Large cities like Toronto have a lot going on. In all the hustle and bustle, it sometimes seems like it’s difficult for citizens to access their government, or to influence municipal decisions. For many, dealing with governments or understanding and engaging in community issues feels like a complicated and confusing affair.

Civic technology organizations know that this doesn’t have to be the case. These companies create technology that is designed to improve the urban experience and help address challenges that government, residents and businesses face.

Whether making it easier to conduct research, find government information, access city services, communicate with city hall, or communicate with fellow citizens, civic tech is there to take down the various barriers that once made civic engagement and improvement difficult or overwhelming.

Toronto is a hotbed of civic technology. Companies of all shapes and sizes, with various goals, are booming across the city.

Code for Canada connects innovators in the government with the tech and design community, Legalswipe is an app that educates users on their legal rights, while EDGI works to preserve federal data and monitor websites to track and understand government policy changes.

But civic technology isn’t just about connecting citizens with government data and resources. It’s also about helping people achieve their goals and influence their communities. That’s why DemocracyKit has published a shared campaign resource package for people who are looking to run in councillor and trustee races, Milieu focuses on increasing public engagement in city development and planning, and WelcomeHomeTO helps newcomers to the city find success.

The City of Toronto understands the importance of civic technology and how it empowers citizens and opens up government. That’s why the City created the Civic Innovation Office. The office is designed to help solve municipal service delivery challenges by creating a bridge between City divisions and Toronto’s growing innovation and technology communities.

Civic Innovation Office Director Paula Kwan and her innovation team takes a transparent, open, and collaborative approach to identifying problems among Toronto residents and how technology can help solve them.

The Toronto civic technology community continues to build solutions focused on the interests of the public, making the city a more engaged, focused, and open place to live and work.

StartUp Spotlight on: Civic Technology

Learn about the Toronto civic technology community through a series of interviews with directors and founders of various organizations working to improve the urban experience.