The Digital Infrastructure Strategic Framework (DISF), approved by City Council in April 2022, is a corporate-wide framework that establishes a principles-based approach to decision-making associated with Digital Infrastructure. The DISF applies to all new City Digital Infrastructure Initiatives that are developed in-house by the City; operated on behalf of the City; undertaken in collaboration and under contract with third parties; and all policies, plans and strategies related thereto.

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Digital Infrastructure is defined as: all technology assets that create, exchange or use data or information in a digital form as a part of their operation, as well as all data collected or used by the aforementioned technology assets. Examples of Digital Infrastructure include:

  • Physical objects and structures such as cameras, sensors, and broadband networks
  • Software systems such as mobile applications, websites, digital payment systems, customer relationship management applications, and legacy technology systems
  • Fixed devices such as computers and digital kiosks
  • Mobile devices such as robots, vehicles and cellphones
  • Data collected or stored digitally by the City, including personally identifiable information and non-personal information (administrative data, geospatial data etc.)
  • Systems whose functions may rely on computer generated data such as machine learning systems and artificial intelligence

The DISF is founded on six Principles, each of which articulates a vision for the use of Digital Infrastructure in Toronto.

Digital Infrastructure can help improve the quality of life of Torontonians in a variety of ways. Some examples include reducing the digital divide, as well as improving opportunities for participation, inclusion and wellbeing. However, any benefits must be weighed against potential harms that could arise through the reinforcement of existing – or creation of new – barriers (digital or physical). The working principles provide guidance when deciding if a proposed use of Digital Infrastructure is:

  • necessary;
  • complies with policies and regulations; and
  • aligns with stated values.

The Six Principles:

Equity and Inclusion

Digital Infrastructure will be used to create and sustain equity, inclusion, accessibility and human rights in its operations and outcomes. Digital Infrastructure will be flexible, adaptable, interoperable and responsive to the needs of all Torontonians, including equity-seeking groups, Indigenous people, those with accessibility needs and vulnerable populations.

A Well-run City

Digital Infrastructure will enable high-quality, resilient and innovative public services, and support evidence-based decision-making.

Society, the Economy and the Environment

Digital Infrastructure will contribute to positive social, economic and environmental benefits by supporting the success of Toronto’s residents, businesses, academic institutions and community organizations.

Privacy and Security

Toronto’s digital infrastructure will operate in a way that protects the privacy of individuals in accordance with legislative requirements, and be safe from misuse, hacks, theft or breaches.

Democracy and Transparency

Decisions about Digital Infrastructure will be made democratically, in a way that is ethical, accountable, transparent and subject to oversight. Torontonians will be provided with understandable, timely and accurate information about the technologies in their city, and opportunities to shape the digital domain.

Digital Autonomy

The City will maintain control in the selection, use and design of its digital infrastructure, so that it – and its residents – can act with autonomy and in a self-determined manner within the digital realm.

The DISF has been developed in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders, members of the pubic, and other community partners.

Winter 2022

Virtual and in-person public consultations were held on December 5 and 7 to give an update on the implementation of the DISF. Other topics discussed included:

  • repurposing City computers and laptops to address digital equity
  • developing an artificial intelligence (AI) policy
  • forming a Digital Infrastructure Public Advisory Body

Fall 2021

Virtual public consultations (DiscoTech: Discover Technology) were held on September 28 and 29. At these meetings, participants were provided with an overview of the DIP and had the opportunity to ask questions of staff, review the September 2021 draft version of the DIP, and provide feedback about the project

After the public consultations, three (3) drop-in sessions with the project team took place that provided an opportunity for interested people to speak directly with the project team and ask more in-depth questions related to the DIP.

A draft DIP Engagement Summary Report is available for download and review.

Based on input from various stakeholders, the title Digital Infrastructure Plan (DIP) was changed to Digital Infrastructure Strategic Framework (DISF) and a March 2022 draft version was created after the fall 2021 consultations.

Summer 2021

A virtual public consultation (DiscoTech: Discover Technology) related to Digital Autonomy was held on June 21, 2021. Materials from that meeting include:

Fall/Winter 2019

Initial consultations on the DIP were held in December 2019. You can download and read the Discussion Guide, presentation and Discussion Boards from those meetings.

In addition, City Council also:

  • adopted a guiding framework for the DIP;
  • directed the City Manager to ensure that any digital infrastructure proposal submitted to the City complies with all five principles;
  • endorsed the formation of a Community Advisory Group to provide input on the design of additional consultations and implementation, as well as on the project content itself; and
  • directed staff to consult with appropriate stakeholders on the inclusion of a commitment to the City’s control and autonomy of its core digital infrastructure in development of the Digital Infrastructure Plan.

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