Transparency is a prerequisite to enabling evidence-informed decision-making. When the public can find the evidence underlying policy decisions, they have the opportunity to scrutinise the relationship between evidence and public policy. Without transparency, we run the risk of losing the ability for citizens to hold policy-makers accountable, further distancing the public from the policy decisions that impact their lives.
However, putting evidence at the heart of public policy is no easy feat.
Previously, in Eyes on evidence II, the authors applied a transparency framework (adapted from the United Kingdom) to assess the transparency of evidence usage in a total of 100 policies from the Government of Canada. The assessment found that policies scored low, meaning that it’s very difficult for members of the public to find the evidence behind government policy.
Now, in this study, the authors apply a transparency framework to assess the transparency of evidence usage in provincial policies issued by the governments of Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and compared transparency in policy-making across the Canadian federation.