Ontario's Government Launches Data Strategy Consultations

Published on February 05, 2019

Province takes steps to better equip for the rapidly advancing era of Big Data


Ontario's Government is working for the People by seeking public input for a provincial strategy that will help Ontarians and businesses benefit directly from the data economy, while being confident that their privacy is protected.

"Our government recognizes the tremendous potential of emerging data technologies, and we are seeking to get a better understanding of how we can drive innovation and unlock economic opportunities for people and businesses across the province," said Minister Bill Walker. "At the same time, we are committed to ensuring data privacy and building a better, smarter, more accountable government—one that earns and keeps the trust of Ontarians."

Data holds vast possibilities that can help all industries while ensuring public trust and security. The development of an Ontario data strategy will be guided by core principles—which include a focus on ensuring that data privacy and protection is paramount, and that data will be kept safe and secure.

Ontarians can participate in the consultations through an online survey at ontario.ca/DataStrategy until March 7, 2019. The consultations will explore three key topics: 

  • Promoting Public Trust and Confidence: In the face of growing risks, ensure public trust and confidence in the data economy by introducing world-leading, best-in-class privacy protections.
  • Creating Economic Benefits: Enabling Ontario firms to develop data-driven business models and seize the commercial value of data.
  • Enabling Better, Smarter, Efficient Government: Unlocking the value of government data by promoting use of data-driven technologies.

The government will also consult the public on creating a Minister's Task Force on Data. The insights gathered from the consultation and the Minister's Task Force will form the basis of a draft Data Strategy document, which will seek further public consultation before being finalized.

"Data is one of the most important drivers in the global economy today. A successful data strategy for Ontario can unlock economic opportunity in the form of new businesses, quality job creation as well as the transformation of essential public services like policing, education and healthcare while reducing their cost to taxpayers. These objectives can be achieved in a manner that also respects citizen's privacy," said Adam Belsher, CEO of Magnet Forensics.

The strategy is part of the government's broader plan to make life easier for Ontarians by delivering simpler, faster and better digital services that people have come to expect.  

"I look forward to seeing the results of the consultations so that we can find better ways to create data-driven opportunities for people and businesses, enable better, smarter government, and restore accountability and trust for the people of Ontario," said Walker.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is home to 55 per cent of Canadian Big Data vendors.
  • The recent Ernst and Young line-by-line review identified the need for the Ontario Government put data at the heart of every decision made in the designing, administering, or delivering public services.