Federal Government Announces Funding to Establish the Open Data Exchange

May 19, 2015

May 19, 2015 – Waterloo, Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)

The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario, today announced up to $3 million for Communitech Corporation to establish the Open Data Exchange (ODX), which will be located in Waterloo, Ontario. Joining Minister Clement to make the announcement was local Kitchener—Waterloo Member of Parliament Peter Braid.

The project is expected to result in the incubation of 15 new data-driven companies. It is also expected to create a total of 370 direct and indirect jobs, and to leverage $3-million from project partners and an additional $50 million in venture capital and other financing.

Open data is structured data that is machine-readable and freely shared, used and built without restrictions. The ODX will support the development of industry standards for open data, build a national marketplace where commercialization of open data can flourish, and support a pan-Canadian open data innovation community that will incubate the next generation of data-driven companies.

The purpose of the ODX is to unlock the economic potential of open data for the Canadian economy, by supporting a sustainable collaboration between the private sector, academia and government.

The ODX is a key component of the Government of Canada's Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 and supports the goals of Digital Canada 150.

Budget 2014 allocated $3 million over three years for the creation of an open data institute. Funding for ODX is being provided through a non-repayable contribution under FedDev Ontario's Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative.

Quick Facts

  • The total project cost is estimated to be $6-million with another $50 million to be leveraged through venture capital and other partners. Communitech, with its project partners which include Desire2Learn, OpenText Corporation and the University of Waterloo, will be matching FedDev Ontario's $3-million contribution. The ODX will be temporarily located at OpenText Corporation in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park in Waterloo, Ontario, as it finalizes plans for a permanent home in uptown Waterloo. The ODX will operate with an Advisory Board, which includes representation from small- and medium-sized enterprises. This Advisory Board will be key in the development of ODX's longer-term plan for the sustainability of the open data innovation ecosystem.
  • Communitech supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development, and has helped build a technology cluster of nearly 1,000 companies, employing 30,000 people in Waterloo Region. The ODX will also leverage the reach of the Canadian Digital Media Network's 31 hubs to help engage entrepreneurs from right across Canada.
  • The McKinsey Global Institute's report on open data opportunities estimated that open data could create $3-trillion in value in several areas of the global economy, including education, transportation and oil and gas.


"Canadians will be able to see the measureable economic benefits of open data in the form of job creation, investment in data-driven companies, and the establishment of a national hub for the commercialization of open data. The creation of an open data institute in Waterloo, Ontario will allow the project to leverage the extensive knowledge and resources already in the region, while benefitting the information communications technology cluster. "

– The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada

"There's no doubt that open data has great economic potential. ODX is the key to unlocking that potential and spurring economic growth for Canada. This pan-Canadian, cross-sector collaborative approach is going to create the data-driven ecosystem we need to seize the opportunities generated by this powerful 21st century resource. The creation of the ODX is a pivotal part of the Government of Canada's commitment to Open Data."

– The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"To fully unlock the potential of open data in Canada, we need to bring together businesses, research institutes, universities, business incubators and government agencies to understand and utilize the information for economic prosperity. The ODX is the bridge between open data and economic prosperity; it is a powerful tool."

– Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo

"Canada has all the elements necessary to be a leader in the commercialization of open data. By building a platform and community, ODX will bring all of those elements together for the first time, creating a one-stop shop for Canadian companies looking to put open data to work for them."

– Kevin Tuer, Managing Director, Open Data Exchange

Read more: Government of Canada News Release 

Source: Government of Canada