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PSD publishes new report on the state of municipal data accessibility in Canada

PSD publishes new report on the state of municipal data accessibility in Canada

Today, PSD published the first report in its Open Cities Index Report series entitled Municipal Open Datasets: An Analysis of Data Accessibility. An open data program can only be successful if quality data is readily accessible to municipalities. As municipalities seek to advance their open data initiatives, it is important to understand what types of data the public is seeking and how municipalities can access those datasets. 

In the Open Cities Index survey completed by our 68 participating municipalities, 32 specific datasets were highlighted. Of those 32 datasets, top 5 lists for the most accessible and inaccessible datasets were generated.

 The top 5 most accessible datasets:

                        1) Base GIS Data
                        2) Government Budget
                        3) Public Facilities and Structures
                        4) Park Inventory
                        5) Zoning (GIS)


The top 5 most accessible datasets are almost all related to asset management. As one of the main responsibilities of a municipality, and with the 'tangible nature' of infrastructure and asset management data, it is reasonable to expect that most municipalities would report having access to asset management-related datasets, such as public facilities data and park inventories. It is commonly expected that public works departments (or individual departments responsible for each asset category) would have access to most of this information, although the quality of the data depends on the quality of municipal data management practices and the frequency of condition assessments conducted by the municipality. 

The top 5 least accessible datasets:
                        1) Education Performance
                        2) Lobbyist Information
                        3) Health Performance
                        4) Air Quality
                        5) Restaurant Inspection
These datasets are not surprisingly the least accessible to municipalities, as reported by our participants, since most of the government functions/services associated with these datasets fall outside the jurisdiction of local government. Within Canada, the management and delivery of education programs is the responsibility of each provincial government in conjunction with local school boards.  Data on education performance within each community does exist, however it is largely data collected by provincial governments, rather than municipalities.
Read the full report here to find trends in data accessibility across regions of Canada. 
Contact us at 519.690.2565 or info [at] publicsectordigest [dot] com for further information. 


PSD’s Open Cities Index (OCI) is Canada’s first benchmarking study for municipal open data initiatives. The OCI launched in 2015 with 34 participating municipalities. In fall 2016, the second iteration of the OCI was published with 68 municipalities, representing 61 percent of the Canadian population. The 2016 OCI Report includes an overview of Canada’s Top Twenty Open Cities and national trends in municipal open data initiatives.

Leading up to the launch of the third edition of OCI in the fall of 2017, PSD will publish four quarterly reports exploring municipal open data challenges, solutions and best practices. Each themed report will include further data and analysis generated from the 2016 Open Cities Index study.