Canada's Open Data Pilot Project

By Amy West | March 17, 2011

Great News Everyone! The Government of Canada has just debuted a new portal to their data at the Open Data Pilot Project. The pilot has launched with 782 general datasets (e.g. not geospatial) and over 260,000 geospatial datasets. The three agencies contributing the largest number of datasets as of launch are Department of Finance Canada (258), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (226), and Statistics Canada (120). The data gathered here is freely available to all users and comes with an apparently very broad user license.

The FAQ summarizes user rights this way: “The Licence Agreement allows the licensee to use, incorporate, grant end-user licences to modify, improve, develop and distribute the data. The licensees must, however, identify the source of the data on their derived products.”

Portal users may search or browse to find datasets. Browse categories include department, subject and, interestingly, file format. Where available, the portal also links to tools created by Canadian government agencies for use with datasets included in the portal.

A search for “employment” in the general dataset section returns 163 datasets, most of them relatively recent (mid-1990s-present), but there is at least one dataset included with a significant range. The Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP): Meteorological Data covers 1943-2004.

Hopefully the the Open Data Project will be successful and continue to expand!