A Fed open data ask!

The local community group and a representative of hundred of municipalities, has made the request for the following data at the Ottawa open data round-table consultation and also in a letter.  So far these data have not materialized and there has not been a response.  These groups require these data to do the following:

The data focus of these initiatives is collect and report on data that captures social, economic, and environmental trends at the municipal or neighbourhood levels in Canadian cities and communities.

Your feedback on the following request would be greatly appreciated:

What we would be most interested in, as a starting point, is a series of open discussions with the Federal government about community data: data that measures trends and conditions in Canadian cities & communities. Community Data Canada (cdc-dcc.info) was established in 2009 as a  forum for these discussions.

A series of “Community Data Roundtables” would address two fundamental limitations of data access at the level of municipal and community geographies:

1.    We don’t know exactly what to request of Federal departments. HSRDC is a good example. That agency has unknown quantities of administrative data related to several topics:

o   Employment Insurance

o   People with disabilities

o   Homelessness data (HIFIS)

o   Other data sets dealing with seniors, First nations, students, and much else

2.    Much of the community data we require reside with provincial government departments. In these cases, there is a role for the Federal government to act as a convener of provincial governments. We lack the capacity and influence to reach 10-13 jurisdictions (in the case of the 3 territories). Federal government-convened Community Data Roundtables would tackle the following topics:

o   Education data: Meeting with officials of provincial ministries of Education.

o   Health data: Meeting with officials of ministries of health. This includes compelling CIHI to share their data. They are were created as a private non-profit operating at arms length from the government, but must be accountable to governments at some level.

o   Environment Data: Air quality index databases

A final note: we are already making good progress with several Federal government agencies:

·         Industry Canada – bankruptcies data

·         Citizenship & Immigration Canada – permanent residents data cube, and on track to develop an IMDB data cube (linking immigrant and income databases)

·         Environment Canada – air quality monitoring station data

·         CRA – Income data via Statistics Canada

·         CMHC – Housing data

Compelling these agencies to make their data available via a portal will ultimately be beneficial to us, but we are currently able to access these data sets through direct relationships with these agencies.

As a follow-up to last week’s note, there is one specific data product we would like to add to the Federal Government’s Open Data portal:

  • Statistics Canada’s Business Register listings without contact information, but with 6-digit postal codes and/or street addresses

Statistics Canada’s response to the request made by the Community Data Program is para-phrased as follows

Statistics Canada almost never releases individual business listings unless they meet three criteria at the same time:

1. They are needed for research purposes

2. They are needed by a federal government department or agency

3. Their release is approved by the chief statistician

This was part of a letter that was sent as a follow-up.