The Open Source Alliance of Canada (OSACAN) organization is not only launching this week, but they've also established established a “centre of excellence” that will promote and support open source technology within the country.

In a statement, the organization said that in the past 10 years other governments, such as the United Kingdom and Asia, have striven to improve the security and suitability of and expand open source technology. In doing so, they have been able to incorporate the technology into both a public and governmental sphere, which includes websites, public data centres and defense systems.

What is OSACAN?

OSACAN is a not-for-profit organization that is made up of representatives from companies that include, Alfresco, OpenPlus, Candy Strategies Inc, Modis and Drupal. OSACAN says that with the addition of open source technology Canadians will benefit from more jobs, less money wasted and a better more solid, technology-based partnership between the government, individuals and commercial and academic organizations. Government departments, such as Statistics Canada already use open source technologies on their websites, but many other groups are still using closed source technology. By not making the switch, they can't see what impact they can make on the general public.

"We have co-founded OSACAN because we are seeing a rapid adoption of open source software in the Government of Canada. This adoption trend represents a huge cultural & technological shift.," said Mike Gifford, president of and co-founder of OSACAN. "This new Centre of Excellence will work to support institutions who want to collaborate more effectively, reduce their IT and program costs and improve the tools that benefit everyone -- inside and outside government institutions."

It's interesting to point out that Statistics Canada and Health Canada have built their websites based on the Drupal WxT platform, a distribution that builds in the bilingual and accessibility needs of Canadian governments.

Centre of Excellence 

OSACAN, with the incorporation of open source technology wants to "promote Canada as a leader in technology innovation and fast-track the delivery of essential public services,"  but with the Centre of Excellence they will educate the public, improve how well organizations work together and show how people can have a better return on their technology investments.

OSACAN ... provides a vehicle by which to engage government, help to build community, and develop the expertise of proven enterprise-level open source partners," said Robin Galipeau, president of and co-founder of the Open Source Alliance of Canada. "This Centre of Excellence and training facility will be an asset in fulfilling this mission."

The Open Source Alliance of Canada is being launched this week at Canada's Technology in Government Event (GTEC 2012) in Ottawa.