Open DATA FOR ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES INITIATIVE

The World Council on City Data (WCCD) is leading the implementation of the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative. The WCCD is a global hub for creative learning partnerships across cities, international organizations, corporate partners, and academia positioned to further innovation, envision alternative futures, and build better and more livable cities. Established in 2014, the WCCD hosts a network of innovative cities committed to improving services and quality of life and provides a consistent and comprehensive platform for standardized urban metrics.

The WCCD is currently leading global and local implementation of ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life, a comprehensive set of 100 standardized indicators across 17 themes that enables any city, of any size, to assess city performance and measure progress over time.

The WCCD, along with its sister organization, the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto, has a history of working with municipalities in creating globally standardized city indicators, ISO 37120 data collection and certification, developing and maintaining web-based data portals, training and capacity development in municipal data collection and management, and delivering high quality analysis to inform policy at municipal, provincial and national levels.

While the WCCD is a global organization, it is very much a ‘made in Ontario’ initiative, building on 10 years of work at the Global Cities Institute with long-standing support from the Province of Ontario. The Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative represents the exciting next chapter in the partnership with the Province.

Municipal Outreach 

Engaging with Ontario Municipalities – as the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Initiative – is a core element of the Initiative and provides the main mechanism for building data capacity.

A first major milestone was the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Roundtable jointly hosted by the City of Vaughan. Learn more about this first meeting through the video, below. 

This Roundtable – jointly hosted by the WCCD and the City of Vaughan – focused on briefing a group of Ontario Municipalities on the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative, and the growing opportunities and benefits of standardized open data for Ontario Municipalities. The Roundtable invitees were from the Strategic Initiatives Group – a network of municipal representatives from the GTA and across Ontario working on strategic planning and policy (including two representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs).

In addition to presentations by the WCCD, the Roundtable featured the following speakers/presenters:

·       City of Vaughan – Christina Bruce, Senior Manager of Strategic Planning

·       City of Cambridge – Brooke Lambert, Director of Corporate Strategy

·       Toronto Global – Toby Lennox, President and Chief Executive Officer

·       Toronto Region Board of Trade – Natasha Apollonova, Assistant Vice President, Policy

The Roundtable was very well attended with 35 participants and brought together representatives from  17 Ontario municipalities (Barrie, Brampton, Cambridge, Guelph, London, Markham, Mississauga, Toronto, Vaughan, Aurora, Halton Hills, Newmarket, Oakville, Durham Region, Halton Region, Niagara Region, and York Region).

The key outcomes for participants were as follows:

  • Raised awareness about the Open Data for Ontario Municipalities Initiative and the opportunities for engagement for municipalities.
  • Discussed key uses of standardized data in Ontario and globally across four key themes: sustainability (including the UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs), investability (Building an Investable Cities Index with this data), resilience (development of new standardized indicators for resilient cities) and the emerging smart agendas (at city, provincial and federal levels).
  • Provided more detailed understanding of the emerging role of standardized and open municipal data in Federal and Provincial Programs focused on infrastructure investment and smart cities.
  •  Provided the opportunity to learn about the value and benefits of building the standardized indicator set and WCCD ISO 37120 Certification from existing WCCD member cities.
  • Provided a briefing on how the WCCD is pre-collecting and automating data collection from regional, provincial and national data sources, to make it easier for Ontario Municipalities to compile and openly report data.
  • Obtained perspectives from the municipal representatives on the key needs and support requirements for their municipality in implementing its open data agenda to further inform the development of the capacity support activities for the Initiative.

How your municipality can get involved?

There are a number of ways that Ontario municipalities can get involved – please contact info@dataforcities.org to find out more.

Opportunities include:

·       Joining a rapidly growing number of municipalities in Ontario and across Canada pursuing WCCD ISO 37120 Certification

·       Participating in an Initiative Roundtable or Workshop

·       See the stories of how other cities are using open standardized data (refer to 3-pagers)

In the near future, please also watch for:

·       A new open data platform presenting pre-collected ISO 37120 City Data for Ontario municipalities

·       A new report showcasing the standardized data of Ontario Municipalities