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Ontario Making Progress to Become the Most Open and Digitally-Connected Government in Canada

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Making Progress to Become the Most Open and Digitally-Connected Government in Canada

Treasury Board Secretariat

Through its Open Government initiative, Ontario is working with the public to improve programs and services, solve problems and become the most open and digitally-connected government in the country.

This initiative, alongside the province's new Digital Strategy, will make life easier for people through modern and emerging technology, and make it easier for Ontarians to provide input, get involved, complete tasks and make decisions.

Involving the public in decision-making

Ontario is creating more opportunities for the public to contribute to government decision-making, in order to achieve better policy, programs and services for Ontarians.

  • BudgetTalks - Ontario's online, interactive pre-budget consultation tool - received 1,700 idea submissions in 2016, including the idea of replacing traditional lighting along Ontario's highways with energy-saving L-E-D lights. The province is now launching a pilot project to test L-E-Ds on highways as a result.
  • Ontario's Public Engagement Framework and online Consultations Directory are helping improve the quality of the government's public engagement and involving a more diverse range of Ontarians in the decision-making process. One way the province is using these tools is through collaboration with the public to develop a third-party accessibility certification program. This will promote greater accessibility of government services for people with disabilities and boost economic growth through enhanced access to services for all Ontarians.

Sharing data for public use

Ontario is regularly posting new data sets online, including as much publicly requested data as possible, so that researchers, non-profits, app developers and others can use it to create new and useful applications for Ontarians.

  • Ontario's Open Data Directive, developed in partnership with Ontarians, is helping to make government data open by default.
  • More than 500 open data sets are available on Ontario's Data Catalogue for public access and use. This includes data on government program budgets and expenditures, traffic volumes on provincial highways, freedom of information statistics and more.
  • Ontario's open data can be used to help solve problems, increase innovation and foster economic growth in the province. Businesses like MapYourProperty, GridWatch and WaterTAP are all using the province's open data for research, to help solve problems and make better decisions.
  • According to New York University's GovLab Open Data 500 study, there are 500 companies in the United States that are building their businesses on U.S. open government data. A similar study is currently underway to determine how many Canadian companies are using government open data.

Releasing information the public wants

Ontario is proactively releasing more information online while making it easier to find, use and understand so the public has the information it needs on government programs, services, operations and activities.

  • An interactive visualization of the annual Public Accounts of Ontario shows spending broken down by ministry and area to allow the public to view government spending in an easy-to-understand and accessible way.
  • Ontario's new Collective Agreement e-Library Portal allows the public to search for all public and private sector collective agreements in the province, including by employer, union or location.
  • An Open Government Project Tracker allows the public to view and track the progress of key government projects that are helping to improve openness, transparency and collaboration.

Improving digital services for the public

Ontario is modernizing government for the digital age by delivering simple, easy-to-use and straightforward online services in order to create a better experience for citizens.

The province is adopting a "digital-by-default" approach that's focused on making online services so easy to use that Ontarians prefer them over traditional methods of service delivery.

Creating ways to increase openness with the public

To continue to improve openness and transparency, Ontario is engaging the public and civil society to explore ideas and create Open Government commitments. These commitments could help to:

  • Improve access to government-held information
  • Strengthen transparency and accountability
  • Increase public participation in government decision-making
  • Expand the use of technology to make life easier for people

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