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Ontario Making Data Open by Default

Archived News Release

Ontario Making Data Open by Default

New Open Data Directive Drafted with Feedback from Ontarians

Treasury Board Secretariat

As part of Ontario's commitment to Open Government the province is making government data publicly available to increase transparency and spur innovation. 

The Open Data Directive will take effect on April 1, 2016 and will apply to all Ontario ministries and provincial agencies requiring them to make data public, unless it is exempt for privacy, legal, confidentiality, security or commercially sensitive reasons. The directive will ensure that open data does not contain personal or confidential information.

The government collects and generates data on a wide variety of topics such as school enrolment and traffic volume. The new directive will give the public greater access to this data to use for a variety of purposes, including research and application development to help Ontarians tackle everyday problems like gridlock.

The province engaged with Ontarians on the draft directive to make sure it reflects their needs, and used public feedback to help shape the final version. Ontario was the first jurisdiction in Canada to consult on a draft open data directive.

Creating a more open and transparent government is part of the government's plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • The Open Data Directive responds to some of the recommendations made by the Open Government Engagement Team on how Ontario can be more open and transparent.
  • More than 400 open data sets are already available on Ontario’s Open Data Catalogue.
  • Seven of the top 25 most-voted data sets are now online, including Public Sector Salary Disclosure data, and work continues to open the most popular data sets.
  • Through Open Government, Ontario is improving transparency and accountability, giving the public more opportunities to weigh-in on government decision-making, and increasing access to government data and information.
  • A directive is a binding document that sets out mandatory requirements and responsibilities for the Ontario Public Service and provincial agencies.

Additional Resources

  • Explore Ontario’s open data sets.
  • Learn about the public consultation.
  • See how public feedback was used to shape the final directive.


“We are making government data open by default in order to support innovation and problem-solving through new ideas and applications. We have already seen how apps such as GridWatch and MapYourProperty can create new uses for Ontario data and we’re looking forward to seeing what Ontario’s tech community can do in the future. This is part of Ontario’s commitment to be the most open and transparent government in the country.”

Deb Matthews

President of the Treasury Board

“By making government data open by default, Ontario has taken a critical step towards accelerating open data driven innovation. Not only will this directive further promote transparency, it will also serve to make even more of this rich data available to both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, resulting in more products, services and efficiencies in both the private and public sectors.”

Kevin Tuer

Vice President, Communitech and Managing Director, Open Data Exchange

“Open access to government data will open the door to our innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs to transform the way government works and serves the public. By making government data sets available to the public by default, the Open Data Directive will create countless opportunities for collaboration between the social services sector, government, and tech sector innovators.”

Marilyn Sinclair

President & CEO, TechAlliance

“The Government of Ontario should be congratulated on taking concrete action towards sharing data. With the right encouragement the data it shares could be helpful in assisting city governments, non-profits and companies serve Ontario’s citizens while also making the operations of government more transparent and accountable.”

David Eaves

Leading advocate for Open Government and public sector renewal, and member of Ontario’s Open Government Engagement Team

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