Last week the Government of Canada released the latest draft of the new plan on Open Government, and I thought it was pretty good reading! Here are some of the things I learned, or highlighted as particularly interesting:
- Canada was recently ranked 4th out of 92 countries by the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer which measures countries’ readiness to implement open data initiatives, their progress in implementing open data, and the results they are achieving using open data. (I had not been aware of the Open Data Barometer).
- Canada championed the development of a new International Open Data Charter in collaboration with governments and civil society organizations around the world.
- In February 2016, the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) published its report on Canada’s progress (PDF, 1.34 MB) in implementing its second Action Plan.
- In support of its commitment to Enhance Access to Information, the Government of Canada has issued an Interim Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act which directs federal officials to:
- waive all Access to Information fees apart from the $5 filing fee; and
- release information in user-friendly formats (e.g. spreadsheets), whenever feasible. (I think these are both fantastic!)
- Statistics Canada will increase access to high-quality statistical information in open formats, including releasing all 2016 Census data a full 10 months sooner than the 2011 Census. Steps will also be taken to ensure the data are well understood by Canadians.
- 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; (YES!)
- 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.
- Commitment 8: Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections (all of this section!)
- Starting with Budget 2017, make all data from Budget charts and tables available in near real time to facilitate analysis by citizens and Parliamentarians.
- Ensure historical data previously disclosed by federal departments on grants and contributions funding is searchable via the central portal.
- The Government of Canada will provide searchable information on Canadian businesses that is held in business registries at the federal, provincial, and territorial level. (So this one sucks for me, because they're launching a pilot project with Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and BC, but for some reason Alberta isn't part of it. We'll have to wait :-( )
- Commitment 13: Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data
Update (6/21/16): Please also look at David Eaves' thoughts on this draft - he has a lot more background on the process and is able to be more thoughtful and critical than I was.