Open Government

… a core concept used in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107

Concept description

The OECD (reference below) defines open government as “the opening up of government processes, proceedings, documents and data for public scrutiny and involvement.”

Most jurisdictions within the OECD – national, subnational, and even municipal – have undertaken some form of open government initiative.

The Government of Canada’s Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making commitments

The Government of Canada’s website on Open Government is

The Government is currently undertaking consultations on Creating Canada’s 4th Plan on Open Government 2018-20. Its Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership (2016-18) includes:

Commitment 20: Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making

The Government of Canada will foster enhanced citizen participation through greater collaboration and co-creation with the public and stakeholders within and across government initiatives.

Why do this:
Public engagement through open dialogue and participatory processes is vital to the success of government. The Government of Canada recognizes that informed decision making requires the knowledge, views, values and skills of experts, stakeholders, and citizens to inform and shape effective government policies, programs, and services. Consultation provides participants an opportunity to state how an issue affects them, identify underlying values and contribute to shared outcomes.

How will it be done:
Through this open dialogue commitment, the Government will engage citizens, stakeholders, and other governments, to participate in well-designed processes that create space for deliberation and collaboration of the participants involved. The Government of Canada will adopt common principles, clarify needs and implement tools and guidance to foster greater collaboration across traditional organizational boundaries.


  • Promote common principles for Open Dialogue and common practices across the Government of Canada to enable the use of new methods for consulting and engaging Canadians.
    • Engage with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to ensure that these principles and practices support meaningful engagement and reflect the renewed nation-to-nation/Inuit-to-Crown/government-to-government relationships.
  • Identify necessary supports (e.g. skills development, resourcing, technological innovation) needed to deliver on the full potential of engaging with stakeholders.
  • Identify and support participatory processes undertaken by departments to share lessons learned and demonstrate the value of including stakeholders and members of the public throughout the policy, program or service design and implementation.
  • Develop, implement the measurement of, and promote indicators for open government to support benchmarking and continuous improvement.

Lead Departments:
Privy Council Office; Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Ontario’s Open Government Initiatives

The Government of Ontario has a project tracker (see and that describes progress in three broad areas:

  1. Giving you more opportunities to weigh-in on government decision-making
  2. Sharing government data online so everyone can help solve problems that affect Ontarians every day.
  3. Providing you with the information you want and need to better understand how your government works.
Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. (See For a comparison of progress of Canada, United Kingdom, and United States in 2014, see the presentation by Ian Clark (reference below) entitled Leadership and Open Government.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Consulting and Communicating on Policy (core topic) in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107.


OECD, Open Government, at, accessed 24 September 2017.

Government of Ontario, Open Government, at, accessed 24 September 2017.

Open Government Partnership, at, accessed 24 September 2017.

Ian Clark (2014), Leadership and Open Government – Presentation by Ian Clark for the University of Ottawa Certificate Program in Public Sector Leadership and Governance, at, accessed 24 September 2017.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 19 March 2018.

Image: Don Lenihan and Suzanne Legault, Open Government: Toward a Pan-Canadian Vision?, National Newswatch, at, accessed 24 September 2017.