Canada Releases National Open Data Proposal


The Harper government in Canada has released the proposal for the next phase of its national open data plan. If approved it would effectively create a national marketplace for commercializing open data. The proposal calls for an open data by default mandate for federal agencies and offices, and would create an open data institute to foster the use of open data for commercial development.

Canada joined the Open Government Partnership and open data movement in 2012. Since then, officials have been working through a broad-based federal approach to opening government information.

Items in the proposal include a desire to create national open data information standards, adoption of a common open data license, and a pilot federated open data search with provinces to provide a “no wrong door” approach for accessing open data, so users can easily find and download data regardless of which government open data portal they choose to use.

The proposal also notes the potential $1.3 trillion market opportunity for open data development in North America, and that the federal open data platform is Canada’s means of trying to capture part of that opportunity. “In response to the tremendous commercial opportunity represented by open data, the Government of Canada has announced an investment of $3M over three years to launch a new institute on open data: the Canadian Open Data Exchange (CODEX). {…} The vision of CODEX is that by creating a platform and toolsets to help commercial actors use available datasets, new products and companies may be launched to meet market needs, social challenges will be addressed to improve the quality of life for Canadians, and above all – new jobs will be created,” the proposal says.

CODEX will be tasked with working on many of the policies included in the proposal, with deliverables completed by 2016. A public comment period is open on the proposal until October 20. The entire proposal is available here.