Connected, Smart & Agile: What’s Now? What’s Next?


Friday, September 22, 2017

 Four Points by Sheraton - Toronto Airport - 6257 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON L4V 1E4 

All across Ontario, North America and internationally, communities both large and small are addressing the challenges of today’s open, connected, mobile and sharing economy.  

From simply ensuring that businesses and residents have affordable high-speed Internet access to revolutionary approaches to providing municipal services in the cities of tomorrow (sensor-based technology, driverless cars, smart homes, telemedicine, distance education), municipalities are struggling to remain competitive as attractive places to live, work and do business, attracting new investment and creating jobs. 

Join us on September 22, 2017  

The 2017 Open & Smart Communities Forum provides a dynamic platform for experts in all levels of government and the private sector to explore how both large and small communities are transforming themselves by becoming both open and smart to meet citizen and business expectations today and in the future.  

Benefits of Attending

  • Hear practical examples from leading experts who can describe the challenges and opportunities.
  • Increase your understanding of what open and smart communities are all about, garnering insights into current initiatives for application in your own jurisdiction.
  • Learn about impending trends in open and smart innovation, that will present challenges and opportunities if you are prepared enough, and nimble enough to take advantage of them.
  • Gain insights into shared experiences from both political and operational perspectives, including steps and missteps in moving open and smart initiatives forward. 

Intended Audience

This Forum is for you if you are a municipal elected official, CAO, CIO, City Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Clerk, Economic Development Officer, Senior Manager or professional from a range of disciplines from all sizes of local government, large, small, urban, rural and first nations.

When: Friday, September 22, 2017 (8:30 am - 4:30 pm)

 (Registration begins at 8:00 am)

Where: Four Points By Sheraton Toronto Airport
Windsor Hall
6257 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario L4V 1E4
Telephone: (905) 678-0064 or (800) 368-7764

Please click here to reserve and book online for your hotel room


Please click
here to print and fax the registration form

 Fee: $457.65  ($405+$52.65 HST)
Fee includes Breakfast, Lunch, Refreshments and Materials
Student Rate: $100.00 + HST - please contact Jeanne Moon at to register


Roy Wiseman, Executive Director, MISA/ASIM Canada; and former CIO, Region of Peel

Lou Milrad, B.A., LL.B., Municipal Technology Lawyer, Public-Private Tech Alliances, Milrad Law


Opening Keynote: Canada’s First Gigabit Town

Mitch Thompson, Executive Director, Olds Institute for Community and Regional Development, Olds Fibre Ltd, Mountain View Power

Dubbed Canada’s first “Gigabit Town”, Olds, Alberta is a community of 8,600 and is situated about 90 kilometres north of Calgary.  With its 2.65 million metres of fibre cable, homes and businesses in Olds can have full gigabit per-second Internet access for as little as $57 a month. Olds College has been one of the big winners, becoming the most connected college in the country and a leader in mobile learning.

As Executive Director of the Olds Institute for Community and Regional Development and Olds Fibre Ltd., Mitch Thompson will tell the story how Olds came to be Canada’s Gigabit Town –to retain existing businesses, attract new ones and bring in new families – common challenges for small towns.

SWIFT Network (Southwestern Ontario Integrated Fibre Technology)

Geoff Hogan, Executive Director, SWIFT Network (Former Director, Information Technology for Grey County)

The SWIFT project is based on the principle that everyone in Southwestern Ontario deserves access to high-speed internet, regardless of the size of their community, age, education, or where they work. The project was founded by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.

In 2016, the federal and provincial governments announced that they are each contributing $90 million towards the proposed $281 million project to extend high-speed Internet access to more than three million people in 350 communities in rural Southwestern Ontario over the next five years.  Bob Chiarelli, Ontario's minister of infrastructure, said high-speed access is also needed by schools and hospitals in rural Ontario and that the SWIFT Project “will advance southwestern Ontario from being behind the curve to being ahead of the digital curve”.
As Executive Director and an early champion of the SWIFT initiative, Geoff Hogan will describe the process of bringing together 350 communities to adopt a vision and secure the required funding.  Now that the funding is in place, Geoff can describe the daunting challenge of making that vision a reality.

Governance and Legal Issues: Options and Opportunities
Moderator: Lou Milrad, B.A., LL.B., Municipal Technology Lawyer, Public-Private Tech Alliances, Milrad Law

Representative from Torys LLP
Carlo Mariglia, CPA, CA, CISA, Partner, BDO Canada, Professional Advisory Services
Representative from York Region Legal Services

Local government broadband and smart community initiatives can take a variety of forms and structures – from setting up a municipal corporation to public-private partnerships.  Drawing from experiences from a number of projects, our panel will discuss the advantages, disadvantages and lessons learned – and be ready to take your questions.

Connect to Innovate: Opportunities for Rural Communities
Lucas Dixon, Policy Advisor, Connecting Canadians Branch Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Connect to Innovate program will invest $500 million by 2021, to bring high-speed Internet to Canadian rural and remote communities, where challenging geography and smaller populations present barriers to private sector investment. The program will support new "backbone" infrastructure to connect institutions like schools and hospitals with a portion of funding for upgrades and "last-mile" infrastructure to households and businesses.
Get answers to your questions about this important initiative, including recent funding decisions and opportunities for new applications.

Luncheon Keynote: Building Smart Cities: Citizen and Government Perspectives
Zachary Spicer, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Brock University
Nicole Goodman, University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, Centre for e-Democracy

Introduction by Platinum Sponsor (BDO)
Adoption of technology by Canadian municipalities is changing the way that local governments produce and deliver services, and also the way they interact with citizens. Technology creates both opportunities and challenges for municipalities.

In this presentation, two leading scholars provide research results, based on surveys administered to citizens, administrators and politicians in 33 Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas to gauge impressions of Smart City services and to provide pathways for aligning vision and practical considerations during Smart City implementation.

Mississauga; Canada’s Rapidly Growing Smart City
Shawn Slack, Chief Information Officer, City of Mississauga

In the past 20 years, the City of Mississauga has emerged as a breeding ground for “smart city” innovation, using digital technology and Internet connectivity to run more smoothly and be more responsive to citizens. 

The seeds were planted in the late 1990s, when Mississauga became one of the first cities to install a fiber infrastructure for voice and data services. That network now connects more than 150 sites, with enough strand fiber to circle the planet!  Building from this base, the City of Mississauga has based its strategy on collaborating with companies like Apple, Bell, Google, Cisco, Microsoft - and innovators at the cutting edge.

Mississauga’s Smart City Strategy includes a broad range of initiatives including ubiquitous Wi-fi, Smart Traffic Management and Transit, Smart Streetlights and Smart Waterways.  In parallel with such strategies, the City is working with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to launch a six-month pilot to test Internet performance around the city to help find the areas in the City that have adequate Internet service and areas where service could be improved. City staff will use the pilot’s test data and crowdsourced data to develop a customized heat-map of Internet service.

Learn about these and other initiatives from one of Canada’s rapidly growing Smart Cities.

Intelligent Community Master Class
Doug Lindeblom, Director of Economic Strategy, Planning and Economic Development, York Region

An “Intelligent Community” is a jurisdiction which has– whether through crisis or foresight – come to understand the enormous challenges of the Broadband Economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it.  The ICF Master Class is a focused workshop for governmental, institutional and business leaders to establish a common understanding of the Intelligent Community movement; the benefits a community can gain by becoming more “Intelligent”; and to identify near-term opportunities for action to spur the start of collaborative work.

York Region, consisting of nine urban and rural municipalities stretching north from Toronto to Lake Simcoe.  Building on its recently incorporated York Telecommunications Network (YTN), York Region, is well along the road to international recognition as an intelligent community, with a Council approved broadband strategy “to establish York Region as a Gigabit Region, recognized for its leadership in fostering an eco-system of collaboration in business innovation within a connected lifestyle community”. 

Learn how and why York Region has embarked on this journey, and what they have accomplished so far.

Closing Keynote: Driving Changes: Autonomous Vehicles - Opportunities and Issues for Municipalities

David Ticoll, Distinguished Fellow, University of Toronto, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs (Invited, to be confirmed)

City leaders, researchers and technologists agree that as vehicle automation transforms public, commercial, and consumer transportation, it will reshape life in both urban and rural communities. While the Government of Ontario has just released rules for testing automated vehicles, other leading countries and cities have been preparing for this future for several years. It is neither too soon nor too late for Ontario municipalities to be global leaders in this transformation.

David Ticoll is a Canadian and international authority on the business, policy, and social implications of emerging technologies. David now focuses on helping organizations and governments design strategies to maximize the benefits of vehicle automation. In 2015 David was the principal researcher and author of Driving Changes, a ground breaking white paper on automated vehicles for the City of Toronto.