Open Data Procedure

Purpose statement

This procedure establishes the framework for making Town of Oakville (town) data public as open data, in support of the town’s commitment to open, transparent and accountable government.

Scope

This procedure applies to data within the custody and control of the town.

The town will not publish data containing personal, confidential, or proprietary third party information that must be protected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Procedure

The following guiding principles will be considered by the town when making town data available to the public and/or online.

Open data guiding principles

The open data guiding principles are based on the transparency and quality principles found in current standards, such as those developed in 2010 by the Sunlight Foundation (a non-profit organization that advocates for open government globally).

  • Completeness: datasets will be as complete as possible while complying with legislative obligations relating to the release of personal information, proprietary or other confidential information.
  • Primacy: datasets will be primary source data.
  • Timeliness: datasets will be available to the public in a timely fashion to preserve the value of the data.
  • Accessibility: datasets will be easy to obtain and with as few barriers as possible.
  • Machine readability: datasets will be machine-readable to allow for automated processing to maximize potential access and use of data for new services, research, or analysis.
  • Non-discrimination: datasets on the town’s open data catalogue are available to anyone, with no requirement for registration.
  • Use of commonly owned standards: no entity has exclusive control over the datasets.
  • Licensing: datasets are not subject to any copyright, patent or trademark regulations. By downloading any of the dataset files, data users agree to abide by the Town of Oakville Open Data Licence.
  • Permanence: datasets made available online should remain online, with appropriate version-tracking and archiving over time where applicable and available.
  • Usage Costs: datasets are free.

The town collects and manages data that represents information assets that are important to both the town and to the community. The town is committed to:

  • Being “open by default.”
  • Maintaining an open data catalogue on oakville.ca in accordance with established town open data processes and open data best practices.
  • Proactively making data publicly available while respecting the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, and other rights and legal considerations relating to the data.
  • Communicating and engaging the community through dedicated online channels.
  • Building relationships with our community, stakeholders, other levels of government and organizations that support innovation through the use of data.
  • Providing a description for each data set including but not limited to original date published, data update frequency, links for related information, local use data and attributes of the data.
  • Prioritizing requests for open data in accordance with the Open Data Guiding Principles, town policies and priorities, and based on the readiness and suitability of the datasets for public release.
  • Maintaining an Open Data Licence on oakville.ca

Responsibilities

Digital Strategy is responsible for:

  • Administration of and ensuring compliance with this procedure
  • Supporting engagement, relationship and partnership building with all levels of government as well as local communities interested in data
  • Identifying opportunities for product and market development

Information Systems is responsible for:

  • Developing, supporting and maintaining technologies, systems and processes that support town open data
  • Ensuring integrity of data, data standards and metadata
  • Working with business areas on data analysis

Strategy, Policy and Communications is responsible for:

  • Monitoring and managing open data-related web content
  • Monitoring and responding to communication on town open data social media and engagement channels

Departments are responsible for:

  • Acting as stewards of open data
  • Adopting the open by default philosophy

Users of town data are responsible for:

  • Abiding by the town’s open data licence

Definitions

Data: is individual (or a collection of) facts, statistics, values or information.

Dataset: is a collection of data stored in a machine-readable format.

Machine-readable: is a format that can be automatically read and processed by a computer. Machine-readable data must be structured data (the structural relation between elements is explicit). The machine-readable format may depend on the type of data (e.g., machine-readable formats for geographic data may differ from those for numerical data). Not all electronic (or digital) files are machine-readable (e.g., a scanned PDF with a table of budget data is human-readable, not machine-readable).

Open data: is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose.

Open by default: means that all town data should be publicly available, unless there are privacy, security or legal reasons to not release the data.

Open data catalogue: is a single point of access available on oakville.ca where the town’s open data can be accessed.

Open government: is a global movement where governments become increasingly more transparent, accountable, accessible and responsive to their citizens and diverse communities, to improve quality of governance, engagement, connectedness, information and services.

Metadata: is information about the data, such as title or date of collection.

Procedure details

Procedure number: G-GEN-009-003
Parent policy: G-GEN-009
Section: Governance
Sub-Section: General
Author: Strategy, Policy and Communications
Authority: CAO
Effective Date: 25 Sep 2017
Review by Date: 2022

References

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Access to Records and Information Procedure
Accountability and Transparency Policy
Online Communications Policy
Public Notice and Engagement Policy
Communications Procedure
Customer Service Standards Procedure
Public Notice Guidelines Procedure
Corporate Identity Standards
Accessible Information and Communications Procedure
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
Ontario Human Rights Code
Sunlight Foundation Guiding Principles 2010