The Open Government Policy defines Open Data as:
Open Data – government-held data, including but not limited to data sets, facts, figures, or statistics, which is released proactively and made available to the public through a variety of means and in formats that are accessible and user-friendly, with minimal or no restrictions on use or reuse, excluding that which is considered sensitive or subject to privacy, security or legal restrictions.
Sharing government datasets online in machine-readable formats is a way of increasing government openness, transparency and accountability. Open Data can help encourage innovation and problem-solving through new ideas and applications. At the same time, we need to ensure that data that we create, collect, or manage is only released in accordance with legal, privacy, security or commercially-sensitive considerations.
The GNWT currently publishes a wide variety of datasets in a number of locations on the web. Through the Open Government Policy, we are working toward increasing the amount of data released and standardizing the way departments release data, to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect privacy and security.
The Open Government Policy provides for the development of directives and guidelines that will provide guidance to departments around:
- categories of data and information that should be made available to the public;
- processes to guide departments to identify, assess, and prioritize data and information for publication;
- principles of data governance to ensure the quality of data, including data ownership and stewardship;
- establishment of a central open data and information portal including links and contextual information for government datasets; and
- processes for engaging with the public to solicit feedback on whether the data and information provided are relevant and useful, and for addressing issues related to the central portal.