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Building Ontario’s Next-Generation Smart Cities through Data Governance

The final report in the smart–city data governance series from ORION and Compute Ontario.

This report summarizes findings from Compute Ontario (CO) and ORION’s smart cities project. Over 125 stakeholders from policy, governance, industry, academia, and research sectors were convened at a “Smart Cities Governance Lab” in Kitchener, Waterloo, in March 2019 to discuss and hold workshops on the topic of smart cities, and assembled a “Smart Cities Advisory Committee”, that informed areas of exploration, and validated report recommendations. Through three use-case studies, ORION and Compute Ontario further explored data governance in the areas of health, personal mobility, and open-data architecture to facilitate more equitable access to the data market, and enhance economic development within the province. This series of reports is a culmination of these efforts and focuses on resulting recommendations, existing examples of data governance models, and exploring various data principles, commons, collaboratives, and trusts.

This report begins with a definition of a ‘smart city,’ outlining reasons for the current interest in creating data enabled cities. The report then provides an overview of advanced technologies that are quickly being adopted to drive smart city implementation. An overview of the current state of Ontario smart cities includes specific discussion on smart city initiatives in municipalities, including Stratford, Kingston, Sarnia and Vaughan. These examples highlight the need for actors from various stakeholder groups to align their interests and resources for smart city implementation. The report addresses the challenges associated with smart cities, including the security and privacy risks of implementing advanced technologies, and the often-inadequate attention paid to these challenges. The principal focus of this report is data governance, which is examined through contemporary models, including data principles, commons, collaboratives and trusts. The report analyzes data trusts – the most promising model – in detail, including how their intermediary role between data providers and users enables confident data sharing and access. We then analyze three specific use case studies which prototype and test our understanding of the roles of various stakeholders in expanded data access scenarios. The first two use cases consider the implications of data governance frameworks for health and personal mobility data. The third use case investigates an open data protocol to support the potential data exchange market that will emerge from smart cities. The report concludes with lessons learned as well as recommendations to move Ontario forward.

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