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Waterfront Toronto forms Digital Strategy Advisory Panel

New Advisory Panel will help ensure the public interest and encourage innovation

Waterfront Toronto today announced the formation of a Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, an arms-length body intended to help guide Waterfront Toronto on how best to incorporate data privacy, digital systems, and the safe and ethical use of new technologies in the next phase of waterfront revitalization.  The Panel will initially advise Waterfront Toronto on policies and strategies related to the Quayside project that was launched in Fall 2017. 


As described in Waterfront Toronto’s Request for Proposals, the aim is to establish Quayside as an international showcase for innovative solutions for inclusive housing, improved energy conservation and carbon reduction, resiliency, job growth and design excellence. 


The project will promote local technology innovators and foster new partnerships among government, private, academic, and not-for-profit organizations. The Panel will support Waterfront Toronto’s team to ensure, among other things, that the individual privacy rights of those who will live, learn, work and visit Quayside will be protected. 


Since 2001, Waterfront Toronto has been the public steward for the waterfront, transforming the city’s lakeshore and enhancing the quality and livability of our city, and continues to create urban places that are inclusive, environmentally sustainable and support new jobs with pioneering technology. This is exemplified by Waterfront Toronto’s implementation of Canada’s first open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre optic service across the waterfront.


The mandate of the Panel is to provide Waterfront Toronto with objective, expert advice to ensure that principles of ethical use of technology, accountability, transparency, protection of personal privacy, data governance and cyber security are upheld. The Panel will further ensure that intellectual property and data are safeguarded while encouraging innovation and economic development. Waterfront Toronto will continue to work closely with governments and policy makers, the public, and industry experts to help coordinate the rules and accountability protocols that will be integral to the success of these initiatives. 


The draft mandate, which will be ratified by the Panel at its first meeting, can be found on Waterfront Toronto’s website


The Panel includes Canadian and international subject matter specialists from academia, industry, the civic technology community and legal experts. 

Panel members announced today are:
  • Dave Dame, Agile Leader, Digital Factory, Scotiabank
  • Charles Finley, Global Director of Marketing & Communications, IBI Group, and Co-Founder and Chair of Code for Canada
  • Dr. Michael Geist, Law Professor, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa 
  • Darin Graham, Head of Canadian AI Operations, Samsung 
  • Kurtis McBride, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Miovision Technologies Incorporated, and Co-founder, Catalyst137
  • Saadia Muzaffar, Founder, TechGirls Canada, and Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada
  • Carlo Ratti, Director, MIT Senseable City Lab, and Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
  • Dr. Pamela Robinson, MCIP RPP, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning and Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Strategic Initiatives, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University
  • Dr. Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
  • Jutta Treviranus, Director and Professor at Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University
  • Kevin Tuer, Managing Director, Canada's Open Data Exchange
  • Mark Wilson, former IBM Executive and former Chair, Waterfront Toronto
  • Alaina Aston, VP, Data Management & Governance, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC
  • Andrew Clement, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

Dr. Michael Geist has agreed to serve as Interim Chair until the Panel holds its initial meeting. As required, additional panel members may be appointed by Waterfront Toronto in consultation with the Chair.


Meetings of the Panel will be held on a bi-monthly basis and will be open to the public. The Panel will hold its inaugural meeting in May. Further details will be published shortly.


Waterfront Toronto will continue its collaboration with Sidewalk Labs, its Quayside partner, on the digital policy and accountability frameworks critical to establishing innovative standards in this area. 


About Waterfront Toronto 
Waterfront Toronto was established by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto in 2001 to oversee and lead the renewal of the city’s waterfront. Our mandate is to deliver a revitalized waterfront that brings together the most innovative approaches to sustainable urban development, excellence in urban design, real estate development, and leading technology infrastructure.


Working with the community, and with public and private-sector partners, Waterfront Toronto creates complete neighborhoods anchored by parks and public spaces, and diverse, sustainable, mixed-use communities that offer a high quality of life for residents, employees, and visitors alike. We are transforming the waterfront for the use and enjoyment of the people of Toronto, Ontario and Canada, to foster economic growth and to redefine how the city, province and country are perceived by the world.




Will Fleissig, President and Chief Executive Officer, Waterfront Toronto: 
“We are creating a vibrant and connected waterfront that belongs to everyone. We care about neighbourhoods, parks, destinations and infrastructure that make people’s lives better. As intelligent community-building initiatives advance, the Digital Strategy Advisory Panel will be critical to ensuring that digital governance and public protection keep apace with these innovations.”

Dr. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa: 
“The increasing potential for technology and data to create improvements in urban living has generated great excitement, but raises many important and complex challenges that must be explored and addressed by governments. Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel brings together a broad range of expert perspectives to help ensure the Quayside project delivers on its objectives, encourages innovation and serves and protects the public interest.”

Bianca Wylie, Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada:
“Waterfront Toronto has taken a great approach with this panel. It aligns with their long history of stewarding strong engagement processes. The panel is set up to take a long-term view on the impacts of the Quayside project and what they will mean for the people of Toronto. Its initial members have been, and will no doubt continue to be, both critical and constructive when sharing their advice about what to do when technology and the public interest intersect.”


media kit:



media contact: 


Cameron MacKay
VP Strategic Communications

Waterfront Toronto
E-mail: cmackay@waterfrontoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 640-8499



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