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Fall 2016

It may have been the hottest summer recorded in years, but that didn’t stop the Open North team from participating in a number of innovative initiatives over the last few months. Check out what we’ve been up to and what’s to come:


Feature update: Earlier this year, Open North co-founded the Canadian Open Government Civil Society Network to rally like-minded individuals and organizations across Canada with the goal of implementing a permanent dialogue mechanism between civil society and the government. We were thrilled to see the government committing to such a measure in its latest Open Government Partnership (OGP) national open government action plan. Read our blog post.

As a member of the Canadian Open Data Summit advisory committee, we had the honour of announcing last June that the 2017 summit will be held in Edmonton, AB, a known innovator in the municipal open data community in Canada. The next Canadian Open Data Summit will be held on May 30-31, 2017.

In May of this year, Open North took part in the GO Open Data Conference 2016 in York Region, ON, where we spoke about data politics in Canada, on issues like the census and whistleblower protection, access to information reform, the influence of international norms and networks. We also spoke at the World Social Forum in Montreal, QC at the beginning of August on data driven collaboration for social change.

Open North also participated earlier this year in A Collection of Case Studies: Highlighting R&D and Innovation Habits in the Social Sector undertaken by SiG. It was a pleasure to be able to build upon our experience at Data 4 Impact and contribute to a very important discussion going on right now within the social sector on (open) data and innovation to build social R&D capacity in Canada.

What’s coming up:

Speaking of the social sector, Open North developed a new proposal Leveraging Data through Shifts in Mindsets, a new initiative with Powered by DataData 4 Good, and the New Brunswick Social Policy Research NetworkWe believe the social sector is ready to move from thinking about to working with data strategically. This pilot project proposal outlines how our network’s combination of extensive knowledge and on-the-ground support will facilitate an increase of data use in the sector, ultimately leading to social innovation. Contact us to find out more!

We’ve also got a couple of events lined up for this fall. Jean-Noé Landry, our Executive Director, will be a keynote speaker at the Alberta Open Data Summit being held in Edmonton on October 14-15. He will be discussing inter-jurisdictional collaboration and city resilience. Jean-Noé will also be taking part in the Banff Forum XV in Montebello, QC from October 27-29. We were also invited to participate in the Open Government Partnership’s Global Summit in Paris on December 7-8, to moderate a panel on civic-government engagement mechanisms with civic leaders from the UK, Australia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.


Feature update: Last year, Open North collaborated with the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to create Ready Reckoner, an online fiscal simulator for MPs and citizens alike. We’ve now developed two new exciting modules that will allow Canadians to simulate economic scenarios and their impact on federal revenues and expenses, as well as infrastructure spending and full-time job creation. This time around, we’re also launching a civic initiative to empower Canadians to use Ready Reckoner for enhanced fact checking and federal budget monitoring. For more information, read the profile article written about Ready Reckoner for the Global Legislative Openness Week 2016.

Open North also teamed up with Samara Institute this summer to collect data for the Legislative openness data explorer, a comparative data tool on parliamentary openness for over 30 countries. Canada’s results will soon be uploaded to the platform. We highly encourage you to explore the tool and discover how Canada stacks up to other countries.

What’s coming up:

Open North’s Executive Director, Jean-Noé Landry will be speaking on open data and parliaments at the International Open Data Conference being held in Madrid on October 6-7.

Later on that same month, October 26, Open North will be hosting an event at HubOttawa in conjunction with Open Data OttawaOttawa Civic TechParlAmericas on legislative data openness and opportunities for civic tech innovation. The Chief Information Officer and his team from the Canadian House of Commons will present datasets and work with teams on their project ideas. Register here.

Big things are happening in the Americas this fall! Earlier this year, Jean-Noé was invited by Parlamericas as part of a Canadian delegation to speak in Paraguay to help inform the development of an open parliament planning roadmap for legislatures in the hemisphere. The roadmap will be launched this fall. Open North is currently building a new online training and education platform for ParlAmericas and UN Women Caribbean.


Feature update: The Open Data Institute (ODI) in the UK asked Open North to conduct a global study in collaboration with GeoThink on open data and city resilience. Informed by the interviews of 35 resilience and open data experts, the discussion paper addresses the question: How can open data help build knowledge, capacity, and outcomes that strengthen urban resiliency? Open North will present key findings at the International Open Data Conference and Open Cities Summit happening in Madrid during the week of October 3-7. Open North is part of the organizing committee of the Summit and will be facilitating the event.

We presented our online budget experience in building more open and engaging cities at the New Cities Summit organized by the New Cities Foundation in Montreal in June. We also facilitated our second workshop on open data for senior public servant executives for the Institute on Governance in Ottawa in July.

What’s coming up:

Visit Open Cities Strategies’ new website. Bringing together a team of Expert Associates, Open North’s new service offering for cities and governments is designed to meet the strategic planning and capacity building needs of cities implementing their open data initiatives and programs. We’re currently developing a similar service offer for Quebec municipalities with another partner.

As an advisory member of the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), we’ll be heading out to Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 13-14, for meetings on structuring budget data and public participation mechanisms. We look forward to sharing lessons learned with Canada, which recently committed to increasing budget transparency in its national open government action plan.

On the research front, we’ll also be working on an exciting new project this fall with variety of organizations called Open Data for Open Government in Rural British Columbia. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the project explores over the course of three years what open data means for rural communities.

With the support of GeoThink, we’re also using the International Open Data Charter to assess the open data programs of 10 cities and 5 provinces and identifying social impact and economic development use cases of open data.

Citizen Budget: Our innovative online budget simulator has also been keeping us busy. We recently participated in our fourth Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference Trade show and in the Government Finance Officers (GFOA) conference expo. We’re also getting the word out about our new capital investment module, something that has been really resonating with cities across Canada. For more information on this new module, check out our article in Renew Canada Magazine. Over 70 cities, ranging in size from 1,650 to 1.2 million, are using Citizen Budget to significantly broaden their budget consultations.

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