Springtime for Government 2.0 in Ottawa?

Now that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been re-elected with a majority government, Canadians can begin to expect him to pursue some longer term objectives.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to read these commitments in the Government’s first post-election Throne Speech:

Canadians rightly expect fairness and accountability in the full range of government institutions that serve them. … Our Government will also support the efforts of the Public Service to modernize the way it works so that it can continue to provide the highest standard of service to Canadians. …. Our Government will also ensure that citizens, the private sector and other partners have improved access to the workings of government through open data, open information and open dialogue.

This is a reaffirmation of the move toward Government 2.0 that was signalled with the launch in March of open.gc.ca and data.gc.ca. At that time, Open.gc.ca described three initiatives the Government of Canada was taking:

  • Open Data, which is about offering Government data in a more useful 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

Open.gc.ca hasn’t been updated since it’s launch. The front page still features the March 18 initial release and statement from then-Minister Stockwell Day. However, in light of the Throne Speech reference and New Treasury Board President Tony Clement‘s recent interview endorsing the Open Data initiative, we should start to see updates and news of further initiatives.

I’m going to follow this closely and write about it more often. I hope that you’ll follow along with me and join the discussion.

And if you are interested in this area, you also should subscribe to two other bloggers who are reporting on Canada’s open government initiatives:

John F. Moore, Canada Commits to Open Government in “Speech from the Throne”

Richard Akerman, Open Data Statement in Canadian Digital Economy Strategy Update