What is Ontario’s Open Data?
We hear a lot about open data and its potential, but what is it? Also, does Ontario have an open data strategy? Why is that important, and how can Canadians benefit from such an initiative?
Recently, the Open Government Engagement Team consulted Ontarians, legislators, journalists, government staff and public servants about how to improve government engagement with the public. As reported, there was an overwhelming positive response to open up government data so that it is more accessible to the public. The concept of Open Data has been around for a while, and it is the process of making government collected data freely accessible by the general public. Some members of the public analyze the data, creating charts, infographics to identify stories & trends. Others leverage the data to create tools. Sometimes those tools (ie. iamsick.ca) help improve the delivery of public services. Ontario’s Open Data Goals
- Complete: All data is published automatically, unless there are valid privacy, security or legal reasons not to do so.
- Primary: Data is published with the most detail possible (i.e. not aggregated).
- Timely: Data is published as quickly as possible after it is collected.
- Accessible: Data is made available to the widest range of users for as many purposes as possible.
- Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone and does not require registration for access.
- Non-proprietary: Data is free and is available in formats that no one has exclusive control over.
- Licence-free: Data is released under a licence that does not restrict its use (i.e. no copyrights or patents).
Open Data has the potential to change the way government works internally by promoting more transparent decision making and efficient use of public resources. The Open Engagement Team has recently consulted with the iamsick.ca team about making healthcare providers information more accessible to Ontarians. By disclosing healthcare provider information to the public, it would help social enterprises such as iamsick.ca create tools that will allow the government to improve and efficiently deliver healthcare services that cater to the needs of a diverse spectrum of Ontario residents. Tools that leverage open data can improve all sectors and levels of government, and Open Data has a huge potential for improving the lives of Ontarians. The best thing about Open Data is the creativity of the concepts, tools and analysis created with the data. Whether it’s a high school, student, journalist, scientist or entrepreneur, people will look at the data from different perspectives that may lead to great ideas or insight. The way we see it is clear to us: making healthcare provider information public through open data initiatives will help bridge some of the gaps in the current healthcare system: awareness, access and appropriateness of care.
iamsick.ca team meeting Ontario’s Open Engagement Team.
Crowdfunding & Open Data
One of the main purposes of the open data initiative is to give the public a voice and increase knowledge of the decision making process within the government. The Ontario government aims to open data so the public can leverage the information and accomplish good. And, this is exactly what iamsick.ca does: we leverage government information to improve public service delivery. Crowdfunding is a useful tool that can augment open data initiatives. It is a way to raise money, allowing free services like iamsick.ca to improve and expand. Our crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo takes it one step further, by giving the public a voice; anyone who pledges $1 or more will get a vote to decide which province we will expand our service to next. Our campaign also includes perks, like Get Well cards and Canadiana cards from local artists and photographers, which help bring the community together to support our social enterprise.
Open Data & Social Good
Social enterprises like iamsick.ca can use open data to improve public services, build an engaged community of users, and bring public concerns to government awareness.
Be the change you want to see in Canadian healthcare, visit our indiegogo crowdfunding page and see how you can make a difference!