Today, Ontario Minister of Digital Government Deb Matthews announced the launch of Code for Canada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping governments build more efficient, digital public services.
Code for Canada joins worldwide initiatives Code for America and Code for Australia in the “Code for” movement, which works to bridge gaps between government and tech communities.
The organization is launching a fellowship program this spring, embedding teams of tech professionals into government departments to work on digital projects. The organization hopes to provide tools like agile development and design thinking to its work, and build digital public tools faster and at a lower cost.
“At Code for Canada, we start with the belief that government can work better in the 21st century. Like the best technology, our governments can – and should – be user-centred, iterative and data-driven,” said Code for Canada’s Executive Director, Gabe Sawhney. “By bringing top tech talent into the public service, Code for Canada’s fellowship program will help transform Canada’s most important government services, and improve outcomes for residents.”
Code for Canada’s inaugural fellowship team will be hosted by the Government of Ontario, where the fellows will work to accelerate digital transformation at Queen’s Park.
The initiative is being supported by the government of Ontario, Shopify, and Normative. Besides launching a fellowship program, Code for Canada will also encourage the growth of civic tech community groups through hacknights that bring together coders, designers, policy experts and engaged residents.
“As a proud Canadian company, we saw an opportunity to enhance civic engagement across the country,” said Alexandra Clark, director of policy and government affairs at Shopify. “We believe this initiative will play a major role in redefining how Canadians interact with elected officials. Whether it’s developing an app to improve consultation processes, or building a new platform to track constituent concerns, the opportunities are endless.”