Open Government at Justice Canada: A Year in Review – June 2020

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This has been a truly transformative year for open government at Justice Canada. What started as a project in 2015 has reached a level of maturity in 2020 that has allowed the Department to move beyond the objectives set out in the OpenGov Terms of Reference.

It is not possible to look back on this year without noting the Coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has had on our work. The unprecedented global health crisis has changed much of what we took for granted and illustrated the importance of open government principles by providing concrete examples of how open information, open data and open dialogue can build trust in government and improve democracy.

Last September, we set ambitious goals that explored new opportunities and broadened our horizons within three priority areas: open justice, open data, and training and awareness.

Open Justice. We proposed the addition of an open justice themed commitment on Canada’s 5th National Action Plan on Open Government (NAP).

Open Data. The Department’s Data Strategy and National Action Plan Commitment presented us with multiple opportunities to increase our capacity to prioritize and release open data.

Training and Awareness. This year we were able to collaborate with partners from across the Department, the GC and the world to bring awareness about open government and open justice.

Some of this work is on pause because of the Coronavirus pandemic but we are proud that we have still been able to achieve many of our goals.

We are even more proud that Justice Canada has actively contributed to the Coronavirus pandemic response measures. We released information related to:

In addition, the department has provided Justice Employees with a significant amount of information to help them navigate the current situation, much of which is also available to the public.

Finally, Justice Canada participated in the OGP’s Open Response + Open Recovery Campaign and Digital Forum, which replaced Open Government Week this year. We participated in a webinar on Access to Justice and Open Government during a Pandemic and through social media, we promoted Justice Canada COVID-19 related information available on the public facing website.

We are able to draw strength from open government during this time, the benefits and opportunities of which have never been more apparent. We can see transparency, innovation and collaboration in action as the Department works together to respond to the pandemic, inform and maintain public trust, and explore new ways of working in an ever-changing environment.

We may not know what our ‘new normal’ will look like but we can take comfort in knowing we have a strong foundation in open government at Justice Canada and that we are ready to take the next step to become a formal program that will continue to support the work to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.