Open Government Licence Implementation Guidelines


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The objective of these guidelines is to provide context about the Open Government Licence, with specific instructions for each clause and recommendations on how to adopt the licence. The guidelines also include a template of the full licence text. This will make it easier to convert to a web presentation should that be required.


The Open Government Licence is a licensing agreement that can be used by any public body in Canada, such as provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. The goals of the licence are to:

  • provide the broadest possible use of the licensed material;
  • make it  easier to understand by end users and public bodies;
  • make it  simple to adopt by other public bodies; and,
  • facilitate broad use of data by ensuring licence terms are compatible across jurisdictions.

Achieving these goals is only possible when public bodies who want to use the licence adopt it as it was intended. This means the licence text is unchanged except for specific items which are meant to be changed to suit the individual public body and their respective jurisdiction, for example to reflect differences in organization between federal and provincial or municipal governments.

The Open Government Licence is designed to provide public bodies across Canada with a consistent means of licensing their information. This consistency reduces barriers to publication, and avoids the cost of each public body developing its own licence. Perhaps most important is wider adoption of the licence will make is simpler for people to combine information from different public bodies because the licence terms will be compatible.

Adopting the licence

If you wish to adopt this licence, it is recommended that you:

Specific Instructions

The Open Government Licence consists of a Preamble, Title and thirteen clauses.  In the table below are the sections of the licence with required changes for each public body. The specific aspects which require change are noted by square brackets […].The details of the changes are noted in the Comments. At the end of the table is the full licence text including the aspects which require change.

No Changes

Open Government Licence sections Comments


This Open Government Licence is based on version 2.0 of the Open Government Licence – Canada, which was developed through public consultation and collaborative efforts by provincial and federal governments. The only substantive changes to the licence are references to the province of jurisdiction and the name of the public body.

Required Change

The public body inserts their name in the paragraph as indicated in the template.

Open Government Licence – [Insert name of legal entity]

You are encouraged to use the information that is available under this licence with only a few conditions.

Required Change

The public body appends their name to the title.

Using Information under this licence

1.Use of any information indicates your acceptance of the terms below.

2.The information provider grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to use the information, including for commercial purposes, subject to the terms below.

You are free to:

3.Copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the information in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose.

No Changes

You must, where you do any of the above:

4.Acknowledge the source of the information by including any attribution statement specified by the information provider and, where possible, provide a link to this licence.

If the information provider does not provide a specific attribution statement, or if you are using Information from several Information Providers and multiple attributions are not practical for your product or application, you must use the following attribution statement:

Contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – [insert name of legal entity].

5.The terms of this licence are important, and if you fail to comply with any of them, the rights granted to you under this licence, or any similar licence granted by the Information Provider, will end automatically.

Required Change

Clause 4 – the public body appends their name to the attribution statement.


6.This licence does not permit any right to use:

  1. Personal Information;
  2. third party rights the Information Provider is not authorized to license;
  3. the names, crests, logos, or other official marks of the Information Provider; and
  4. Information subject to other intellectual property rights, including patents, trade-marks and official marks.

Required Change

Clause 6b – The public body has latitude to modify Exemption 6b as follows:

  1. Insert [name of and link to applicable legislation]
  2. Insert[applicable laws]
  3. Omit clause 6b

Note: The term “Records” may not apply in all jurisdictions.

It is strongly recommended that legal advice is obtained to understand the implications of the drafting options provided for 6b


7.This licence does not grant you any right to use the Information in a way that suggests any official status or that the Information Provider endorses you or your use of the Information.

No Changes

No warranty

8.The Information is licensed “as is”, and the Information Provider excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities, whether express or implied, to the maximum extent permitted by law.

9.The Information Provider is not liable for any errors or omissions in the Information, and will not under any circumstances be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or other loss, injury or damage caused by its use or otherwise arising in connection with this licence or the Information, even if specifically advised of the possibility of such loss, injury or damage.

No Changes

Governing Law

10.This licence is governed by the laws of [insert the province of jurisdiction] and the applicable laws of Canada.

11.Legal proceedings related to this licence may only be brought in the courts of [insert the province of jurisdiction].

Required Change

  • Clause 10 – the public body inserts their province name into the clause.
  • Clause 11 – the public body inserts their province name into the clause.


12.In this licence, the terms below have the following meanings:

means information resources or records protected by copyright or other information or records that are offered for use under the terms of this licence.
"Information Provider"
means [insert legal name of entity].
"Personal Information"
has the meaning set out in [insert name and link to applicable legislation].
"Records" (this definition is not necessary if “Records” is omitted from clause 6B)
has the meaning set out in [insert name and link to applicable legislation]
means the natural or legal person, or body of persons corporate or incorporate, acquiring rights under this licence.

Required Change

Clause 12 is a series of defined terms. The definitions will change according to the specifics of the public body.

  • “Information Provider” – provide the legal name of the public body.
  • “Personal Information” – provide the name of the Act or otherwise which defines Personal Information for the jurisdiction.
    • “Records” – provide the name of the Act or otherwise which defines Records for the jurisdiction

Note – If the term “Records” has been omitted from clause 6b, the Records definition is not necessary.


13. This is version 2 of the Open Government Licence for [insert name of legal entity]. The Information Provider may make changes to the terms of this licence from time to time and issue a new version of the licence. Your use of the Information will be governed by the terms of the licence in force as of the date you accessed the Information.

Required Change

Clause 13 – This entire clause is to be included. The public body is to append their legal name into the first sentence.

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