The government of Canada (GOC) produces more software (aka. applications, code, computer programs, scripts…) then you might think. All the data recently published on Data.gc.ca had to come from somewhere! In-house software is often needed to collect, sort & analyse this information.
If more of the software produced in the GOC was open source software (OSS) Canadians would have a larger say in the data produced, citizens and business would be able to use the software to be more efficient in their work and the GOC would get to improve its software by receiving feedback and contributions from the public.
OSS is by no means the universal best approach but there are already great success stories in the GOC, for example: Web Experience Toolkit and METRo (EC road forecast). Even better, OSS promotes openness and accountability while providing Canadians with more opportunities to participate in government.
Open source software should be central to Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government.