Canada is #1 in Open Data!

1 minute read

Last week, President of the Treasury Board Scott Brison announced in the House of Commons that the Government of Canada has recently been ranked #1 in the world for its efforts to promote open data. This is up from its #2 ranking in 2017. This is a worthy success and one which merits acclaim and recognition to those working anonymously in the ranks of the public service to make this success happen. A sincere and heartfelt congratulations from the Institute on Governance.

There is nonetheless still room for improvement in how Canada promotes open data and this is a subject that is of sustained interest to the IOG. Earlier in the year, we argued in Policy Options that the Federal government’s successes in releasing Open Data need to be matched by improvements in data literacy in the policy community and among Canadian political scientists. This is one key area in which Canada’s complimentary rankings will begin to be transformed into better public policy and improved trust in government. We also created a small toolkit to help those working in open data to improve uptake and use of their datasets.

Over the longer term, the federal government’s successes with open data should be matched by successes in data collection, which under current practices can often miss key constituencies and demographics, leading unintentionally to economic exclusion. The federal government can also help engender improvements by lending support to other Canadian governments, at the provincial, municipal and territorial levels, so that even more meaningful data is made available to the public.

While Canada is now ranked #1 in the world for open data, and this is an achievement worth celebration, this newfound status should not give rise to complacency. There is still much work to be done to ensure that Open Data delivers on its wider promises to the public of increasing transparency, engedering policy co-creation, and fostering good government. Our newfound leadership in Open Data is happy news indeed, but requires continuous effort and investment if it is to be merited.

About the author

Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins

Senior Researcher

Mark's work principally addresses impact of the digital revolution on government, governance and public administration as well as how government itself impacts technological development through its actions for governing the ICT sector. Mark can be found working on a range of projects related to 21st century policy areas including digital transformation, innovation, digital government and artificial intelligence. When not writing research, Mark also organizes the IOG's Policy Crunch speaker series and annual Future Forum conference.

Prior to joining the IOG, he held various research positions on economic and political affairs, including at the Munk School at the University of Toronto, the Conference Board of Canada, UN-ESCAP, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Parliament of Canada. Mark holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, an M.A. in Political Economy from Carleton University and a certificate in commerce from Mohawk College.

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