The use of digital infrastructure is one of many tools to help the City achieve its strategic goals and priorities. As the use of digital infrastructure to provide City services and manage assets evolves, how information is collected, used, managed and protected must also advance. The Digital Infrastructure Plan (DIP) will modernize and formalize the roles, functions and procedures within which digital infrastructure decisions at the City are made.

In January 2020, City Council adopted a guiding framework, including five Working Principles, for the City’s DIP. City Council also:

  • 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.

Staff began consultations related to Digital Autonomy in June 2021. More information about this consultation can be found in the DIP Consultations tab below. An information report on the topic of Digital Autonomy was considered by General Government and Licensing Committee at its meeting on June 29, 2021.

To learn more about the DIP, please watch this brief video for an overview of the Digital Infrastructure Plan for the City of Toronto.

Digital Infrastructure is defined as infrastructure that creates, exchanges or uses data or information as a part of its operation. Digital infrastructure includes physical structures, cabling and network systems, software systems, data standards and protocols, as well as the data itself. Some examples include sensors (cameras, GPS sensors, microphones, etc.), broadband and telephone networks, Wi-Fi, desktop software, web pages and mobile apps and open data standards.

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 DIP 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.

Each Working Principle articulates a vision for the use of digital infrastructure in Toronto:

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.

Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits

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.

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

A virtual public consultation (DiscoTech: Discover Technology) related to Digital Autonomy was held on June 21, 2021. You can review the materials from that meeting including:

Further consultations will be taking place in 2021. To sign up to be notified about upcoming consultations, and for more information about the City’s work on smart cities, subscribe below:

Subscribe for Digital Infrastructure Plan Updates

Type (don’t copy and paste) your email into the box below, check the box next to the e-update description and then click “Subscribe”. You will receive an email with instructions to confirm your request.

Subscribe to receive updates and information about digital governance, privacy and data stewardship in Toronto. You can unsubscribe at any time.
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