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Montréal’s Open Data Policy

This document sets out Montréal’s official policy with respect to open data. Should any discrepancy occur between the French and English versions of this document, the French version shall prevail.



On behalf of citizens, the  city collects and manages data, in particular for its internal operations. These data represent information assets that are important both to the city and to citizens.

Montréal has adopted this policy to inform its administrative units of their duty with regard to open data and to inform citizens with their rights regarding access to open data.


The policy defines its organizational scope and provides the orientations and guiding principles that govern open data at the city. It defines open data governance and responsibility with regard to its application.


The policy applies to Montréal’s administrative units, including the boroughs.

Montréal recommends that para-municipal organizations and reporting entities under the accounting scope of the city to  adopt the policy.


Information resource: documents and files, including databases, that provide information of a varied nature used by Montréal and its units to achieve their missions.

Open data: Information resources that are made available to the public under an open-use licence and are in compliance with open-data principles.

Open licence: a licence that enables access to, and use and redistribution of, Information resources with little or no restriction.

Open format: an interoperable data format with public technical specifications and without access or use restrictions.

File: any digital platform for storing data: data files, programmable interfaces, data stream, and so on.

Data set: one or more Files relating to a specific subject of interest, for example, a set of Files concerning the city’s budget.

Information resource manager: The city’s unit administrator who produces the information resource and who is responsible for its integrity.

Degree of openness: the authorized level of access for Montréal Data sets. Degrees of openness include:

  • Open: Data sets may be made public and accessible to all users; consequently, they are subject to the rules set out herein and to the conditions included in the Open licence.
  • Restricted: access to Data sets is restricted to certain administrative units or partner organizations that are clearly identified.
  • Closed: access to Data sets is limited to the administrative unit that is responsible for them.


  1. Montréal acknowledges that providing open access to the data it produces and owns entails benefits from the standpoint of public administration transparency, democratic and social life, economic development, and organizational efficiency.
  2. The city undertakes to make data available online gradually and continuously in accordance with cost considerations, effort requirements, and available resources.
  3. The city undertakes to consult citizens and data users and take their needs into consideration when making data publicly accessible.
  4. The city undertakes to develop good practices and technologies designed to facilitate the sharing of data internally and with citizens and to ensure high-quality data.

Guiding principles regarding data access

  1. Open by default: all data collected or acquired by the city are considered to be open unless there is reason for restricting access;
  2. The city undertakes to apply reasonable measures to comply with the transparency and quality principles promoted by the Sunlight Foundation, namely, to publish data that are:
    1. Completeness: Data sets published by the city must be as complete as possible and reflect all the information collected on a given subject;
    2. Primacy: published data contain originally collected information and all available details regarding the means by which data were collected;
    3. Timeliness: data made available are published and updated as promptly as possible;
    4. Ease of Physical and Electronic Access: published data are accessible to as many users, and as many varied uses, as possible;
    5. Machine readability: data may be used with the aid of IT processes and are amenable to automated processing;
    6. Non-discrimination: data are freely accessible to all users at all times without prior justification or identification;
    7. Use of Commonly-Owned Standards: data are published in at least one Open format and require no specific software for access or use;
    8. Licensing: Open data are not subject to third-party copyright, patents, trademarks or commercial confidentiality requirements;
    9. Permanence: once they are published, data remain permanently accessible online or in archives in accordance with their original publication;
    10. Usage Costs: data are published as collected without charge to users.

This policy and its principles are subject to the Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information, CQLR c A-2.1.

Data inventory and exceptions

  1. The city undertakes to publish, as a Data set, an inventory of Data sets in its possession, regardless of the Degree of openness, with the exception of Data sets whose publication would be regarded as a public safety issue.
  2. For Data sets whose Degree of openness is not Open, justification must be provided. The reasons set out below represent appropriate justification, provided adequate documentation is supplied for each Data set in question:
    1. Protection of privacy and personal information:
      1. However, if a Data set remains appropriate once it has been anonymized, it should be published in its anonymized form;
    2. Public safety and protection of property;
    3. Montréal does not hold intellectual property or the right to republish the data.
    4. Protection of third-party trade secrets;
    5. All relevant laws and regulations.

Supporting documents

The policy is based on other appropriate documents:

  1. Directive on data governance. This document relates to the governance of data within the administrative units at the city.
  2. List of Open formats. This document lists the recommended technical formats for the various types of data that can be published.
  3. Exhaustive inventory of collected data. A file that contains all data collected by the city.
  4. The Open licence selected by the city.
  5. The Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.

Access to information and proactive disclosure

Montréal complies with the Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information. The Registry Service, which is responsible for applying the aforementioned Act, favours access to documents in the form of data compliant with the principles set out in this policy.

Whenever possible, the Registry Service uses the Open data portal for proactive dissemination. Insofar as possible, Montréal departments provide documents to the Registry Service as Open format files when answering to access-to-information requests.

Responsibility for applying the policy

All Information resource manager responsible for assets are responsible for applying this policy.

The Smart and Digital City Bureau at the city is responsible for collecting the data inventory and monitoring the open-data approach at the city’s administrative units.

Implementation date

This policy is effective upon approval by the Municipal Council.

All Data sets with an “Open” Degree of openness must be made public by December 31, 2018.