News: MISA/ASIM Canada News

Significant Progress Reported On National Licence For Use of Open Data

April 9, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Good news has arrived for municipalities wanting to join the open-data movement. It appears likely that a licence for the private-sector use of government data, with terms acceptable to all levels of government, will be proposed for national adoption this year.

A national licence would make open data much more valuable for municipalities and their citizens. It would mean that application developers in the private sector could make widespread use of the data published by municipalities on their websites in open formats, rather than having the data or the applications usable only in local areas because of a lack of contract uniformity.

Significant progress has been achieved through leadership at the federal government level. During a meeting of the Joint Councils in Halifax on February 27, officials of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat reported that a draft Open Government Licence has been created to support open-data activities.

Approval for the licence will require a multi-step review process but there are grounds for optimism because an organization is in place to lead it, reports Kathryn Bulko, president of MISA/ASIM Canada.

Bulko attended the meeting where the Treasury Board presentation was made to the Open Data and Information Working Group of the Joint Councils. It is this group, formed in September 2012, that has a mandate to be the governance body for common open-data and information tools shared across jurisdictions.

"Municipalities are waiting anxiously for this open-data licence,” Bulko said in an interview. "The working group is working very aggressively on it.”

The draft Open Government Licence is already supported by the governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. They have declared their intention of adopting the common licence for their respective open-data portals when it is put into final form.

To accomplish that, the Open Data and Information Working Group wants participation from municipalities. The MISA/ASIM Canada Board of Directors agreed in February to form an Open Data Special Interest Group, which will take responsibility for appointing representatives to the working group.

The next report from the working group will come in September when the Joint Councils meet again. The Joint Councils comprise the Public Sector CIO Council (PSCIOC) and the Public Sector Service Delivery Council. Municipalities have been represented within the Joint Councils since 1999.

MISA/ASIM Canada is represented on the PSCIOC by Bulko along with Per Kristensen of the City of Nanaimo and Harry Turnbull of the City of Windsor. Turnbull is the PSCIOC co-chair for 2013-14.