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Ontario Open Government Initiative
  by Alan Cairns  
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Ontario's Open Government Engagement Team will host a public engagement session in London, Ontario on Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013 from 6 - 9 p.m. in the Martha Bishop Community Room at the Landon Branch of the London Public Library at 167 Wortley Road, to gather feedback on making government more open, transparent and accountable.

Ontario's open government initiative aims to give the people of this province a voice in how their government operates and to make more data publicly available to increase openness, transparency and accountability while boosting productivity and innovation.

Engagement team chair Donald Lenihan is an internationally recognized expert on democracy and public engagement, accountability and service delivery. He has over 25 years of experience as a project leader, writer, speaker, senior government advisor, trainer and facilitator. He has authored numerous articles, studies and books. He earned his PhD in political theory from the University of Ottawa. The Engagement Team represent academia, business and community groups and is expected to report back to the government by spring 2014.

Ontario's Open Government Initiative - Backgrounder

Ontario's Open Government initiative will open up more data and information and give the people of Ontario new and improved ways to engage in the decision-making process and the development of policy. It will increase openness, transparency and accountability, and boost innovation and economic productivity.

Ontario's Open Government initiative focuses on three areas:

Open Dialogue: The government will increase its engagement with the people of Ontario through current and new channels to ensure the public has a meaningful impact on decision-making and policies. This will include creating an online space where people can find information on government consultations so they can get involved in conversations that affect them.

Open Data: The government has already posted a number of machine-readable government data sets online at, and even more will be available in the future. This will enable entrepreneurs and innovators to easily analyze issues like wait times, student achievement and gridlock to help solve problems that affect people in their everyday lives and create new ideas that spur economic growth.

Open Information: The government already shares information in a number of different ways - from posting public sector salaries and meal and hospitality expenses online to sharing information on provincially maintained highways. Moving forward, Ontario will make even more information available to the public on a proactive and ongoing basis to increase transparency across government.

Engagement Team

Engagement team members represent expertise in academia, business and community groups. The team is expected to report back to the government by spring 2014. Its mandate will be to:

1) Identify how Open Government can:

  • propel innovation and encourage economic growth through open data sets and more open information;
  • increase engagement with the people of Ontario while strengthening trust and confidence in the government;
  • enhance accountability and transparency.

2) Provide advice and guidance on implementing and sustaining its recommendations.

To increase citizen engagement with the government, the team will establish an online web presence using YouTube and Google, as well as a Twitter account with a dedicated hash tag of #openON. Live video streaming and blogging will also be used.

The Path Forward

Through an online survey at, citizens can identify:

  • what they see as priority information
  • how they prefer to engage in ongoing dialogue
  • how they want the government to report its findings

The results of the survey will be shared with the engagement team to help them in their work.

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