Canadian Open Government Initiatives

Canadian Open Government Initiatives

The Open Government Initiative in Canada is aimed at making the Canadian government more transparent and accessible to all citizens of Canada. The country has one of the oldest Open Government Initiatives around the world. Canada has urged a global campaign to make other governments as transparent as well.

Canada is part of the Open Government Partnership, a worldwide effort to make governments unconcealed and open to public scrutiny. As a result of this membership, and also as a member of the G7, Canada has embarked on a significant number of open government initiatives. These have mainly been in the area of facilitating public access to government data. Canada's current open government initiatives are guided by the Open Government Directive that will last from 2016 to 2018. The directive has launched a number of open government programs throughout Canada's provinces. The official Canadian website has more details in this regard. For some of the open government Initiative undertaken by Canada, refer to the list below:

Open Data

Open Government Initiatives are practically synonymous with giving citizens easy access to digital versions of government data. Canada currently runs a thorough Open Data program. Here, information like population statistics, immigration statistics, consumption ratings, and government financial performance information are available to the public through the Open Data Portal. Data from a number of government agencies like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Canada Revenue service is accessible to the public. Canada currently has a plan to ensure that there's no "wrong door" approach to providing access to government data.

Canada's first open data portal was launched in 2011. In 2013, a second generation data portal was launched that had more functionality. The new one is in sync with the government's Open Dialogue and Open Information efforts. Canada's Open Data Portal has become quite advanced, the country is even chairing an Open Data Working Group internationally.

Open Information

Canada's Open Information takes off from the Open Data Portal. The purpose of this initiative is to provide citizens better access to government programs, spending, credit and activities so each are more transparent. Open Information also extends citizens access to government publications like research studies and census data reports.

Getting access to Open Information is easy. All is accessible from the official Open Government website. Databases have been centralised to an Open Information Portal that gives quick and easy access to information resources of the Canadian government. All citizens have access regardless of factors such as age. The Open Information Portal is subject to the country's Access to Information (ATI) legislation enacted by the parliament. Citizens can go to the portal to read ATI summaries, search through various ATI laws, and submit informal ATI requests. The Open Information Portal allows Canadians to search through a comprehensive expenditure database. The Canadian government discloses certain financial data, like quarterly budget reports, so citizens can hold government accountable for the budget decisions it makes. The reports on the Open Information Portal have been proactively disclosed by various Canadian agencies and departments to this effect. The Open Information Portal also includes government expenditure management data. This is slightly different to financial reports. This information includes financial estimates, appropriation acts, and various publications related to the federal budget. The database is comprehensive with a list of links by organization, to details about upcoming financial regulatory proposals and measures as well. The information provided by the portal is quite through. However, the citizens can suggest more information they would like to see by submitting a request form on the portal website. Information will be then released to the site.

Open Dialogue

Open Dialogue is an extension of Canada's efforts to increase government transparency overall, and also to improve public engagement. Basically, this facility allows Canadian citizens to connect with others who have similar interest in information provided by Open Data or Open Information. Citizens are able to show others how to access the same datasets as they have, and also to participate in consultancies aimed at improving public service.

In addition to the above, various government agencies throughout Canada hold open government events in their respective communities. To find out if such an event is available in your area, go to the Open Government Portal website and access the community events page.