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ARCHIVED - Minister Day Announces Expansion of Open Government

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For immediate release

March 18, 2011

Backgrounder

Ottawa – The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia–Pacific Gateway, today issued a statement on expanding open government in Canada, and announced specific commitments related to open information and open dialogue.

The expansion of open government is being pursued through these three main streams:

  • Open Data, which is about offering Government data in more useful and machine-readable formats to enable citizens, the private sector and non-government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.
  • Open Information, which is about proactively releasing information, including on Government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis.  It is about proactively making Government information easier to find and accessible for Canadians.
  • Open Dialogue, which is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies.

"The Government of Canada has long been a leader in making information available to its citizens," said Minister Day. "With the expansion of Open Government, our government is making a strong, public commitment to continue on this path."

Open Information will link Canadians with innovative new tools on the Web such as Working in Canada, an innovative portal that Canadians can use to get information on jobs, training, salary, locations, certification and more!

Today, the Working in Canada portal is introducing a new set of tools that provide valuable labour market information for high school and post-secondary students trying to decide what training and education they will require for a wide variety of fields or where education backgrounds can take them in the workforce.

Open Information, like Open Data and Open Dialogue, will continue to add valuable Web 2.0 tools for a wide range of topics including Come to Canada, a Citizenship and Immigration Canada tool designed to help people who want to come to live and work in Canada.  Come to Canada is expected to launch this spring.

Additionally, over the next few months, all departments and agencies subject to the Access to Information Act will be expected to move toward proactively posting summaries of completed access to information requests.  One of the intentions of Open Information is to post completed access to information requests online.  In future, documents could be pre-assessed as they are created in order to better understand what can be released under Access to Information.  Currently, this often takes many months and can delay the releasing of information under Access to Information.  The Government will also explore, through a pilot project, the posting to a virtual library of completed reports commissioned by the Government.

The Harper Government is also providing greater opportunities for Canadians to participate in a two-way consultation process through Open Dialogue. For example, the Government has launched a number of online consultations, such as the Border Action Plan consultation and the National Dialogue on Healthy Weights.  Open Dialogue provides pathways for Canadians to provide and receive feedback directly with Government officials.

"Open Dialogue gives Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and empowers citizens to participate more directly in the decision‑making process," said Minister Day.

These activities are detailed at www.open.gc.ca, where the Government will continue to identify Open Government initiatives.

This commitment to open government is part of the Harper Government's ongoing efforts to foster greater openness and accountability, to strengthen the Democratic Reform agenda and to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians.

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For more information, contact:

Jay Denney
Director of Communications
Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-952-5051

Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
613-957-2640

If there is a discrepancy between any printed version and the electronic version of this document, the electronic version will prevail.

TTY (Telecommunications device for the hearing impaired) - (613) 957-9090


Backgrounder

Open Government

On March 18, 2011, the Harper Government issued a statement outlining its commitment to expanding open government.

The expansion of open government is being pursued through these three main streams:

  • Open Data, which is about offering Government data in a more useful and machine- readable format to enable citizens, the private sector and non-government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.
  • Open Information, which is about proactively releasing information, including on Government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis. By proactively making Government information available, it will be easier to find and more accessible for Canadians.
  • Open Dialogue, which is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies.

The Harper Government is committed to fostering open government by offering Canadians greater opportunities to learn about and participate in government, in the economy and in our democratic process.

To enhance transparency and accountability to Canadians, all departments and agencies are expected to take action to advance the commitment to open government as follows:

Open Data

The Open Data Portal is part of our efforts to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians. With this site, application developers can reuse data for commercial, research or community purposes to benefit Canadians in a variety of ways.

All departments and agencies are expected to help advance our commitment to open data and will work diligently to publish more Government datasets online.

Open Information

Canada was one of the first countries to enact access to information legislation almost three decades ago. In 2006, the Government of Canada expanded coverage through the 2006 Federal Accountability Act. Canada has also led the way in proactively disclosing information about contracts, grants and contributions, and posting hospitality and travel expenses on the Web.

All institutions subject to the Access to Information Act will be expected to move toward publishing summaries of completed access to information (ATI) requests in both official languages on their websites.

Minister Day intends to look at making changes such as:

  • posting summaries of completed ATI requests online (or the entire package itself)
  • allowing ATI requests and payments to be made online
  • pre-assessing documents as they are created, to determine what can be released under ATI and what should be withheld
  • streamlining procedures for cross-department consultation; this often takes many months, and delays the release of material under ATI
  • piloting the posting of reports commissioned by the Government to a virtual library

In addition to the ATI measures above, Open Information will make information that is available easier to find and more accessible for Canadians. This includes a wide range of topics including labour markets, immigration, education and more.

Open Dialogue

Open Dialogue is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and empowering citizens to participate more directly in the decision-making process.

All departments and agencies are expected to help advance our commitment to open dialogue and will work diligently to ensure Canadians are more aware of their opportunities to participate in consultation processes that are of interest to them and to use new technologies to obtain feedback. This will involve the systematic posting of consultations on the Consulting Canadians website  (www.consultingcanadians.gc.ca).

These activities are detailed at www.open.gc.ca, where the Government will continue to identify Open Government initiatives.

This commitment to open government is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to foster greater openness and accountability, to strengthen the Democratic Reform agenda and to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians.