It is recommended to publish data under an Open Government Licence whereever possible, as it is much more permissive.

This document is intended for B.C Government employees to apply for our open data licence for datasets under their custody or control.

Broader Public Sector (BPS) agencies are required to create their own licence but are welcome to publish data in the B.C Data Catalogue (BCDC).

Data Custodians Data Publishers

Table of Contents

Review relevant policy documents

Review the Open Data Policy

The Open Information and Open Data Policy was published in July 2011. Although many of its visions have been fulfilled since its publication, the policy document has not been updated to reflect the changing reality.

  • You are welcome to review the policy before starting the process.

Review if your data is also Open Information

Your data could have an Open Information component in it. To learn more, visit the B.C Government Open information page.

To search Freedom of Information requests, visit the Government Information Catalogue and see what is already listed.

Review The Open Government License - British Columbia

Review the Open Government Licence - British Columbia (OGL-BC) to ensure the licence is correct for the business and data needs.

Ensure the data is in an Open Format

Data can be released in multiple formats, but at least one must be in an open format, e.g.,

For guidelines on open format, go to open format file content.

B.C Data Catalogue Metadata Records

All datasets under the OGL-BC require a metadata record in the B.C Data Catalogue (BCDC).

Fields in B.C Data Catalogue comply with the 3.11 Core Administrative and Descriptive Metadata Standards and Guidelines

Regardless if a dataset is under the OGL, any B.C Government or Broader Public Sector (BPS) dataset can be published in the BCDC.

To activate your account and publish metadata records, follow the BCDC documentation and the Where to Start.


Complete and submit the Open Data Assessment and Checklist

The Open Data Assessment and Checklist must be completed and the appropriate people contacted before your data is approved for publishing.

The checklist ensures your data satisfies the following requirements:


Consult your Ministry Privacy Officer to ensure that your data contains no personal information.

You can find your Privacy Officer in the Ministry Privacy Officer Directory


Contact the Intellectual Properties Office ( regarding the data, and they will ask for a copy.

  • It is highly recommended to send them the data in a format they can open, like CSV or XLSX.
  • If the data is too large, a smaller subset of the data representative of the original file can also be provided.

Depending on your data, the Intellectual Properties Office may ask the following questions:

Data Creation:

  1. Has the dataset been created solely by B.C government employees?
  2. If no, was the dataset created by:
    • Contractors on behalf of the government (in which case we would need to review the contract); or
    • Another third party (we would need to know the terms under which the province can use the created dataset).

Data Origin:

  1. Is the data contained in the dataset B.C government-owned data?
  2. Is the data (or any of the data) derived from a third-party source? Broader public sectors such as crown corporations, health authorities and public post-secondary institutions are external to core government and separate legal entities for copyright ownership.
  3. If the data is third-party sourced:
    • Does the dataset comprise a direct reproduction of a sizable proportion of data in the same organized structure as the source?
    • Has the source data been further manipulated (mathematical computation run to create new numbers, been reformatted into different columns/rows, etc.)?

Restrictions of Use:

  1. Did the province gain access to the data under a contractual arrangement that may restrict further distribution and licensing to third parties?
  2. Has the data been exclusively licensed to a third party (precluding the province from being able to license the data to others, including under the OGL-BC)?
  1. Is the public release and use of the Data permitted under law, contract or policy? (e.g., have you ensured that there are no relevant legal, contractual or policy restrictions or limitations)

    Security Control

  2. Have you contacted your Ministry Information Security Officer (MISO) to ensure that all necessary security controls have been implemented?
    • A Ministry MISO may also have its own set of questions.
  3. Has the material been labelled as ‘Public’ using the Information Security Classification Framework?

Pricing Framework

  1. Is the Data available to the public without collecting a fee?
  2. If a fee is required, does the program area have the authority to waive any fees associated with releasing the Data?

Data Sources

  1. Does your ministry have primary responsibility for the Data? i.e. assigned Data Custodian
  2. Is the Data complete (i.e., a subset of the Data has not been excluded)?
  3. Can the Data be provided in a machine-processable format (e.g., CSV)? Ref. the Open Data Physical Format Standard.



Signatures are required from the following:

  1. The Data Custodian
  2. The Custodial organization’s Deputy Minister or designated alternate.

Accepted signatures can be by signing and scanning the Open Data Assessment and Checklist or from an e-approval process the ministry has in place.

Review with the Ministry Government Communication Officer

We recommend working with your Government Communication Officer around releasing a dataset under this licence.

Submit your Assessment and Checklist

Submit your completed form and questions to the DataBC Program Services Team member you are working with regarding publishing data. Or submit your checklist through the Data Systems & Services request system -> Share Data under Open Data License.

If you haven’t started this process, please open a ticket with the Data Systems & Services request system -> Share New Data.


Data should be continually updated and maintained. The life cycle of a dataset may also include retirement and archiving.