Our vision at Code for Canada has been the same since our founding — that everyone in Canada has access to inclusive, equitable and responsive digital public services.
But every year, the path we take to get there changes. That’s because, while we’re always setting goals and plans to reach them, we are true believers in the importance of embracing change through iterative design and agile development.
This year that shifting path included taking on some of our biggest-ever projects, welcoming new team members and new types of roles and launching an innovative program dedicated to championing the Canadian civic tech movement.
Our core values and theory of change underpin all of these developments. We believe that everyone, not just some people, should feel heard and represented by services made to serve them. We believe that public benefit organizations need to be able to design, develop and sustain digital services to achieve this. And that private sector organizations should believe in and support this work.
We hope this report will show how we’ve worked towards these goals this year. In it, you’ll find some humble stats on our impact so far, stories of the progress we’ve made and lives we’ve changed, and where we’ve set our sights for the year to come.
Of course, this is only possible with the community of practitioners, contributors, public servants and advocates who are the beating heart of the digital government and civic tech movement. Whether you’ve been following our work from day one or are just hearing about us now, I want to thank you for being here, and I hope you’ll be part of our next chapter.
People across Canada need to be safe from poorly stored and managed explosives. The Explosives Regulatory & Business Services Branch (ERBSB) of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) works hard to ensure they are.
As part of Canada’s Explosives Act, explosives inspection staff complete routine inspections of manufacturers, importers, exporters and vendors of explosives.
They create a plan at the beginning of each fiscal year to conduct these inspections. The issue? A clunky Excel sheet and some Python scripts were breaking down more and more often, leaving 40 inspectors and their managers in the lurch.
Using Microsoft Dynamic 365 Power Apps, our team of collaborators carefully built a new web application, feature by feature.
The low-code application let the team combine workflow automation, scheduling algorithms and data analytics to set ERBSB staff up for success.
The team created a Minimum Viable Product that they then tested with users, asking them to rate its effectiveness on a series of scales.
The result? Fewer hours logged on an inefficient system, more taxpayer money saved, and people across Canada will continue to be protected from poorly stored explosives.
Back in 2019, Code for Canada worked with Street ART Toronto (StART) to create an easy-to-use map of murals and other street art in the city. While the map MVP was an initial success, the StART team found they needed ongoing external support to keep it working and up-to-date.
Over the last few years, Code for Canada helped StART find a low-code solution for their map, along with an internal digital hub to manage everything from incoming artist applications to existing projects.
The first half of 2023 was spent helping the team build out new feature sets for the map and hub, allowing them to filter information based on which stakeholder was using the tool.
Halfway through the year, a new solution was reached — the Code for Canada staff member who had been working closely with the team, Flavi Anastasi, was brought on as a full-time Product Manager at StART, allowing them to significantly increase their internal digital capacity while continuing to build on the work that Flavi had helped them accomplish so far.
Code for Canada has continued to assist Flavi and StART in a coaching capacity, building up Flavi’s product management skills so StART will have the internal digital capacity it needs to continue developing the map and future digital solutions - to the benefit of all Toronto artists and denizens!
If you’re living in Canada, there’s a strong chance you or someone you know is struggling to find a family doctor.
It’s an issue facing many communities nationwide, but it has become particularly acute in BC.
In response, the BC government is creating a way for residents to find a primary care provider on their digital health platform Health Gateway 2.0.
But, it wasn’t enough for the province to introduce a new feature. It needed to know the platform was helping the people it was intended to serve — especially those with higher barriers to securing care, from newcomers to those who have never had a family doctor.
That’s where Code for Canada came in. The government’s research team tapped us for access to GRIT (Gathering Residents to Improve Technology) to ensure they got the inclusive and diverse feedback they needed.
We carefully sought out a group of ten BC residents with a wide range of lived experiences to ensure that the platform would work for all, not just some, residents.
Our GRIT team ensured that the process was smooth and uncomplicated for each participant, taking their specific needs into account and creating a tailored experience just for them.
The insights we surfaced from actual users allowed BC’s team to make informed changes to the design and build of the service. Now, the team can adjust the platform to make it more inclusive, accessible and effective for BC residents.
Non-profits and charitable organizations across Canada often struggle to access the digital solutions they need to serve their communities. Between the competition for top tech talent, the cost of upskilling internal staff, and the difficulty of outsourcing technical projects, they face an uphill battle. To succeed, they need support tailored to their unique circumstances.
Enter: The Civic Tech Marketplace (CTMP). This new project from Code for Canada will be a central platform for non-profits looking to create best-in-class digital products and services.
The online platform will eventually offer a central hub for charitable organizations to post challenges, RFPs (Requests for Proposals) and open roles while browsing existing open-source software solutions, digital resources and support. It will also be a one-stop shop for civic technologists and digital professionals looking for meaningful work to find ways to apply their skills to projects that resonate with them.
This year, we launched the MVP version of the CTMP, supporting HQ Toronto, a collaboration of diverse health agencies, to find volunteer UX and data experts to improve the accessibility, reach and quality of their patient care services.
In the new year, we’ll be looking to partner with even more charitable organizations as we continue to develop and eventually launch the online platform. Watch this space!
“Working with Code 4 Canada was a wonderful experience. They were always available for questions and supported our project from the start to finish. We have a great product that all users are excited to use. The Code 4 Canada development team created an amazing product!”
— Kelp Watson, Analyst, Explosives, Regulatory and Business Services Branch, Natural Resources Canada
“As a Manager of a very high-profile, complicated, and demanding project, with tight timelines, I appreciate the professionalism and talent that the C4C team bring to the table in every facet of their work. They are accomplished in their expertise, work with the organization to address specific requirements, and maintain a can-do attitude when difficulties arise. They are well-versed in the latest industry standards and can apply and coach using various techniques and methodologies. They work equally well in a group or independently. They are always respectful, supportive and accommodating. It has been a pleasure working with C4C.”
— Janine Ewing-Dolbec, Manager, Management Services Branch at RCMP
“It has been an extremely valuable and eye-opening experience working with C4C. The team they put together collaborated effectively to design, produce and test a product in a very challenging and secure IT environment. We are pleased with the initial versions of the product and cannot wait to roll it out more broadly within our organization.”
— Verna Mendes, general manager at RCMP national forensic laboratory
“Collaborating with Code for Canada has been a game-changer for StART! Through a dynamic iterative process, Code for Canada and StART continue to refine tools and services with precision, resulting in unprecedented artist engagement and operational efficiencies.
This collaboration isn’t just about technology; it’s about people, passion, and making a profound impact on the full diversity of our city’s vibrant street art ecosystem in the most inclusive ways possible.”
— Carolyn Taylor, project manager at StART
“The GRIT program was a huge help. It allowed us to easily connect with a diverse set of people in a safe and comfortable way for everyone involved. The team stepped into our project seamlessly, they were eager to help, and they got the results we needed.”
— Danton Remacle, senior director of service delivery with the BC Public Service
“Our team has had three Collaborators embedded in product teams to fulfill two digital projects. Each have used their unique expertise to bring forth innovative ideas for enriching our work and enabling digital growth. They led different learning opportunities to expand our knowledge in Design Thinking and collaborating in a hybrid workspace. One further advantage we’ve seen is having open access to the wealth of knowledge and guidance available through the greater Code for Canada network.”
— Stephanie Gauthier, Design Research Lead, Government Partner
Despite the challenging economic climate, we were able to navigate obstacles with solid financial management, and were able to remain focused on our mission throughout the year.
Download the full financial report here.