Significant Progress Reported On National Licence For Use of Open Data
April 9, 2013
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
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.