“The City of Edmonton continues to lead the way in transparency and accountability, and we continue to improve our data-driven decision making as a municipal government.”
The City of Edmonton continues to rank at the top in Canada for transparency, being named the most open city for the fifth consecutive year in 2020.
In the 2020 version of the annual study by Public Sector Digest released Thursday morning, Edmonton received an Open Cities Index score of 98.4 per cent, the highest out of 41 municipalities across North America. The average overall score was significantly lower at 34.9 per cent.
The benchmarking program evaluates municipal open data programs and provides a way for local governments to measure their performance against other jurisdictions and garner insight on how they can improve. Edmonton was given top marks largely due its engagement with external organizations, such as local businesses and schools, to craft publicly-available data sets.
Edmonton’s open data program includes a city-wide policy, reports for council and committee meetings and an online portal for the public to access over 1,200 open data sets and over 2,500 assets including maps and charts. This information includes flood prediction maps and memos sent to city councillors, two sets that were added to the portal following access to information requests made by Postmedia.
Council also recently decided to release reports at least 10 days in advance of meetings, up from the current three days. This change will come into effect next week.
Mayor Don Iveson said this recognition for the fifth year shows the amount of effort the city puts in to make information available to the public as much as possible.
“Once again, we’ve been recognized for our efforts to share information with citizens as an open city,” Iveson said in a Thursday morning statement. “The City of Edmonton continues to lead the way in transparency and accountability, and we continue to improve our data-driven decision making as a municipal government.”
Edmonton also ranked first in the index in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Public Sector Digest did not compile the index in 2018.
The city was also singled out for its efforts to share COVID-19 data with the public. Early on in the pandemic, the city launched a COVID-19 dashboard sharing updated case numbers and public health order enforcement data.
“These datasets have been used as part of internal decision making, for public-facing dashboards (combined with bylaw complaint and enforcement data), by other municipalities within Alberta and by members of the public,” the city’s open data team wrote.
City of Edmonton data has been used to create applications, inform business ventures, study social issues and connect residents to city projects and services. The city’s open data portal can be accessed here.