Statement - Digital Infrastructure Working Principles report

January 16, 2020

Statement from Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York) on Digital Infrastructure Working Principles report

TORONTO – "Cities are at the forefront of technology innovation. They are also the closest democratic institution to people. It’s time for Toronto to lead the global conversation on data, digital governance, and smart cities.

Last year Councillor Ainslie and I moved a motion directing city staff to develop a Data, Digital Governance, and Smart Cities policy framework and governance plan. Today, City staff released a report on their work to date, placing Toronto at the global forefront of ensuring that technology innovation serves the public interest. Grounded in public consultation and thorough research, five overarching Working Principles are being proposed: equity and inclusion; a well-run City; social, economic & environmental benefits; privacy and security; and democracy and transparency. Following City Council approval, these working principles will immediately begin to be applied to all of the City's decision-making. In parallel, City staff will advance to the second phase of this work, turning the Working Principles into a draft Digital Infrastructure Plan for further consultation, and approval in 2021.

As technology advances, the collection of personal data is becoming commonplace in everyday life. Smart Cities – urban areas that use technology and data collection in order to manage resources, infrastructure, and day-to-day operations – are just one example of the increasing interconnectedness of technological advancement and cities. To date, the private sector has led the conversation on digital governance. Now, the City of Toronto is stepping up to provide leadership and protect the broader public interest in an area where governments must.

This is the starting point. Toronto should aspire to lead the global conversation on digital infrastructure & governance. We must develop a model that instills trust in the residents we serve. Over the coming months we’ll develop a plan to do just that."