Open Government in Transition

by Don Lenihan. Posted January 4, 2017


A Pan-Canadian Conversation on Open Dialogue and Open Data

Last April, Canada 2020 and PubliVate co-sponsored CODF 2016, a two-day conference in Ottawa on Open Government and Open Dialogue, co-chaired by former Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, and Ontario Deputy Premier Deb Matthews.

The co-chairs also hosted a private Delegates’ Dinner to discuss Open Government with senior officials from across the country, who discussed their governments’ approaches to Open Government. While everyone agreed that using digital technology to liberate data was essential, there was a shared sense that this is only a first step and that the challenge now is to put this resource to work—what one participant called “leveraging” the data.

Our conference theme of “Open Dialogue” provided the perfect backdrop for this discussion. Presenters offered some stimulating examples of how multi-stakeholder engagement processes can be combined with Open Data to support informed policymaking, better transparency and accountability, and product innovation; and this, in turn, provoked our dinner delegates to consider the implications for Open Government.

Now Canada 2020 is building on the conference and dinner with a cross-country consultation process led by Don Lenihan to identify and examine innovative initiatives where federal, provincial, or territorial governments are successfully leveraging Open Data through Open Dialogue to achieve Open Government’s goals.

The process includes a one-day, intra-governmental roundtable in participating federal-provincial/territorial capitals with about invited 25 participants, including senior and elected officials, as well as representatives from academia, civil society, and the private sector.

So far, events have been held in the Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, and Nova scotia, with others planned for Nunavut, BC, Alberta, Ontario, PEI, and Ottawa in January and February. More governments are expected to confirm their participation shortly.

An intergovernmental roundtable will follow in Toronto next March with reps from all participating governments, and about 10 other invitees. Together, they will review a draft of a final report. The final report will be published on the Canada 2020 website and circulated to all participants, as well as to our 15,000 subscribers.

A second national conference on Open Dialogue will follow. Policymaking in the Digital Age: Open Dialogue Meets Big Data will be held in Ottawa on April 26th – 27th. The conference will be co-chaired by Matthew Mendelsohn, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Results and Delivery), who is heading the Government of Canada’s initiative on “Deliverology.” A second co-chair will be named shortly.

Further information on both the cross-country roundtables and the conference will be posted on this site as they unfold.

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