Why Code for Canada?

We believe in a more prosperous, sustainable, and equitable Canada, driven by improved policy and citizen engagement, and enabled through civic tech and design.

We’re proud to call Canada home. But we’re not naive to the collective challenges we face. If we wish to build a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable Canada, then we must confront and address challenges like inequality, exclusion and discrimination, polarization in our discourse, and a growing cynicism directed at our public institutions.

 

We also don’t naively believe that technology is a panacea for these problems. But when tech is built in the right way, using methods that put people and users at the centre of the process, it can help to make life easier and better for people. We’re confident that new and emerging technologies have a part to play in solving Canada’s most pressing challenges. And we believe the best way to do so is to bring proven digital methods into government.

 

Government is the mechanism we’ve created to address our collective challenges. It belongs to, and serves, all of us. It can be an incredibly large and powerful lever to impact people’s lives at scale. By building government’s capacity to use digital tools and work in digital ways, Code for Canada is helping the public service respond to residents’ raised expectations.

 

In addition to better enabling government to serve people, new technologies create opportunities for people to help government. By supporting Canada’s civic tech ecosystem, Code for Canada is helping (re)connect residents with their governments, helping them to better understand and engage with their governments, and creating new pathways for them to shape public policy and programs.

Code for Canada’s efforts are divided across three, interrelated pillars, each of which contributes to connecting government innovators with Canada’s tech and design community, and to helping them collaborate to address our country’s collective challenges.

Enabling Governments

Accelerating digital transformation in the public sector
  • Increasing public servants’ comfort and familiarity with the tools and processes of modern software development (including agile development, user research and experience, human-centred design and analytics), as well as the legal, regulatory and ethical dimensions of technology and data

 

  • Providing senior leaders in the public sector with a high-level understanding of how government teams have successfully used digital tools and processes to more effectively deliver on their mandates

 

  • Helping government teams attract and retain more people with modern digital skills, by offering a working environment and culture that aligns their needs and expectations, and by demonstrating the positive impact you can make working in the public sector

Empowering Communities

Growing the national civic tech ecosystem from the bottom up
  • Supporting the formation and growth of civic tech communities in cities across Canada, so residents can co-create tech and design solutions to issues that matter to them

 

  • Encouraging a diversity of residents to come together to learn about the complexity of civic and social challenges, government’s function and role, and the limits of tech, data and design-based solutions

 

  • Creating opportunities for intentional collaboration between government, nonprofits and civic technologists and designers

Amplifying Success

Documenting and sharing the Canadian civic tech story
  • Showcasing the successes and learnings of government, community and industry initiatives that use tech and design for good

 

  • Making it easier and faster for practitioners to learn from each other’s successes by working in the open

 

  • Providing rigourous and engaging analysis of civic tech and digital government initiatives
In 2017-2018, we launched four programs to help us start moving the dial on our mission:

The Fellowship Program: embedding teams of three digital experts into government, where they work alongside staff to deliver a new digital government product and service and share their tools and processes with their government colleagues.

The Civic Tech Community Network: supporting and connecting community organizers in cities across Canada, to help get residents engaged in civic tech by learning and building together.

Our Education and Training Program: workshops, curriculum and courses that help public servants and residents learn to apply the methods of digital and civic tech to the challenges they’re working on.

Civic Hall Toronto: a hub for cross-sectoral learning, relationship-building and collaboration, focused on civic innovation, civic tech and digital government at the municipal level.