(Note this project description is still in DRAFT form: pls edit as you see fit).
Note above / below letter:
Blurb describing Free the postal codes campaign with:
We are seeking support for this demand from:
In order to vote you need to know who you can vote for. To know who your representatives or candidates are you need to know your electoral district.
The Canadian government has a database that links postal codes to electoral districts. At least four government websites provide a function to search this information: electionscanada.ca, canadapost.ca, statscanada.ca, and parl.gc.ca. Also, for the last federal election each political party had on its website a way to find out who your MP was based on your postal code. This database connecting postal codes to electoral districts is a fundamental building block for democratic tools. Because of it's usefulness, the government makes the entire database available. Unfortunately it is only available at significant cost, $2,900 initially plus $500 for updates. And further, the database license restricts how the information in the database can be used and disseminated.
This basic information about our democracy should be a tool for citizens, citizen groups, and non-profits. However, although the cost is well within the budget of marketing companies and real-estate developers, it is prohibitive for most citizens and citizen groups. The prohibitive fees for accessing this data have the of effect of stifling development of democratic tools and dialogue, limiting advances to those made by government agencies and organisations with deep pockets.
At a time when governments are searching for ways to increase voter engagement and spending large sums of money on stakeholder consultation, the opening up of this electoral district data is an obvious, straightforward way to advance citizen engagement with the political system.
CivicAccess.ca believes that postal code/electoral district data should be made freely available, without restriction to all Canadians. Making this data freely available in an open format is an effective, low cost way to increase participation in our democratic process.
What is your position on this matter?
I look forward to your reply, and am available to meet with you or discuss if needed.
A sample letter has been made available on the Digital Copyright Canada site.
In order to get an access to postal codes, a mail was also sent to Natural Resources Canada thanks to the Information Act. Here is the letter (in french, too lazy to translate ;)
Ressources Naturelles Canada
601, rue Booth, pièce 350
Ottawa (Ontario) CANADA
Objet : Demande d'accès à l'information
En vertu de l'article 12 de la Loi Canadienne sur l'Accès à l'Information, je souhaiterais obtenir la divulgation de la liste intégrale de tous les codes postaux utilisés au Canada ainsi que les coordonnées géographiques et les circoncriptions électorales fédérales correspondantes.
Étant donné le volume de données représenté, la communication pourra se faire sous format électronique, en anglais ou en français.