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The second chapter of the federal government’s open government strategy now has a confirmed action plan.

Treasury Board said Thursday that the action plan — a document that civil servants have to follow over the next two years — for what it calls Open Government 2.0 has been issued following a consultation period.

The plan includes a directive that federal employees treat open by default for the handling of non-sensitive information. There’s a commitment to develop a federated open data search service that provides what the government calls a “no wrong door approach”;  an enhanced set of tools and resources to make it easier to search and compare government spending across federal departments; and a new government-wide consultation portal to promote opportunities for public participation.

It also launched a new open government portal it hopes the private sector will use to access federal datasets to create new applications and drive innovation, as well as to make it easier for citizens to keep track of what the government is doing.

The improved portal now allows people to search for all federal contracts awarded over $10,000, has community interactive spaces organized by interest areas and highlights related open government initiatives by other levels of government.

The action plan 2.0 has four commitments “to unlock the economic potential” of federal open data, a briefing paper says. These are

–Open Data Canada, aimed at harmonizing all open data efforts by Ottawa, the provinces and local governments;

–a $3 million institute (with the private sector kicking in another $3 million) called the Open Data Exchange, where Canadians will be able to see measurable economic benefits of open data. It will also be a hub for the commercialization of open data;

–an initiative dubbed Open Data for Development, to support international open data efforts, particularly in developing countries;

–the new open government portal and other projects.

There are also open information commitments, including a promise the maximize access to federally-funded scientific research to encourage collaboration, mandatory reporting standards on private sector resource companies on how their revenues are spent, and tools and training to expand digital literacy.



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