The Data Policy Coalition's Submission to the Ontario Data Strategy Consultation


In late July, the Ontario Government launched Phase 2 in their process to develop a Data Strategy for the Province. This follows release of survey results collected during Phase 1 in February and March. Phase 2 includes a series of in-person consultations organized around three themes, and corresponding discussion papers

The first discussion paper, on promoting trust and confidence in Ontario’s data economy, was released to coincide with a consultation roundtable in Toronto on July 31, 2019. The consultation was followed by an invitation for written submissions on the first discussion paper. 

Powered by Data and the Data Policy Coalition immediately seized this opportunity to contribute to the Data Strategy. The Ontario Government’s initiative to develop a province-wide Data Strategy is important and urgent. As nonprofit organizations often serve as service delivery partners with government, nonprofits are both users and contributors to government service utilization data. We see an important role for our sector in working with government to develop and uphold ethical and responsible use of data and technology. 

The Data Policy Coalition has participated in consultation sessions, met with government officials, and prepared the written submission we’re sharing with you in this post. 

Read the full submission here

Through this submission we aim to start a conversation on some of the issues that are important to our sector, and the communities we represent. We have outlined several opportunities identified by our coalition members that we recommend for further deliberation between government and the social sector. 

These opportunities include:

  1. Building a comprehensive Data Strategy for broad public benefit

  2. Leveraging government data - Balancing privacy protection with public benefit    

  3. Optimizing data collected by the nonprofit sector         

  4. Strengthening access to data about the nonprofit sector

To maximize both short-term and long-lasting benefits to the people of Ontario we recommend establishing permanent mechanisms for engagement with the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit sector can offer unique value to government toward planning data priorities, infrastructure, and resources. We invite further dialogue and collaboration towards building and implementing the Data Strategy.  

As the Data Strategy Consultation process evolves throughout the fall, we will continue advancing nonprofit perspectives and collaboration to maximize use of data for public benefit. For others looking to contribute to the Ontario Data Strategy Consultation, the second paper, on creating economic benefits, was announced September 21, with an online survey open now and roundtable details still to be announced. We are also eagerly awaiting release of paper 3, on enabling better, smarter government. Additionally, the Government of Ontario is inviting online commentary through