Community Data Program OGP Submitted Letter


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Community Data Program OGP Submitted Letter

  1. 1. Peggy TaillonPresident and CEOCanadian Council on Social DevelopmentCommunity Data ProgramP.O. Box 13713Kanata, ON K2K 1X6Canada+1-613.236.8977 Ext. 1taillon@ccsd.caWebsite: Date: February 6, 2012 Community Data Program Civil Society Participation April 2012 OGP Annual Meeting Cover LetterDear Open Government Partnership;The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) would like to advance HarveyLow, its Toronto Consortium Lead for the Community Data Program (CDP) and afounding and active member of Community Data Canada (CDC), as the civil societyrepresentative for Canada at the Open Government Partnership Annual Meetings inBrazil. Harvey has been actively engaged in the open government field as anexperienced leader in Canadian municipal and non-profit sectors for over two decades.He has been instrumental at strengthening the social, environmental and planningcapacity of civil society organizations to be actively engaged participants in evidencebased planning in the City or Toronto and nationally with the CDP, CDC and theFederation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).Harvey, as an open government and data access and use advocate would be an excellentcontributor in the OGP thematic discussions and would provide valuable input frommultiple sectors (e.g., health, social, cultural, urban planning, and environment) intoOGP’s overall strategic vision for the future. Furthermore, as a recognized leader in thisarea, he is able and committed to bringing the outcomes of those discussions back toCanada and infuse them into the operations of civil society organizations and publicsector institutions across many sectors. He will also solicit input from organizations inCanada on what they would like to have said in Brazil.He has been active as a champion in the development and evolution of Toronto’s opendata initiatives, brokered numerous local data sharing agreements, and presented on thetopic in the community and nationally. Harvey is currently a key representative on theCity of Toronto’s new Open Government Committee – an internal committeeestablished to promote transparency, accountability and accessibility of good 1
  2. 2. governance. He has also served on numerous city and inter-governmental Task Forces,as a key researcher developing approaches and translating data into effective programand service interventions.To date open government discussions have not included perspectives from grass rootsand thematic public sector data and information users, producers, and those activelyinvolved in deliberating with government. The discussion to date has primarily beenwithin CIO and IT sectors. Harvey with his experience at facilitating collaborativeaccess to, the sharing and visualization of government and private sector data tofacilitate collective research to inform public policy, would be an asset and could infusethe discussions with a new and unique perspective from a well-established opengovernment and open data community of practice.The Community Data Program & Community Data CanadaThe Community Data Program (CDP) is a flagship program of the Canadian Council onSocial Development (CCSD) developed in the mid-1990s as a gateway for municipalitiesand community sector organizations to access public data and other private and non-profit sector data providers to monitor and report on social and economic developmenttrends within their communities. The CDP is a national network of 21 community dataconsortia present in most big Canadian cities. Members include more than 50municipalities and 1000+ users, including local police, social planning councils, healthand family service agencies, school boards, United Ways and other organizationsworking in the fields of public policy.The three core purposes to the CDP are to: purchase, facilitate and negotiate access topublic data, exchange knowledge and train organizations to analyze community dataand use it for better decision making and to communicate and disseminate the results aswidely as possible. The Toronto Consortium, under Harvey’s leadership includes 27civil society organizations in areas of public health, social services, urban planning, andphilanthropy to name a few. The 150 individual members of the Toronto consortium arestatisticians, demographers, researchers, planners, public officials and thematic dataexperts who meet in person and on-line on an ongoing basis to share best practices,expertise, build products and use those products to inform public policy on a number ofissues.For example, data from the CDP are now being used as a resource for doctors to betterunderstand the communities in which their clients reside; as the basis to createsophisticated place-based neighbourhood monitoring tools for local decision-makers;and as an information resource by the private sector in the development of newinnovative mapping tools to name a few. More examples of how government and othersectors have been engaged in open dialogue on a number public policy issues can befound on the CDP website. 2
  3. 3. The CDP recognizes that not all data users and information product producers areengineers and new media experts and has for close to three decades been engaged inbridging technology, media and data expertise while also building grassroots capacity toaccess and use data and government information in new innovative ways. It has createda new systematic way of accessing and analysing information across sectors in order tobetter understand urban issues from multiple perspectives. For 25 years the CDP hasactively been engaged in open government and advocating for more data andinformation sharing, but also in helping government be more open and transparentregarding public policy decision making.The CCSD is a registered not for profit and charitable organization that has for morethan 90 years been a key proponent of “unconventional” policies and programs thatCanadians now consider essential: Old Age Pension program, UnemploymentInsurance, the National Child Benefit and tax credits for the working poor to name a fewof the programs that represent the core values of Canadians. Also, the CCSD with theCDP and ethno cultural visible minority organizations in Canada has led the charge onthe issue of the cancellation of the Canadian Census creating a coalition of close to 500data using and producing agencies ( and is the keyapplicant to a Federal Court challenge entitled the Equal Right to Be Countedadvocating for the reinstatement of a set of identity based questions into the officialcensus.Furthermore, the CCSD established the Community Data Canada (CDC) which is thefirst working group comprised of key federal, provincial, municipal and civil societyorganizations as a permanent collaborative forum in support of improved access to anduse of small area data for decision making. To date CCSD with the Federation ofCanadian Municipalities (FCM), three multi-sector roundtables have been convenedwith more than 100 pan Canadian multi-sector members on issues pertaining to opengovernment; evidence based decision-making capacity building and public participationdeliberations on public policy.Member of the CCSD have also been invited to speak at Federal House of CommonsCommittees on issues pertaining to the census, open government and open data, havesubmitted reports to the two recent open government consultations, the latest will beused to inform the OGP meetings in Brazil, and had the highest number of public votesin two submissions to the previous Industry Canada Digital Economy Consultations.They have also participated in consultations regarding the archiving and preservation ofscientific data and research data. They have been invited to speak at Open Access Weekevents, the Canadian Library Association, and a number of open governmentconferences organized by legal IT and open source communities on issues pertaining toopen government and open data, and have advised Canadian Open Data cities on topicsof licensing, the development of common practices and app contest judging. 3
  4. 4. It is the view of the CDP; open data should also encompass the philosophies of OpenGovernment and Open Analysis. In other words, OD should not only be about "free andopen data", but also about a cultural shift among public, non-government and theprivate sector, to provide and work (where opportunities arise) collaboratively tounderstand how such data can be transformed into knowledge and processes to betterinform social and economic issues. The CDP and CDC have opened governmentchannels to be more receptive to not only sharing but also collaborating and partneringwith new sectors on a variety of public policy issues. As such, it is hoped thatrepresentation internationally in the dialogue of open government can include differentperspectives beyond only data, IT and new media perspective.Philosophies & Approaches towards Open GovernmentThe benefits of open data and open government for the development/hacker and newmedia community were the first and obvious ones. However, the benefits to communitydevelopment, citizen engagement in the broader goals of social inclusion, economicdevelopment, and urban, environmental planning and hard infrastructural planninghave been less evident and less discussed. It is one thing to improve access to busschedules and quite another to have open and engaged discussions on issues related tothe delivery and access to transit. It is this aspect the CDP brings to open governmentdiscussions, its experience in working on real public policy issues in an ongoing andsustainable way using public data and working with citizens to deliberate in transit,social and environmental committees to name a few. The rapprochement betweengovernment and citizen has been the main focus of the CDP and the CDC. This work hasbeen national in scope but grounded in informed decision making and public policydeliberations locally.Harvey Low has been a participant, partner, and leader at Canadian scale with theCCSD, CDP, CDC and the FCM and locally at the City of Toronto by negotiating data useand access agreements, building civil society and community capacity to engage ingovernment deliberations with the use of public data and at facilitating collaborationamong divergent multi-sector interests in these areas. Toronto Wellbeing is a new on-line neighbourhood monitoring tool (, and an example of thekind of community of practice user centered apps Harvey has been instrumental atcreating. Launched with much media attention in July 2011, it answered the call of civilsociety groups for access to public data and information in a format they can understandand use. This product integrates data from almost every sector within local government,Federal data, and key community partners such as hospitals. Wellbeing Toronto is butone of the many open data, government and access products Harvey has inspired.Toronto Wellbeing is used by civil society organizations to inform community andgovernment deliberations on any number of issues. Also, Harvey has the diplomatic,technical, social and cultural expertise, the respect and support of his peers and the 4
  5. 5. actors he actively works with on an ongoing basis to advance and implement OGP plans,priorities and strategies in over 100 organizations across Canada while also being able torepresent the wants, needs and issues of civil society organizations on this file in Brazil.Please see Harvey’s CV for more information.The OGP Conference – Contributions, Learnings and Next Steps:Attending this conference will yield mutual opportunities for advancement of the OpenGovernment philosophy. First, we are willing to share our expertise and practices withthe OGP partners. We can offer a workshop or side event to share our work. Examplescan include presentations and demonstrations on some of the innovative approachesand applications that have been developed in Canada through the CDP, and otherexamples in government and the community. Secondly, we seek to learn from the best-practices of other representatives, particularly in the areas of civic engagement andpartnership opportunities with non-government stakeholders and the private sector.Lastly, the learnings from the conference will be brought home to explore theopportunities for more outreach and inclusive approaches. For exampleThe CCSD and the CDP will undertake a campaign to educate its members and partnersin the culture of open government as expressed by the OGP. The CCSD and CDP havebeen doing this work, but framed in the discourse of community planning. In addition,the CDP will expand its ongoing marketing of the data consortium, training of newusers, and new opportunities to integrate such data into the policy and communityplanning realm and will add the issues and priorities coming from the OGP in Brazil. InCanada, the open data and open government community and the CCSD and CDPcommunity are very different but can mutually benefit each other and it is hoped thatparticipation at the OGP in Brazil will build a bridge and foster new and meaningfulcollaborations. This will be a cultural shift for both.Website of organizations mentioned in the letter:  Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD):  Community Data Program (CDP): http://communitydata-  Toronto CDP Consortium: http://communitydata-  Community Data Canada (CDC): http://www.cdc-  Wellbeing Toronto:  Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Quality of Life Reporting System: communities.htm 5
  6. 6. CCSD and CDP Transparent governance structure:The CCSD is a registered not for profit and charitable organization. Its Board ofDirectors is listed on its website, it holds AGMs with its members, convenes quarterlyboard meetings and numerous ad hoc meetings with the Board, committees andworking groups as required. These are all public. Policy initiatives, projects andprograms are fully published on its website along with a full list of its friends andpartners.The Community Data Program (CDP) is a national consortium of local data usernetworks that provides a gateway through which municipalities and community basedorganizations access social data. A detailed description of the program is available here( ). The CDP is led by anAdvisory Committee of its members and users ( which reports to the CCSD board on anongoing basis. The CDP is also directed by the following four working groups: DataPurchase & Access; Capacity Building and Infrastructure WG; Sharing Information WGand Build and Foster Partnerships WG; which are comprised by members who have thedesire and expertise to fulfill the terms of references of these WGs( data user networks (i.e. consortia) each have their own terms of reference andways to self-organize however each has a lead who attends quarterly teleconferencemeetings and one yearly face to face meeting while working groups meet as required.Also, regional consortia hold local meetings and capacity building workshops. TheAdvisory Committee and consortia list their members, contact information, terms ofreference, and accomplishments on their own pages along with minutes and projectnotes and decisions. Finally, members are considered users, and all members areconsulted on issues related to changes to the website, for usability testing and aresurveyed during each consortia cycle to assess data use and capacity building priorities,the last survey and its results are available here ( Audited Financial Statements:All financial statements and external audits are published on the CCSD website( CCSD is a membership funded organization and receives program and projectspecific grants from government, foundations and other philanthropic organizations.The Community Data Program is funded by consortia members and an explanation of 6
  7. 7. how the fees are negotiated is available here ( Consortia also receives in-kind contributions from its members and leads andcommittee members contribute their time and expertise in-kind.Publish operational budget:The CCSD operational budget is included in its financial audits. Budgets for the CDPare discussed among leads and the Advisory committee and are published here( annual narrative and financial reports:See above.Funding Requirements:All travel, room and board. The CCSD is a not-for-Profit registered Charity organization.A CV/resume:AttachedEndorsements:Solicitation for endorsements was done by invitation to a select number of members,supporters and partners. The CDP is not a social media based organization; CDP is amember based organization of relationships and project based activities, members meetonline, in teleconferences, at round-tables and at face to face meetings. The letter wasdrafted among members of the CDP and input was provided by a number of groups andmembers:  21 jurisdictional leaders of the Community Data Program of the Canadian Council on Social Development listed here, any of them can be contacted and the contacts are listed here: http://communitydata-  Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Michael Buda, Director, Policy and Research, 24, rue Clarence Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5P3, +1 613- 907-6271,, ,The FCM founded in 1901 is the first national meeting of Canadian municipal leadersand its first political initiative was to convince the federal government to create 7
  8. 8. legislation that would give communities more control over the actions of utilitycompanies within their boundaries. The FCM today include 2000 of Canadas largestcities as well as small urban and rural communities, and 21 provincial and territorialmunicipal associations. The FCM actively advocates to have the needs of municipalities- and their citizens - reflected in federal policies and programs and ongoing programsare: Quality of Life Reporting System, Green Municipal Fund, CommunityInfrastructure partnership Program, Women in Local Government, Affordable Housing,Partners in Climate Protection, and a number of international programs.  Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), David Fewer, Director, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, 57 Louis Pasteur St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5. +1 -613-562-5800 ext.2558,, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) was established at theUniversity of Ottawa, Faculty of Law in the fall of 2003. It is the first legal clinic of itskind in Canada. CIPPICs dual mission is: to fill voids in public policy debates ontechnology law issues, ensure balance in policy and law-making processes, and providelegal assistance to under-represented organizations and individuals on mattersinvolving the intersection of law and technology; and to provide a high quality andrewarding clinical legal education experience to students of law. CIPPIC ongoingprojects are: Copyright, Privacy, Telecom Policy, Lawful Access, Open Licensing,Identity Theft and Consumer Protection.  Woodgreen Community Services, Diane Dyson, Director of Research & Public Policy, 815 Danforth Avenue, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario, M4J 1L2, 416-645-6000 x 1100,, was founded in 1937 and has grown to 25 locations throughout Toronto’sEast End. It has a staff of 500, hundreds of partner organizations and thousands ofvolunteers and serves more than 37,000 individuals and families each year.WoodGreen is a community-based agency in Toronto that provides opportunities forthousands of Torontonians. They help people find safe, affordable housing, and assistinternationally-trained professionals enter the job market. They provide parents accesschildcare, children and youth access after-school programs; help newcomers settle in toCanadian life, assist homeless and marginalized people get off the streets, help youthfind meaningful employment and training, seniors live independently, and much more.  Open North Inc., James McKinney, Executive Director, 1200 St-Alexandre, Suite 408, Montreal, QC H3B 3H5, 514-247-0223,, 8
  9. 9. Open North is a Canadian non-partisan non-profit with open source principles. Itsmission is to create web sites and services that citizens and government alike can use toengage one another, with the ambition to make democracy better in Canada. OpenNorth promotes open dialogue by offering an online budget consultation platform to allCanadian municipalities, and by running a website which helps citizens track andinteract with their local elected officials. It promotes open data through a free databaseof every electoral district and representative in Canada and through a variety of localwebsites.  Social Planning Toronto, Beth Wilson, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, 2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3, (416) 351-0095,, Planning Toronto is a non-government organization committed to independentsocial planning at local and city-wide levels to improve the quality of life for all people inToronto. It is committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active civicparticipation in all aspects of community life, through program priorities in the areas ofPolicy Research and Analysis, Community Capacity Building, Community Educationand Advocacy, and Social Reporting.  Center For Community Informatics Research, Development & Training (CIRDT) and Journal of Community Informatics, Michael Gurstein, Executive Director, and Editor in Chief of the open access,,, and Center undertakes research, development and training in support of the range ofCommunity Informatics initiatives undertaken both in Canada, South Africa andelsewhere internationally. The Center works with communities, ICT practitioners,researchers, governments and agencies as a resource for enabling and empoweringcommunities with Information and Communications Technologies.  eGovFutures Group Open by Design, Jury Konga, Principal, +1-905-640- 7377, C. +1-647-393-8045,,, eGovFutures Group is a private sector consulting group and its principal Chairs theGov 2.0 Committee of the Municipal Information Systems Association of Ontario(MISA), and is the creator and administrator at MuniGov.CA and has informed thestrategic plans of city and civil society open government and open data initiatives.  co-Authors and founding members of, Tracey P. Lauriault and Hugh McGuire, of and , 9
  10. 10. The list is the Canadian equivalent to the UK Open KnowledgeFoundation Open Government list and it was founded in 2005 as a forum forindividuals from all sectors to discuss open data and open government in Canada. blog was the first of its kind in Canada discussing issues of open data andopen government it went online in 2005 and is co-authored with Hugh McGuire thefounder of It is also one of the key resources regarding the cancellation ofthe Canadian census, open data and open government. Lauriault’s CV is available here(  City of Toronto Social Development Finance & Administration Division. Chris Brillinger, Executive Director, 100 Queen Street West 14E, Toronto, M5H-2N2, 416-392-8608. City of Torontos Social Development, Finance & Administration Division providesleadership and support to the Deputy City Manager of the Citizen Centred Services “A”Cluster and City Council to: o develop and implement a social inclusion and community safety agenda for the city o foster safe and strong neighbourhoods and communities o promote community engagement o advance life skill opportunities for youth , George Irish, shakethepillars@gmail.comGeorge Irish is an independent consultant advising non-profits and charities on usingdigital new media to engage the public for social change. He has worked with globalNGOs including Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Oxfam to further their use ofopen source technologies, such as Drupal, Plone and Wordpress for activism,fundraising and mobilization.  Geographic and Numeric Information Systems (GANIS), Ted Hildebrandt, Director of Social Planning; and founding member of the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO), ,,, 905-632-1975;GANIS was formed in 1996 to build capacity and acquire applications to conductcommunity based research using government data for community based researchorganizations in Ontario. Today, 14 Social Planning Councils in Ontario have in-houseaccess to census data, elementary mapping capabilities, applications and the capacity todo geographic and statistical analysis. GANIS researchers also pool their resources toconduct Ontario wide analysis and building the capacity of their local networks to doevidence-based decision making. 10
  11. 11.  Environics Analytics, Doug Norris, Senior Vice President and Chief Demographer55 York Street, 10th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5H 1R7,, 613-592-3402 http://www.environicsanalytics.caEnvironics Analytics is a leading Canadian geodemographics service, data andapplication developments consulting firm which also provides data and expertise forbusinesses, government, and non-government sectors. They provide research, licenseddata and systems, and develop custom business solutions.  Community Foundation of Canada, Cindy Lindsay, Director of Member Services, 519.843.6726,, Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is the national membership organizationfor Canada’s Community Foundations which is a Canadian movement for communityvitality, represented by 180 members. CFC was established in 1992 to connect andsupport this growing network of local foundations. CFC’s mission is to build strongercommunities by enhancing the philanthropic leadership of community foundations.The CFC supports established and developing CFs in their endowment building anddonor services, grant making and community leadership, and as accountable stewardsof community assets. The CFCs also produce Vital Signs which is a data intensiveindicator system for communities ( and theCFC supports fund organizations with their evidence based decision makingendeavours.  OpenConcept Consulting Inc., Mike Gifford, President,,, @mgifford, 613-3278537, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.OpenConcept in business since 1999 has broad expertise using the Drupal toolkit indeveloping dynamic, database-driven websites for a wide variety of governmentprograms and agencies, NGOs, trade unions, and socially progressive organizations inCanada and the USA. OpenConcept also devotes a portion of its time and resourcestoward environmental, educational, and social justice issues and community valuesform an important base from which it manages its activities both as individuals and as ateam.  The West End Urban Health Alliance (WEUHA), Terrie Russell, Executive Coordinator, Community Engagement Office, 416-949-2921, westendurbanhealthalliance@gmail.comThe West End Urban Health Alliance (WEUHA) represents over 25 memberorganizations - hospitals, community health centres, long term care, social service, and 11
  12. 12. palliative care agencies - that have been working in collaboration for over 20 years toidentify needs and integrate the delivery of services and high quality care to residents ofwest Toronto.  Author of and founding member of, Stéphane Guidoin, hoedic@mon-ile.netZoneCone is a grassroots initiative broadcasting road management open data (roadclosures, accidents, etc.) to help citizen avoid road congestions. The target is todemonstrate that Government Open Data can have a major impact on citizen decisionmaking in order to solve social and economic issues.  TeleCommunities Canada, Gareth Shearman, President, Canada aims to ensure that all Canadians are able to participate incommunity-based communications and electronic information services by promotingand supporting local community network initiatives also represents and promotes theCanadian community networking movement at the national and international level.Should you require any additional information please do not hesitate to communicatewith me directly.SincerelyPeggy Taillon 12