Frequently asked questions about open data
What is Open Data?
Open Data is raw, machine-readable* data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone.
It involves publishing datasets, which are essentially collections of data, often presented in tabular form. (The WSIB Covered Employment and Registered Claims category in the By the Numbers: 2015 Statistical Report is an example of a dataset.)
Although much of this information is already available on our website or in print, data in machine-readable formats can be put into spreadsheets or used to create useful applications, making it easier to consume, combine and interpret.
*NOTE: "Machine-readable data" is not a PDF file but Excel, CSV or other file format that can be read, analyzed and interpreted by software and analytics tools.
Why Open Data?
The WSIB’s Open Data program can provide a number of benefits, including:
- increasing our transparency and accountability
- enhancing the delivery of WSIB services through new and innovative uses of public data and applications developed using Open Data
- driving the local economy by opening data for use by developers in our community
- providing citizens with an opportunity to access WSIB data and engage with the organization
Open Data is consistent with the right of access purpose of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Province of Ontario’s Open Data Directive.
Is the WSIB acting alone in its open data efforts, or is this part of a larger effort?
WSIB’s efforts are part of larger initiative, the Province of Ontario’s Open Government Initiative. This initiative is intended to make government more open and transparent the people of Ontario. One of the ways to do that is to maximize access to government data, unless it is exempt for legal, privacy, security, confidentiality, or commercial sensitivity reasons.
What are the requirements or restrictions on how the data is used?
One of the key principles of open data is to allow use and reuse with limited restrictions. The Open Government Licence – Ontario provides, for example that "You are free to: Copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the Information in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose." For complete details, please review the licence (Appendix A of the Open Data Directive).
How is personal information protected?
The WSIB’s Open Data program will not release personal information and will follow the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
How do I suggest new datasets to be provided?
We encourage you to provide ideas not only on data you’d like to see (and why), but also on potential use of the data (e.g. mobile/web applications you'd like to see).
Got an idea now? Let us know.