Summary of the Evaluation of the Open Government Program Report

Internal Audit and Evaluation Bureau, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Program description

The Office of the Chief Information Officer in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for developing and overseeing the activities needed to effectively deliver on Canada’s open government commitments.

Evaluation methodology and scope

The evaluation assessed the program’s relevance and performance. The scope was limited to the immediate outcomes as the program only began receiving funds in fiscal year 2016–17. Data was collected between March and September of 2019 and included the following lines of evidence:

  • a program data and document review
  • a literature review
  • a jurisdictional study
  • 28 key informant interviews
  • 7 focus groups

Evaluation limitations

The evaluation was not able to incorporate the full direct participation of diverse groups as originally intended. This limitation was mitigated through the use of multiple lines of evidence.

Program outcomes

The three immediate program outcomes within the scope of this evaluation were:

  1. Canadians have improved access to information.
  2. Public servants have the capacity to implement open government principles and practices.
  3. Collaboration with civil society, Indigenous peoples and other governments is strengthened.

Evaluation findings

Is there a need for the program? Yes. The program meets the ongoing need of Canadians for greater access to government information.

Does the program align with Government of Canada priorities? Yes. The program contributes to the government priority of increased government transparency. This priority dates back to the creation of the Access to Information Act and is currently identified in all ministerial mandate letters published in 2019.

Does the program perform as expected? Yes, to some extent. The program is improving public access to government information. The program is also increasing the capacity of the public service to deliver on open government principles and practices. The evaluation did, however, identify limitations of the program’s central strategic planning, the open government coordinator role, and engagement with underrepresented groups.


It is recommended that:

  1. The program develop a strategic plan and vision commensurate with its resources. This would help set priorities and frame strategic communications with senior management across government. Special attention should be paid to the open government portal, which is the program’s core component.
  2. The program, with the support of departments, more effectively implement open government priorities and activities across the Government of Canada by formalizing the open government coordinator role.
  3. The program develop and implement a plan to more actively engage and partner with underrepresented groups. Particular focus should be paid to ensuring that the multi‑stakeholder forum includes diverse voices and that issues important to Indigenous peoples, such as data sovereignty and meaningful consultation, are addressed.
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