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  • Writer's pictureKelsie Papenhausen

‘Zero-Copy Integration’ Innovation Framework Published as National Standard of Canada

Pioneering standard eliminates data integration and data silos from digital innovation projects to radically improve data ownership, data collaboration, and IT efficiency

Ottawa, Canada (February 8, 2023) - The Digital Governance Council (formerly the CIO Strategy Council) and Data Collaboration Alliance today announced that CAN/CIOSC 100-9, Data governance – Part 9: Zero-Copy Integration, a national standard approved by the Standards Council of Canada, has been published for open access by the public.

The new standard provides organizations with a framework to accelerate the delivery of digital innovation projects – including applications, automations, AI/ML, and analytics – while navigating increasingly strict data protection regulations, such as Canada’s proposed Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), as well as the escalating risk and inefficiency associated with data silos and copy-based data integration.

“By eliminating silos and copies from new digital solutions, Zero-Copy Integration offers great potential in public health, social research, open banking, and sustainability,” said Keith Jansa, CEO at the Digital Governance Council. “These are among the many areas in which essential collaboration has been constrained by the lack of meaningful control associated with traditional approaches to data sharing.”

The Honourable Colin Deacon, Senator for Nova Scotia, added: “Meaningful control of data – who can access it, how it can be used, and even the ability to correct or delete it – grants individuals and organizations real agency and increases trust and participation in the digital ecosystem. Globally, data protection standards and legislation are already moving in this direction. By combining greater control of data with more efficient development of digital solutions, the Zero-Copy Integration standard represents a significant step towards Canada's prosperity in the digital age.”

“Standards play a key role in determining how we structure, secure and govern data,” said Chantal Guay, CEO at the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). “Through our Innovation Initiative, we have worked tirelessly to advise and foster the right conditions for Canadian innovators like the Data Collaboration Alliance to advance their ideas. We are encouraged to see solutions that support and build on Canada's commitment to innovation in the digital space for a stronger and more competitive Canada.”

Decouples data from applications

Zero-Copy Integration establishes core principles by which CTO, CIOs, data architects, and application developers can establish digital innovation projects defined by increased control, efficiency, and collaboration:

● Data management via shared data architecture, not app-specific database silos

● Data sharing via access-based data collaboration, not copy-based data integration

● Data protection via universal access controls set in data layer, not in app-specific code

● Data governance via data products and federated stewardship, not centralized teams

● Prioritization of ‘data-centricity’ and active metadata over complex code

● Prioritization of solution modularity over monolithic design

Dan DeMers, CEO of dataware company Cinchy and Technical Committee member for the standard stated: “With Zero-Copy Integration, organizations can achieve a powerful combination of digital outcomes that have always been elusive: Meaningful control for data owners, accelerated delivery times for developers, and simplified data compliance for organizations. And of course, this is just the beginning–we believe this opens the door to far greater innovation in many other areas.”

Iterative approach to digital transformation

By focusing on new digital solutions, Zero-Copy Integration supports a project-by-project approach to steadily reduce an organization’s data silos, data integration, and complex code, and thereby avoids the shortcomings of ‘rip and replace’ approaches that fail to accommodate pre-existing digital solutions and IT investments.

Viable projects for Zero-Copy Integration include the development of new applications, predictive analytics, digital twins, customer 360 views, AI/ML operationalization, and workflow automations as well as legacy system modernization and SaaS application enrichment.

The Digital Governance Standards Institute is currently developing plans for the advancement of Zero-Copy Integration within international standards organizations.

More information

To access the Zero-Copy Integration standard, visit the Digital Governance Standards Institute website.

RSVP for a free information session taking place on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 11 AM ET on LinkedIn.

About Digital Governance Council

The Digital Governance Council is a member-driven organization that acts as a cross-sector neutral convener for Canada’s executive leaders to identify, prioritize and act on digital governance opportunities and challenges. The Council leads an Executive Forum for council members, sets technology governance standards through the Digital Governance Standards Institute and certifies the compliance of Canadian organizations in the management of the effective and efficient use of digital technologies. To learn more about the organization and its initiatives, visit or contact

About Digital Governance Standards Institute

The Digital Governance Standards Institute develops digital technology governance standards fit for global use. The Institute works with experts, as well as national and global partners and the public to develop national standards that reduce risk to Canadians and Canadian organizations adopting and using innovative digital technologies in today’s digital economy. The Institute is an independent division of the Digital Governance Council. To learn more about the organization and its initiatives, visit or contact

About Data Collaboration Alliance

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to establishing control as the foundation of meaningful data ownership and frictionless digital innovation. Our approach of protecting the value of data by reducing (and ultimately eliminating) copies is similar to how societies already protect currency, identity, and intellectual property - and it works for data, too. In concert with our partners, we operate the Collaboration Hub which hosts data crowdsourcing projects and a growing marketplace of free anonymous apps built using the pioneering Zero-Copy Integration framework. Our advisors include the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation and the ex-CIO of Dropbox. Our rallying call is #AccessNotCopies. Visit or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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