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Hacknight #130 – with Ben Dachis

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Date: February 20, 2018


Presenter: Ben Dachis, Associate Director, Research at C.D. Howe Institute

Presenting: Ben gave a presentation on the importance of budgets and end-of-year financial statements in municipal policy.





  • PodCamp Toronto 2018
    PodCamp Toronto is an “Unconference that happens at Ryesrson University between 23rd- 25th of February, 2018. It’s major concentration is about Digital Media. You can register and vote for any of the proposed sessions on the Podcamp website.
    For more info
  • Co-creating Ontario’s Open Government Action Plan
    We’d like to invite you to join us in co-creating our two-year Open Government Action Plan. With your help, we hope to find the opportunities that we can seize to connect, engage and share with more citizens in Ontario.We are crowdsourcing challenges associated with a range of topics, including purposeful public engagement, collaborative data environment, inclusive and accessible open government, and access to valuable information.Links to surveys for each topic can be found here: Please provide your input by February 23!
  • CodeAcross 2018
    Date: March 3
    Eventbrite link on Slack
    Looking for research support to help with our partnership and sales process in the next 4 weeks =) Let’s make this CodeAcross as great as it can be!
    Time commitment: 5-10 hours per week
    Come find Alex Chen if interested!
    Call for volunteers! Join #codeacross-volunteers on Slack, to learn more and stay in touch. If you have any questions you’d rather ask in-person, come see @patcon (speaker) or other CodeAcross organizer (show of hands).
    Are you a graphic designer? We could really use your help spiffying up our venue map!


Project Lead(s) Description / Needs
Civic Tech 101 Patcon&Morva Description: Introduce you to Civic Tech Toronto and learn about one another. Please go here if it’s your first time!

Location: Pulling chairs around the main screen.

CodeAcross 2018 Planning Alex Hackathon planning for Code Across 2018 on March 3 at Toronto Public Library (Reference Library)

What we’re doing today: I’m helping with the fundraising team,

What we need: InDesign designer, someone to help with content

Budgetpedia Henrik Description of project: See Bringing transparency, and understanding, to Toronto’s budget. Also advocating for improvements!


  • Review of draft Budgetpedia Advocacy Platform to encourage improvements in City budgeting.
    • is it clear?
    • is it reasonable?
    • is it realistic?


  • Contacting journalists and pitching to them
  • first annual TABS (Toronto Annual Budget Scorecard)
  • Tweeting; social media presence 
  • research improving Toronto budget design; getting Toronto detailed data; foi
  • Financial analysis: looking at some FOI financial data obtained from the City
  • Accountants: improved accounting model for Toronto budget
  • Advocacy Platform; campaign
  • software development website; CMS
  • data portal for budgetpedia
  • designing data warehouse for any (parts) of financial data from any government

What you need: Writers, researchers, ux designers, front and back end developers, people interested in giving feedback on budgetpedia

Keep in touch:

Bike Parking Jake Description of project: A webapp which will allow cyclists to drop a pin on a map of Toronto indicating insufficiencies in bike parking infrastructure. We believe that the most valuable data to improve Toronto’s bike parking will be crowdsourced.

What we’re doing today: Squashing bugs & getting feedback on our MVP!

What we need: Developers, Designers, Researchers, Data Analysts, Communicators


TTC Subway Dashboard Project  Raphael Description of project: Build the political will to improve transportation.

Transit agencies are bad at communicating successes and failures: leaving users with most salient experience in their memory: their worst one By communicating transit performance in a way that users understand, they might better appreciate how good transit is while understanding why it’s bad when it’s bad.

What we’re doing today: Scraping a bunch of subway data from the TTC, still working on processing data

What we need: Data geeks, A logo


Law and Design Team Avery Description of project: Improving access, usability of legal information. There is an access to justice crisis!

What we’re doing today: Hacking

What we need: User researchers, graphic designers, website builders, anyone with interest in legal issues

Women and Colour Mohammed Description of project: Online community of talented women and people of colour available for speaking opportunities at tech-related events.

What we’re doing today: Today we are working on the project!

What we need:

  • Javascript/Python developers (React + Django) for website development
  • Digital marketers for speaker engagement
  • Community managers for partnership outreach


Chalmers Cards Zach Description of project: Chalmers Cards are laser-cut wooden handouts that explain how to access public resources for folks in tight financial situations. Stuff like toll free numbers for shelter referral, financial aid registration, and free legal aid.

The cards are laser cut onto wood so the information doesn’t get crumpled. Plus people think they’re cool so the cards don’t get lost!

What we’re doing today: Thinking about changing the card!

What we need:

  • Laser Cutters
  • Feedback on the card design
  • Bounce around ideas
Shelter Map Andrew Description of project: We’ve had a particularly bad winter, and ensuring everyone has safe overnight shelter is a challenge. We want to build a system to help frontline workers place people looking for temporary or emergency shelter.

What we’re doing today: Looking for people who are knowledgeable about the shelter system so we can define stakeholders we want to help.

What we need:

  • People who have first-, second-, or any-hand experience with the Toronto Shelter System
  • People interested in user research
Designing Public Engagement Tools for Government Ontario’s Open Government Office Description of project: The Open Government Office has been working with Civic Tech to design tools for Ontario Public Service (OPS) staff to help them better engage with the public in ways that are meaningful and consistent.

What you’re doing today: We have been collecting internal and external experiences, formed a problem statement, and now we will be focusing in on case studies that can help both the staff and members of the public learning more about the decision-making processes that influence public engagement.

What you need: Design-thinkers, researchers/academics, and just anyone interested in better engagement between the government and citizens


Attendees: 57

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