Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Open Government Program?

The Open Government Program was established in 2012 as part of Service Alberta to lead the open government transition for the Government of Alberta. Currently, the program is focusing on improving access to government data and publications, and developing standards and processes to encourage open engagement.

What information resources are available on the Open Government Portal?

The Open Government Portal consists of:

  1. Open Data
    Open data is government-owned data that is not subject to privacy, security or legislative restrictions and made available to the public in a structured, machine-readable format with minimal restrictions on its use or re-use. Open data is released proactively whenever possible.
  2. Publications

    Publications are government-owned information resources that are not subject to privacy, security or legislative restrictions and made available to the public in a variety of formats with minimal restrictions on their use or re-use. Publications include, but are not limited to, reports, studies, maps, legislation, etc. Publications are released proactively whenever possible.
    Currently the majority of publications on the Portal are in .pdf format. However, publications in other formats (e.g. .xlsx, .jpeg, .mp3, etc.) will eventually be available on the Portal.

By sharing these information resources the Government of Alberta is increasing the transparency of government business, promoting economic opportunity and increasing citizen involvement in government.

What else can I find on the Open Government Portal?

The Portal also contains visualizations developed using key Government of Alberta datasets, as well as a listing of mobile apps that use Government of Alberta data. You will also find our blog and links to the Alberta Queen’s Printer which provides the Government of Alberta laws and regulations.

How does the Open Government Portal work?

Four things make the Portal different from the way we shared data and publications in the past:

  1. The Portal is intended to serve as a single access point for all publicly-available datasets and publications released by the Government of Alberta. This will make it easier to find information you are looking for, especially when you are not sure which ministry may have collected, created, or released the information.
  2. The Open Government Program is encouraging ministries to release more of the data and information they collect and create in a non-proprietary, machine-readable format (when possible) so that it can be more easily used and re-used by the public.
  3. More metadata will be created to describe the data and publications government releases, making it easier to find and understand these resources and to find related resources that may be of interest.
  4. Most of the data and publications contained in or linked to through the Portal have been released under an open licence.

How can I find out more about the Open Government Program?

Please email us at open@gov.ab.ca or follow us on Twitter @OpenGovAB . You can also contact Mark Diner, Chief Advisor, Open Government at mark.diner@gov.ab.ca.

What is open government?

Open government is a worldwide movement to make government more transparent, and ensure better collaboration and partnerships between government and citizens. Technology, mobility, and social media are key to accomplishing this and strengthening the relationship between citizens and government.

What inspired the Open Information and Open Data Policy?

This policy was inspired by the Open Data Charter signed by the G8 nations. We are one of the first sub-national jurisdictions in the world to develop policy consistent with the G8 Open Data Charter.

What is the Open Government Licence – Alberta?

This licence grants citizens freedom to copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the information within the Open Data Portal in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose. It was developed in collaboration with the governments of Canada, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and is based on the UK Open Government Licence.

What is next for the Open Government Program?

The Open Government Program is developing a change management strategy to assist with the adoption and implementation of the Open Information and Open Data Policy and the Government of Alberta Publishing Guide. We are working to improve overall data and publication management practices to improve our quality, accuracy and collection processes to ensure new and updated resources can be released regularly.

How do you decide which data and publications will be included on the Portal?

We are currently establishing processes to determine what information Albertans would find useful, interesting, or necessary. This could be anything from hiking trail maps, academic test results or the number of houses that were built in a given year. The data and publications also need to be clear of any personal, commercially-protected or otherwise sensitive information before it can be shared. If there is a dataset or a publication you are interested in, you can submit a request through the Portal.

Can I request data and publications?

We want to hear from you. The Open Government Program is looking for feedback from Albertans as to other datasets and publications they would be interested in obtaining, as well as the ease-of-use and benefits derived from the resources currently available. Data requests can be made through the Portal. We will review the request and determine whether the government currently collects that information, if there are any privacy or other restrictions that prevent us from sharing the information, and how long it would take to provide the information if it can be shared. Please email general feedback regarding the Portal to open@gov.ab.ca.

Are the data and publications on the Open Government Portal the official Government of Alberta resources?

Yes, these data and publications are provided and maintained by Government of Alberta staff and are recognized as authoritative resources.

Will personal information be at risk through open data?

No, the datasets that are available through the Open Government Portal do not contain any personal information.

Why don’t all “preview” features work for every dataset?

As the datasets in the portal are in a variety of formats, not all datasets can be previewed the same way.

How do I report an error in the open data?

You can report any data quality concerns to the Open Government Program by emailing open@gov.ab.ca. Once the Open Government Program receives a data quality error, it is then logged and follows a process of investigation.

How do I provide data and information to the Open Government Portal? (For GoA Staff)

Whether you’re trying to identify which data sets should go on the portal or making sure the data meets the necessary criteria, we can help you. Please email open@gov.ab.ca for more details.

Why does the Portal contain older publications?

The Portal functions as both a library for current publications and as an archive for older publications which have historic value. Older publications are valuable because they provide a snapshot of an issue at a given point in time. For example, multiple versions of a standard or guideline are made available in order to allow a user to track changes over time.

How can I be sure I am viewing the most current version of a publication?

For the most current version of a publication please refer to the website of the ministry responsible for the publication or search Alberta.ca.