“I’m honoured to be the Executive Director of Code for Canada and to be working with such an outstanding team. Our programs represent our best effort to bridge the disparate and challenging needs of governments, communities and technology designers. We’ve learned so much in our first year, and I’m excited to continue learning and to adapt Code for Canada’s programs as we grow.”
– Gabe Sawhney
Co-founder and Executive Director of Code for Canada
The first 18 months of Code for Canada have been a period of intense growth and learning for our small, but mighty organization. In 2019, we’re committed to taking those learnings and using them to evolve and improve our programs.
We know the fellowship can be a powerful tool for accelerating digital transformation at every level of government in Canada. Moving forward, we’re confident we can refine how we recruit, train and support fellows. We’re also poised to grow the fellowship program, both in terms of the number of government partners and projects, and the program’s reach across Canada.
We’re looking forward to the new apps, services and products fellows will build and we’re keen to share substantive case studies of their impact inside and outside of government.
One of the highlights of our year was meeting civic tech leaders from communities across Canada. In 2019, we’ll continue to learn about the challenges they face and how we can better support them, whether they’re organizers looking to start a civic tech group in their city, or entrepreneurs with a great idea for a Canadian civic tech company.
We see the need for programming that connects government innovators with each other and with the broader civic innovation community. We launched Civic Hall Toronto as a way to foster those connections in the Greater Toronto Area, and turn them into collaborations. With 13 government teams signed on to the program, membership has exceeded our expectations. In 2019 we’ll expand our programming to align with our members’ needs and the larger community’s needs.
We’re also excited to pilot a new civic usability testing program in 2019. Inspired by the work of the Smart Chicago Collaborative (now the City Tech Collaborative), GRIT (Gathering Residents to Improve Technology) Toronto will enable residents to weigh in on new technology products that impact them and provide local startups, governments and civic tech practitioners with access to usability testing that’s more inclusive and representative of the city’s diversity.
Overall, we’ve set an ambitious goal for 2019: to simultaneously focus on what works while continuing to prototype and test new ways to increase our efficacy and impact. We also pledge to continue sharing our progress and our learnings with you as we move forward.
Thank you for being a part of our first year (and a half), and for reading our first annual report. We hope you’re as excited about Code for Canada’s next year as we are, and we look forward to working with you to further the civic tech movement in our country.