Easily Done – Digital Download Manager for Previously Released ATIP files

As part of its Open Information policies, the Government of Canada provides access to previously released information packages that have been released under the Access to Information and Privacy Act. (ATIP) You can find these here – https://open.canada.ca/en/search/ati

The goal of Open information is to provide easy access to all of the Government of Canada’s information. This provides Canadians with greater transparency of government programs, activities, publications, and spending.

The process however could be greatly improved.  Currently, you can search for ATIP filings by organization, date, or subject.  The search function is actually not that bad. Once you find what you are looking for, this is where the process dramatically breaks down.  Here is where an Easily Done item could make a huge difference in providing better access to government information as well as saving resources (both human and financial)

The current process seems far more complicated than it needs to be.

Once you have found what you are looking for you have to complete a form, which is linked to the ATIP number requested. This form asks for basic information such as name, email address, telephone number, format requested (paper or electronic) mailing address and preferred language of correspondence.

Once you have completed and submitted the form you receive an email from Open Government (a branch of Treasury Board Secretariat) confirming that they have received your request.  Then you wait, and wait, and wait.  If you requested an electronic copy of the ATIP file they actually put the file into a PDF document, put it on a CD-ROM and then mail it to you.  In some instances, this process takes months.  Yes, I said months!

Important to remember here are that these are ATIP files that have already been vetted and released to the public. If they are already in PDF format, they are ready to be transferred to the requestor.  If they are not already in PDF, a simple scan can be completed.

My Easily Done idea is that Open Government installs a digital download manager on the website where individuals request previously released ATIP files.  This would allow for the same collection of information about the requestor but would then allow for either a secure digital download or have the file emailed to the requestor immediately following their request.  This would provide the information quicker to the requestor and save the resources of having an individual transfer the file to CD to be mailed.

There are many digital download manager applications available. It would not be difficult for the Government of Canada to implement this.  Many companies already use such digital download managers to allow for the download of reports and research.

By adopting this Easily Done item the Government of Canada could significantly improve the efficiency and transparency of providing government information to citizens.

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