Message Centre

A Message from Kristine Allen, Open Government Champion

Open Government: More important than ever

In light of COVID – 19, openness, transparency and public engagement have never been more important. These core open government principles have been essential parts of the government’s response to the pandemic. Never before has information sharing, collaboration and citizen engagement been more critical to successfully overcoming a crisis.

While our Prime Minister has been working with all levels of government and updating the public daily on new developments, government departments have been working to ensure that Canadians have the information and data they need during this global health emergency. Our department is actively supporting these efforts. New legislation and regulations were adopted to protect Canadians in response to the pandemic. Information related to these new legislative measures, to family support obligations in the context of COVID-19, and to temporary measures put in place for initiating Service on the Crown to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the justice system is now available on the Justice Canada website, Canada.ca/coronavirus website, and open.canada.ca. In addition, the department has provided Justice Employees with a significant amount of information to help them navigate the current situation, much of which is also available to the public.

Internationally, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has been providing guidance and sharing best practices to help tackle the pandemic around the world. As part of the Directorate for Public Governance of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the OGP will be an important organization supporting global recovery and reform in the wake of the pandemic. During the week of May 4th, the OGP will be hosting an Open Response + Open Recovery Digital Forum to facilitate conversations around government responses to the coronavirus pandemic and how to move towards open and effective recovery efforts. Justice Canada will be supporting this event by participating in the webinar entitled Access to Justice and Open Government During a Pandemic.

A lot has changed since my last message to employees in February. In that message, I spoke about the government’s renewed commitment to open government principles, I highlighted some of the department’s initiatives and I outlined our plans and priorities for the upcoming year. These plans included our work with TBS to develop an Open Justice commitment to support a people-centered approach to justice, increasing our capacity to release data to support the needs of Canadians, and opportunities to celebrate Open Government Week. Our planning for these priorities may have changed, but our commitment to Open Government has not. In fact, it is stronger and the work is now even more important.

I continue to be proud of the work Justice Canada has done. Moving forward, I believe that open information, open data and open dialogue will be key parts of our recovery from this unprecedented global emergency.

Thank you for working together to support Canada’s response to COVID-19, and thank you for staying home to slow the spread of the virus.

Recognizing that this is Mental Health Week, I encourage you to be mindful of the impact this crisis is having on you and your loved ones.

I wish you all good health and well-being.

Kristine Allen, Open Government Champion

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