by default. It emphasizes that government information should be available to the public, except in very limited and specific situations when it must be protected for reasons such as privacy, confidentiality and security. The directive also directs federal officials to:

  • waive all access to information fees apart from the $5 filing fee
  • release information in user-friendly formats (for example, spreadsheets), whenever feasible
Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Canadians will have timely access to government information. This will make government more accountable to Canadians and will enhance democratic participation.

Implementation results and lessons learned

1.1 Milestone:

Seek input from Parliament, the Information Commissioner, stakeholders and Canadians on how to revitalize access to information.

Description of results

This item was completed in the spring of 2016. In May and , the Government of Canada held public online consultations on its proposals to revitalize access to information. Feedback from these consultations was summarized in a What We Heard report, which was published online on October 19, 2016.

On , the government tabled its response  to the report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Lessons learned

Through the consultation process, we learned that Canadians see the need to fundamentally improve the current access to information framework and practices. Bill C-58 only addresses a subset of these concerns. It will be important that the planned Phase 2 full review of the act take a broad approach and facilitate input from stakeholders and users of the act, including Indigenous researchers and representatives. We also learned the importance of ensuring that our work reflects the feedback we receive from Canadians.

1.2 Milestone:

Introduce legislation to move forward on improvements to the Access to Information Act.

Description of results

On , the government introduced Bill C-58 in the House of Commons to:

  • modernize the Access to Information Act
  • provide the Information Commissioner with the power to make binding orders and to apply the act appropriately to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministers’ offices, members of Parliament and senators, as well as institutions that support Parliament and the courts
  • make more government information open by default (see the news release)

In , a number of amendments to Bill C-58 were made in the House of Commons, including:

  • requiring that an institution obtain the Information Commissioner’s prior approval to decline to act on a vexatious or bad faith request; this change provides greater assurance to Canadians that legitimate requests will not be declined
  • preventing institutions from declining to act on a request on the sole basis that it did not meet the requirements to provide a specific subject matter, type of record, and period or date of the records sought
  • clarifying that Canadians will be able to request the original versions of documents that are proactively released under Part 2, in order to validate the information that has been published; the Information Commissioner would have oversight of the documents released in response to the request
  • giving the Information Commissioner clear authority to publish reports of findings, including any orders made
  • requiring that mandate letters be disclosed within 30 days of being issued; Bill C-58, as introduced, did not set a timeframe for the release of mandate letters
Lessons learned

The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing the Access to Information Act. This is a complex task. In preparing new legislation and trying to respond to stakeholder input, we were reminded again that changes to the act need to be crafted carefully to balance more open government with other important democratic values, such as the privacy of citizens, the impartiality and objectivity of the public service, and the independence of the judiciary.

1.3 Milestone:

Once this first round of improvements has been implemented, undertake a full review of the Access to Information Act by no later than 2018.

Description of results

The full review of the act has not yet started. On December 6, 2017, the House of Commons adopted Bill C-58 as amended at third reading and the bill was referred to the Senate. On December 7, 2017, the Senate heard Bill C-58 at first reading. On June 6, 2018, the Senate heard it at second reading and referred it to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for study. Because Bill C-58 is still before the Senate and has therefore not yet been implemented, a full review of the act has not yet begun.

Lessons learned

See failure report below.

Completion level

1.1 Compete
1.2 Complete
1.3 Limited

Failure report

1.3 “Once this first round of improvements has been implemented, undertake a full review of the Access to Information Act by no later than 2018.”

Bill C-58 would create a statutory obligation to undertake a full review of the Access to Information Act beginning within 1 year of royal assent of the bill. The bill is still before the Senate and has therefore not yet received royal assent. Consequently, the commitment to conduct a full legislative review of the Access to Information Act by 2018 will not be completed.

Meeting commitments under the OGP National Action Plan that relate to implementing legislative changes is challenging because the timeline for adopting those changes depends on Parliament and is not within the control of the public service.

For future plans, commitments related to legislative changes will need to take into account the independent role of Parliament and balance the legislative process with the 2-year timeline set out by the OGP.

Commitment 2: Streamline requests for personal information

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address

Transparency includes providing Canadians with timely access to their own personal information held by government.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will make it easier for Canadians to access their own personal information held by the federal government.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

To make it easier for Canadians to access information held by government, including their personal information, the government will create a simple, central website where Canadians can submit requests to any government institution. This will be backed up with a 30-day guarantee for personal information requests. If a request takes longer than 30 days to fulfill, it is proposed that the government provide a written explanation for the delay to the requester and to the Privacy Commissioner.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP value of transparency.

Expected result

Canadians will be able to use a central website to easily access their personal information held by the government backed by a 30-day guarantee for requests for personal information.

Implementation results and lessons learned

2.1 Milestone:

Develop a central website where Canadians can submit personal information requests to any government institution, with first phase of rollout targeted for 2018.

Description of results

Work is underway to develop and implement the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Online Request Service, a central website where Canadians can submit personal information requests and access to information requests to any government institution. The first phase of rollout is targeted for fall 2018 and will enable Canadians to submit personal information requests and access to information requests to a number of institutions. More institutions will be added in 3 phases until all institutions are on board. The new service will also enable requesters to search previously released access to information records so that they can more quickly receive the information they are seeking.

Further rounds of testing of the new service were scheduled for summer 2018. The service will be launched once any needed adjustments are made in fall 2018. The current ATIP Online Pilot, through which Canadians have been able to submit requests to 33 institutions since 2014, will continue to operate in parallel with the new service until all institutions in the pilot are moved to the new service.

Lessons learned

In developing the ATIP Online Request Service, we have learned the critical importance of user testing to understanding Canadians’ needs as users of the service. We will continue to test the service with Canadians as we develop and implement it over the next phases and will make adjustments as needed based on their feedback.

2.2 Milestone:

Implement a 30-day guarantee for requests for personal information, backed by a commitment to provide a written explanation to the requester and the Privacy Commissioner if a request takes longer than 30 days to fulfill.

Description of results

In the President of the Treasury Board issued new requirements under the Directive on Personal Information Requests and Correction of Personal Information. As of October 1, 2018, institutions will be required to provide a written explanation to the requester when a request for access to personal information takes more than 30 days to fulfill. Institutions will also be required to report in more detail, in their annual reports to Parliament, on the reasons for extensions. The October 1, 2018, implementation date gives institutions time to adjust their business processes to meet the new requirements. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is encouraging institutions to begin providing written explanations for extension to requesters before October 1, 2018.

Lessons learned

A key lesson learned in developing the policy on written explanation is the importance of allowing sufficient time to consult the institutions involved, such as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, when shaping new policy proposals. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner and other government institutions provided valuable input to the policy development process.

Completion level

2.1 Substantial
2.2 Completed

Failure report

2.1 “Develop a central website where Canadians can submit personal information requests to any government institution, with first phase of rollout targeted for 2018.”

Although substantial progress has been made on developing the ATIP Online Request Service, with rollout of the first phase targeted for fall 2018, work on this phase of the initiative will continue beyond the Third Biennial Plan implementation period, which ends .

Additional time is required to respond to findings of user testing and to implement additional functionalities to make the process easier for users. Going forward, we will continue to include user testing in our work and to seek to identify added functionalities that would improve the user experience.

Commitment 3: Expand and improve open data

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Statistics Canada
Other actors involved: Contributing Government of Canada departments
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Considerable data can often be trapped inside government silos. Open data has the potential to transform how government officials make decisions and how citizens interact with their government. By providing a range of high-quality open data from reliable sources, Canada supports informed participation and engagement in the development and delivery of programs, services and policies by citizens and government workers alike. Data must be discoverable, accessible and reusable without restriction so as to enhance transparency, enable better services to Canadians, facilitate innovation and inform public participation.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will increase the quality and visibility of federal data holdings and set measurable targets for the release of open data over the next 5 years.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Over the last 5 years, federal departments and agencies have established a good foundation of available open data. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s current Directive on Open Government requires federal departments to maximize the release of eligible government data and publish plans outlining how they will implement the directive’s requirements.

The step underway now is seeking to make the opening of data automatic and to ingrain the practice throughout all processes.

The next step is about increasing the diversity, timeliness and quality of data released, to maximize the potential impact of the reuse of the government’s data by Canadians. As an example, Statistics Canada is working on increasing access to high-quality statistical information in open formats, including releasing all 2016 Census data a full 10 months faster than it released the 2011 Census data. Steps are also being taken to ensure that Canadians understand the data.

In addition, focus is being placed on streamlining and improving the process by which departments proactively disclose information on government spending and human resources online.

Finally, the Government of Canada is continuing to take advantage of opportunities to share best practices and work with data experts both nationally and internationally to improve its own open data services and support the release of high-quality data.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP value of transparency.

Expected result

Canadians will have access to diverse, high-quality government data that is discoverable, accessible and reusable. They will also be able to interact directly with the Chief Statistician and with Statistics Canada analysts to better understand the data and the importance of official statistics.

Implementation results and lessons learned

3.1 Milestone:

Develop and publish departmental inventories of federal data, as required by the Directive on Open Government, to support collaboration with the public on setting priorities for the release of open data.

Description of results

Inventories were completed in the spring of 2017. Additional work was completed since then to ensure that departments updated their existing inventories. Also, the Open Government team worked with departments that had not completed the exercise to address issues that prevented the release of their inventory on open.canada.ca. 46 of 84 departments completed the exercise, including 33 out of 37 large departments.

Lessons learned

Departments found it challenging to complete comprehensive inventories of their data holdings because some had incredibly vast holdings and others did not have easily accessible or centralized holdings. This exercise identified a need to better define “open data” and what should be regularly released on open.canada.ca. The exercise also helped organizations establish and improve their internal data governance and management processes.

3.2 Milestone:

Set a baseline for the total volume of open data to be released over time and establish departmental targets for the publication of releasable data over the next 5 years:

  • publish departmental targets and progress on departments’ release of open data
Description of results

To monitor progress, the Progress Tracker for Open Data dataset was released June 14, 2018, on open.canada.ca. The tracker captures the number of datasets from departments that have been released in the past year, as well as the target number of datasets that organizations plan to release by and .

Although the total number of datasets decreased as a result of dataset consolidation and clean-up activities, as of , approximately 1,321 new datasets have been added since .

Lessons learned

Organizations need to continue to update their open data inventories and to develop schedules and plans for releasing their data on open.canada.ca. Although it was initially difficult to estimate when data would or could be released, updating departmental inventories enabled departments to better prioritize and schedule the release of data on open.canada.ca throughout the year. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to work with organizations on updating their inventories, because a small minority were not able to complete the exercise. We also learned that we need to work more closely with organizations so that they make more ambitious commitments to release content on open.canada.ca.

3.3 Milestone:

Develop and refine guidance to help federal departments and agencies set priorities for the release of high-value open data and understand the specific circumstances under which data cannot be released for privacy, security or confidentiality reasons. Specifically:

  • establish data quality standards for open data
  • provide guidance on engaging with key communities in Canada (for example, First Nations, Inuit and Métis) to better understand their needs when setting priorities for the release of open data
  • develop metadata standards to enhance data interoperability and discoverability
  • develop guidance on the anonymization of datasets
Description of results

The Open Government Guidebook, created by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in collaboration with Government of Canada organizations, has been released as a draft on the Open by Default Pilot portal. It provides in-depth guidance and clarifies the requirements for departments and agencies to ensure that the government’s data and information practices are consistent. A blog post on this is also available.

The Open Government Guidebook includes:

  • draft open government data and information standards, which provide guidance on how to apply data and information quality standards to resources released on open.canada.ca
  • an outreach and engagement section to provide guidance on how to engage with users and key communities in Canada
  • the Open Government Metadata Application Profile, which details the metadata elements that are used to describe datasets and assets added to open.canada.ca
  • guidance on anonymization of datasets
Lessons learned

The development of the Open Government Guidebook demonstrated that dynamic, government-wide guidelines require ongoing collaboration. The guidebook was created by working group members from over 25 Government of Canada organizations. This collaborative approach to developing open government guidance can be challenging. Rigorous follow-up is therefore needed to ensure that guidance authors can meet deadlines and that content is consistent and coherent. However, this approach provides the wide breadth of expertise necessary to ensure functionality across departments and organizations. The guidebook will continue to evolve as open government practices for the Government of Canada evolve.

3.4 Milestone:

Provide access to high-quality, open statistical data and information from Statistics Canada, free of charge, in machine-readable formats under an open licence and accessible via open.canada.ca by:

  • releasing the results of the 2016 Census (both short and long form) in 2017 based on a published release schedule
  • hosting online “Chat with an Expert” and in-person “Talking Stats” sessions to enable Canadians to interact with Statistics Canada analysts and better understand the published data
Description of results

The publication of the 2016 Census results is complete and all planned release dates were met. From , to , the following results were published:

In addition to being available on the Statistics Canada website, the data is also available on open.canada.ca. This release of these results was a full 10 months faster than the 2011 Census results were released.

Events held:

Lessons learned

As the country’s national statistical organization, Statistics Canada has an opportunity and a duty to play a wider role in the open data community. The quality of all open data datasets is important, and, as data becomes open, more attention needs to be paid to protecting the confidentiality of citizens’ and businesses’ information. With this in mind, Statistics Canada is ready to offer its significant expertise in this domain and has made 2 new potential commitments under Canada’s 4th Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020:

  • help review the quality of the top 200 downloaded datasets found on the Open by Default Pilot portal
  • assist with a series of workshops for federal government partners on data anonymization
3.5 Milestone:

Improve Canadians’ access to data and information proactively disclosed by departments and agencies through a single, common online search tool:

  • enhance self-service tools for departments to publish proactive disclosure information to strengthen the quality of data being released
Description of results

A single online system, registry.open.canada.ca, has been developed. Departments are using it to standardize, consolidate and publish proactive disclosures. 82 federal entities are now releasing proactive disclosure information on open.canada.ca.

The data elements for Contracts, Grants and Contributions and Travel and Hospitality were updated so that they align with updates made to the respective polices.

Lessons learned

The development of standardized templates and publication functionality to support the release of proactive disclosures on open.canada.ca was successful. The process is simple and user-friendly, and has eliminated work required by web groups that previously had to publish these reports on their own institutional pages. The development of single consolidated search pages for each type of proactive disclosure has improved the user experience because users can now search for reports in one place on open.canada.ca, rather than search each institution’s page separately.

3.6 Milestone:

Adopt the International Open Data Charter and initiate implementation of the charter requirements:

  • encourage civil society and private sector organizations to open up their own data where this would be of public benefit
  • measure progress and report on Canada’s implementation of charter principles
Description of results

Canada officially adopted the International Open Data Charter in . A document assessing the Government of Canada’s progress toward full implementation of the charter’s principles was posted on GCcollab in .

The Government of Canada has worked with government, civil society and private sector stakeholders across Canada and around the world to support the release of high-quality, high-value open data. In , 2 webinars (one in English and one in French) encouraging civil society and private sector organizations to open up their own data were held.

Lessons learned

Canada’s adoption of the International Open Data Charter reflects the importance of international instruments in supporting meaningful, ambitious change around the world. The principles set out in the charter must, however, be backed up by concrete actions and rigorous follow-up. In the coming years, the Government of Canada will work to ensure that it reports against its progress on implementing the charter principles.

Completion level
  • 3.1 Complete
  • 3.2 Complete
  • 3.3 Complete
  • 3.4 Complete
  • 3.5 Complete
  • 3.6 Complete

Commitment 4: Provide and preserve open information

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Library and Archives Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Other actors involved: Contributing Government of Canada departments
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

As information becomes increasingly digitized, it brings with it a number of challenges including ensuring its findability and preservation. As a result, efforts to improve how information can be found, used, shared and preserved are underway. Canada has made significant progress on improving public access to government data under its last 2 action plans. By improving access to other forms of government information and ensuring preservation of this information, the Government of Canada can promote and maintain informed participation and sound decision-making.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will establish government-wide initiatives, platforms and tools to ensure that open information is discoverable and accessible for use by future generations.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The Government of Canada is working to provide enhanced, centralized, one-stop access to digital content from departments and agencies across government. Guidance is being developed to ensure the ongoing preservation of this information through the application of consistent standards and practices for long-term preservation.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP value of transparency.

Expected result

Canadians will have easy access to government information that is discoverable, accessible and preserved for generations. They will also have greater access to Library and Archives Canada’s government records holdings.

Implementation results and lessons learned

4.1 Milestone:

Enhance the Open Information Portal on open.canada.ca to improve access to digital publications made available by the federal government and develop a strategy to ensure the sustainability of access over time.

Description of results

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has developed the Open Government Metadata Application Profile to describe all open information resources and datasets. Users can now search both data and information together on open.canada.ca. Previously, users has to search data and information separately.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has also developed the Open Government Guidebook to assist departments with contributing open information to open.canada.ca. In addition, it has finalized guidance documents for releasing open government resources on open.canada.ca to provide clarify release requirements for departments.

Based on extensive consultations with and review by different groups both internal and external to the Government of Canada, the Open Government Metadata Application Profile met the above requirements. This profile should be used as a best practice when the Government of Canada or our national and international open government partners are developing other metadata element sets.

Lessons learned
  • The metadata set should align with existing best practices to support interoperability. Specifically, it should align with Government of Canada Metadata Standards and with other international profiles including:
    • North American Profile of ISO:19115,
    • MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)
    • DCAT (Data Catalog Vocabulary)
    • Schema.org
    • MARC 21
  • The element set used to describe Government of Canada data and information should align with the metadata element sets used for other open government initiatives around the world, for example, data.gov and data.gov.uk.
  • The metadata set ought to make it easier for Canadians to search for and find electronic open government resources and could enable the development of search facets to allow users to refine their search on open.canada.ca.
  • The metadata set should enable the creation of a single bilingual metadata record to comply with the Official Languages Act.
  • The metadata set should enable the development of relationships or links to other metadata records on open.canada.ca to make it easier to, for example, link an open data record to an open information record.
  • The metadata set could describe all open government assets in a variety of formats, including:
    • datasets
    • APIs
    • maps and services
    • publications
    • videos
    • photographs
    • documents
    • presentations
  • The metadata set was easy to implement and was understood by departments and agencies.
  • The metadata set was flexible and extensible and will allow for the development of further metadata extensions for specific collections (for example, publications or open maps).
4.2 Milestone:

Develop and publish clear guidelines on the preservation and retention of digital content.

Description of results

The draft Open Government Guidebook includes a section on retention and preservation of digital content that appears on open.canada.ca. It does not, however, address the retention and preservation of other Government of Canada digital content.

The Open Government team at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat worked with a number of stakeholders, including Library and Archives Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat legal advisor, and Natural Resources Canada’s Federal Geospatial Platform, to devise guidance on the retention and disposition of data and information that Government of Canada institutions make available on open.canada.ca.

Discussions continue within the Government of Canada on appropriate practices for retaining and disposing of open data and open information resources available through open.canada.ca. Work is underway to develop appropriate retention and long-term management standards for information that could be of ongoing value to Canadians even when it is no longer of business value to government. Work has therefore not yet been completed on the development and publication of guidelines on the preservation and retention of digital content.

Lessons learned

One important lesson that will inform future work on preservation and retention of digital content is that the objectives of open government (that is, greater openness, transparency and accountability in government) may not always align with retention and disposition guidelines that focus on whether government data and information has business value (that is, whether they support the ongoing business of government by enabling decision making and the delivery of programs, services and ongoing operations, and so on).

4.3 Milestone:

Increase Canadians’ access to records documenting the continuing memory of the Government of Canada.

Description of results

Through Library and Archives Canada’s block review initiative, 11,164,897 pages of archived government records were reviewed and 10,498,631 pages were opened.

Library and Archives Canada made the Canadian Expeditionary Force collection available to the public. This collection consists of 7.8 million images (3.9 million pages), which were digitized over the course of 1 year. As of , the entirety of the Canadian Expeditionary Force collection was digitized where over 29 million images were made accessible.

Library and Archives Canada is continuing to develop policies that will allow Canadians to access as many records as possible held by Library and Archives Canada. The aim is to remove restrictions on records already held by Library and Archives Canada and to ensure that incoming records are as unrestricted as possible.

The policy development work is part of a larger review of Library and Archives Canada’s policy suite that will include strategic research on how Library and Archives Canada can best achieve its goal of minimum restrictions and the development of strategic and operational instruments to enable this goal.

Lessons learned

Library and Archives Canada’s block review initiative continues to demonstrate the importance of openness by default and of releasing information that may be valuable to Canadians. Reviewing archived government records to determine whether restrictions can be removed is labour-intensive; Library and Archives Canada therefore also works with departments across the Government of Canada to, when possible, remove access restrictions when records are archived.

4.4 Milestone:

Update Library and Archives Canada’s online archive of the Government of Canada’s web presence to ensure Canadians’ long-term access to federal web content.

Description of results

From 2016 to 2018, Library and Archives Canada harvested approximately 6 terabytes of data from Government of Canada websites, including:

  • harvests related to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Web Renewal Initiative
  • further harvesting from the “.gc.ca” and “canada.ca” domains, which included some Government of Canada YouTube content

Library and Archives Canada also began migrating archived web data to a new platform so that all Government of Canada web content harvested since 2005 will be indexed and publicly accessible. Once this migration is complete, any newly harvested content will be accessible to the public within weeks of harvest, eliminating future backlogs of content waiting to be made accessible.

Lessons learned

Variations in the structure of website code and web development practices make it difficult to archive resources successfully. To make Government of Canada web resources more “harvester-friendly,” standards could be developed for subdomain URL structure and best practices could be identified for development. Best practices could include:

  • avoid using back-end databases that are not indexed for resource retrieval
  • avoid using proprietary technologies that are not Government of Canada property and cannot be collected (for example, embedded Twitter feeds and Flash)
  • avoid using the pound symbol (#) in URLs
  • use static rather than dynamic URLs
  • provide well-structured site maps for thorough harvesting of the site
4.5 Milestone:

Expand the implementation of the government-wide information technology solution for the effective management of federal records and documents (GCDOCS) as a foundation for improved transparency:

  • Roll out this common solution managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada to 125,000 government workers across government departments by .
Description of results

As of , GCDOCS has been rolled out to 133,526 federal government workers.

Lessons learned

The implementation of GCDOCS required significant training and strong change management strategies to ensure that users could use GCDOCS to manage their records and documents. Rather than focusing on the technological aspect of the software deployment, the Government of Canada supported departments and end users with information management training, best practices, change management strategies and opportunities to share solutions and lessons learned.

Completion level
  • 4.1 Complete
  • 4.2 Substantial
  • 4.3 Complete
  • 4.4 Complete
  • 4.5 Complete
Failure report

4.2 Develop and publish clear guidelines on the preservation and retention of digital content.

The government failed to anticipate the complexity of developing robust guidelines on preserving and retaining digital content, particularly in the face of growing demand from Canadians for open information and data.

The main challenge we face is distinguishing between the government’s mandate to retain content that is of business value and Canadians’ expectation that digital content should remain open and accessible as long as possible. When we started this work, we expected that it would involve clarifying the roles and responsibilities of government officials and deciding on the best processes and practices for preserving and retaining digital content. We have, however, encountered more fundamental questions about the role of government in providing information to citizens and in preserving information and data that may not seem valuable at the time, but that may have long-term value that we cannot accurately anticipate.

We will continue to work with our partners across government to develop and refine guidance so that it meets both the needs of federal entities and the expectations of Canadians and stakeholders in civil society, academia and other sectors.

Commitment 5: Define an approach for measuring open government performance

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Contributing Government of Canada departments, and provincial and territorial governments
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Since open government is a relatively new way of doing things, there is no single, common, and agreed-upon methodology to measure progress. As Canada defines its goals, it will also have to define how it wants to measure them and identify interim steps toward longer-term objectives.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will integrate performance indicators for openness and transparency into a performance management framework for open government.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Gathering and analyzing the release of data and information will help measure progress on improving openness and transparency. Further analysis will be completed as part of the development of an overall performance management framework for government-wide information management to better measure progress on broader open government efforts.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to accountability, transparency and civic participation.

Expected result

It will be easier for citizens to track the government’s progress on improving openness and transparency.

Implementation results and lessons learned

5.1 Milestone:

Integrate key performance indicators related to openness and transparency as part of a performance framework for managing data and information government-wide.

Description of results

The Government of Canada has established a number of mechanisms for reporting on key performance indicators related to openness and transparency. As well, the Management Accountability Framework requires Government of Canada institutions to report on the percentage of data sources used in the institution’s Departmental Results Framework or Program Alignment Architecture that are released on open.canada.ca.

The Privy Council Office’s Mandate Letter Tracker tracks the results achieved on 39 entries classified under the “Fair and Open Government” priority.

The progress tracker for the 22 commitments in Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the OGP is publicly accessible and is updated quarterly.

The Open Government team at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat posted its evolving logic model for open government on GCcollab.

Lessons learned

Developing and tracking meaningful key indicators to measure openness and transparency across the Government of Canada takes time. The online progress tracker is a good starting point. Standardizing data on outputs, outcomes and, in particular, impacts of the governance of open government across institutions to allow for comparison will, however, be much more efficient.

5.2 Milestone:

Measure and report publicly on annual departmental progress on implementation of the Directive on Open Government.

Description of results

Since the release of the open data inventories, citizens have been able to search the inventories on open.canada.ca and vote on which datasets the Government of Canada should fast-track for release.

To monitor progress on the inventories, the Progress Tracker for Open Data dataset was released June 14, 2018, on open.canada.ca. It indicates the number of datasets from departments that have been released in the past year, as well as the estimated number of datasets that organizations plan to release by and .

Lessons learned

Knowing the range of information the Government of Canada is creating and collecting is useful in making data and information more open and in understanding the value of the data government holds. Creating inventories of datasets and information allows the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to assess them and, when possible, plan for their release.

5.3 Milestone:

Work on developing a performance management framework and indicators that can better measure a wider breadth of open government efforts and outcomes.

Description of results

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat worked with the SecDev Group to develop an approach to assessing the impact of open government reforms in the Government of Canada. Open Government: Measuring Impact, SecDev’s report on this work, includes a draft logic model for open government and a proposed performance management framework with related indicators. The framework is meant to be a starting point for facilitating a conversation within the government and with stakeholders about what a Canadian framework for impact should include and how it can best be evaluated.

Lessons learned

Indicators for measuring open government efforts and outcomes should also take into account the impact of open government. Evaluating impact is difficult, however, because it can be difficult to measure the indirect effects of openness and transparency, and because impact is generally measured over a longer term than implementation. It will be important to engage with stakeholders to ensure that the evolution of open government indicators align with the priorities of Canadians.

Completion level

5.1 Complete
5.2 Complete
5.3 Complete

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

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Canada School of Public Service
Other actors involved: The GovLab and the Government of Canada’s policy community
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

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

What was the commitment?

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

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

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

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

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

Implementation results and lessons learned

6.1 Milestone:

Provide enhanced information management learning opportunities and additional materials to raise public servants’ awareness and understanding of open government principles and practices, including:

  • using open data and information to support policy analysis and development
  • sharing best practices in digital public engagement
  • setting priorities for releasing open data and information based on potential public impact and benefit
  • implementing the Directive on Open Government
Description of results

Between and , the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat organized and hosted approximately 70 learning events on open government with federal public servants involving approximately 5,000 learners. Topics covered included:

  • introduction to open government
  • open data
  • open source software
  • open standards
  • open government and access to information
  • digital government

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat officials also organized or participated in dozens of events, panels and presentations to raise awareness of open government among audiences external to government, including students, researchers and representatives from civil society and the private sector.

The Open Government Learning Hub, was launched on open.canada.ca in and the Canada School of Public Service GCcampus learning platform was developed (only accessible to federal public servants).

In , as part of Open Government Week 2018, Government of Canada departments and agencies and partners in academia and civil society organized more than 30 events, presentations and hackathons to promote and celebrate open government.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has been transitioning to a “train-the-trainer” model. The Secretariat trains departmental open government coordinators, who then lead training sessions in their departments.

Between and , the Canada School of Public Service, in collaboration with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, offered the following events on open government:

Lessons learned

Given the strong interest in open government events learning opportunities should continue to be offered to public servants and Canadians. The 4th National Action Plan on Open Government therefore includes new draft milestones and indicators that involve offering events, learning opportunities and materials relating to open government.

6.2 Milestone:

Lead and/or participate in educational forums and workshops designed to further the understanding of how to increase government transparency and foster civic engagement.

Description of results

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has participated in several forums over the last year to build capacity in and advance understanding about open government. Events include the ones listed in connection with milestone 6.1, as well as:

Lessons learned

See lessons learned for milestone 6.1.

6.3 Milestone:

Through public consultation on the 2016 Government of Canada IT Strategic Plan, consider feedback on how software solutions, including open source, can be best leveraged to meet strategic objectives.

Description of results

Public consultations were held, and the plan was updated in to include a specific commitment to develop a strategy for the use of open source. Open source is now specifically mentioned in the updated Policy on Management of Information Technology, which took effect April 1, 2018.

In , the Government of Canada’s new Enterprise Architecture Review Board (EARB) announced the position that EARB supports the formalization of a common government-wide approach to the use of open source in government, because it will result in a more robust open source community in the Government of Canada. A draft Open First Whitepaper was developed and will inform EARB’s setting of standards on open standards and open source software. These standards will be used in procurement and in developing a digital strategy, favouring the use of open standards and open source software.

Lessons learned

Departments and agencies need to find effective ways to offer the best digital services possible to citizens and users. This implies working in the open by default, by releasing all non-sensitive data, information and source code under an open licence that enables sharing and reuse.

Completion level

6.1 Complete
6.2 Complete
6.3 Complete

Commitment 7: Embed transparency requirements in the federal service strategy

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Service delivery departments and agencies
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Excellence in service delivery is at the core of citizens’ expectations for their governments. For a government to truly be open and accountable, it must deliver responsive services and be transparent on results.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will develop a new client-first service strategy that embeds requirements for openness and transparency in the delivery of government services.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The government is developing a Service Strategy that will transform service design and delivery across the public service, putting clients at the centre.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

The Service Strategy will set a new direction for service delivery to individuals and businesses. It aims to create a single online window for government services, with new performance standards. It will ensure rigorous assessments of the performance of key government services and report findings publicly.

Implementation results and lessons learned

7.1 Milestone:

Develop a Government of Canada Service Strategy that aims to create a single, user-centric online window for government services.

Description of results

The Government of Canada Service Strategy was developed and was highlighted in the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Twenty-Fourth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service. Immediate effort under the strategy focuses on 10 work streams and is aimed at enhancing, streamlining or modernizing services to Canadians, including services to seniors, services to veterans and services to businesses.

Lessons learned

Developing the Government of Canada Service Strategy required significant coordination across a number of departments responsible for delivering key services.

Guidance for improving service delivery must be clear and concrete. A “one-size-fits-all” approach will not work. Guidance must be flexible enough to allow key service departments to work effectively and at the same time ensure a more consistent user experience across a variety of services.

7.2 Milestone:

Establish new performance standards and set up a mechanism to conduct rigorous assessments of the performance of key government services, and report findings publicly.

Description of results

The Guideline on Service Management, published in 2017, provides guidance to departments on managing their services and implementing the Policy on Service. Section 2.7, Service standards and performance information, provides guidance on setting and managing service standards and real-time performance information to support the design and delivery of services.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has created a tool to help departments assess existing service standards and develop new ones to ensure that they are meaningful to Canadians. Under the Policy on Service, departments must publish their service standards and related performance information for priority services on or through canada.ca. Examples of published standards and performance information:

Departments that are leading Service Strategy work streams have been making progress. Progress on several streams is being tracked on the Privy Council Office’s Mandate Letter Tracker, under the “Government Services and Operations” priority. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will be publishing a report on service in 2018.

Lessons learned

Government of Canada departments have a responsibility to report on improvements to service delivery; however, they must also make sure that reporting requirements do not overburden key service departments. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will continue to work to ensure that all new reporting requirements take into consideration existing departmental assessment and reporting frameworks and activities.

Completion level

7.1 Complete
7.2 Complete

Commitment 8: Enhance access to culture and heritage collections

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Canadian Heritage
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Canada is a vast country, and access for many citizens to Canadian cultural and heritage artifacts can be a challenge. Although more and more Canadian cultural and heritage artifacts are available in a digitized format, they are hosted on individual websites and may still be difficult to find. This opens new opportunities to expand the scope and reach of Canadian museums and the social and economic benefits they deliver to Canadians. Using linked open data, this initiative will link the collections across Canadian museums and form a national inventory of cultural and heritage artifacts.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will expand collaboration with its provincial, territorial and municipal partners and key stakeholders to develop a searchable national inventory of cultural and heritage artifacts to improve access across museum collections.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

In fiscal year 2015 to 2016, the Canadian Heritage Information Network, a special operating agency within Canadian Heritage, partnered with 8 art museums across Canada to link the collections of each museum with each other and to related external resources, based on industry best practices (for example, linked open data). This work demonstrates the feasibility of using Open Data approaches to link collections across museums and other memory organizations.

Building on these results, the Canadian Heritage Information Network is developing and implementing a multi-year business strategy to work with the culture and heritage community to increase the network of linked collections through the Canadian Culture and Heritage Linked Open Data Cloud.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Citizens will be able to browse, discover, share and reuse data on cultural and heritage artefact collections from Canadian museums.

Implementation results and lessons learned

8.1 Milestone:

Develop authorities and standards to guide the consistent implementation of this approach.

Description of results

The Nomenclature website will be launched in fall 2018 and will be available online. For more information on the project, see Nomenclature: A New Online Resource for Museum Catalogers. Nomenclature will be available as linked open data in 2020. Nomenclature is a system for classifying human-made objects and the standard cataloging tool for thousands of museums and historical organizations across the United States and Canada. In 2016, Canadian Heritage developed more than 3,000 standardized values for names, object types, subjects and other terms.

Lessons learned

Canadian Heritage has found that liaising with international experts is crucial as we refine our data models, because there is not complete agreement in this changing field. We will continue to work on a strategy to design and maintain national authorities according to the latest standards. The Nomenclature website will give museums access to an authoritative online terminology source, and the Canadian Heritage Information Network will use it as a base for future online terminology resources in linked data format.

8.2 Milestone:

Enhance the ability to search and browse across museum collections.

Description of results

Canadian Heritage completed a linked data demonstration project called 150 Years of Canadian Art, which showcases the potential that a linked open data model offers to more widely publish, connect and enrich information on museum collections. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, a second prototype was developed and added information from recognized web resources and authorities (such as Nomenclature 4.0) and enhanced search functionalities.

Lessons learned

We need to develop more in-house expertise. We will use the lessons we learned in working on our linked data projects when we write our requirements for future search interfaces.

8.3 Milestone:

Expand the network of museums participating in this initiative and the links to related external resources.

Description of results

As of , 8 partner museums have joined the Information Network Program:

  • the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
  • the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • the McCord Museum
  • the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • the National Gallery of Canada
  • the Vancouver Art Gallery

Select data contributed by these institutions has been enhanced with links to open data sources from around the world.

The Canadian Heritage Information Network has developed educational and promotional material for the museum community. The material will be available on the Canadian Heritage Information Network’s website in the coming months.

Lessons learned

The linked data test projects gave us a deeper understanding of the format of the data in museum collections management systems. As we move forward, we will need to expand the understanding of the value of linked open data. We will use the educational material developed to promote linked open data to our museum community. Revision of the Artefacts Canada database ensures the continued availability of the records from over 500 museums while we work on implementing a linked data solution.

8.4 Milestone:

Host digital collections for museums that currently do not have a digital presence.

Description of results

In fiscal year 2017 to 2018 Canadian Heritage began redeveloping the Artefacts Canada database, which serves as a hosting platform for Canadian museums that are unable to host their own collections. The redeveloped (non-linked data) database was published in , and an advanced search function was made publicly available in .

In fiscal year 2017 to 2018, the Canadian Heritage Information Network conducted a thorough analysis of existing data in the Artefacts Canada database. Based on the results of this analysis the network recommended improvements to Artefacts Canada data so that the transition can be made to linked data.

Creating linked open data is a relatively new way of publishing data online, and standards and tools are still being developed. Canadian Heritage will be examining available tools for harvesting or collecting museum data, but because of the foundational work needed to harvest digital collections and provide a repository for them for museums that do not yet have a digital presence, Canadian Heritage made limited progress on this milestone in the time period of the plan.

Lessons learned

We gained a deeper understanding of the issues with existing Artefacts Canada data and are developing a strategy for linked data based on those understanding issues.

Completion level

8.1 Complete
8.2 Complete
8.3 Complete
8.4 Limited

Failure report

8.4 “Host digital collections for museums that currently do not have a digital presence” (develop a linked open data heritage database)

In working toward this milestone, we encountered challenges in 2 areas:

  1. Data modelling: Finding a data model suitable for linked open data and Canadian museums was challenging, and we continue to work with the international experts to find one.
  2. Technical expertise: Developing a linked open data cultural database requires more technical knowledge and expertise than anticipated. We will have to do more analysis to design a robust application architecture, and we will have to use different technologies to make it work. We do not yet have the internal capacity to work with the complex technical requirements for publishing and searching linked data.

In addition, the data requires a great deal of work before it can be converted into linked data. This will require further collaboration with our community. We underestimated the complexity of the data refinement required to be able to provide a federated bilingual search function in a linked data environment.

We will also need to work further with our community to understand the issues related to licensing and open data.

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

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Department of Finance Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

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

What was the commitment?

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

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

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

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

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

Implementation results and lessons learned

9.1 Milestone:

Release an interactive tool that will increase the granularity of data and information made available and enable Canadians to better understand federal departmental spending:

  • Expand the types of data, graphics, and analytics available including:
    • Planned and actual results
    • Comparisons between historical and planned spending
    • Spending on specific components such as salaries, capital, transfer payments, and so on
  • Enable users to explore government spending of the most interest to them based on key data elements (for example, target group, program type, priority area)
Description of results

The GC InfoBase was updated to include years’ worth of federal government data (from fiscal year 2012 to 2013 to fiscal year 2020 to 2021), bringing together information previously scattered across over 500 government reports, including Public Accounts, Main Estimates and Departmental Plans.

By combining financial and performance information, the GC InfoBase helps Canadians understand what the federal government wants to achieve, what it does achieve and what resources it uses to do so. The GC InfoBase helps Canadians understand how their money is being used to deliver programs and services by presenting contextual information alongside the data.

In the last year, the GC InfoBase has been updated to provide more data, graphics and analytics, including:

Significant changes have also been made to improve the look and functionality of the GC InfoBase and make it more user-friendly. The tool is constantly evolving to make sure that it is meeting users’ growing needs and accessibility requirements.

Lessons learned

The GC InfoBase is a single-page web application which gives us the flexibility to experiment with new ways of displaying information. We do, however, risk duplicating efforts of other teams or departments that are building similar tools. We found that open source packages such as Bootstrap, webpack, handlebars.js, D3.js and React can help avoid reinventing the wheel when trying to find more effective ways to display government spending and results information.

9.2 Milestone:

Enhance online content pertaining to government finances on open.canada.ca to make information and tools on government spending readily accessible to Canadians.

Description of results

The Department of Finance Canada has contributed to enhancing online content on government finances by releasing multiple datasets on open.canada.ca. It has also released information including the following on government spending on the Government finances section of on canada.ca:

In addition, the Department of Finance Canada has implemented key open data best practices, such as publishing accompanying documentation related to datasets to put released data into context.

Lessons learned

The Department of Finance Canada is committed to transparency and accountability. This has resulted in the identification of existing documents or the development of new content which led to the publication of material. Through this process we learned the importance of good governance in setting objectives and determining key deliverables in making information on government spending accessible to Canadians so that they can better hold the government to account.  

9.3 Milestone:

Provide targeted and timely material to make government accounting and financial reporting more consistent, transparent, and understandable to Canadians.

Description of results

The Government of Canada has taken steps to:

  • clarify how public money is directed to programs and services
  • make it easier to track government spending
  • empower people to hold the government to account for its spending decisions.

Specifically, changes have been made in the following areas:

  • timing of Main Estimates
    • The Main Estimates are now tabled after the budget, and the government has included a budget implementation vote in the Main Estimates. Canadians and parliamentarians now have more accurate, detailed information and they are better able to hold government to account for how it spends taxpayer dollars. Find out more in Towards more transparent and accountable government spending, a blog post by the President of the Treasury Board.
  • vote structure
    • Canadians want to know what the government spends money on. They also want to know what the government hopes to achieve when it spends money. The government has a pilot project underway to bring it closer to using purpose-based votes.
  • accounting methods
    • In 2016, the government began publishing a reconciliation of the accrual-based budget and the cash-based Estimates. This practice makes it easier to link the numbers in the budget to those in the Estimates and to better track the implementation of budget items.
  • information government provides to Canadians
    • The GC InfoBase pulls together over 100 departmental financial reports on a single website. 

More information on each of these areas is explained in Estimates reform helps you follow the money, a blog post by the President of the Treasury Board.

For Budget 2017, the Department of Finance Canada released the following additional content to make the budget more transparent and understandable:

The Department of Finance Canada will continue to publish overviews, summary reports and digital materials that are consistent, transparent and understandable to Canadians.

Lessons learned

See lessons learned for milestone 9.2.

9.4 Milestone:

Pilot updating the Buyandsell.gc.ca site to record the full details of contracts (in addition to awards), contract amendments and the final termination of contracts.

Description of results

Public Services and Procurement Canada has completed 3 of the 5 stages of the Open Contracting Data Standard, used to pilot updates to Buyandsell.gc.ca. Pilot data currently includes information on tenders, awards and contracts for all procurements conducted by Public Services and Procurement Canada for itself and on behalf of other federal government departments, Crown corporations and agencies.

Public Services and Procurement Canada did not complete the planning and the implementation stages of the standard for the following reasons:

  • Requisition data (part of the planning stage), is not publicly disclosed at present on Buyandsell.gc.ca, so it is not considered open data.
  • Spending data (part of the implementation stage) is open, but because of compatibility issues with the standard prevent, it cannot be linked to the tendering and contracts information.

All tenders, awards and contracts awarded by Public Services and Procurement Canada are published as searchable information on the web and as open data. Contract information includes:

Procurement data is also published as open data on open.canada.ca:

The Buyandsell.gc.ca team also worked on the following from 2016 to 2018 to advance open government:

  • Email notification service on Buyandsell.gc.ca: This service updates suppliers on tender opportunities in real time so that they don’t have to return to the website or bookmark a page to monitor updates.
  • Supplier Registration Information Renewal and Blockchain pilot: This project renewed Public Services and Procurement Canada’s legacy platform for registering businesses for federal procurement opportunities. This project includes a working blockchain proof of concept, which will let businesses securely manage and control access to their verifiable and trusted business data across different levels of government.
  • Letter of certification for suppliers: The team developed a letter of certification for suppliers, which is available in real time and free of charge, to Canadian suppliers who want to bid on competitive procurement opportunities internationally.
  • Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements Application (SOSA App): This self-service, web-based tool lets federal procurement officers create and maintain their standing offers and supply arrangements remotely and gives authorized buyers from different levels of government, as well as affiliated organizations (for example, municipal, academic and social services, and hospitals) secure access to these federal standing offers and supply arrangements.
Lessons learned

Legacy data held by the Government of Canada is not always available digitally (for example, requisitions data), which can make it harder to open up government data using digital platforms. The Government of Canada should therefore focus on digitizing business processes and associated data.

The introduction of planning data as part of the Open Contracting Data Standard pilot needs further investigation. This data is sensitive and raises privacy concerns for smaller businesses, because requisition and spending data can be linked to pricing and business volume.

9.5 Milestone:

Participate in a case study to share best practices from Public Service and Procurement Canada’s pilot of the Open Contracting Data Standard on Buyandsell.gc.ca.

Description of results

Public Services and Procurement Canada did not complete all 5 stages of the Open Contracting Data Standard schema, so it was unable to complete the best practices case study.

Lessons learned

See lessons learned for milestone 9.4.

Completion level

9.1 Complete
9.2 Complete
9.3 Complete
9.4 Limited
9.5 Limited

Failure report

9.4 “Pilot updating the Buyandsell.gc.ca site to record the full details of contracts (in addition to awards), contract amendments, and the final termination of contracts”

and

9.5 “Participate in a case study to share best practices from Public Service and Procurement Canada’s pilot of the Open Contracting Data Standard on BuyandSell.gc.ca.”

The context has shifted from when the commitment was established in 2016. Public Service and Procurement Canada determined that recording information related to planning and implementation would require it to examine closed and completed files, which is essentially a manual data-entry exercise. At present, Public Services and Procurement Canada captures the remaining data required for the Open Contracting Data Standard pilot using its legacy systems. The data is therefore not available in a format that can easily be linked with other procurement information in an open format.

This challenge was recognized when working toward meeting this commitment, but Public Services and Procurement Canada did not immediately address it and decided instead to focus on implementing a new electronic procurement solution (ePS). Since the ePS will automate and digitize Public Services and Procurement Canada processes, adjusting legacy approaches and systems that will be adjusted through ePS would not be an effective use of resources. Resources were therefore devoted to enhancing the functionality of the Buyandsell.gc.ca platform by updating the email notification system and by developing buying and selling applications).

Public Services and Procurement Canada has agreed, as part of the National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020, to publish complete contract records for a subset of major projects. It will determine what analysis, piloting and publishing would benefit development of the ePS in a way that will support the plan’s overarching objectives. The ePS will help us to meet the overarching objectives of the OGP.

Commitment 10: Increase transparency of budget and other Department of Finance Canada information

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Department of Finance Canada
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Each year, the Department of Finance Canada plans and prepares the federal government’s budget and analyzes economic and fiscal developments. This serves to provide policy advice on a wide range of economic issues of concern to the health of Canada’s economy. The datasets for federal budgets have been released publicly since 2015 but with a lag time of 6 to 8 weeks given formatting, editing and translation requirements. As well, the list of briefing note titles prepared on a wide range of economic and other matters by Department of Finance Canada officials has only been made available to specific requesters through access to information requests.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will provide access to the datasets used in the federal budget each year in near real time and proactively disclose the list of briefing note titles prepared on economic and other matters.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

There is an opportunity to accelerate the preparation of the datasets used in the budget. This would allow their publication in near real-time following the release of the budget to facilitate analysis by citizens and Parliamentarians. There is also an opportunity to broaden public access to the titles of briefing notes prepared by Department of Finance Canada officials for the Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary, and the Deputy Minister, in order to be transparent about the issues raised.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Canadians will have timely access to the data used in the annual federal budget and other Department of Finance Canada information.

Implementation results and lessons learned

10.1 Milestone:

Starting with Budget 2017, make all data from budget charts and tables available in near real time to facilitate analysis by citizens and Parliamentarians.

Description of results

100% of the budget data for 2017 and 2018 was made available within 1 week of the budget:

Lessons learned

We recognize the value in releasing budget data in near real time. It has been a learning process but now that it has been established the department is well positioned to deliver on this process on a yearly basis.

10.2 Milestone:

Post publicly the list of briefing note titles prepared by Department of Finance Canada officials on a regular basis, in order to be transparent about issues raised.

Description of results

As of , a list of the titles of briefing notes prepared by Department of Finance Canada officials for the Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary and the Deputy Minister is posted monthly on the Department of Finance Canada website.

Lessons learned

We recognize the value in releasing briefing note titles on a regular basis to increase transparency to Canadians. We learned it was a relatively simple way to be more open and proactively share information.

10.3 Milestone:

Explore options to increase the transparency of the pre-budget consultation process.

Description of results

The Department of Finance Canada has posted summary reports on the pre-budget consultations on its website:

Promotion on digital and social media increased awareness of the 2017 pre-budget consultations and resulted in 30,797 completed online survey submissions.

Lessons learned

The use of social media (for example, Facebook Live, Twitter, LinkedIn) for interacting and exchanging information with Canadians added complexity in compiling and condensing information from multiple sources.

We published summary reports on pre-budget consultations in 2016 and 2017, but issues relating to privacy, bilingualism and resource capacity impacted initiatives for the time being to further increase transparency on pre-budget consultations.

Completion level

10.1 Complete
10.2 Complete
10.3 Complete

Commitment 11: Increase transparency of grants and contributions funding

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Canadian Heritage
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Each year, the Government of Canada provides funding to support initiatives focused on career development, employment, homelessness, seniors, youth and others through its various grants and contributions programs. Disbursing this funding works to meet the objectives of the government and ultimately helps to better serve Canadians. Reporting on grants and contributions by departments is currently asymmetrical, with limited capacity to search reports across government. Furthermore, data is only required for grants and contributions with a funding amount in excess of $25,000. Data published across government is in non-standard formats, which makes it difficult to share.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will provide one-stop access to consistent, standardized searchable data on grants and contributions programs across the federal government.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Federal departments and agencies that have the authority to deliver grants and contributions are currently disclosing data on agreements over $25,000. To further support the government’s commitment to transparency and openness, departments will disclose information on agreements less than $25,000 and will do so in a standardized and consistent format, which will improve the data quality and searchability.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Canadians will have easy access to standardized information on all grants and contributions funding by federal departments through open.canada.ca.

Implementation results and lessons learned

11.1 Milestone:

Provide Canadians with centralized access to standardized information on grants and contributions funding that is proactively disclosed by federal departments via a common, searchable portal on open.canada.ca:

  • establish a standardized, common template for federal departments to publish their data through the centralized portal
  • increase access to grants and contributions information through a decrease to the required disclosure amount from $25,000 to $1
  • provide training to federal departments on how to upload their data
  • ensure historical data previously disclosed by federal departments on grants and contributions funding is searchable via the central portal
Description of results

Certain participating federal departments officially started reporting of grants and contributions on open.canada.ca officially in .

Lessons learned

Some departments were not ready to post their grants and contributions data in because of challenges relating to internal systems, and to the accessibility and quality of data.

Greater guidance was developed to communicate clearly to departments what data they had to provide in the standardized template so that the data would be consistent. This required additional time to coordinate and work across multiple areas of expertise in a federal department.

11.2 Milestone:

In consultation with internal and external stakeholders, expand the amount of information on grants and contributions funding disclosed by departments to align with international standards.

Description of results

New Guidelines on the Reporting of Grants and Contributions Awards took effect on April 1, 2018. These guidelines were developed in collaboration with participating federal departments to increase and clarify the information being reported to Canadians and to comply with international standards.

Highlights of the guidelines include:

  • requirement that all departments report grants and contributions on open.canada.ca
  • removal of the $25,000 minimum; all grants and contributions must now be reported
  • more information required about the recipient, project and program
  • departments can do batch reporting to address concerns about data sensitivity and privacy

Reporting under the new guidelines is being phased in for participating departments, with an initial group publishing their first reports by . All departments will be reporting under the new guidelines by :

  • Wave 1: 12 departments published their first reports by the
  • Wave 2: 10 departments will publish their first reports by
  • Wave 3: 19 departments will publish their first reports by

Effective April 1, 2019, all departments will be reporting all mandatory data fields on open.canada.ca.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is providing support to departments as they prepare their information for publication.

Lessons learned

The working group of proactive disclosure stakeholders gave the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat a better sense of what information external stakeholders wanted and of the challenges departments would encounter in meeting the requirements. The working group also gave members a forum for sharing best practices to address these challenges.

Because some departments need more time to communicate requirements and make necessary adjustments, reporting of some data elements is being phased in.

Discussions are underway to decide on how to migrate historical content to the portal. Once that decision and others relating to issues such as retention, disposition and mandatory reporting have been made, they will be communicated to departments and next steps will be determined.

11.3 Milestone:

Pilot an approach to improving transparency in the delivery of grants and contributions by Canadian Heritage, including publication of:

  • an increased level of detail in the data proactively disclosed on individual grants and contributions awarded by the department
  • performance results against published service standards
  • data on events and celebrations funded by the department
Description of results

Canadian Heritage reports all required grants and contributions data monthly on open.canada.ca and is part of Wave 1 of implementing the new guidelines.

Canadian Heritage has reported its service standard results for its funding programs annually on canada.ca since 2014.

Canadian Heritage has developed an internal service standards dashboard, which helps ensure the accuracy of the data that is fed into the external annual report. The dashboard can be used to track progress on meeting service standards and has the potential to make programs more accountable and ensure that targets are met.

Canadian Heritage published the 2018 Celebrate Canada event map, a map showing events funded by Canadian Heritage across Canada during Celebrate Canada days.

Lessons learned

Canadian Heritage was an advocate and early adopter of the expanded reporting and data requirements. The improvements in capturing reliable data on service standards has made it possible to track individual files and their own service standards more closely. The internal service standards dashboard also has the ability to show when files may miss their service standard and can depict clear data that highlights the performance of files going to each minister’s office and those with delegated authority. 

Completion level

11.1 Complete
11.2 Complete
11.3 Complete

Commitment 12: Improve public information on Canadian corporations

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Currently, business identity information is distributed across jurisdictions in Canada, which poses access challenges for citizens and businesses alike. The federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed to collaborate on enhancing processes to reduce the burden on corporate registration and reporting and to provide streamlined access to corporate information through an online search. Making information about Canadian companies and organizations more accessible, discoverable and usable, can ultimately improve corporate accountability.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will provide searchable information on Canadian businesses that is held in business registries at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The federal, provincial and territorial members of the Canadian Association of Corporate Law Administrators (CACLA) are collaborating on the development of an expandable and adaptable digital solution.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP value of transparency.

Expected result

Canadians will have access to real-time information on Canadian businesses registered at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.

Implementation results and lessons learned

12.1 Milestone:

Launch a pilot project to provide citizens and business with online capacity to search existing federal and provincial (from Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia) business registries through a single search tool.

Description of results

In , the Business Registry Search Pilot was released online. It made it possible for the public to find, through one search, businesses incorporated federally through Corporations Canada, as well as businesses registered provincially in Nova Scotia, Ontario or Quebec.

Lessons learned

The Business Registry Search Pilot used an agile design approach to demonstrate the “art of the possible” within a 90-day development sprint. The pilot identified best practices, challenges and lessons learned that were valuable to informing future work.

12.2 Milestone:

Develop a proof of concept and prototype of a digital solution for reducing burden in the areas of corporate search, registration and reporting for Canadian businesses that is expandable to all registries across Canada in order to improve consistency in corporate data provided to the public by both federal and provincial governments.

Description of results

In , a proof of concept of the proposed digital solution, the Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS), was approved by all provinces and territories and by Corporations Canada. The proof of concept established that the MRAS could connect Canada’s business registries and reduce burden on corporations by enabling:

  • search across business registries
  • streamlined extra-provincial registration
  • direct notifications among registries of changes in corporate information

Building on the proof of concept, the MRAS prototype was completed in . Using sample datasets from 8 different registries, the prototype demonstrated that, despite many differences, data could be successfully shared among the registries, and that search, registration and notification were possible. It also identified the high-level business and technical requirements required to fully develop the MRAS.

Lessons learned

The strong and collaborative working group with representation from all jurisdictions was a key to completing the prototype.

The use of design thinking and agile methodology to engage the provinces established early commitment.

The proof of concept, the prototype and the journey maps demonstrated how the MRAS addressed each jurisdiction’s unique needs, priorities and legislative and technical constraints. Communication was key:

  • monthly teleconference calls to update all provinces and territories
  • bi-weekly calls with active participants to ensure continued progress toward the solution
  • timely in-person meetings to focus discussions and maintain engagement strong

A lead committee of senior officials helped keep progress on track.

12.3 Milestone:

Launch a pilot of the digital solution using real data in a test environment. The online corporate search component will be released for testing by users.

Description of results

In , the Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS) pilot was launched. The pilot connected a few registries in a test environment to test the 3 components (search, registration and notification) with real data. It also identified the detailed requirements for full implementation of MRAS.

In , the search component of the pilot, Canada’s Business Registries search service, was released as a beta version. This service provides coordinated access to core business registry information for over 80% of corporations operating in Canada.

Lessons learned

The teams for each participating jurisdiction included representatives from the business side and technical side. Often, the technical team progressed faster than the business team, which took longer to work through options and understand impacts. Some decisions were therefore made quickly without full participation of all parties.

The multi-team, multi-jurisdictional context where participants were geographically dispersed made it a challenge to communicate all decisions to everyone effectively in the face of competing priorities. Constant and clear communication of expected timelines and easy access to records of decision are crucial.

Completion level

12.1 Complete
12.2 Complete
12.3 Complete

Commitment 13: Increase the availability and usability of geospatial data

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Natural Resources Canada
Other actors involved: Member departments of the Federal Committee on Geomatics and Earth Observations (FCGEO) supporting the Federal Geospatial Platform
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Over the last 5 years, federal departments have worked together to establish a single platform to collect and share geospatial data. This effort enables Canadians to more easily discover, view and understand geospatial data. Building on this strong foundation, the focus in the coming years will be to increase the quality and usability of geospatial data to derive additional information, solve problems, help with context setting and assist with evidence-based decision-making.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will make more high-quality, authoritative and useable geospatial data available in open formats to support better services to Canadians.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The geospatial data collection is being expanded, and the technologies to access that data are being improved, thereby fundamentally changing the way geospatial assets can be accessed and used by government and the public. The single window to federal geospatial data, open maps, is supporting progress toward a modern, networked and technology-enabled society. It will ensure effective program delivery, improve services to Canadians, and support them in their day-to-day activities.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP values of transparency.

Expected result

Canadians will be able to find and use high-quality maps.

Implementation results and lessons learned

13.1 Milestone:

Improve access to open geospatial data through the expansion of open maps:

  • Increase the number of federal geospatial datasets available through a single window to enable Canadians to more easily find relevant geospatial data that can be mapped and visualized
  • Provide access to satellite imagery through an open licence
  • Work with researchers, data enthusiasts and developers who use geospatial data to share their work through the open maps gallery
Description of results
  • Geospatial datasets accessible through Open Maps increased by more than 350 to 781 as of . Data has been contributed by 14 departments and agencies, up from 8.
  • A new collection of high-resolution elevation data derived from LIDAR (light detection and ranging). The High Resolution Digital Elevation Model (HRDEM) is part of the CanElevation Series created in support to the National Elevation Strategy implemented by Natural Resources Canada.

    Natural Resources Canada released the Canadian component of the Arctic DEM, in cooperation with the Polar Geospatial Center of the University of Minnesota.

    Natural Resources Canada also released flood extent polygons representing current year floods throughout Canada as monitored by Natural Resources Canada using satellite imagery to support emergency response efforts.
  • The work with researchers and others to continuously populate the open maps gallery with timely, relevant “click-to-view” data took longer than anticipated and was not completed in time for June 2018. See Failure report section below.
Lessons learned

Although working to maximize the release of open geospatial data, the costs associated with responding to the Directive on Open Government sometimes pulls resources away from other relevant open data work, such as data quality review, web design, and visualization tools, which can make it difficult for departments to sustain their data contributions. Departments are becoming less willing to keep increasing their data contributions because the cost of doing so may have an impact on ongoing operations, including those related to improving the open data user experience.

13.2 Milestone:

Develop geospatial data and web service standards:

  • Increase the quality and standardization of critical geospatial data assets through strategic investments
  • Implement a management and investment framework for high-value federal geospatial data assets
  • Participate in geospatial standards bodies to ensure that Canada’s data continues to be accessible and interoperable nationally and internationally
Description of results
  • The renewal and enhancement of national elevation data has been identified as a critical geospatial data priority for Canada’s Geospatial Data Infrastructure. Natural Resources Canada has created a National Elevation Data Strategy to help Canada increase the quality and standardization of the elevation data coverage in the country through partnerships and strategic investments in elevation data acquisition.

    The National Elevation Data Strategy aims to develop:
    • a national system for the management and dissemination of elevation data
    • a national LIDAR data acquisition guideline
    • automated methods for extraction of additional cartographic features from the elevation data
  • Natural Resources Canada transitioned the Federal Geospatial Platform project to operational status with 11 partner departments.

    Natural Resources Canada led the Federal Geospatial Platform initiative agreement from partner departments to assess and review the quality of data web services and work collectively to invest in data quality improvements as part of the Federal Geospatial Platform Concept of Operations.

    Natural Resources Canada:
    • Worked with the Open Geospatial Consortium Quality of Service Experience group to produce a discussion paper. The report was approved by Open Geospatial Consortium Technical Committee vote. Development of the discussion paper was led by the Federal Geospatial Platform team at Natural Resources Canada and is based on the web service quality assessment framework developed in 2017.
    • Completed a data quality assessment on a sample of 30 datasets and associated web services found on Open Maps. The next phase will evaluate all Federal Geospatial Platform high-value datasets
    • Developed standard operating procedures relating to the Federal Geospatial Data Asset Management Plan (FG-DAMP), developed with the Federal Geospatial Platform Interdepartmental Data Work Committee
    • Worked with provinces and territories from to , in collaboration with members of the Canadian Council on Geomatics, and expressed interest in exchanging data and including provincial and territorial geospatial metadata and services through Open Maps.
    • Completed data and metadata inventory for 8 provinces and territories (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador)

    The Federal Geospatial Platform initiative developed a geo-community cloud architecture and installed the core components (ArcGIS Server, Portal, Image Server, GeoAnalytics Server) in the Azure cloud and the Amazon Web Services cloud, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada’s Chief Information Officer and the Shared Services Canada cloud brokerage service.

    Natural Resources Canada developed the ability to automatically extract geographic features from high-resolution satellite imagery using a deep-learning algorithm deployed in a high-performance computing environment. The work is intended to support flood risks analysis through the location of buildings in flood-prone areas. The project demonstrated the performance of the system and led to recommendations for applying deep-learning feature extraction on a national scale.
  • Natural Resources Canada:
    • Led the Maps for HTML Community Group, which seeks to establish at least one hypermedia type that can be considered to be consumed by a new “map” element for HTML. The goal is to reduce the technological knowledge required by people who want to add dynamic map content to their own web pages.
    • Developed a MapML submission to the Open Geospatial Consortium World Wide Web Consortium (OGC-W3C) Spatial Data on the Web Interest Group plenary meeting.
    • Participated in the Open Geospatial Consortium Testbed-13, which resulted in a MapML Engineering Report that suggested that web client technology improvements and solutions to data visualization pose challenges to cope with limited bandwidth.
    • Participated in the Open Geospatial Consortium Quality of Service Experience and released a discussion paper that was approved by Open Geospatial Consortium Technical Committee vote.
  • Worked with Statistics Canada to pilot approaches for visualizing socio-economic data by:
    • holding regular governance meetings
    • disseminating census data on the Federal Geospatial Platform via web services
    • preparing a joint presentation for a workshop of the European regional committee of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UNGGIM: Europe) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on harmonizing statistical and geospatial standards
    • collaborating on the development of visualizations of Sustainable Development Goal indicators
Lessons learned

The use of cloud computing has changed the security requirements for some Federal Geospatial Platform applications and highlighted the need to streamline and modernize the way web content is deployed on Open Maps.

There continue to be delays to Natural Resources Canada in accessing the Government of Canada’s cloud brokerage.

13.3 Milestone:

Develop geospatial applications:

  • Build mobile applications to disseminate key information to Canadians in an interactive format, which makes complex and large amounts of information easy to understand
  • Provide targeted applications, which use open geospatial data to address the policy priorities of government
  • Provide the ability for Canadians to share data they collect through standardized tools
Description of results

Examples of data visualizations and applications developed to address policy priorities:

Natural Resources Canada “targeted apps”:

Deployed MapML services supporting 3 map projections.

A new version of the Federal Geospatial Platform Data Extraction tool was released. This version provides a simplified interface for people who want to download Canada’s geospatial framework data.

The Federal Geospatial Platform Web Map Viewer Authoring tool was deployed. This tool makes it easier to develop targeted mapping applications using the Federal Geospatial Platform web map viewer application, which is deployed on open maps.

Lessons learned

There is still a need for culture change to increase the uptake of geography and geospatial data in the policy and science communities.

Completion level

13.1 Substantial
13.2 Complete
13.3 Complete

Failure report

13.1c “Work with researchers, data enthusiasts, and developers who use geospatial data to share their work through the open maps gallery.”

Mapping applications for desktop and mobile users were developed to showcase how open licensed geospatial data can be applied to various policy priorities (see links in section 13.3). These applications were to be featured in a gallery on the Open Maps section of open.canada.ca. The work to develop the map gallery was not completed in time for because of unanticipated delays encountered in securing departmental data application program interfaces (APIs) that were available through HTTP. This work was required to ensure the continued operation of the current Open Maps web mapping application when using geospatial data from departmental data APIs.

Commitment 14: Increase openness of federal science activities (Open Science)

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Environment and Climate Change Canada; Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
Other actors involved: Science-based departments and agencies
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Scientific research and data that have been produced by the Government of Canada are often difficult for citizens to access. The Government of Canada undertakes a wide range of scientific activities, making significant investments in scientific research and knowledge creation that are essential for informing policy choices or decision making, providing services to Canadians and ultimately supporting sustainable economic growth. At the same time, the government highlighted its commitment to ensuring that government science is fully available to the public, consistent with its broader pledge for openness and transparency.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will take appropriate steps to make the science performed in support of Government of Canada programs and decision-making open and transparent to Canadians.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Horizontal implementation of the federal open science initiative began in 2012. Under the Third Biennial Plan to the OGP, the Government of Canada is building on past work by taking bold steps to make government-funded science open and transparent to Canadians. Reflecting the importance of citizen engagement and collaboration, deliverables are focused on increasing the accessibility of government science, helping to ensure that Canadians are informed of opportunities to engage in federal science and technology activities, and exploring ways to enhance the impact of government data and information.

Underscoring the government’s commitment to open science at the meeting of G7 science and technology ministers in 2016, Canada supported a recommendation to establish an international working group on open science. This group is focused on sharing open science policies, exploring supportive incentive structures and identifying good practices for promoting increased access to the results of publicly funded research, including scientific data and publications.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Canadians will have better access to publications and data related to federal science activities. They will also have more engagement opportunities and more avenues to contribute to federal science activities.

Implementation results and lessons learned

Science-based departments and agencies
14.1 Milestone:

Create a Chief Science Officer position mandated to ensure that government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientific analyses are considered when the government makes decisions.

Description of results

Dr. Mona Nemer was appointed Chief Science Advisor on September 26, 2017. Her mandate and functions are outlined in her mandate letter.

Lessons learned

Government of Canada champions for key subject-matter areas and priorities, such as open science, play an important role in supporting progress and greater ambition among government departments and agencies. In her role as Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Nemer has been a key advocate for open science initiatives in the Government of Canada, and her work in this area could serve as an example to other senior government officials.

14.2 Milestone:

Increase the public availability of data and publications produced from federal science and technology activities.

Description of results

The science-based departments and agencies have increased the public availability of data and publications that they produce. Publishing in Open Access is well established across all of the science-based departments and agencies, and releasable datasets are uploaded either to open.canada.ca or to other discipline-specific repositories.

Between 2016 and 2018, science-based departments and agencies developed mechanisms to encourage and support making data and publications public. Examples include updates to policies that promote increased public availability, such as the National Research Council Canada’s Policy on Information Management, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Science Branch Publication Policy, and Transport Canada’s governance framework for Open Government (all internal documents).

Both Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada extended the principle of openness to draft documents and shared documents as part of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Open by Default pilot project.

Lessons learned

Science-based departments and agencies identified challenges related to the current information technology landscape and its impact on the ability of science-based departments and agencies to increase the public availability of publications and data. The requirement to enhance discoverability of data, scientific publications, literature and digitized datasets relating to specific subjects of public interest continues to be a priority effort for the science-based departments and agencies.

2 risks have been identified:

  • The multiple data registries in departments and across the government might lead to multiple versions of data and uncertainty about which dataset is the authoritative source.
  • Breaking data tables up into multiple smaller files (data fragmentation) can make it difficult to put them back together later for the purpose of data analysis.

A robust process of de-identification to remove or mask personal information is required before confidential data can be made open.

Accessibility and official language challenges continue to affect science-based departments and agencies’ abilities to make publications open as well.

14.3 Milestone:

Increase engagement with Canadians on federal science and technology activities, including, as appropriate:

  • enhanced communication of scientific participation opportunities in support of federal science and technology activities
  • targeted consultations on best practices for increasing the impact of federal science and technology activities
Description of results

Since the implementation of the Third Biennial Plan, science-based departments and agencies have enhanced communication of opportunities to participate in federal science and technology activities through a variety of activities, including the following:

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, through its Partnership Fund, has funded projects to increase First Nations’ engagement in and integration of traditional Indigenous knowledge into fisheries science. These projects have increased the science capacity of First Nations and increased collaboration with the department.
  • Science-based departments and agencies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, the National Research Council Canada, and the Communications Research Centre Canada have opened their facilities to communicate their science to the public through events that coincide with other public activities, such as Doors Open Ottawa, Science Odyssey and National Public Service Week.
  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Youth Science Canada joined efforts to host a well-attended STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Expo at the 2018 Canada-Wide Science Fair.
  • Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada have developed teams dedicated to communicating science and research.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada and National Research Council Canada have provided social media training for researchers.
  • The Communications Research Centre Canada and Health Canada have provided training for researchers to develop plain-language science stories.
Lessons learned

Scientists want training in communicating science; however, they are concerned that popularizing science could reduce its credibility and lead to misinterpretation by the public. These concerns will need to be addressed in any science communications training.

Making public engagement a second nature will take time and momentum. Developing an external audience and an internal culture that embraces active communication will be required to maximize outcomes.

14.4 Milestone:

Develop metrics to track collective federal progress on open science activities.

Description of results

In June 2018, Monitoring Open Science Implementation in Federal Science-Based Departments and Agencies: Metrics and Indicators, the report of the Science-Based departments and Agencies Open Science Metrics Working Group, was finalized and shared with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The report identifies 4 core metrics and 3 supplementary metrics to track the Open Science activities of federal science-based departments and agencies. It also identifies areas for future work, such as the development of more metrics to measure the impact of Open Science and how it benefits Canadians.

Lessons learned

Developing and implementing metrics is a long-term project. Challenges include identifying metrics that are acceptable and useable across 14 different science-based departments and agencies, each with different mandates and priorities.

To develop metrics for measuring the impact of Open Science, the desired impact will need to be defined. This will be something to explore during implementation of the Fourth Open Government Action Plan. It will also be critical to consider the ways in which behaviours can change as a result of the implementation of a performance measurement regime. For example, the Chief Science Advisor has referred to the proliferation of “frivolous” patents that are registered simply to boost metrics that seek to measure the innovation and impact of academic institutions.

Granting councils and grants and contributions

14.5 Milestone:

Develop and implement an open access policy for scientific research funded through grants and contributions.

Description of results

Since this milestone was drafted, it has become clear that there are a broad range of diverse science-related transfer payments with different considerations. A single open-access policy would therefore be difficult to implement. It was decided that a statement of principles or guidelines, rather than a policy, would be more meaningful and useful given the complexity of the issues. A draft statement of Statement of Principles on Open Access to Publications Supported through Grants and Contributions has been shared with the community of practice for feedback.

In 2015 (before the implementation period of the Third Biennial Plan), the 3 federal granting agencies (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) published the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. The objective of the policy is to improve access to the results of agency-funded research and to increase the dissemination and exchange of research results. Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication. In addition, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research requires researchers to make certain types of data openly available upon publication of results.

Lessons learned

Government departments and agencies must continue to be agile and adaptable in their work, so that they can identify the right solutions to complex problems. By adapting our approach and developing open access guidelines rather than a more rigid policy, we provided a mechanism that will help departments implement open access practices that fit their own ways of working.

14.6 Milestone:

Work toward the development of policies on digital data management for research funded through the granting councils.

Description of results

The 3 granting agencies (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) are developing a policy on research data management (RDM) for agency-funded research.

The agencies have met with various stakeholders across Canada to discuss RDM, and those discussions informed the development of the Draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. In June 2018, the agencies launched an online public consultation to solicit feedback on the draft policy. Feedback received will inform the final design of the policy, which the agencies plan to launch in 2019.

Lessons learned

As demonstrated in the development process for a new policy on RDM, all relevant stakeholders inside and outside government must be able to provide their input in government decision-making processes.

Completion level

14.1 Complete
14.2 Complete
14.3 Complete
14.4 Complete
14.5 Complete
14.6 Complete

Commitment 15: Stimulate innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario in collaboration with Canada’s Open Data Exchange
Other actors involved: Communitech, Canadian Digital Media Network, OpenText, D2L, University of Waterloo
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

As governments at all levels continue to make more and more open data available to the public, it will be important to help support the private sector in extracting knowledge and value from that data to build their businesses. In order to develop new products, retain talent, and achieve prosperity, competitiveness and productivity for Canada, the Open Data Exchange was established in 2015 as a partnership among the private, public and academic sectors to support the commercialization of open data by Canadian companies.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will partner with the private sector to better understand how companies are using open data and to raise awareness of the possibilities that exist for Canadian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the value of open data.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The Open Data Exchange is taking advantage of key opportunities to work collaboratively with stakeholders at all levels to increase the number of open data companies in Canada and to explore new methods for improving access and extracting value from open data.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

More Canadians will be using open data to launch new products and companies.

Implementation results and lessons learned

15.1 Milestone:

Complete a comprehensive mapping of 150 Canadian companies that are using open data to launch new products and services, create commercial and non-profit ventures, optimize their business processes, conduct research and/or make data-driven decisions.

Description of results

Open Data Exchange successfully mapped more than 150 companies for Open Data 150 and released an infographic that highlights key findings. A total of 161 companies had been identified and mapped by the end of .

Lessons learned

The use of open data by companies to drive economic value is growing but remains largely nascent. There is still great potential to unlock significant value from open data. A large gap still exists between data providers and data users. Open Data Exchange has developed a number of services and programs to close this gap.

15.2 Milestone:

Launch an online platform to showcase Canada’s Open Data 150.

 

 

Description of results

An online platform has been launched to showcase the 161 companies mapped.

Lessons learned

At the start of the Open Data Exchange mandate, the creation of this platform allowed better assessment of the state of open data use in the private sector. Based on this assessment, the Open Data Exchange was better able to develop and deploy programs and services that accelerated the adoption of open data by the private sector.

15.3 Milestone:

Establish a national network of open data users within industry to collaborate on the development of standards and practices in support of data commercialization.

Description of results

Open Data Exchange has developed robust networks of both data providers (government open data providers) and data users, and intermediaries and enablers, to support the creation and evolution of open data supply chains.

Lessons learned

The use of open data beyond open government and transparency to driving economic outcomes requires a culture change in government, which is a challenge. However, the Open Data Exchange has seen the dialogue change over the past 3 years, and there is now more focus on creating open datasets that meet a need in the marketplace.

15.4 Milestone:

Collaborate with private industry on 3 demonstration projects to illustrate the commercialization potential of open data in priority sectors.

Description of results

4 demonstration projects are complete, and 1 additional demonstration project is still underway as of the end of . Completed demonstration projects include:

  • D2L (Desire2Learn) digitized education standards from several Canadian provinces and included them in its Achievement Standards Network, which instructors and course designers can consult to create content that aligns with curriculum standards.
  • The City of Guelph held an open data challenge to engage the private sector to create solutions to civic challenges such as energy efficiency, water quality and parking.
  • The City of Stratford piloted a Smart Parking project, with an online map to show the availability of municipal parking spaces in the downtown core.
Lessons learned

The Open Data Exchange was able to support 2 extra demonstration projects throughout its first 3-year mandate. These projects were important to demonstrate the art of the possible and provide others with insights on how they could capitalize on the use of open data. All of the projects have continued without additional funding from Open Data Exchange.

15.5 Milestone:

Incubate 15 new data-driven companies by

Description of results

Open Data Exchange has engaged with companies in various capacities. More specifically, 18 have been funded through the Open Data Exchange Ventures program, 261 companies have engaged using the mentor and concierge services, and the Communitech Data Hub (Open Data Exchange’s home base) is home to over 40 companies, many of which are using open data.

Lessons learned

To provide relevant support to companies in the emerging space of open data, the Open Data Exchange had to pivot on its own business model as it learned about challenges, barriers and opportunities that were emerging in real time. For that reason, the way it anticipated helping companies at the beginning of its mandate was different from how it ended up helping them. Any intermediary or support organization that tries to help companies in this emerging space must be nimble and be able to respond quickly to market indicators.

Completion level

15.1 Complete
15.2 Complete
15.3 Complete
15.4 Complete
15.5 Complete

Commitment 16: Align open data across Canada (Open Data Canada)

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous peoples
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Currently, Canadians cannot easily find, compare or reuse data across Canadian jurisdictions. Governments at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels have varying levels of open data implementation. While some governments have launched open data portals and made numerous datasets available, others do not have official open data or open government policies or initiatives. Furthermore, governments set priorities for different types of data for release, which may make it difficult for Canadians to compare data across jurisdictions. Each government may also measure and record data differently, which can make it difficult to compare data even when that data is open. The true value of open data can really be unlocked when similar, high-value data is released using consistent, standardized approaches so that Canadians can easily compare data among departments, across geographic locations and over time.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will expand collaboration with provincial, territorial and municipal partners on further standardizing and harmonizing the delivery of open government data across jurisdictions.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Collaborative efforts to implement open government at all levels of government began in 2012. Building on past pan-Canadian cooperation, the Government of Canada is working with other levels of government and key stakeholders to expand collaboration across jurisdictions and develop a list of high-value datasets that are priorities for governments to release. This work will help increase the comprehensiveness of open data available to Canadians and encourage comparability of data across different governments. In addition, it will work with one or more provincial partners to collaborate on a pilot project that will allow users to search data from multiple governments via a common portal. This pilot project will provide an opportunity to accelerate data standardization efforts and better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with federated search.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Data and information from different levels of government will be easier for citizens to access and use.

Implementation results and lessons learned

16.1 Milestone:

Foster the adoption of common open data principles that are consistent with the International Open Data Charter by all levels of government.

Description of results

The Canada Open Government Working Group (a collaborative forum made up of representatives from the federal, provincial and territorial governments) is supporting the adoption of the principles of the international Open Data Charter across jurisdictions. It has created a shared space on GCcollab for collecting resources and sharing actions taken toward adoption of the charter.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, along with the Government of Ontario, the City of Edmonton and Open North, delivered a panel session at the 2017 Canadian Open Data Summit to promote adoption of the principles of the charter.

Notable recent adopters of the charter include the governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Edmonton.

Lessons learned

The adoption of the Open Data Charter by constituencies at the 3 different levels of governments represents a major step forward in aligning open data across Canada. These early adopters are well positioned to serve as mentors to other interested jurisdictions (particularly at the provincial, territorial and municipal levels) in adopting the charter. Work must continue with civil society organizations and other entities that are leveraging subnational open data initiatives and fostering progress through tools such as the Open Cities Index. Intensifying the use of collaborative tools, national and regional open data forums, targeted communication products and social media will also raise awareness and promote adoption of the charter.

16.2 Milestone:

Develop a list of high-value, priority datasets for release in collaboration with key jurisdictions to make it easier for Canadians to compare data across different governments.

Description of results

The Canada Open Government Working Group has developed a criteria tool for identifying high-value datasets, as well as examples of categories of associated datasets.

The working group has identified an initial list of 17 high-value datasets for priority release across jurisdictions.

Online public engagement on the list of high-value datasets was initiated on June 28, 2018.

Lessons learned

Currently, each government defines its own criteria for the datasets it will prioritize for release. Also, one government might record and report data differently from another, which can make it even more challenging to integrate these datasets. The collaborative approach that the Canada Open Government Working Group implemented to identify the 17 high-value datasets has been the first step in addressing this major issue. Having a common approach to defining important datasets increases the chance that similar datasets can be released and then connected to provide even greater value.

16.3 Milestone:

Launch an online, federated, multi-jurisdictional open data search service in partnership with one or more provinces and territories to allow Canadians to search and access data from across jurisdictions, regardless of its origin.

Description of results

The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta signed a memorandum of understanding on a federated open data search service across the open data portals of both governments. Mapping of metadata and controlled vocabulary for both jurisdictions was completed, the technical architecture was created, and the pilot federated open data portal was launched on June 28, 2018.

Visitors to the Government of Canada open data portal can now access data contributed by either the federal government of Canada or the Alberta government. This pilot will serve as a model for federating Government of Canada data with data from other provinces, territories and municipalities.

Lessons learned

This work has helped demonstrate that a federated open data search service is scalable. Pivotal to the success of this pilot project was the alignment of metadata profiles and technology architecture across both the federal government and the Government of Alberta.

16.4 Milestone:

Host a national Open Data Canada summit in 2017 to bring together federal, provincial, territorial and municipal officials to collaborate on setting a national agenda for aligning and improving the delivery of open data across the country.

Description of results

The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta hosted a half-day senior executive meeting of the Canada Open Government Working Group during the 2017 Canadian Open Data Summit, held in Edmonton, to develop a cohesive approach and work plan for a pan-Canadian framework on open government.

The Government of Canada also collaborated with provincial and municipal partners to host a panel session on aligning open data across Canada at the event.

The Canada Open Government Working Group also engaged Indigenous Open Data leaders on Indigenous data governance, infrastructure, analytics and reporting during the summit.

Lessons learned

The Canadian Open Data Summit provided a unique forum to advance discussions at multiple levels of government on key open data priorities. The co-hosting of joint panel sessions at the summit also strengthened the working relationship on open data between governments, civil society organizations, industry, and Indigenous leaders. This collaborative approach is crucial to building an open data culture through peer learning and sharing of best practices.

Completion level

16.1 Complete
16.2 Complete
16.3 Complete
16.4 Complete

Commitment 17: Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Natural Resources Canada
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

The Government of Canada remains committed to improving the transparency and accountability of the Canadian extractives sector. In its second Action Plan, legislation was introduced, the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which established new reporting and transparency obligations for the Canadian extractive sector to contribute to global efforts against corruption in the extractive sector.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will implement the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act that requires the reporting of certain payments made to governments related to the commercial development of oil, gas and minerals.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Canada’s extractive sector has a well-established financial reporting system, which ensures transparency and the good governance of natural resource revenues. Implementation of the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act is helping to improve the transparency of payments made by extractive companies involved in the exploration and/or extraction of oil, gas, or minerals to all levels of government, both foreign and domestic. The new reporting system complements existing reporting requirements with a view to ensuring that Canada’s framework is aligned with other G7 countries and is consistent with the emerging global standard.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to transparency, civic participation and accountability.

Expected result

Canadians will be able to access data on reportable payments made to governments in Canada and abroad.

Implementation results and lessons learned

17.1 Milestone:

Undertake outreach activities with reporting entities to ensure awareness and understanding of processes for publishing their reports based on a consistent template and format.

Description of results

Natural Resources Canada held in-person information sessions and bilateral meetings on the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, as well as numerous sessions via teleconference and video conference.

It collected feedback from these sessions and from an electronic survey completed in to find out about challenges that businesses encountered in reporting in the first year of the act. It then formed a stakeholder advisory group to collaborate on improving tools and guidance based on this feedback.

In , Natural Resources Canada provided stakeholders with a revised guidance document, new guidance on including payments to Indigenous governments in Canada, and a revised template and report validation checklist. These efforts are expected to facilitate compliance and lead to more consistent and comparable data.

Lessons learned

The in-person information sessions, bilateral meetings and teleconference and video conferences to date have been well-received. In a survey completed in , two-thirds of Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act stakeholders surveyed expressed an interest in continuing to participate in Natural Resources Canada’s outreach activities, including through in-person sessions and webinars. These results highlight the importance of ongoing engagement and outreach with industry and other stakeholders.

17.2 Milestone:

Improve public access to published reports through a common online window.

Description of results

As of , the majority of the reports published for the first 2 years of reporting under the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act were linked on the Natural Resources Canada website. As of , 100% of the links were active in over 850 reports, enabling the public to access data on payments made to governments in Canada and abroad.

Lessons learned

Under the act, reports must be available online for 5 years. Natural Resources Canada has begun using a link checker to verify more frequently throughout the year that the links remain active and to ensure that the reports remain accessible to the public.

17.3 Milestone:

Seek broader alignment of Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act with other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world.

Description of results

Natural Resources Canada collaborated and shared information and lessons learned with other governments that have either already introduced similar legislation or demonstrated an interest in increasing transparency in the extractive sector.

Lessons learned

Work with governments in other jurisdictions must continue to:

  • ensure alignment with the emerging global standard on transparency
  • ensure that data on payments made to governments is accessible to the public
  • minimize the administrative burden on industry
Completion level

17.1 Complete
17.2 Complete
17.3 Complete

Commitment 18: Support openness and transparency initiatives around the world

Overall completion level: substantial

Lead implementing department(s): Global Affairs Canada, the International Development Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Open Government Partnership, International Aid Transparency Initiative, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, Open Data for Development and associated networks
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Citizens of all nations can benefit both socially and economically from open government, regardless of who they are or where they live, but it is often harder for developing countries to access the cutting-edge digital resources or support the professional training and awareness programs that can enable open government initiatives. To ensure that the global open government movement is not restricted to the wealthiest or most technologically advanced governments, Canada continues to support peer knowledge exchange and capacity-building efforts.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will work with international partners to increase the transparency of international development funding and to share skills and knowledge with developing countries to ensure that everyone can reap the benefits of open government.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Under Canada’s first 2 Action Plans, steps were taken to improve the transparency and quality of Canada’s international aid data. Canada worked with partners in the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network to build capacity around the world for ambitious open government initiatives to benefit citizens. By expanding these initiatives and by undertaking new leadership roles in support of the OGP and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Canada can help ensure that citizens around the world have access to government information and opportunities to engage in public affairs. This will also facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Governments and civil society organizations around the world will have the knowledge, tools and expertise needed to support greater public access to open data and information, especially in relation to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Implementation results and lessons learned

18.1 Milestone:

Endorse the OGP’s Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leverage Canada’s participation in the OGP to help support the declaration’s commitments.

Description of results

As a new member of the OGP Steering Committee, Canada will advocate for the OGP’s fundamental values of openness, transparency, accountability and participation by:

  • exemplifying these values in all of our work, and particularly through our co-chair priorities of inclusion, participation and impact.
  • seeking to ensure that global open government efforts support greater inclusion of traditionally marginalized or under-represented people, particularly women and girls, who remain critically under-represented in the highest circles of public power and influence
  • bolstering global resolve to rigorously track the tangible results of their efforts
  • encouraging governments to speak about both their accomplishments and their struggles in delivering on open government
Lessons learned

International declarations on open government can be a powerful force for raising the level of global ambition and pushing for meaningful change; however, declarations must be backed up by concrete action and rigorous reporting. When Canada hosts the 2019 OGP Global Summit in May, it will take a results-driven approach that encourages governments to identify not only the principles and priorities that are important to them, but also the actions they will take to implement those principles and priorities, and the mechanisms they will used to report on their progress.

18.2 Milestone:

Leverage Canada’s role as chair of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (AITI) to support international good practices on aid transparency and greater interoperability among data standards (for example, aid, public procurement, public accounts, corporate identifiers) to enable greater accountability and improve the effectiveness of development finance.

Description of results

At the IATI Annual Members’ Assembly chaired by Canada in , members reviewed progress on important initiatives and set directions for an increased focus on use of open aid data. In remarks to the IATI members, the Chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee highlighted the importance of transparency and accountability, and the complementarity between IATI and the Development Assistance Committee.

The 2017 IATI Annual Report shows sustained progress in the range and quality of data published by over 800 organizations working in the development and humanitarian sectors. The IATI Standard now enables the publication of data mapped to:

  • the 2030 Agenda goals and targets
  • Humanitarian Global Clusters
  • national public accounts

The Org-ID.guide initiative that spun off from IATI provides access to organization registers and supports interoperability.

Lessons learned

Open data and government initiatives tend to focus initially on increasing access to data and information, but eventually, attention must turn to data use. Since 2016, IATI members have taken steps to increase awareness of open aid data and supported the development of tools and services to facilitate its use in support of development results.

18.3 Milestone:

Provide training and peer-learning to at least 500 open data leaders in government and civil society in developing countries, provide technical assistance to at least 10 developing countries, increasing the quality and ambition of their open data policies, and assess how capacity-building activities affect communities.

Description of results

Canada has helped fund and organize the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network, a network geared at strengthening open data ecosystems around the world.

The OD4D network’s offered peer learning activities and technical support, which spanned the world, were provided through:

  • the School of Open Data
  • the Open Data Leaders Network
  • the regional OD4D hubs that serve:
    • Africa
    • the Caribbean
    • Latin America
    • Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    • Asia
    • Middle East and North Africa (which includes Francophone Africa)

Peer learning activities supported leaders working in public service and those working in civil society. More than 900 open data leaders were supported by the end of the implementation period; 61% were men, and 39% were women).

This support took a number of forms, including in-person and online. Technical support was provided to 14 governments, mostly delivered through the OD4D hubs.

As a result of the success of this support, OD4D signed a memorandum of understanding with the OGP to lead their strategic partnership on open data. This work could expand resources available to support governments to take on more ambitious commitments and to release data in ways that support the ongoing growth of the open data ecosystem. To advance this work, OD4D partners supported a session on best practices in open data at the 2018 OGP Global Summit in Georgia. Canada will continue to support this work through its next national action plan on open government.

In addition, the IATI Secretariat delivered presentations and workshops to increase the capacity of partner country officials, civil society organizations and media to use aid data to monitor development resources and results.

Lessons learned

Efforts to provide training and peer learning must continue to be supported by local organizations and communities so that training is tailored to the local context. This tailoring makes training efforts more easily scalable and leverages local experts and advocates to build networks of open government champions across a number of different regions and sectors.

18.4 Milestone:

Work with international organizations and partners in developing countries to implement innovative open data projects with impact on anti-corruption, local governance, health and education.

Description of results

The OD4D network has invested in sector-specific innovation aimed at further understanding the impact of open data on anti-corruption, local governance, health and education. This has included:

  • ongoing collaboration with other key open data actors such as the signatories to the Open Data Charter and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) to develop “open-up packages” and support to 5 scaled applications in health, anti-corruption and open education
  • seed funding for a number of pilot projects whose sustainability is still being assessed
  • reports on the impact of these activities will be published in the 2018 State of Open Data report

OD4D has continued to prioritize support to innovation for gender equality and gender transformation. For instance, in Latin America, it has worked with the Organization of American States and with governments in the region to help prevent and eliminate violence against women, catalysing actions to collect reliable data on domestic violence and women’s homicides.

Lessons learned

One of the greatest challenges in supporting the implementation of innovative open data projects with impact on anti-corruption, local governance, health and education is assessing and measuring the impacts of those projects. It can be difficult to measure the indirect impacts of greater openness and transparency, and it can sometimes take a long time for the impacts of open data initiatives to be realized.

18.5 Milestone:

In support of Canada’s role as a partner in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN):

  • increase the amount of high-value, reusable agriculture and nutrition data made available to Canadians in open formats under the Government of Canada’s open licence
  • participate in the planning of the GODAN Summit in in order to support the global agenda for opening agriculture and nutrition data around the world
Description of results

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has released 68 datasets on open.canada.ca since (including 10 new datasets since the mid-term self-assessment), appreciably increasing the amount of open agriculture and nutrition data available to data users around the world.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada continues to be an active member of GODAN, recognizing the important role GODAN plays in supporting open agriculture and nutrition data to achieve sustainable development outcomes. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada offered departmental resources to the 2016 GODAN Summit planning committee. Unfortunately, when this offer was made, the planning had already advanced to a point where those resources would not be required. However, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada attended the summit and actively participated in the Agricultural Open Data Package working group session.

In , Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supported a discussion session entitled “Farmers sharing their data with scientists” at the Research Data Alliance Tenth Plenary Meeting in Montréal, which was sponsored by GODAN.

Lessons learned

Early engagement and co-development of commitment milestones between central and other government departments will improve departmental planning and best position the Government of Canada for success.

Completion level

18.1 Complete
18.2 Complete
18.3 Complete
18.4 Complete
18.5 Complete

Commitment 19: Engage civil society on open government

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Civil society partners
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

The participation of both civil society and government is essential to the success of any open government initiative. On the recommendation of the OGP, the Government of Canada will establish a permanent mechanism for improving meaningful public dialogue, to move beyond informing and consulting to enhanced citizen collaboration and empowerment.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will create ongoing mechanisms for strengthening dialogue with civil society in support of open government activities.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Canada initially established a multi-stakeholder advisory panel to support development and implementation of Canada’s first 2 action plans. Canada is committed to cultivating an effective relationship with civil society by designing and nurturing a renewed mechanism to support constructive, ongoing dialogue between government and non-government stakeholders. Led by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, this renewed mechanism will establish a strong link between government and civil society. It will engage regularly to track progress on Canada’s commitments, identify potential new areas of focus and help raise awareness of open government issues across Canada.

Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Civil society will be able to access a formal mechanism for regular, two-way conversation on open government issues with the federal government.

Implementation results and lessons learned

19.1 Milestone:

Develop and maintain a renewed mechanism for ongoing, meaningful dialogue between the Government of Canada and civil society organizations on open government issues across the country.

Description of results

A Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Open Government was launched in with members from government, civil society and academia. The forum has been meeting regularly since, and brokering additional meetings, discussions, and working sessions between experts and stakeholders from civil society and government program leads as required.

Lessons learned

It can be challenging for public servants, who operate in a particular accountability structure, to work with individuals from civil society in a discussion format designed to explore possible futures. Many government decisions, particularly those involving funding, have to be made at particular levels, which can sometimes stifle or completely stop progress on proposed initiatives. More work is needed to establish strong communication channels between government and civil society members of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, and to design decision-making processes that leave space for creativity, adaptability and co-creation.

19.2 Milestone:

Undertake targeted engagement activities to discuss open government issues in specific domains with key civil society stakeholders.

Description of results

Engagement sessions on Canada’s National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020 focused on issues including the following:

  • data sovereignty
  • beneficial ownership
  • financial transparency
  • feminist open government
  • open data

In many cases, Multi-Stakeholder Forum members helped identify impacted and interested stakeholders, and co-managed the sessions. The forum has been a key partner in identifying priority themes for the 2018 to 2020 action plan.

Lessons learned

A thematic approach to engagement allows for focused discussion among people who are interested in and familiar with a particular topic, which allows for direct exploration of the topic. However, it also means that dialogue is less likely to include conflicting views and competing priorities.

Completion level

19.1 Complete
19.2 Complete

Commitment 20: Enable open dialogue and open policy making

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Privy Council Office, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Other actors involved: Public servants, public engagement practitioners, civil society, civic tech, citizens
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Public engagement through open dialogue and participatory processes is vital to the success of government. The Government of Canada recognizes that informed decision making requires the knowledge, views, values and skills of experts, stakeholders and citizens to inform and shape effective government policies, programs and services. Consultation provides participants an opportunity to state how an issue affects them, identify underlying values and contribute to shared outcomes.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will foster enhanced citizen participation through greater collaboration and co-creation with the public and stakeholders within and across government initiatives.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Through this open dialogue commitment, the government will engage citizens, stakeholders and other governments to participate in well-designed processes that create space for deliberation and collaboration of the participants involved. The Government of Canada will adopt common principles, clarify needs and implement tools and guidance to foster greater collaboration across traditional organizational boundaries.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment is related to the OGP value of civic participation.

Expected result

The government will be better equipped to engage and collaborate with stakeholders and citizens on government priorities, policies, programs and services.

Implementation results and lessons learned

20.1 Milestone:

Promote common principles for open dialogue and common practices across the Government of Canada to enable the use of new methods for consulting and engaging Canadians.

  • Engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to ensure that these principles and practices support meaningful engagement and reflect the renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-to-Crown and government-to-government relationships.
Description of results

Public engagement principles are available on the Open Government portal.

Current work includes:

  • implementing and measuring principles in practice through Government of Canada engagement
  • collaborating with public servants from other levels of government, public engagement practitioners and others on making available guidance and supports that enable practitioners to engage effectively with citizens

In 2016 and 2017, the Open Government team took initial steps to engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities on open government issues. Targeted engagements included meetings with representatives of the First Nations Information Governance Centre and engagement events in Alberta and British Columbia, which were co-organized with Indigenous communities. These initial conversations showed that engagement with Indigenous communities should not focus on individual projects or events. Instead, it needs to focus on building lasting relationships of mutual trust and respect with Indigenous partners. A draft commitment in the National Action Plan on Open Government for 2018 to 2020 reflects the government’s commitment to reconciliation and to nation-to-nation relationship-building.

Lessons learned

The Government of Canada’s consultations and public engagement team did not have the skills required to engage meaningfully with Indigenous peoples in a broad enough dialogue to support the development of engagement principles.

The following documents contain guidelines and principles for government consultations with Indigenous peoples:

Further work will be done in future to better reflect a spirit of reconciliation, with a goal of developing relationships of mutual trust with our partners in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.

20.2 Milestone:

Identify necessary supports (for example skills development, resourcing, technological innovation) needed to deliver on the full potential of engaging with stakeholders.

Description of results

The Government of Canada has undertaken a number of initiatives to identify supports that will help departments achieve the full potential of public engagement and consultation processes.

The Government of Canada is collaborating with civic technology and public engagement practitioners to co-create an ecosystem of tools for citizens and government to engage online.

Work to date includes:

  • conducted usability testing to inform improvements to Consulting with Canadians
  • developed public engagement training:
    • 5 one-day sessions were delivered for 135 participants within 4 months
    • 2 train-the-trainer sessions increased potential for these sessions to be offered in the future
  • developed and delivered training to policy and communications analysts on evaluating public engagement
  • developed and delivered an interactive workshop on designing public engagement approaches, and published the facilitators guide online that maps engagement methods to goals
  • conducted 2 pilot projects to use artificial intelligence to categorize and analyze large volumes of qualitative input
  • completed a Request for Information for public engagement services; the goal is to expand the number and type of services that are available through a pre-qualified list of vendors

A multidisciplinary team led by the Community of Federal Regulators piloted the use of an open source platform that allows stakeholders to provide comments on a regulatory text directly online (eRegulations). The platform enables Government of Canada analysts to analyze stakeholder input effectively, which is an important step in open policy making. The pilot project helped identify barriers to stakeholders participating online and internal barriers to creating online tools. The code for this tool is open source and available online.

Lessons learned

A high level of digital and data literacy, combined with emotional intelligence and a clear understanding of the entire policy process, are required to develop and execute engagement strategies that result in useful to lines of evidence in policymaking. Many digital engagement tools exist, but few are built for use at the federal level and allow, for example, in-line commenting on legislative documents.

20.3 Milestone:

Identify and support participatory processes undertaken by departments to share lessons learned and demonstrate the value of including stakeholders and members of the public throughout the policy, program or service design and implementation.

Description of results

The Government of Canada has undertaken a number of initiatives to identify and support participatory processes. Examples include:

  • contributed to open repositories of data, methods and tools (including posting case studies on Participedia and sharing cases and stories with the Open Government Partnership)
  • published citizen feedback as open data, for example, Open Government Consultation Data: Canada’s Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership (2016–18), consultations on national security submissions and public opinion research from Employment and Social Development Canada
  • explored pre-processing and content analysis of comments from public consultations in CSV format (comma-separated values) using Python; the documentation and tool is publicly available on GitHub
  • launched GC Developers Exchange, a website where Government of Canada teams can post contract opportunities for open source digital solutions and developers can find contract opportunities; all procured code is licensed as open source and housed on GitHub to encourage re-use
  • used GC Developers Exchange for a contract opportunity to find new ways to more easily release data sets that were not in accessible formats; openly documented the experience online, including lessons learned
  • updated policy advice provided in Cabinet Directive on Regulation that lays out the purpose, value and process of engaging with stakeholders when developing or changing regulations
  • updated the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity in to clarify the role of heads of communications in supporting public engagement in the development of policies programs, services and initiatives
  • guidance has been published by Status of Women Canada about using gender-based analysis plus as a tool when planning public engagement efforts
Lessons learned

It takes longer than 2 years to realize the results and outcomes of public engagement in the context of policy, program or service design and implementation. It is possible to track and document activities as they occur, but  measuring outcomes can only occur after implementation.

20.4 Milestone:

Develop, implement the measurement of, and promote indicators for open government to support benchmarking and continuous improvement.

Description of results

The Government of Canada has undertaken a number of initiatives to develop and promote indicators for open government. Work to date includes:

  • developed a performance measurement framework that defines an approach to measuring process integrity, policy outcomes and trust in government
  • conducted public opinion research on citizen engagement in Canada to understand extent to which Canadians were aware of, and participated in, government activities
  • drafted a measurement framework to assess the principles of public engagement
Lessons learned

Viewing open government as a program rather than a lens through which to conduct government business may be a barrier to wider adoption of putting open policy making into practice.

Completion level

20.1 Complete
20.2 Complete
20.3 Complete
20.4 Complete

Commitment 21: Promote open government globally

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Global Affairs Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, International Development Research Centre
Other actors involved: Open Government Partnership, Open Data Charter, La Francophonie
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

The world is witnessing a global transformation, fuelled by citizens’ desire to better understand how their governments make decisions and develop policy. At the same time, there are growing global trends of citizen distrust, shrinking civic space and elite capture. At the OGP Global Summit in Paris in , officials from around the world acknowledged that, recognizing these global trends, the future of democracy itself is at stake.

The global open government movement can be a countervailing force to these disturbing trends by promoting the rule of law, reducing corruption, promoting public access to information and developing effective and accountable institutions. The government is committed to working with international partners in government, civil society, private sector and academia to support the principles of openness and transparency around the world.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will work with international partners to promote the principles of open government around the world.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

Canada is undertaking leadership roles in the global open government community, supporting the International Open Data Charter and the OGP and fostering new strategic partnerships through organizations like the International Organisation of La Francophonie. By working collaboratively with international partners to promote common, global principles of open government, Canada can cement its role as a world leader in openness and transparency.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP value of transparency.

Expected result

Canada will be recognized as a global leader in openness and transparency. It will foster greater adoption and implementation of global principles of open data.

Implementation results and lessons learned

21.1 Milestone:

Participate in key forums internationally to learn from other countries and share our challenges and successes.

Description of results

Canada was elected to the OGP’s Steering Committee and is the current supporting co-chair. Canada will leverage this leadership role to support peer learning and exchange on key priorities, including inclusion, participation and impact.

Canada also recently served as chair of the International Aid Transparency Initiative and the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN).

The Open Data for Development (OD4D) network, hosted at Canada’s International Development Research Centre, was recognized as the OGP thematic leader for open data and will continue to lead learning-focused work at regional and global forums.

Language on open government was included in:

A declaration in advance of the Summit of the Americas includes a reference to the role of open government and open data in the fight against corruption, building broad institutional support for the regional program, which has been initiated with Canada’s support.

Canada contributed to the organization of, and was in the program of, the fourth International Open Data Conference in Madrid, where Canada shared successes and challenges.

Canada also participated in a number of other key international forums, including:

  • the 2016 OGP Global Summit in Paris, France
  • the 2018 OGP Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia
  • the 2017 OGP Americas Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • OECD open government peer review missions to Costa Rica and Argentina
Lessons learned

In 2018, Canada is often referred to as a global leader in open government. The Government of Canada therefore has a responsibility to act as a global leader, both by undertaking transformational initiatives domestically and by promoting and reinforcing the value of openness, transparency and accountability globally. This leadership role is especially critical at a time when open government has an important role to play protecting democracy worldwide by strengthening citizens’ trust in public institutions. By discussing its successes and failures, and by documenting and sharing learning, Canada is leading by doing.

21.2 Milestone:

Strengthen the capacity to deliver open data in Francophone Africa through support to locally led, multi-stakeholder processes and international conferences.

Description of results

In , Open Burkina was selected to coordinate the African Francophone Open Data Community and act as a regional hub to coordinate research, innovation, and capacity building in Francophone Africa. In , activities commenced with local representatives in 8 countries, including local capacity building, agenda building, and working with multi-stakeholder partners.

Lessons learned

The 2016 African Francophone Open Data Community conference brought together 22 Francophone countries and raised awareness of the importance of creating and adapting existing open data practices in the region.

A regional hub was established to support the community with materials adapted to the context of Francophone Africa and to encourage locally led leadership, which was highlighted as a need.

Canada provided support for locally led peer learning and coordination activities and sought to support networks for sharing best practices across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, which contributed to fast progress and growth in ambition of open data efforts. Led by local organizations and agendas, Canada is supporting connections between the Francophone communities and leading stakeholders around the world, including in Canada, creating opportunities to share learning.

21.3 Milestone:

Promote the principles of the International Open Data Charter, participate in the development of enabling resources and tools for the charter and support the development of the World Wide Web Foundation Open Data Barometer through the Open Data for Development network to measure the charter’s implementation by governments around the world.

Description of results

Canada signed the Open Data Charter in 2018. Since , more than 20 additional governments worldwide have adopted the charter, including the Government of Ontario and the City of Edmonton. Under the charter, Canada provided support for developing global resources and for key initiatives in developing countries, including work in agriculture, public procurement, gender and data journalism.

The fourth edition of Open Data Barometer was published in and covered 115 countries. Funding for a Special Edition Barometer Report for Africa was approved in 2017, and work is underway, with release planned for .

Lessons learned

Global resources are needed for the open data community, but they must align with emerging agendas and provide a strong basis of evidence. The Open Data Barometer aligned with other open data indexes and has a special edition to include new countries. As discussed in the previous cycle, assessing and benchmarking the impact of open data initiatives around the world is and will remain crucial for assessing the efficacy and quality of such initiatives in both Canada and the world.

Completion level

21.1 Complete
21.2 Complete
21.3 Complete

Commitment 22: Engage Canadians to improve key Canada Revenue Agency services

Overall completion level: completed

Lead implementing department(s): Canada Revenue Agency
Other actors involved: Not applicable
Reporting period: End-of-term (, to )

Commitment description

What was the public problem that the commitment sought to address?

Service excellence is a top priority for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the agency is committed to ensuring that high-quality services are delivered to Canadians in a way that makes them feel respected and valued.

What was the commitment?

The Government of Canada will undertake public consultations and engagement to support improved access to high-value, statistical tax data and publications, increased fairness of the rules governing charities’ political activities, and better understanding of factors affecting the low rates of benefit uptake.

How was the commitment expected to contribute to solving the public problem?

The Canada Revenue Agency is undertaking a number of key public consultation and engagement activities to respond to key challenges:

  • The Canada Revenue Agency currently publishes open data in various categories both on its website and on Canada’s Open Data portal. A better understanding of the public’s satisfaction with, and interest in, statistical tax publications and related data, is needed to meet the growing demand for data that is of value to Canadians.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency has committed to providing more information on the regulation of charities to the public and to engaging with the charitable sector to identify ways to clarify the rules on the political activities of charities.
  • Each year a number of Indigenous Canadians miss out on potential tax benefits. Through consultation, new data, and collaboration with other government departments and stakeholders, the Canada Revenue Agency is seeking to empower Indigenous Canadians to obtain the tax benefits to which they are entitled.
Relevance to OGP values

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

Expected result

Canadians will be more satisfied with publicly available statistical tax publications and related data. Charities will have clear rules regarding political activities. Through consultations, Indigenous Canadians and vulnerable communities will be empowered to obtain the tax benefits to which they are entitled.

Implementation results and lessons learned

22.1 Milestone:

Complete an online consultation with Canadians to measure public satisfaction with, and interest in, statistical tax publications and related data.

Description of results

The Open Data Portal Survey assesses user satisfaction with the portal to improve user access to high-value, statistical tax data and publications. It was posted online in before the Mid-Term Self-Assessment Report. A new user-friendly format was subsequently developed, and a pop-up window that invites users to participate in the survey was added.

The survey and pop-up were made compatible with canada.ca site following the transfer of Canada Revenue Agency web pages in summer 2017. Technical difficulties that affected whether visitors were shown the pop-up window resulted in lower participation in the survey. Only 40% of visitors to the site are shown the pop-up. In addition, the survey competes with other surveys on canada.ca. As of , 34 responses to the survey have been obtained. 50% of the survey participants found the statistical tax publication easy to find, and 53% found the information easy to understand. Past surveys from before the pop-up was implemented had higher participation rates.

Lessons learned

The use of pop-ups to encourage participation in surveys has been found to be generally ineffective. The Canada Revenue Agency is exploring the possibility of changing the administration of the survey from a pop-up to hyperlinks on as many relevant pages as possible.

22.2 Milestone:

Engage with registered charities, the public and other stakeholders in the charitable sector to help clarify rules governing charities’ political activities:

  • Conduct online and in-person consultations sessions on what information is needed, what form any future rules should take, and how best to communicate them to stakeholders and the general public.
Description of results

The Canada Revenue Agency’s online and in-person consultations on the rules governing charities’ political activities were completed in . Over the consultation period, the agency received almost 20,000 written submissions from charities and individuals and met with 167 representatives from the charitable sector. A consultation panel reviewed the feedback and presented a report to the Minister of National Revenue in . As announced in Budget 2018, the government will provide a response to the panel’s report in the coming months.

Lessons learned

Recommendations brought forward through the consultation process will help the government better understand the challenges faced by, and the needs of, the charitable sector when contributing to public policy debate. This input from stakeholders is invaluable to understand how best to clarify the rules governing the political activities of charities.

22.3 Milestone:

Engage with Indigenous Canadians to better understand the issues, root causes and data gaps that may be preventing eligible individuals from accessing benefits.

Description of results

Public opinion research with Indigenous communities and vulnerable populations, including urban Indigenous Canadians, was conducted in spring 2017 to better understand the factors that may prevent eligible individuals from accessing benefits. 2 reports were published:

The Canada Revenue Agency is using the results of these studies to inform more targeted initiatives to improve Indigenous peoples’ participation in the tax and benefit system. The agency continues to work with its federal partners to identify opportunities to increase Indigenous peoples’ awareness of and access to benefits and credits.

Lessons learned

Both public opinion research studies provided valuable insights into barriers experienced by Indigenous communities and vulnerable populations. Future research should consider a more intersectional approach, for example, by considering the specific experiences of vulnerable populations such as seniors and persons with disabilities within Indigenous communities. In addition, more flexibility should be built in for engagement timelines for Indigenous communities to take into account communities’ varying approval processes and associated timelines.

Completion level

22.1 Complete
22.2 Complete
22.3 Complete