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FLOSSING - Free Libre Open Source Software IN Government

Terms of Reference

The purpose of this terms of reference document is to describe the Free Libre Open Source Software in Government Community of Practice (hereafter the 'CoP') mandate, responsibilities, and operational details.


To establish and execute a GC-wide network with the goal of enabling the awareness, discovery and creation of Open Source across the Government of Canada, including but not limited to Departments, Agencies, Provincial, Municipal, Crown Corporations and the public as a whole.

Responsibilities and Duties

The following are the primary responsibilities of the CoP:

  1. Create awareness across the GC pertaining to the current Open Source activities underway to fulfill the 'Use Open Standards and Solutions' section of the GC Digital Standards.
  2. Provide a forum to share ideas, current challenges, best practices, and lesson learned at the GC pertaining to all types of Open Source Software, and Working in the Open.
  3. Identify and launch working groups on specific GC initiatives to mature the Open Source landscape.
  4. Provide forum for industry leaders to share trends and best practices in Open Source.

Working Group Operation

Frequency and Duration

The CoP are to meet once a month. Meetings are expected to run an hour and a half, though they may end early, based on consensus of the group in any given week. Meetings as to serve as a medium for information sharing, collaboration and awareness-raising and will be held in an Open Space style.


Unless otherwise agreed, the in-person room location will be within Ottawa and set up by the secretariat. While in-person attendance is preferred where feasible, it is recognized that participants come from diverse locations across all of Canada and that not everyone will be able to attend in person. Members outside the Ottawa area and those unable to attend in person for other reasons will therefore be able to teleconference and web-ex will be provided as required.

Quorum and Decision Making

The CoP is a forum for sharing ideas and communicating across levels of Government and will not make formal decisions. Ideas and recommendations will flow out of this groups including CIOB and EARB. Consensus-based recommendations are encouraged.

The chair has the discretion to solicit the opinion of missing regular members in order to influence recommendations and will document appropriately.

Secretariat Function

The secretariat will be responsible for:

  • Organizing Meetings
  • Supporting the chair on all related tasks
  • Maintaining CoP work area for document sharing and collaboration.
  • Preparing and distributing meeting notices, agendas, and other meeting materials to all members leveraging collaboration work area and email as appropriate.
  • Bringing recommendations from the CoP to the appropriate authority.
  • Recording and disseminating Record of Discussions to all members.



Members will consist of public servants with experience, motivation and knowledge surrounding open source, as well as professionals who work in the space of open source. As this is a community of practice, membership is open and inclusive to anyone employed as a public servant across any level of Government, and professionals in the public able to meet the responsibility outlined below.


  • Should have a solid understanding of Open Source Software, and a genuine interest in improving Collaboration across Government.
  • Must be open to share experiences within the landscape of the GC.
  • Must be open to the ideas of others and able to compromise where necessary to achieve consensus on recommendations.
  • Must be able to collaborate effectively and make recommendations as a team.
  • Should be an effective communicator
  • Should be able to draw upon and assemble additional peers within their working areas to augment discussions.


Secretariat : TBS, EA Team

Chair : Open Source Advocate for Government of Canada, TBS, Vivian Nobrega


The CoP is a collaborative-focused community and has no formal decision-making authority. The CoP provides recommendations and information to the GC Enterprise Architecture Review Board.

The chair of the CoP has the authority to:

  • Set the overall direction of the group
  • Request that items/topics be brought forward at a specified date
  • Approve agendas
  • Raise issues to the appropriate authority.

Glossary of Acronyms and Terms

Provides all acronyms in full and defines all terms required to understand the Terms of Reference properly.

Acronym In Full
FLOSSING Free Libre Open Source Software in Government
EARB Enterprise Architecture Review Board
Term Definition
Free Libre Open Source Software in Government Community of Practice Non-hierarchical open inter-departmental Community of Practice that are delivery focused and centrally coordinated by TBS