These days, there is no question that data is shaping our economy and our future. Although the data economy presents countless opportunities, it also brings crucial questions that we need to pay attention to and decide on as Canadians: who will own, control and benefit from the massive amounts of data generated across the economy? To answer some of these important questions, SCC launched in 2019 the first Canadian collaborative, the Canadian Data Governance Standardization Collaborative (DGSC). Collaboratives are not new. They are used in other countries as they offer a neutral forum for coordination and identification of standardization needs and priorities, however, this is the first time this approach is taken in Canada.
A Collaborative emulates the values of the Canadian standardization system – collaboration, transparency and consensus, which leads to trust.
“A Collaborative emulates the values of the Canadian standardization system – collaboration, transparency and consensus, which leads to trust. Standardization is like the roof of a house. We never think about the roof falling on our head, because we trust that the roof has been built to a set of standards that have been developed by experts. We should feel the same way about our data–Canadian Data is an intangible asset. Therefore, standardization is an increasingly important tool in ensuring Canadians are getting access to the best, safest products, systems and technological solutions– while ensuring that Canadians encounter fewer barriers to accessing markets. We all benefit from standardization – government, industry, and people – because it’s a universal language –. Standardization can be the mortar that we trust to keep the house standing and our data safe.” -Anneke Olvera, Secretary, DGSC and A/Director, Programs and Operations, Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement, SCC
The DGSC is well-aligned with the Digital Charter, established by the Innovation, Science and Industry Minister, the Honourable Navdeep Bains. The Digital Charter aims to lay the foundation for modernizing the rules that govern the digital sphere in Canada and rebuilding Canadians’ trust in these institutions. The DGSC supports the principles of the Digital Charter as it will help better coordinate the development and compatibility of data governance standards in Canada, contributing to the creation of a level playing field in the digital economy.
Led by co-chairs Anil Arora, Canada’s Chief Statistician, and Philip Dawson, the Public Policy Lead at Element AI, the DGSC is working to deliver a roadmap describing the current and desired Canadian standardization landscape in this area, recommendations to address gaps and new areas where standards and conformity assessment are needed.
To help deliver on its mandate, the DGSC has created four working groups that are looking at issues based on a life-cycle assessment of data governance, from data collection, through access and sharing, and ending with data analytics and commercialization. The working groups involve more than 200 representatives in academia, civil society, consumers, standards development organizations, government and industry. As part of the process, Canadians will also have opportunities to provide comments and feedback in the identification of the issues and on the draft roadmap.
Today, the DGSC is our largest cross-sector initiative and one that’s proven to be successful in bringing perspectives together. The DGSC marks a shift in our approach from advising to more actively facilitating collective action. The work of the DGSC will help ensuring that the safety and security of Canada’s digital and data platforms remains at the forefront. To learn more or get involved, visit https://www.scc.ca/en/flagships/data-governance