This backgrounder provides information on Open Data Master Plan scheduled to go before Executive Committee on January 24, 2018. Pending decisions at Executive Committee, this report will go to City Council for consideration at its next meeting from January 31 to February 2, 2018.
If adopted, the Open Data Master Plan will impact all City divisions and agencies, corporate strategic initiatives, community groups, private business, academia and the general public.
Open Data is defined as machine-readable data that can be freely used, reused and distributed by anyone.
Government data that has been made open to the public has been shown to generate new ideas and perspectives so that it can be re-used, analyzed and correlated to help improve the City’s delivery of public services, engage with citizens in government decision making and find innovative approaches to civic problem solving.
At its May 24, 2016 meeting, Executive Committee adopted motions for the City Manager, in consultation with the Chief Information Officer, City Clerk and City Solicitor to develop a strategic plan for Open Data.
At the April 3, 2017 Executive Committee meeting, City staff proposed a three-phased approach in the development of the Open Data Master Plan, guided by four key principles.
These guiding principles were co-developed in collaboration with members of the community at the Open Data Community of Practice event.
The City’s Open Data team has engaged with a number of community groups and all levels of government, with support from the non-profit organization Open North, to assist in the co-development of the Open Data Master Plan. In addition, Canada’s Open Data Exchange has provided valuable insights in identifying ways in which the business sector uses open data.
A Public Advisory Group was created in the summer of 2017 and was comprised of 42 individuals from the public, start-ups, and academia. The group provided feedback and helped to co-develop the Open Data Master Plan.
Development of Toronto’s Open Data Master Plan was anchored in the International Open Data Charter (ODC). Its six principles (Open by Default, Timely & Comprehensive, Accessible & Usable, Comparable & Interoperable, Improved Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Inclusive Development & Innovation) guided the City’s overall approach.
There are four themes that drive Toronto’s proposed Open Data Master Plan:
The Open Data Master Plan calls for the City to adopt the International Open Data Charter to guide the growth of the Open Data Program.
A capital budget item for implementation of the Open Data Master Plan was submitted for a multi-year period starting in 2018.
If adopted, the proposed Open Data Master Plan could impact the City, residents and the broader public in the following ways:
In conjunction with the development of the Open Data Master Plan, City staff have been working on an enhanced open data portal with data visualization capabilities. The user-centred design approach informing the development of this new website is to meet the growing demands and usage of open data by both technical and non-technical audiences.
If approved by Executive Committee and then City Council, the Open Data team will begin implementing the Open Data Master Plan by following the road map included within the Plan.