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01. 12. 2021

Government Of Ontario’s Digital and Data Directive

In 2021, the Ontario Government mandated that all ministries and provincial agencies have an information governance strategy and framework in place. The Government of Ontario issued three separate but linked directives:

  • Governance and Management of Information and Data Assets Directive 2021
  • The Governance and Management of IT Directive
  • Digital and Data Directive

The Directive outlines requirements for ministries and provincial agencies to design and deliver digital services and the proactive sharing of government data assets. The Digital and Data Directive aims to ensure the delivery of high-quality digital services, transparency of and access to government data.

Adastra's Governance services consist of the complete turnkey solution to ensure compliance with the Directive's requirement. Before touching on our approach and strategy to comply with the new directives, let us break down what an Information Governance Framework entails.

What is an Information Governance Framework?

The institutional information governance framework is a set of management practices, and methodologies (I.e., planning, directing, controlling, evaluating) that ensure information and data are collected, managed, used securely and cost-effectively. The framework consists of a suite of components that work together to instantiate a sufficient governance capability, namely:

  • People – an accountability structure, clearly characterizing the Groups and Roles who execute processes to accomplish results
  • Processes – repeatable and maintainable methods of working which formalize precisely what tasks need to be accomplished by whom to successfully govern data information
  • Technologies – tools that carry out Information Governance processes and enable its operations.

Adastra builds Information Governance Frameworks for Ontario Ministries and Provincial Agencies by leveraging our logical deployment model (see Figure 1 below) to accelerate the process. This logical deployment model articulates the governance subject areas and components that need to comply with the Provincial Directives.

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Figure 1 - Information Governance Logical Deployment Model for Ontario Ministries & Provincial Agencies

Required Information Governance Framework Domains

Adastra's Information Governance Logical Deployment Model for Ontario Ministries and Provincial Agencies identifies the Information Management Domains required to comply with the Directive requirements successfully and sustainably.

Governance, Accountability & Responsibility

The Governance, Accountability & Responsibility domain introduces the creation of accountability and responsibility structure for clearly defined information management tasks. Groups and roles spanning the entire information management ecosystem are described, as are their decision-making model and authority.

Another way that governance is introduced are the formalization of information management techniques and controls in governance artifacts, such as policies, processes, standards, guidelines, and templates. Together, these artifacts specify the methodologies required to govern information according to regulatory and other requirements. Moreover, governance artifacts must be written to institutionalize and safeguard the handling of various aspects of data management, including:

  • Privacy
  • Data protection
  • Open Data
  • Freedom of information
  • Intellectual property

Metadata Management

Metadata is the information and knowledge about an organization's data. The primary purpose of metadata is to facilitate the discovery and understanding of relevant information.  Types of metadata include:

  • Business metadata
  • Technical metadata
  • Operational metadata

Metadata management is the mechanism for correctly defining and maintaining business, technical, and operational metadata within an organization.  It comprises the activities associated with ensuring that metadata is properly created, stored, and maintained so that inconsistencies and redundancies are minimized. The key activities of this competency include:

  • Managing and publishing data definitions
  • Maintaining data classifications
  • Maintaining data archival/retention guidelines (i.e. lifecycle management)
  • Maintaining a data inventory

Data Quality Management

Data Quality Management establishes and applies methodology/practices to ensure data is correct, consistent, and sustainable (hence trusted by end-users).

The Data Quality Management domain participates in developing solutions to Data Quality-related business problems, including one-time data cleanses development of passive & active Data Quality rules, and controls/measures inserted into business processes. Additionally, it defines Data Quality standards, guidelines, and procedures. Finally, the Data Quality tool selection and rationalization competency will perform as required.

Records Management

The Records Management domain is the supervision and administration of digital or paper records, regardless of format. Records management aims to help an organization keep the necessary documentation accessible for both business operations and compliance audits. Records management activities include the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposal of records. For instance, a record is a content that documents any business event or transaction. Documentation may exist in contracts, memos, paper files, electronic files, reports, emails, videos, instant message logs, or database records. Paper records may be stored in physical boxes on-premises or at a storage facility, while digital records may be stored on storage media in-house or in the cloud.

Knowledge Management

This Knowledge Management domain focuses on capturing, using, and analyzing an organization's collective knowledge. It is a multi-faceted strategy for making the best use of organizational knowledge assets to achieve objectives and promote organizational learning. The core is to connect people looking for knowledge to those who have it, intending to increase the overall knowledge level of the team and organization. Librarianship concerns the organization of knowledge into taxonomies to enable searchability and reuse.

Adastra’s Approach

To support Ontario Ministries and Provincial agencies in meeting their new governance requirements, Adastra offers several services depending on the status of where your Ministry/Provincial Agency finds itself on its Information Governance and Management journey:

  • An Information Governance Assessment and Roadmap is a 4-week exercise that evaluates current IM/IG maturity and creates a roadmap for attaining the required target state. An assessment and roadmap enable budgeting, capacity planning for the journey ahead, and insight into the effort and steps required.

  • IG Framework Design: Upon understanding the IG capability elements required, you will need to define and instantiate the IG function by formalizing its parameters in an IG Framework or charter document. Based on Adastra's experience with IG in the public sector, our reference IG Framework architecture is a deployment accelerator. It is designed to respond directly to the requirements articulated in the Provincial directives. Adastra's consultants use this accelerator to "right-size" an IG organization, information management domains, and operating model to your Ministry/Provincial Agency's unique operating conditions and strategy.

  • IG Framework Build Out: Once the IG Framework is in place, bringing it to life involves creating a suite of governance artifacts to enable operations. Specifically, a suite of IG processes formalizes best practices and gives defined roles a series of concrete steps to sustainably and repeatably perform information governance. Moreover, guidelines offer "how-to" advice, policies define a principle-based approach to information management challenges, and standards articulate performance levels your data and information must reach.

Why Adastra

As a leading Canadian Information Management server provider, Adastra Corporation brings to bear over 20+ years of experience in designing and deploying Information Governance strategies and frameworks. Gartner has recognized Adastra's data governance capabilities, as we've proven our abilities to establish a vision for our client's data that supports their business strategy and objectives.

Want to learn more about setting up your data governance framework? Speak to our experts!


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