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Hacknight #132 – with Li Koo

Date: March 6, 2018

Venue: TWG

Presenters: Li Koo

Presenting: Closing the gender gap on council: Challenges and opportunities in 2018

Li Koo, a former female municipal candidate, will speak to some of the challenges that women face in running for politics, and will highlight some ways that CivicTech’ers can use DemocracyKit and work with Women Win Toronto to help close the gender gap in the upcoming municipal election. She will be accompanied by Hema Vyas and Chris Cowperthwaite, highlighting the work of Women Win Toronto & DemocracyKit, respectively.

This week’s talk will be presented in partnership with the Open Democracy Project.



Civic Tech Organizing Volunteers

We need volunteers to help Civic Tech run!

We really need volunteers THIS MONTH!


  • Run the elevators
  • Make sure everything is set up, and put away so that our host sponsors continue ot love us
  • Greet the speaker & help them get set up
  • Run the livestream

Come talk to Chris or any of the organizers


Find Me Canada Project

Description of project: No one wants to go missing for being Missing. There are thousands of missing people in Ontario alone hundreds of them are in the GTA are. Find Me Canada is a  project that aims to help Police departments in Canada (starting TPS) finding Missing people using Artificial Intelligence especially connecting missing people to a possible criminal act. Hopefully expand more features in future.

What you’re doing today: I work in the I.T. field in the Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security

What you need: Volunteers to work with in future when the project idea matures better.


CivicTech101 (Patcon)

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.


Budgetpedia (Arthur)

Description of project: See Bringing transparency, and understanding, to Toronto’s budget.


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


  • Communications
    • Contacting journalists and pitching to them
    • generally, promoting our publications, including upcoming first annual TABS (Toronto Annual Budget Scorecard);
    • Tweeting; social media presence
    • Advocacy Platform; campaign
  • Research
  • improving Toronto budget design;
  • Accountants: improved accounting model for Toronto budget
  • getting Toronto detailed data; freedom of information
      • Financial analysis: looking at some FOI financial data obtained from the City
  • Software Development
    • website: CMS (content management system)
    • data portal for budgetpedia (we have collected tons of data)
    • 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:


BikeSpace (JakeGanesh)

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!Right now, we are working on to develop the dashboard. If you are interested in designing and or developing eye popping dashboard using JavaScript libraries like d3.js or highcharts.

We are at an exciting point in the project and that all are welcome! ? Please join us.

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



Women and Color (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

Visit: (Sharky)

Description of project: We are Human Centered Design (HCD) platform that simplifies for organizations and community professionals to track their efforts and work in conjunction with policing policies.

What we’re doing today: User testing for resources and changes to some policies

What we need: lawyers / litigation experts – research assistant   


HomeTO (CG Chen)

Description of project: We empower at risk, low income, and homeless individuals through inclusive digital tools.

What you’re doing today: Working on our first project, a digital product.

What you need: Front-end web developers, anyone with connections to shelters, or anybody interested in helping out!


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


Law & 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


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



DemocracyKit Tech Team (Josh)

Description of project: We are an open online platform to share advice, educational resources and campaign technology with campaign teams running for municipal office.

What we’re doing today: Making some much needed edits to the website:

Develop search widgets for resource library, events,

  • Discuss possible future tech collaborations
  • Researching deploying open source MOOC software like Open EdX

What we need: Web developers, designers & civic technologists interested in opening the municipal election process. Also looking for people that want to join and work towards leadership role on the tech team.

Keep in touch:


Public Education App Idea(s)

Description of project: Looking to develop an educational app idea for kids.

What I’m doing today:

-Seeking feedback on an idea that I have developed with some UI/UX designers -looking to create an idea with anyone in general about educating students

-I can offer an educational perspective if needed (I work at a school teaching grade 6 students!)

What I need: Looking for coders, particularly anyone who can give feedback from a back end perspective

Info to learn more:

@alternateacher, Grade 6 Educator with a public school board

I have a slide deck of an MVP to show if you’re interested!


Shelter MapMap / Placement (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 do preliminary research

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


3rd-Party Data Sharing (Alex & Denis)

Description of project: Help the City of Toronto, Government of Ontario and Government of Canada identifying the key stakeholders, topics, values and guidelines around 3rd-party data Sharing agreements.  

  • We’re going to develop a whitepaper to inform policy at all levels of government around 3rd-party data sharing.
  • We’re co-creating the whitepaper with all three levels of government through this project at Civic Tech TO and Civic Tech Ottawa

What you’re doing today:

  • Transcribing a million post-it notes from the event
  • Grouping ideas into categories
  • Talking about 3rd-party data

What you need:

  • A computron to help us transcribe notes
  • Interest in data policy and licensing
  • Interest in policy
  • Interest in open data
  • GitHub for document creation
  • Connected to Civic Tech Ottawa
  • …but the first one would be great!

Attendees: 60

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