On June 21st Ontario Ombudsman André Marin called on the government of Ontario to embrace the worldwide trend toward open government, noting that many of his investigations of government organizations revealed a lack of transparency and accountability to Ontarians.
On June 22nd we held our first webinar, Open Government Canada, that introduced how the trend can be achieved through Cloud computing.
With input from Cisco, Microsoft and other experts we explained how new Open Data models can be implemented through new ‘G-Cloud’ platforms being pioneered in the UK and USA.
Ombudsman Marin is right on a number of points. First that social media is indeed a global and inevitable trend that is transforming how and what citizens expect from government. It’s happening now, it’s not a ‘wait and watch’ trend.
He also highlights that Ontario can and should be leaders in this field, and that’s hugely important, for helping link up with other policy areas and taking a more collaborative, integrated approach to government work, and to stimulate the economy in a manner that ‘floats all boats’.
Open data isn’t just a better way of sharing government information, it’s also an economic stimulus. Recently New York succeeded in attracting $6m new Venture Capital to their region specifically for open data ventures that they have enabled by creating open data catalogues.
A recent report by the Toronto Board of Trade showed ‘middling’ performance by the GTA, in comparison to their heavyweight peers like Seattle, San Francisco and Boston, and they called for a ‘cluster’ campaign to build key sectors like ICT.
What better technology focus than one that also makes government more accessible and accountable?