ATIP request for Homeless Individuals and Families. Information System (HIFIS) software

I made an Access to Information request from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) for the software they are using for the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System.

Documentation and software source code for the Homeless Individuals and Families. Information System (HIFIS). As this software is authored by the Government of Canada, and software is defined as a literary work by the Copyright act, this information should be as accessible to Canadians as any other literary works created by the Government of Canada.

Documentation for the file format used to report to Statistics Canada should also be disclosed.

Please make information available on a CD, as has been done with other ATiP requests I have done from other departments.

This software is being used as an example of government authored software that automates government policy. The software has policy implications related to housing and privacy, making accountability and transparency of this "code is law" policy important.

Once it is demonstrated that software is as available to the Canadian public via ATiP requests as other literary works authored by the Canadian Government, we can then move forward to request and publicly publish this software. In the longer term the government will find that far less resources are spent, and far more benefit is received, by pro-actively releasing all government owned software via a publicly managed source repository under a public (FLOSS) license.

Current versions of HIFIS also demand that agencies using the software are Microsoft Windows customers (Software only runs on Windows 98/2000/XP), so a port of HIFIS to publicly licensed environments such as GNU/Linux, BSD, and Darwin (MacOS-X's underlying Operating System) would be very appropriate.