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Open North on the road!

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Open North was in Toronto last week to present at two exciting events, and we want to share our experiences with you. Ellie Marshall, our communications coordinator, spoke about our work in the open government sector on Monday at the Gov 2.0 YYZ meetup at City Hall and on Thursday at the Public Engagement and Consultation Summit.

The speakers of the GOV 2.0 Meetup

Richard Pietro and Anita Chauhan of Citizen Bridge organized a Gov 2.0 YYZ meetup on the subject of civic tech and its potential in Canada. We were joined by the team from Citizen Center, Joey Coleman of Open Hamilton, Christian Contreras of Next Parliament, Hussain Saleem of the Rocket Man iOS app, and Jury Konga, who’s presented to governments on multiple occassions on the opportunities of open data.

In his presentation, Konga explained that open data projects that try to make decision-making processes more transparent and participatory are particularly helpful in making governments understand the importance of open data. Konga described how our community can affect a change in thinking throughout government with the tools we create.

Among other fantastic projects presented that evening, Saleem’s Rocket Man app demonstrated the impact open data can have on public services like transportation when the right dataset, such as the TTC’s Next Vehicle Arrival System, is released to the public.

At the Public Engagament and Consultation Summit, Ellie presented as a part of the panel for “Implementing Meaningful Citizen Engagement Under Time and Resource Constraints”. Alongside case studies from the Canadian Transportation Agency and the IEFH, we demonstrated the cost and time effectiveness of online consultation through our experience running Citizen Budget in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough of Montreal. Citizen Budget was well received by conference attendees as a concrete example of an innovative tool to help government communications departments create meaningful engagement under tight constraints. Throughout the conference, speakers reiterated the importance of asking good questions and being good listeners. You can view our presentation on SlideShare.

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