The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, celebrated International Open Data Day yesterday by participating in a Speed Dating session with Vancouver Open Data developers and city officials. International Open Data Day is a Canadian-inspired event created by Vancouver-based Open Data speaker and public policy entrepreneur, David Eaves. The event, which this year was celebrated in over 90 cities around the world, brought together Open Data enthusiasts to brainstorm about how to turn raw, government data into user-friendly applications.
“Our Government is committed to capitalizing on the possibilities Open Data offers to drive innovation and provide economic opportunities,” said Minister Clement. “David Eaves and today’s organizers have done a great job to further the cause of Open Data by helping to connect the producers of data with the innovators who can turn it into usable, productive information.”
In October, Minister Clement announced that the Government of Canada would be relaunching its open data portal based on a new open source platform that will feature new search and interactive tools. The portal, which was launched in March 2011 as a pilot project, now houses some 273,000 datasets from 22 government organizations.
“While Open Data has been community driven, one of its key goals has been to encourage more exchanges between governments and open data users, whether they are citizens, companies or non-profits,” said David Eaves. “We are excited that Minister Clement chose to spend Open Data Day with us in Vancouver to hear a bit about what this community is hoping to see from the federal government.”
In the coming weeks the Government of Canada will be launching a series of consultations on Open Data and the new platform. The Government will host an online consultation and a series of roundtables in five cities across Canada to discuss Open Data opportunities with developers and Open Data advocates. Minister Clement will also participate in a Google Hangout on Open Data.
Minister Clement also met with members of the Business Council of British Columbia and the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce on Friday to discuss priorities for creating jobs and growth. Minister Clement was joined at the Chamber of Commerce round table by Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver.
“Our Government is committed to ensuring Canadian businesses are competitive and equipped to do what they do best: innovate, invest, grow, and create jobs,” said Minister Clement. “By consulting with local business leaders, our Government is tapping into their vast knowledge and experience to learn first-hand what they need to prosper in the long term.”
Minister Clement highlighted the Government’s commitment to cutting red tape for business as part of its Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, one of the most far-reaching red tape-cutting exercises in the world today. In January, three new red tape initiatives were announced that will generate about $10 million in annual savings for Canadian businesses.
“These initiatives show how Canadian businesses are experiencing real savings through our Government’s efforts to cut red tape,” said Parliamentary Secretary Saxton. “Given the current global economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that Canadian business can operate in a climate of predictability, transparency, and accountability.”
The Government of Canada, which has instituted significant ongoing annual savings through a strategic review of government operations, also continues to look for ways to support jobs and growth while returning to balanced budgets by the end of this Parliament.
“Prudent public finances are the solid foundation we need to ensure a healthy economy,” Minister Clement added. “We are consulting with Canadians to get their input on fiscally responsible measures the Government can take to support jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.”
Friday’s round-table discussions are part of a consultation taking place across the country. The Government is asking Canadians for suggestions on how to strengthen the economy in the current challenging fiscal environment, and how to increase our competitiveness and long-term prosperity. In addition, the Government is conducting an online consultation to ensure that everyone who wants to participate can do so.