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Open Data Portal: Ready access to information on immigration to Canada

Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of  Employment and Social Development, participated in the launch of the next-generation Open Data Portal (data.gc.ca) last year in his then role as the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration.  

He had promised that it will provide unprecedented access to government data and information, and that it will change the ways people access information about Canada. 

“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,” he had said. “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.”

Immigration data is already the most sought information on the Open Data Portal. 

In fact, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has the six most downloaded datasets on the Portal. These datasets include information about Canada’s immigrants’ countries of origin, preferred immigration programs, settlement patterns as well as application inventories and processing times.

As Kenney highlighted the importance of making immigration data available to Canadians, Prime Minister Harper promoted an international Open Data Charter of Principles at the G-8 Leaders Summit in Northern Ireland. 

The Charter committed Canada to the release of more data via a comprehensive online registry of data holdings, and to giving users unrestricted rights to reuse that data. 

The Charter also set standards for data quality, interoperability, and comparability, and prioritized high-value data types for early release. 

In each case, Canada’s current and planned Open Data practices exceed or meet the requirements of the Charter. By upholding these principles, Canada is demonstrating its international commitment to transparency and open government.

Data.gc.ca contains datasets compiled by over 20 departments and agencies, covering a broad range of topics, from housing, to health and environmental data. 

Some of the most popular datasets include: statistics on wait time for permanent residency status, wait times at border crossings and information about soldiers in World War I.
The data.gc.ca site features new interactive capabilities and Web 2.0 features, including a new targeted search capabilities and a Developers Corner, where Open Data developers can access specific technical information to assist them in creating user-friendly applications. 

The Portal also features the new Open Government Licence, which offers unrestricted re-use of government data and information.

As CIC datasets on the Open Data Portal are already the six most popular among government departments, CIC intends to make even more of information available online in the near future.

Posted: Jul 29, 2014

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