Open Data and Official Language Regimes: An Examination of the Canadian Experience

Teresa Scassa, Niki Singh


The open data moving is gathering steam globally, and it has the potential to transform relationships between citizens, the private sector and government. To date, little or no attention has been given to the particular challenge of realizing the benefits of open data within in an officially bi- or multi-lingual jurisdiction. Using the efforts and obligations of the Canadian federal government as a case study, the authors identify the challenges posed by developing and implementing an open data agenda within an officially bilingual state. Key concerns include (1) whether governments may use open data to outsource some information analysis and information services to an unregulated private sector through open data initiatives, thus directly or indirectly avoiding obligations to provide information analysis and information tools in official languages; and (2) whether the rush by governments to support the innovation agenda of open data may leave minority language communities both underserved and under-included in the development and use of open data.


Open data, open government, bilingualism, multilingualism, official languages

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