Stories move people to action and build empathy. They allow the lessons learned by innovators to ripple outward and be used by others. And stories create a shared sense of belonging to something greater. Code for Canada is committed to telling the Canadian story of civic tech and digital government. We’ve used our platform to spotlight civic tech practitioners improving their communities and celebrate public servants striving to serve residents better.
Showcasing the civic tech movement in Canada
On August 9, 2018, over 150 government innovators and civic tech leaders gathered in Toronto for the first ever Code for Canada Showcase. The event was an illustration of the depth and breadth of Canada’s civic tech ecosystem, with Code for Canada fellows, public servants, civic tech and community organizers and civic entrepreneurs sharing the stage.
The Code for Canada Showcase began as a way for us to acknowledge the incredible work of our fellows and their government partners. But as we planned the event, we realized it could be something more: a chance to break down siloes and show government innovators and civic tech practitioners that they’re part of a larger, national community and support network. To have them see — and meet — others tackling similar challenges, and discover ways to collaborate.
So we leveraged our growing network; we arranged meetings between government partners and thought leaders attending the event, we connected aspiring civic tech organizers with established ones from other cities, and we held a pre-event social where government partners, fellows and civic tech leaders could be in the same room and engage in conversation prior to the showcase.
The result was a connected, engaged community of people, excited about a shared mission and primed to carry the momentum of the showcase forward into the future.
“Tonight’s Code for Canada Showcase reaffirmed my faith in humanity. So much great work going on in the Canadian civic tech and public sector”
– Jules Maitland
Co-founder of Civic Tech Fredericton
Attendees at the 2018 Code for Canada Showcase
Lightning talks from civic tech and digital government leaders
Our hashtag was trending on Twitter throughout the event
The depth and breadth of the national civic tech movement was on display at the Code for Canada Showcase
A platform for civic tech storytelling
Positive, solutions-based stories of technology and design being used for good — especially ones involving government — dont’ get much traction in the Canadian media. But it’s vital for those stories to be told, both to recognize the people involved and to inspire others.
So, Code for Canada decided to tell them ourselves.
Through our blog, newsletter and social media channels, we have built an audience of over 8,300 people excited to see how governments and communities in Canada are using technology and design in the public interest. Our staff surface and tell stories of civic tech groups contributing to positive change in their cities, and of the impact public servants can make for Canadians by adopting new ways of working and putting users first.
Code for Canada’s audience across all social media and newsletter platforms
The number of views on a guest post by Michael Karlin about the ethical use of AI in the Government of Canada
The number of people who read our blog post introducing the first Code for Canada fellows
Press coverage of civic tech and Code for Canada
We have also leveraged Code for Canada’s brand and visibility to draw mainstream media attention to the positive impacts civic tech is delivering for Canadians.
- CBC: Government isn’t a tech startup — but it’s trying to learn to code like one
- Toronto Star: Ontario launches ‘Code for Canada’ organization to help improve services
- TechVibes: Toronto Pushes for Innovation with New Open Data Portal and Civic Hall
- CBC: Need to report a problem parking your bike? There’s an app for that
- NOW Magazine: How Code for Canada is bringing innovation to government
- BetaKit: Code for Canada wants tech and gov’t to build better public services together
- Policy Options: Putting the ‘public’ in public servant
- Toronto Star: City tries to sort out the trash from the recycling