Improving Data Availability for Conservation Decisions.
Conservation and management of species and ecosystems in Canada requires sharing of relevant data and information to facilitate effective, informed decisions. Consistent approaches to management and distribution of species and ecosystems data and information should enable improved data-sharing, a more consistent and complete information base for conservation actions and ultimately improved conservation decisions. They should improve the flow of data and information among agencies, organizations and their clients and reduce the scope of data and information with various forms of restricted access. NatureServe Canada has recently led a diverse working group of agencies and organizations to develop consistent, harmonized approaches to the collection, management and distribution of species and ecosystems data and information.
The Working Group included representatives from the following agencies and organizations:
- Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre
- Yukon Conservation Data Centre
- Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre
- British Columbia Conservation Data Centre
- New Brunswick Species at Risk Program
- Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)
- COSEWIC Secretariat
- NatureServe Canada
- Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Species at Risk Program
- Migratory Birds Program
- Data Management Program
- Birds Canada
- Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW)
- Parks Canada Agency
- Boreas Ecological
These approaches are contained within Data Security Template Policy and Procedures. The Data Security Template Policy and Procedures include several mandatory components and a suite of optional components that reflect the diversity of governance needs within agencies and organizations that collect, manage and distribute data on species and ecosystems in Canada. They have been developed such that they can be adopted and tailored by agencies and organizations to meet their regulatory and governance environment but still ensure consistent, harmonized approaches.
The Data Security Template Policy and Procedures are intended to be living documents. They will be updated and improved with learnings from efforts by agencies and organizations that adopt and implement them.
NatureServe Canada is working to assist organizations who would like to learn more and participate in this initiative that aims to facilitate the sharing of biodiversity information. We are currently able to offer support to organizations that are interested in adopting and implementing the Policy and Procedures.
Progress Update May 17, 2022
NatureServe Canada is adapting the template policy and procedures to its governance and working environment to ensure that its management and distribution of data are consistent with these approaches. NatureServe Canada has developed a draft policy and is currently drafting a set of procedures based on the templates.
NatureServe Canada has been working with Yukon Fish and Wildlife Branch to assist with the development of Branch policy and procedures that meet Yukon’s needs and are consistent with the template policy and procedures. Yukon’s first complete draft of their policy and procedures are finished, have been reviewed by Agency staff and are in the approval phase prior to formal adoption and implementation. NatureServe Canada continuing to work with Yukon to assist with this process and to explore novel solutions to implementation.
NatureServe Canada is working with Manitoba Conservation Data Centre to facilitate the adoption of the template policies and procedures to its working environment. This includes a regulatory risk assessment – standard practice for most jurisdictions in Canada contemplating substantive policy initiatives. Manitoba CDC has developed a draft policy and has initiated the required risk assessment. NatureServe Canada is currently working with Manitoba CDC on the development of procedures to accompany the policy.
NatureServe Canada is working with the BC Data and Information Security Committee. BC Data and Information Security Committee will start reviewing its existing policy and procedures in fiscal year 2022/23 and will look for opportunities to increase consistency with the NatureServe Canada template policies and procedures.
NatureServe Canada has met with representatives of the Government of Northwest Territories to discuss the role that the template policies and procedures might fulfill in assisting with their work towards Open Data policies.
NatureServe Canada met with representatives from Alberta Conservation and Information Management System early in 2022 to discuss data management and the ways that the template policy and procedures might assist their work. NatureServe Canada continues to engage Alberta in this matter.
NatureServe Canada has started to assist the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre with options for utilizing the policy and procedures templates to refine and develop their own policies and operating procedures.
NatureServe Canada has met with data management staff from Environment and Climate Change Canada to assist with their development of data security policies and procedures based on the NatureServe Canada templates.
NatureServe Canada is organizing, as part of its 2022 AGM, a workshop on Data Security Policy and Procedures to highlight the progress and challenges met to date in adopting the templates. NatureServe Canada is planning to engage with new jurisdictions in the 2022 2023 fiscal to assist them in exploring how the template policies and procedures would provide consistency and structure to the management of sensitive ecological data.
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