British Columbia Adopts Canadian Open Government License

Yesterday the Canadian federal government launched the next generation of their open data portal. This is terrific news for everyone in the open data world. And not just because of the improved access to more data.

As part of the new open data portal, the federal government also revealed a new Open Government License. The license is the result of public input and the governments of Canada, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and David Eaves all working together to create a license not only for the federal government, but one that any jurisdiction in Canada can adopt.

Similar to the BC Open Government License (OGL) that DataBC has used in the past, this new license also has its roots in the United Kingdom’s OGL.

We think the new license is a step forward for Canada. The primary objective was a license that was easy to understand and created minimal restrictions. And so we made the language more clear and eliminated anything that wasn’t necessary.

Arriving at a common license is a significant milestone for open government in Canada. It is an opportunity for jurisdictions to make data easier to use. People will no longer have to interpret a variety of licenses used by open data providers; any data under an Open Government License, regardless of the provider, is governed by the same legal principles.

The benefits of a common license are primarily about using data. When people use data from multiple sources but licensed under the Open Government License, they aren’t dealing with the need to meet different terms and conditions from each provider. This means they can focus on using the data to create, inform and build value.

It also means that public bodies using the license can focus on doing the important work of getting data into the hands of citizens, developers and innovators.

When we launched DataBC in July 2011, we were thinking about the public value of a common license for Canada. And we’re really pleased that we could help bring this idea to reality.

So congratulations to the federal government on your new open data portal. Well done! And big thanks to our colleagues in Ottawa, Alberta and Ontario and David for dedicating their time to developing the new license.

And since we helped develop the license, we’ve also adopted it. Say hello to the Open Government License – British Columbia.

By David Wrate, on behalf of the DataBC Team.

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3 responses to “British Columbia Adopts Canadian Open Government License

  1. Davin

    Nice work!

  2. Mandy

    On a related matter, I would love to see BC follow the federal government’s lead on permitting anyone to reproduce laws without charge or request for permission:

    If you compare the federal government’s open approach with how BC restricts usage of our laws (asserts Crown Copyright, usage must be approved by the government)
    you can see that removing these restrictions would be a great step towards your goal of getting data into the hands of citizens, developers and innovators.

    1. Herb

      Great suggestion!