October 2019
Ontario Releases Final Data Strategy Paper on Better, Smarter Government

2019-10-24 1:23:37 PM

CATEGORIES: Access & Privacy

The Ontario government has released its third and final data strategy discussion paper, which focuses on how the government can manage and share data more effectively.

This discussion paper, entitled “Better, Smarter Government” describes three areas where a Data First Strategy can make a tangible difference:

Better data management practices, such as:

  • Government as a Platform: refers to an approach to both data management and government services. It would see technology and services as “interchangeable building blocks that can be assembled quickly” to deliver user-centered government services. The discussion paper uses the example of Estonia and it’s X-Road system – a system that allows organizations and citizens to securely exchange data and allows the user to determine what info is made available and accessible.

  • Open data: refers to government data that is publicly available and with no extensive restriction on how it can be used or re-used. The paper states that to gain maximum value out of open data, there must be a shift from “open by default” (whereby all data is open unless it contains sensitive or personal info) to “publishing with purpose” (whereby data that involves improving government and/or data the public is seeking is released).

  • The Ontario government is currently using the Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act as a first step towards this. The Act mandates that all new provincial government digital services be designed with data collection and management as a priority.

Stronger data talent and skills development among government employees:

  • The paper notes that for the data to be used and managed effectively, the public service must posses the skills to collect, analyze, and protect the data.

  • The need for broader organizational culture change to embrace data-driven solutions and looking to external partners are also considered as a means for government employees to build their data skills

  • The Ontario government has to date developed a data and analytics learning framework and is delivering training on web analytics to staff.

Better data sharing for government service design and delivery:

  • Involves enhancing data linking, analytics, data-driven red tape reduction, and data-powered procurement

  • The paper does acknowledge the associated risk of data-linking, including concerns around transparency, profiling of individuals, and potential discrimination based on inaccurate data or algorithms.

  • Individual ministries to date have been incorporating data-sharing practices in their programs. For example, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s traveler website, Ontario 511, which offers real-time and statistic transportation data.

The three released discussion papers are part of the government’s ongoing consultations to help inform the new Data Strategy, which is due to be released by the end of this year. By doing so, Ontario would become the first jurisdiction in Canada with a “digital first” government.

Consultations will be held in November and can be done online or through in-person sessions held across the province.

For more information, please see below:

Ontario Newsroom: Ontario Launches Third Data Strategy Discussion Paper on Better, Smarter Government

Discussion Paper 3: Better, Smarter Government

AMCTO: Ontario Government Releases Second Discussion Paper on Data Strategy

AMCTO: Ontario Begins Second Round of Consultations on Updated Data Strategy

AMCTO: Ontario Outlines Policy Framework for Updated Data Strategy


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