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Ontario’s Government Launches Data Strategy Survey

The Government of Ontario has launched a special survey to gather public input for a provincial data strategy. This strategy is part of the governments plan to deliver simple, faster and better digital services.

Ontario is currently home to 55 percent of Canadian Big Data vendors. The new strategy aims to help individual Ontarians and Ontario businesses benefit directly from the data economy and was prompted by a recent Ernst and Young line-by-line review which identified the need for the Ontario Government to put data at the core of decisions made in designing, administering, and delivering public services. Needless to say, prioritizing privacy is also essential to the strategy.

Minister of Minister of Government and Consumer Services Bill Walker says that the government is seeking a better understanding of how they can drive innovation and unlock economic opportunities while ensuring data privacy and building a more accountable government. The development of the data strategy is being guided by core principles, which include a focus on ensuring that data protection and security is paramount; making data policies beneficial, transparent, and easy to understand to the people of Ontario; acknowledging that data is necessary for effective and responsible government decision-making; collecting data responsibly and keeping it safe and secure; and bearing in mind that data is a key economic and social driver. The survey will be focusing in particular on the following topics:

  • Promoting Public Trust and Confidence: In the face of growing risks, ensure public trust and confidence in the data economy by introducing world-leading, best-in-class privacy protections.
  • Creating Economic Benefits: Enabling Ontario firms to develop data-driven business models and seize the commercial value of data.
  • Enabling Better, Smarter, Efficient Government: Unlocking the value of government data by promoting the use of data-driven technologies.

In addition, the government will also be consulting the public on the creation of a Minister’s Task Force on Data, which will form the basis of a Draft Data Strategy document.

Adam Belsher, CEO of Magnet Forensics, said in a statement that “data is one of the most important drivers in the global economy today. A successful data strategy for Ontario can unlock economic opportunity in the form of new businesses, quality job creation as well as the transformation of essential public services like policing, education and healthcare while reducing their cost to taxpayers. These objectives can be achieved in a manner that also respects citizen’s privacy.”

Ontarians can participate in the survey here, before March 7th, 2019.