Geothink&Learn 7: Open Government Partnership (OGP)

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This special edition of our Geothink&Learn series focused on Canada’s Third Biennial Plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This plan was developed in consultation with citizens, civil society organizations, and the private sector, and in collaboration with other levels of government in Canada. The participation of both civil society and government is essential to the success of the OGP. OGP participants commit to developing their National Action Plans through a multistakeholder forum (MSF) built on active engagement of citizens and civil society. The government of Canada recognizes that open government requires ongoing effort. Openness and transparency are a consideration in everything from complex policy questions to day-to-day administration. To sustain progress, the government of Canada is committed to providing training and resources to help public servants develop the skills they need to support a more open and transparent government.

This panel brought together members of the MSF and the OGP committed to growing the culture of openness in government. The panel introduced the scope and current timelines of the OGP/MSF and reviewed the previous Canadian Action Plan. The panel focused on civil society’s role in this process, and in helping build toward openness, transparency, and public engagement.

On Friday, March 2 at 2:30 (EST), held its seventh monthly Geothink&Learn video conference session on the topic of the OGP and the MSF. It highlighted Geothink’s unique interdisciplinary perspective and included a myriad of ideas from our faculty, students and partners. (Catch a recording of this session below along with a transcript of the written question and answer session.)

The convener for the session was Geothink Co-Applicant Pamela Robinson, associate professor in Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and the associate dean for Graduate Studies and Strategic Services. Speakers included Rob Davidson, chair of the multi-stakeholder forum for the Open Government Partnership, and Lindsay Marchessault, the director for data and engagement at the Open Contracting Partnership. Check back soon to find out who our additional speakers will be.

A question and answer session followed after presentations concluded. Our five panelists briefly introduced their research and then reflected on the work of the OGP and MSF.

The full agenda can be found here.

14:06:38	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : sorry my audio is off
14:06:43	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : one moment I may need to log back in
14:10:06	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : testing
14:18:20	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Hi Dan
14:35:24	 From Bram Abramson : hello!
14:35:46	 From Tenille Brown  to  All Panelists : Hello to all
14:36:36	 From Lindsey Marchessault : Hello everyone! Looking forward to learning your views on open government
14:38:00	 From Geothink .CA : Feel free to chat us your questions and comments anytime
14:39:27	 From Geothink .CA : or tweet us comments @geothinkca
14:42:24	 From Renee Sieber : Rob’s point is so critical because OGP can focus far too much on interoperability among government agencies (e.g., via open data) as opposed to improved interactions with civil society organizations.
14:43:26	 From Lindsey Marchessault  to  Geothink .CA (Privately) : i just saw and responded to a question….but I don’t know who gets to see if they aren’t on the chat…
14:44:34	 From Geothink .CA  to  Lindsey Marchessault (Privately) : It’s in ‘answered’ which we might wish to read out loud and read your answer out loud during the Q&A at the end (time permitting)
14:45:31	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Rob - 2 mins left until we come back to you
14:46:16	 From Geothink .CA : To our attendees, feel free to use the Q&A to line up questions during our open Q&A at the end of presentations
14:47:22	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Feel free to copy links in your slides to the chat box for our attendees
14:47:42	 From Lindsey Marchessault  to  Geothink .CA (Privately) : Can everyone see the Q&A questions? or just the presenters?
14:47:54	 From Geothink .CA  to  Lindsey Marchessault (Privately) : everyone
14:48:04	 From Geothink .CA  to  Lindsey Marchessault (Privately) : presenters and attendees 🙂
14:48:59	 From Cara : Please don't forget to pass these events on to others you know who may be interested in attending!
14:51:13	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Geothink will be posting the full recording and speaker slides on our website at
14:51:30	 From Renee Sieber : Hm, I see only one woman on that stage
14:51:33	 From Pamela   to  All Panelists : Rob am I going back to you next or on to Lindsay
14:51:59	 From Geothink .CA : iGeothink will be posting the full recording and speaker slides on our website at
14:52:03	 From daniel  : Open Government Partnership or Old Gentlemen’s Partnership?
14:52:05	 From Geothink .CA : in the interim, Rob can you link the events here in the chatbox for our attendees?
14:52:39	 From Lindsey Marchessault : Here is the link for the upcoming OGP events in Canada:
14:53:37	 From Geothink .CA : thanks!
14:58:50	 From Rob : For more context and a call to action, please read our blog:
15:00:30	 From Lindsey Marchessault : Mid Term Assessment Report: 
15:03:25	 From Rosario :
15:03:39	 From Rosario :
15:03:47	 From Rosario :
15:03:59	 From Rosario :
15:04:02	 From daniel  : IRM Preliminary Progress Report for Ontario available at:
15:08:08	 From Geothink .CA  to  Pamela  (Privately) : we’re supposed to end at 3:30 -  think going over by 5 or 10 is fine, folks who can’t stay will log off?
15:10:04	 From Renee Sieber : Should there be an independent body that monitors the progress of the OGP? We have considerable evidence to demonstrate that organizations which function as both promoters and monitors, fall short in the monitoring part of their mission.
15:13:21	 From Pamela   to  Geothink .CA (Privately) : Yes I think that’s fine
15:13:30	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Just to keep timing in mind, we should open Q&A at 3:15
15:14:22	 From Geothink .CA : Some great tweets coming up on - attendees, feel free to comment
15:15:28	 From Tracey Lauriault  to  All Panelists : That was really Great!
15:15:38	 From Geothink .CA : thanks, Tracey!
15:15:44	 From Geothink .CA : ..hi, Tracey!
15:15:51	 From daniel  : Hi Tracey
15:15:54	 From Geothink .CA : #workinprocessprocess
15:16:09	 From Pamela   to  Geothink .CA (Privately) : Sonja - do you want to facilitate questions or me?
15:16:30	 From Geothink .CA  to  Pamela  (Privately) : If you don’t mind? I’m doing live tweets of the Qs so copy and pasting...
15:16:35	 From Pamela   to  Geothink .CA (Privately) : you bet
15:16:39	 From Geothink .CA  to  Pamela  (Privately) : 🙂
15:17:18	 From Lindsey Marchessault : @ Renee there is an “independent reporting mechanism” - perhaps rosario can share more
15:17:36	 From Lindsey Marchessault : I will look for link to Canada’s last IRM report
15:17:47	 From daniel  : It is the IRM that evaluates implementation of OGP action plans
15:17:53	 From Renee Sieber : Yes, I’d be interested in how “at arms-length” it is
15:18:55	 From daniel  : As an IRM researcher, I can say quite independent - free to critique OGP as much as implementations - issue of learning by doing all around
15:19:30	 From Geothink .CA : Renee, if you’d like to ‘raise your hand’ and comment live to this, feel free
15:19:33	 From Lindsey Marchessault :
15:19:41	 From Lindsey Marchessault : the link to the last IRM report
15:19:46	 From Lindsey Marchessault : (for canada)
15:20:52	 From Renee Sieber  to  All Panelists : Can do. Which question would you like to me ask live?
15:21:10	 From Bram Abramson : I think there is a lot to learn here from the open-source movement and how even mission-critical, broadly-deployed software often lacks contributors improving the codebase.  Even where the cost of labour to do so is dwarved by the collective value being realized through use of the open-source software.
15:22:09	 From Tracey Lauriault  to  All Panelists : how do I join in?
15:22:32	 From Geothink .CA : Tracey, you can ‘raise your hand’ to chat via video in real time
15:23:02	 From Renee Sieber : Bram, really interesting to link to FOSS. FOSS embeds a whole lot of values, like it’s a level playing field for ppl to contribute.
15:23:17	 From Tracey Lauriault  to  All Panelists : i do
15:23:25	 From Lindsey Marchessault : lol @ tracey
15:23:37	 From Lindsey Marchessault : looking forward to your thoughts!
15:23:46	 From Tracey Lauriault  to  All Panelists : my hand is up
15:24:19	 From Bram Abramson : @Renee yes — that’s led to some of these challenges, which we now see a growing level of professionalization around foundations to try and address.  Does the Open Government movement experience some of the same embedded values?
15:24:39	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : Pamela, two hands raised so we can take some live questions? One from Tracey
15:25:49	 From Renee Sieber : Bram, and what is government’s role in bridging the digital divide to level the playing field. OR what’s government’s role in not always reverting to the most professional of the NGOs.
15:26:32	 From Bram Abramson : ??
15:28:12	 From Bram Abramson : And what boundaries are we erecting around civil society — as opposed to, say, journalists paid to sort through and report on what they think the public will find alarming in the open data that does get published.  Maybe those boundaries need to be fuzzier in this conversation.
15:28:28	 From Geothink .CA  to  All Panelists : PS  - we have Renee and Tracey online
15:31:28	 From Tracey Lauriault  to  All Panelists : Thanks Cara!
15:31:37	 From daniel  : Thank you everybody!
15:32:00	 From Geothink .CA : Thank you to our amazing attendees today - great questions and important discussion, let’s keep it going!
15:32:12	 From Majid Hojati  to  All Panelists : thank you everybody
15:32:29	 From Majid Hojati  to  All Panelists : it was a great webinar as always

Friday, March 2, 2018 at 2:30 PM [NOW CONCLUDED]


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Pamela Robinson

Sonja Solomun

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 Cara Faith Zwibel: Cara Faith Zwibel graduated from McGill University in 2001 with an Honours degree in Political Science and received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2004. She articled as a law clerk to the Honourable Justice Ian Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada before being called to the Ontario bar in 2005. Cara also received her Master of Laws degree from New York University, as an Arthur T. Vanderbilt Scholar. Prior to joining the CCLA in 2010, Cara was an Associate at a national law firm, practicing public law, health law and commercial litigation. She has represented clients before administrative tribunals and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Cara’s work at CCLA is diverse, but includes a significant focus on freedom of expression, state accountability and transparency, and access to information.

Pamela Robinson: Pamela Robinson (MCIP, RPP) is the associate dean, graduate studies and strategic initiatives at the Faculty of Community Services and an associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson. She is also a registered professional planner. As a co-applicant of the Geothink research team, Robinson focuses on urban sustainability issues with a particular focus on cities and climate change and the use of open data and civic technology to support open government transformations. She serves on the board of directors of the Metcalf Foundation and has participated in four Metrolinx Community Advisory Committees. Robinson is an editor of Urban Sustainability: Reconnecting Space and Place (University of Toronto Press, 2013), Teaching as Scholarship: Preparing Students for Professional Practice in Community Services (WLU Press, 2016) and is a columnist for Spacing magazine.

Lindsay Marchessault: As a member of the Senior Management team of the OCP, Lindsey is responsible for the stewardship of the Open Contracting Data Standard, managing the OCDS Helpdesk, and several of OCP’s implementation projects. In her work, she advises on policy & legal reform to implement open contracting and supports the co-creation of tools, methodologies, and feedback loops to ensure that open contracting is delivering impact. Lindsey is a lawyer who previously worked with the World Bank, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, and in private practice in Canada.  

Rob Davidson: Rob is a 25-year seasoned veteran of the software industry and has excelled in senior roles ranging from Chief Technologist, VP of Product Management to Director of Marketing & Communications.  He is a passionate open data advocate, promoting the use of open data for social good and business creation. In June 2016, Rob founded the Open Data Institute Ottawa Node to help crystallize the open data movement in Ottawa. Rob is also an organizer for the Open Data Ottawa, Ottawa Civic Tech and Data for Good Ottawa meetup groups and was on two of the Ontario government’s Open Government advisory committees for Ontario’s first Action Plan.  Rob has spoken at national and international events on open data and emerging technologies.

 Daniel Paré: Daniel Pare is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Ottawa. As a co-applicant of Geothink, his research and policy-related work focus on social, economic, political and technical issues arising from innovations in information and communication technologies (ICTs) in developing and industrialized countries. Areas of specialization include ICTs and international development (ICT4D), e-commerce, Internet governance, information and communication policy, e-government, and knowledge networks. Daniel is the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Researcher for the implementation of Ontario’s Open Government Action Plan. His preliminary 2017 review  can be found here:

 Alonso Cerdan: Alonso Cerdan joined the Open Government Partnership Support Unit in January 2014 as a Program Manager. He previously worked in the Mexican Ministry of Public Administration in the unit that oversaw all OGP activities, including drafting of three National Action Plans and as a representative for the Mexican Government at the Tripartite Technical Secretariat. Alonso is a founding member of GESOC, where he led the Public Management Program. He also has consulting experience in Mexican firms Gerencia Pública and Civicus, where he conducted projects for public and nonprofit organizations several areas. Alonso holds a BA in Public Administration from El Colegio de Mexico and an MPA from Manchester University. Alonso can be reached at