LAC's Contributions to Open Government and Open Access

Background

The Government of Canada is currently at the halfway point of its 4th National Action Plan on Open Government (2018-2020) and is the current chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Thousands of delegates attended the OGP Global Summit hosted in Ottawa in May 2019.

As the memory of the Government of Canada, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) plays a fundamental role in federal Open Government initiatives by making millions of Government of Canada records available and accessible to Canadians each year, while also proactively releasing more data about its own internal activities as a public institution.

In addition to ensuring more information is released, LAC is joining other memory institutions in embracing the notion of open access—giving citizens opportunities to play a more active role in decision-making while also striving to ensure government services are easily accessible and client-focused, both in physical and digital spaces.

Considerations

Ensuring that government information is open by default—and as accessible as possible—remains a significant challenge for Open Government as it represents a major shift away from past practices and often requires additional resources devoted to increasing transparency.

Protecting privacy and national security continue to be cornerstones of ensuring Open Government is achieved in a responsible manner, and one that is respectful of the rights of individuals and communities.

With the Government’s recent passage of Bill C-58, Canadians now enjoy a strengthened Access to Information environment that will see government institutions required by law to release more information proactively, while empowering Canada’s Information Commissioner to order the release of records. This new law also requires regular reviews of Canada’s Access to Information legislation.

LAC’s Block Review program continues to be recognized as an ongoing success story within Canada’s Open Government initiatives that results in the removal of access restrictions to millions of archival records each year.

Canada’s National Action Plan on Open Government (2018-2020) also now features LAC’s Co-Lab platform as an example of innovative open access that allows users to interact with and contribute to LAC’s collection.

SME:

David Cameron, Policy Advisor, Strategic Research and Policy
Email: david.cameron@canada.ca
Tel: 819-661-9193

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