One-to-One Advisory Service for Open Smart Cities and Communities

OpenNorth is the lead technical partner of the Community Solutions Network and is responsible for the One-to-One Advisory Service. The Advisory Service operationalizes the Open Smart Cities definition developed by OpenNorth in 2018.

The Community Solutions Network:

  1. Makes information about smart cities issues and approaches available and accessible to everyone, providing advice and sharing knowledge and best practice related to complex emerging smart cities issues and experiences in Canada, and around the world; and
  2. Helps communities talk to the right people and find the right partners within existing networks or creating new ones, to facilitate connections and conduct active matchmaking between communities and stakeholders across all sectors.

Approach and Audience

We have broken down our approach into two major dimensions: domains and principles.

  1. Domains (and sub-domains) reflect the substantive matter of the smart city, including governance, people and engagement, data, and software and hardware.
  2. Principles (and sub-principles) reflect the lens through which the components of the smart city are viewed, including openness, accountability, control, and innovation.

At no cost to the community, the One-to-One Advisory Service offers basic and advanced courses online, guidelines, templates, as well as personalized guidance from leading advisors on a range of open smart cities and relevant topics, including open standards in procurement, implementing a privacy policy, approaches to data & tech literacy, developing ethical guidelines on artificial intelligence, and building awareness of indigenous data sovereignty, and much more.

The intended audiences of the Advisory Service are elected officials, high level decision makers, and technical leads within cities and communities.

Intake Process

Engaging with the One-to-One Advisory Service team follows a series simple steps:

  1. A community undergoes a needs assessment interview to gather data on its specific needs and challenges;
  2. The community completes a diagnostic self-assessment questionnaire to capture community-level capacities on a range of Open Smart Cities topics;
  3. A validation interview is carried out with the One-to-One Advisory Service team to ensure the community’s needs and priorities are clear;
  4. Lastly, a tailored Capacity-building Action Plan (CAP) is created, which summarizes all findings and identifies a specific and critical activity to develop in order to achieve a short-term, impactful action. The CAP outline a customized learning pathway.

The One-to-One Advisory Service is designed as a structured process that consists of a tailored needs assessment, capacity-building action plan, and service delivery.

Communities across all regions are currently being invited to apply and confirm their eligibility to the Advisory Service. To do so, you may contact Robin Buxton Potts for more information: ( | 416-596-1495 ext.320).

Open Smart Cities Advisors

Nasma Ahmed

Open Smart Cities Advisor


Nasma is the Director of the Digital Justice Lab, whose mission is to build towards a more just and equitable digital future. She has experience working alongside the public service and the non-profit sector, focusing on technology capacity building. In 2017 she was an Open Web Fellow with Mozilla and Ford Foundation.

Ana Brandusescu

Open Smart City Advisor

[Hardware and Software]

Ana Brandusescu is a researcher, advisor, and facilitator who works on a more inclusive, responsible, and strategic use of data and tech policy. She has authored blogs, reports, and book chapters on open data, data measurement, artificial intelligence, gender equity, crisis mapping and community development.

Pierre-Antoine Ferron

Open Smart Cities Advisor


Pierre-Antoine Ferron has had a 30-year career as a civil servant at the City of Montréal where, for the past five years, he coordinated the adoption of all major IT policies, public and internal, such as their Smart City strategy, IT Procurement policy, and Open Data and Open Source policy.

Kit Malo

Program Consultant

[Indigenous Communities]

Kit Malo is an organizational consultant with 20+ years in the non-profit and community sectors, whose focus is on decolonizing workplaces with the aim to bring greater balance and well-being to organizational life.

Geoff Zakaib

Open Smart City Advisor

[People & Engagement]

Geoff Zakaib is an information management consultant and has been involved in a variety of ‘technology for good’ initiatives that span the public, private and nonprofit/social sectors. He is a Director of Data for Good,the co-founder of CivicTechYYC, and the Executive Director of Open Calgary.

David Fewer

Open Smart Cities Advisor


David is an intellectual property and technology lawyer, and brings two decades of practice experience to his work on municipal technology. He is General Counsel of the University of Ottawa’s public interest technology law clinic, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). Prior to joining CIPPIC, Mr. Fewer practised intellectual property and technology law with national firms in British Columbia and Ontario.

Catherine Roy

Open Smart City Advisor

[People & Engagement]

Catherine has worked for 20 years on access and inclusion to the knowledge society, coordinating research projects and initiatives, presenting at conferences, and writing about access to information technologies for people with disabilities. She has also served on many committees and boards of organizations concerned with digital divide issues.

Bianca Wylie

Open Smart Cities Advisor

[People & Engagement]

Bianca is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. She worked for several years in the tech sector in operations, infrastructure, corporate training, and product management. As a facilitator she designed, delivered and supported public consultation processes for various governments and government agencies.

One-to-One Advisory Team

Jean-Noé Landry

Executive Director

Oscar Espinosa

Programme Manager

One-to-One Advisory Service

Michaël Houle

Senior Programme Officer

One-to-One Advisory Service

Corey Pembleton

Programme Officer

One-to-One Advisory Service

Nabeel Ahmed

Programme Officer

One-to-One Advisory Service

Open North

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