Have Tech & Design Skills You Want to Use for Good? Join Canada's Civic Tech Movement

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Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have one of the following words in your job title: developer, product, UX, designer, marketer, researcher. Canada is home to some of the fastest growing tech-markets in North America. But are those skills being put to good use? Are yours?

If you ever find yourself wondering how your talent could be used to make a difference, you’re in the same position I was seven years ago. I was an engineer, had an MBA, and was working at a product company. I enjoyed my job but something was missing. That something turned out to be civic tech.

(Want to watch me give this talk? You can here!)

New to “civic tech?” I was too

Civic tech, public-interest tech, social tech, gov-tech, digital government — all of these labels are part of the broader “tech for good movement,” where people use tech, data and design to address social challenges.

When it comes to civic tech specifically, it’s a corner of the movement focused on civic and public life. The idea is that by bringing tech and public service together, we can help people at scale.

Chances are, you’ve had a frustrating government experience. Whether it was renewing a license or passport, applying for a visa, collecting benefits or filing taxes, most of us have wondered why our government services can’t be as seamless as some of the private ones we use every day.

This issue is at the heart of the civic tech movement, and it’s not just about convenience. It’s about making Canada more accessible, inclusive and equitable by using our talent and resources to build something better.

So, what does it look like in practice?

Around the world, groups as small as a few volunteer technologists to as large as national non-profits (hi!) are working to create digital products and services that bring this vision to life.

In Canada, groups are organizing to take on projects like inclusive usability testing for their community, to open source maps that show where local food banks are.

All of these groups are run by people like you — talented tech and design professionals who want to make a difference in their community. It was these places that helped me get my start in civic tech — I started volunteering with Civic Tech Toronto in 2015.

From there, I founded Code for Canada. As a national non-profit, we partner with governments to improve digital products and services. We’ve worked with our partners to improve the online EI application process, to ensure veterans have access to their benefits, and much more.

Here’s where you come in

It’s time to bring civic engagement to the tech community — when we look at what’s been achieved in the private sector, what could we accomplish if that talent put its mind to bettering public life?

Does this sound like something you want to be part of? We can help connect you with the right people. Explore Canada’s current civic tech groups, or sign up to be considered for our future civic tech projects at Code for Canada. Together we can build an inclusive digital future.