Open Data Policy


Introduction

The Open Data Policy outlines the principles, roles, and responsibilities related to the Township of North Frontenac's efforts to make data available in machine readable format for any public use. The Open Data Policy supports the Township of North Frontenac's commitment to Open Government.

Open Government and the Open Data Program are changing the landscape of information management accountability and information accessibility. Open Government is about citizen engagement, customer service, transparency, accountability and the sharing of knowledge and information leading to greater collaboration and innovation. Open Data is one driving force of Open Government and its singular focus is making data publicly available in recognized and usable formats for anyone to re-use, re-purpose, and develop into digital applications for the benefit of the public. Data can be accessed and utilized and one person's use does not preclude someone else from also accessing it, utilizing it and potentially offering new or enriched data for the benefit of everyone. This new environment of open, accessible and reusable data establishes a foundation where stakeholders use such data to foster healthy debate and discussion on municipal issues.

The Township of North Frontenac makes data available to the public, businesses, institutions, visitors, and other levels of government via opendata.northfrontenac.com. The Township must comply with provincial and federal legislation. The Township will not post datasets containing confidential, proprietary, and/or personal information.

The Open Data Policy supports the principle that information is open and accessible.


Alignment with Access by Design

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has developed a set of seven access principles that encourage public institutions to take a proactive approach to releasing information and making the disclosure of government-held information an automatic process wherever possible:
http://www.ipc.on.ca/images/Resources/accessbydesign_7fundamentalprinciples.pdf

Access by Design advances the view that government-held information should be made available to the public, and that any exceptions should be limited and specific. This concept aligns and supports the principles for open data set forth in this policy.

Further validation comes in the form of a collective statement made by the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada and the Provinces and Territories on September 1, 2010, which spoke to the need for Open Government. This included defining one of the tenets of open government as:
"Open, accessible and reusable information" http://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2010/res_100901_e.cfm


Alignment with Privacy by Design

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has developed a working concept called Privacy by Design (PbD) that addresses the ever-growing and systemic privacy concerns of managing information within information technology, social media and communication technologies. PbD is a set of seven high-level principles for organizations to follow to establish and build privacy controls within their business processes. The principles are found here:
http://www.ipc.on.ca/images/Resources/7foundationalprinciples.pdf

The Open Data Policy recognizes these principles and requires that the release of North Frontenac Township datasets will not contain personal and/or private information.


Purpose

The purpose of the Open Data Policy is to initiate and promote the practice of open data and to set the rules by which North Frontenac Township data is made available to the public as valuable, machine readable datasets.


Policy Statement

The Township of North Frontenac will:

  1. share with everyone its open and accessible datasets while adhering to rights of privacy, security and confidentiality as identified in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and other legislation.
  2. publish datasets via opendata.northfrontenac.com allowing everyone to develop digital applications that may improve government transparency and public participation, enhance access to municipal services, and ultimately strengthen democracy and contribute to a more liveable Township.
  3. post on the Open Data website, an Open Data Licence, procedures, supported file formats, glossary, and other dataset context information to promote responsible use of North Frontenac Township information.

The Township of North Frontenac will:

  1. identify existing and potential datasets for release as part of the open data initiative
  2. plan and develop new datasets, review existing ones, and archive or supersede datasets if required;
  3. ensure information at the Township of North Frontenac is managed in ways that assist in creating a culture of Open Government and information sharing by way of providing open data governance and oversight;
  4. promote information transparency and accountability to build trust and confidence in government; and,
  5. foster Open Government leadership in recognition of the evolving democratic process.

Guiding Principles to Manage Municipal Datasets

In August 2010, the U.S. Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit that advocates for open government globally, further developed a set of guiding principles for open data.

The Township of North Frontenac acknowledges these principles as providing the necessary structure for public sector engagement with open government and to ensure that data is open, accessible and reusable.

A summary of the "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information" is as follows:

  1. Completeness Datasets will be as complete as possible while complying with legislative obligations regarding the release of personal information, proprietary, or other confidential information.
  2. Primacy Datasets will be primary source data with data collection methods documented.
  3. Timeliness Datasets will be available to the public in a timely fashion to maintain the business value of the data.
  4. Accessibility Datasets will be as accessible as possible, with accessibility defined as the ease with which information can be obtained.
  5. Machine Readable Datasets will be machine readable so that the public can create applications that can use the data for new services, research, or analysis.
  6. Non-discrimination Datasets are available to anyone, with no requirement for registration.
  7. Non-proprietary No entity has exclusive control over the datasets.
  8. Licence Free Datasets are not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation.
  9. Long Term Preservation of Datasets Datasets made available online should remain online, with appropriate version-tracking and archiving over time where applicable and available.
  10. Usage Costs Datasets are free-of-charge.

A complete description of each principle can be found online at http://sunlightfoundation.com/policy/documents/ten-open-data-principles


Definitions

Dataset
means a collection of raw, non-manipulated data usually presented in tabular form with associated metadata, and which is machine readable.
What is a raw dataset: a structured file format (including geospatial formats) that can be read by a machine, such as spreadsheets, comma delimited, Extensible Markup Language (XML), or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)
What is not a raw dataset: a report, a flyer, some web applications, a PDF document, anything that cannot be exported or used by a machine.
Machine Readable Data
means data that, in order to be understood, must be translated by a computer or other type of equipment. Portable document format (PDF) is not machine readable.
Open Data
is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike.
Open Government
is a means to promote transparency, accountability and accessibility of good governance and fosters a culture of collaboration and improved service to the public.
Primary Source Data
original information created or collected by the Township, details on how the data was created or collected and the original source documents recording the creation or collection of the data.

Roles and Responsibilities

Management

  1. Management is accountable for ensuring compliance with this policy.
  2. Management is responsible for Open Data awareness, training and issue resolution.
  3. Management will determine the frequency at which published datasets are reviewed and updated, and communicate these schedules to the Open Data Team.
  4. The Information Technology personnel are responsible for maintaining the Open Data Licence.

Authorities

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act


Applicable Policies and Resources


Policy Approval and Review

This policy will be reviewed when the Open Data initiative significantly develops in its quality and quantity, and/or as necessary.


This policy was approved by Council on August 11, 2014.