Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) joined other departments of the government of Canada last week in the launch of the groundbreaking Open Data Portal, which promises to make much of the data collected by the Canadian government freely accessible to the public.
Praising the new data portal, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said:
“The new Open Data Portal is a remarkable tool that enables Canadians to easily access important information about immigration to Canada, and use this information to spur innovation and economic growth. I encourage all Canadians to visit our datasets if they have not yet done so as the information is useful and relevant, and there is great potential for its use.”
CIC says that its datasets are already among the most popular, with the six most downloaded belonging to it. Among the types of information included are the countries of origin of Canadian immigrants, the number who were admitted through each immigration program, the cities and provinces where immigrants settled, and application inventories and processing times.
The launch of the Open Data Portal is in line with the Open Data Charter of Principles that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promoted at the last G-8 Leaders Summit in Northern Ireland. The Charter calls on governments to release data they collect in online registries and give users unrestricted rights to use and re-use the data.
The Charter also includes standards to raise data quality and increase interoperability and comparability, as well as prioritizing the early release of high-value data types.
The federal government says that its practices currently meet or exceed the requirements of the Charter, which demonstrates the country’s commitment to transparency and Open Government.
The Open Data Portal is hosted on data.gc.ca, and contains datasets provided by over 20 federal departments and agencies.