Open Data is digital data that is made available with the technical and legal characteristics necessary for it to be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime and anywhere.

Digital data, in this context, is machine readable data, such as CSV, XML, JSON, Shapefiles, APIs. Unlike human readable formats, such as PDFs, HTML pages; machine readable data can be re-purposed, synthesized and modelled by computer applications to generate insights, analyses and/or used to develop web/mobile applications.

Datasets are comprised of machine-readable files (e.g. XLS, JSON, XML). At minimum, one of the files will represent the information that the data conveys. Another file, also known as the readme file or metadata file, will contain information that defines all the elements/attributes included in the data file(s).


Data files are often listed by currency (the time period the data represents), and are grouped together since they relate to one another and reflect the same information thematically. This grouping of files are displayed on a single dataset page, and counted as a single dataset.

There isn’t a common standard for how jurisdictions should count datasets and data files; however, the City is taking the approach of prioritizing the release of data that helps solve civic issues and provides the highest public benefit.

Absolutely! Feel free to contact us with your request by emailing or tweeting us at Open_TO. Please keep in mind that dataset release times do vary, as they will need to each be assessed and prioritized individually.

Data that contains personal identifying information, or information that may pose as a security or confidentiality concern, will not be released as open data.

You sure can! Datasets are made freely available for anyone under the City’s Open Government Licence, which is based on version 1.0 of the Open Government Licence – Ontario. This licence allows worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to use the City’s open datasets, for both commercial and non-commercial use.