Open DATA FOR ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES INITIATIVE
The Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative is an exciting new program for the benefit of the Ontario municipal sector being implemented by the WCCD, with the support of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
The objective of the Initiative is to improve the data capacity of Ontario municipalities for standardized open data related to city services, quality of life and economic development. This will make an important contribution to building strong and accountable local governments by further facilitating evidence-based decision making and by enhancing transparency.
The Initiative is working with municipalities to:
Source and compile standardized open data at the municipal level
Establishing benchmarks and targets and building open data platforms
Track as well as compare municipal performance over time
Initiative Key Elements
Open data focused on improving municipal performance, quality of life and economic development. In taking the open data agenda forward with Ontario municipalities, the Initiative will leverage the ISO 37120 standard as a key opportunity area, representing a unique entry point for municipalities of all sizes to build their engagement with standardized open data. The ISO 37120 standard provides clearly-defined, standardized indicators covering the key themes that have been developed, prioritized and agreed to by municipalities themselves as centrally important for both city leaders and to citizens. The ISO 37120 standard was the product of rigorous development and has been applied and proven by municipalities in Ontario. It also provides comparability – across the Province, Canada and internationally for driving benchmarking and learning. This core (but not exclusive) focus on ISO 37120 indicators will ensure that the Initiative is manageable in scope and focused on open data that will help drive real improvements in municipal performance, quality of life and economic development for Ontario municipalities.
Direct engagement with Municipalities across Ontario. The Initiative will work closely and collaboratively with municipalities across the Province to build their data capacity – including small and Northern communities whose capacity needs are likely to be the most substantial.
Leveraging and complementing existing initiatives. The Initiative will be delivering its support to municipalities through building on and leveraging major existing open and municipal data initiatives and activities. A priority area of action for the Initiative is outreach and engagement with key organizations and initiatives through an extensive program of stakeholder engagement. In addition, the Initiative’s Project Advisory Committee represents Ontario’s leading expertise on open and standardized data for cities and municipalities.
Priority Areas of Action
To drive progress toward achievement of the objectives, the implementation of the Initiative is focused on three priority areas of action:
1. Stakeholder Outreach & Engagement
The aim of the Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement is to take stock of the work already being completed across the municipal data landscape, evaluate the needs of municipalities and position the Initiative as a catalyst for benefiting the entire municipal and open data landscape within Ontario.
2. Indicator Mapping Availability & Data Collection
Given the importance of leveraging standardized indicators to enable comparable and open performance measurement across Ontario municipalities, indicator availability mapping and data collection for Ontario municipalities is a core component of the Initiative. As highlighted above, the initial focus of data mapping and collection will be the one hundred (100) ISO 37120 Indicators (and municipal profile indicators as defined in the ISO 37120 standard) to support the Initiative’s emphasis on improving municipal performance, quality of life and economic development.
The WCCD will be working closely with organizations holding the supporting data sets to automate the data collection process as far as possible to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the platform after the conclusion of the Initiative. This resource will provide an important opportunity – particularly for smaller communities with limited resources – to initiative and/or accelerate their engagement with open municipal data.
3. Municipal Outreach
Engaging with Ontario Municipalities – as the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Initiative – is a core element of the Initiative and provides the main mechanism for building data capacity. See below for more information.
Open Municipal Data Hub
As a priority area of action for the Initiative, the WCCD is collecting and making available ISO 37120 indicator data for the the 444 upper, single and lower tier municipalities in Ontario. This data is being made available for the benefit of municipalities, citizens and other key stakeholders.
The available data set currently includes fifty-six (56) ISO 37120 indicators, including thirty-five (35) ISO 37120 core and supporting indicators and twenty-one (21) profile indicators. The data set was gathered and/or calculated from publicly available data sourced from Statistics Canada, Ontario ministries and external organizations, with the exception of special data requests submitted Ontario Ministry of Education and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Municipal Outreach: Eastern Ontario Roundtable
The Eastern Ontario Municipal Data Roundtable was jointly hosted by the WCCD and the City of Kingston on May 24th 2018.
This Roundtable brought together senior leaders from municipalities across the Eastern Ontario Region, including the City of Belleville, City of Cornwall, City of Kingston, Lanark County, County of Peterborough, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Lennox & Addington County, Prince Edward County, Northumberland County, Loyalist Township, Town of Smith Falls.
In addition to presentations by the WCCD, the Roundtable featured a number of senior speakers incluidng:
City of Kingston – Gerard Hunt, Chief Administrative Officer.
City of Kingston – Jeff Bumstead, Chief Information Officer
City of Cambridge – Gary Dyke, Chief Administrative Officer.
Town of Oakville – Maureen Conley, Senior Financial Analyst, Financial Planning and Policy.
Statistics Canada – Greg Peterson, Director General, Agriculture, Energy, Environment and Transportation Statistics Branch.
The key outcomes for participants were as follows:
Understanding the opportunities for engagement in the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative.
Discussing key uses of standardised data in Ontario and globally across key themes: sustainability; economic development and investability; resilience; and the emerging smart agendas (at the city, provincial and federal levels).
Understanding the emerging role of standardised and open municipal data in Federal and Provincial Programs focused on infrastructure investment and smart cities.
Learning about the value and benefits of building standardised city indicators and WCCD ISO 37120 Certification from existing WCCD member cities in Ontario.
Briefing on how the WCCD is pre-collecting and automating data collection from regional, provincial and national data sources.
Sharing and contributing perspectives on the key needs and support requirements to assist municipalities in implementing in implementing their open data agenda, benefiting from the experience of the City of Kingston in in establishing and implementing its Open Data Policy and Open Data Catalogue.
Municipal Outreach: Vaughan Roundtable
A first major milestone was the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Roundtable jointly hosted by the City of Vaughan in September 2017. Learn more about this first meeting through this video.
This Roundtable – jointly hosted by the WCCD and the City of Vaughan – focused on briefing a group of Ontario Municipalities on the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative, and the growing opportunities and benefits of standardized open data for Ontario Municipalities. The Roundtable invitees were from the Strategic Initiatives Group – a network of municipal representatives from the GTA and across Ontario working on strategic planning and policy (including two representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs).