Greater Sudbury Council Adopts Open Data Policy

Apr 14, 2015

For immediate release                                                                     Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Greater Sudbury Council has voted to adopt a policy and licensing standards that will open municipal datasets to the public at no charge for reuse with minimal restrictions. An open data portal will be available online at in mid-2015 for downloads of data in machine-readable formats.

“Open data will allow citizens, businesses, city employees, managers and council to work together in ways previously not possible,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger.

“Empowering citizens with data is part of my pledge to reduce costs for the City and improve service delivery for residents. This is more than just increasing the quantity and quality of data available online; we want to shift the way in which we operate with the public toward a more accountable, collaborative style.”

Open data is considered one of the four pillars of the open government model adopted by Greater Sudbury Council in March 2015: open data, open information, open dialogue and open doors.

“Our city is part of a select group of municipalities to commit to an open by default standard,” said Ron St. Onge, Greater Sudbury Manager of Software and Business Applications. “Instead of asking the question ‘why should we release this data’, we will ask ‘are there any reasons why we can’t release this data?’”

Prior to the release of datasets, consideration must be given to all applicable legislation related to privacy, security and legal standards, as well as contractual obligations. When a dataset cannot be released in whole, municipal staff will determine whether release of a modified version of the dataset will meet all legal and contractual requirements.

Greater Sudbury staff will populate the open data portal at on an ongoing basis. Citizens are also invited to suggest datasets that they would like to access on the site. Approximately 15 to 20 datasets will be released when the portal is launched, including child care locations, parks and accessible playgrounds, boat launches, museums, trails and ward maps.

Across Canada, developers have used municipal open data to develop free web or mobile applications such as transit apps, defibrillator finders, nearby building permit notifications, park locators, road construction maps and more.

The city launched an open data pilot project on its website in February 2015 with existing Greater Sudbury Transit data sets as an example of three typical open data formats. The pilot was well received, with over 500 page views, and valuable feedback was obtained online, during public events and in meetings with software developers.

The new open data policy includes a commitment to datasets that are released in their entirety subject to legal restrictions, provided as collected at the source in unmodified form, timely, accessible, machine-readable and non-proprietary to avoid restrictions over use of the data.

The complete City of Greater Sudbury open data policy, licensing standards, collection and publishing processes are available online at