The federal government has released high-value datasets on fiscal transparency as part of its G8 Open Data Charter commitments . However, the release of data is not an end in itself; the Open Government Declaration , which the government endorsed, includes a commitment to support civic participation in decision-making and policy formulation. There is an opportunity for the government to create tools and design processes that enable and encourage citizens to better participate and monitor the federal budget and its implementation.
For example, within the federal legislative branch, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is planning to release a new tool that will allow both parliamentarians and citizens to see the impacts of proposed changes to the federal tax system on the government’s total revenues as well as the distributional impacts on Canadians of different ages and different provinces and territories. Such a tool gives citizens the power to fact-check policies and to propose alternatives within a policy discussion.