The Multi-stakeholder Forum on Open Government supports ongoing dialogue between government and Canadian civil society on open government. Its mandate is to provide input and advice on the Government of Canada’s commitments on open government, identify new areas of focus, and build the open government community across Canada.
The Multi-Stakeholder Forum is composed of twelve members, eight from civil society and four from the Government of Canada. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) considers having a Forum to be a best practice, creating a permanent mechanism for civil society guidance and oversight.
Canada’s Multi-Stakeholder Forum launched on January 24, 2018. Members have developed terms of reference to guide and govern the forum.
Members and biographies
Civil Society Members:
Michael Lenczner, Director, Powered by Data
Civil Society Co-Chair
Michael Lenczner has spent his career working as a technologist for the public good. He currently splits his time between serving as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ajah, a company that offers online services for fundraisers, and being the Director of Powered by Data, a non-profit initiative launched by Ajah that helps the non-profit sector access data to increase its impact.
In 2003, Michael founded Île Sans Fil, a non-profit operating free, publicly accessible Wifi infrastructure across the Montreal area. Working in open data since 2005, he has co-founded national, provincial and municipal lobbying groups such as Montréal Ouvert, as well as coordinated numerous hackathons on issues such as sustainability, corruption and municipal services. He co-founded Ajah in 2010 and in 2013, Ajah created Powered by Data. Since then, Powered by Data has been recognized domestically and internationally as innovators.
Michael is a frequent collaborator on academic-community partnerships. He serves on several non-profit boards and advisory groups related to technology, democracy, and civil-society. Over his career he has spoken at over 150 conferences across North America and Europe.
Rob Davidson, Manager of Data Analytics and Research at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
Rob is a 25-year seasoned veteran of the software industry and has excelled in senior roles ranging from Chief Technologist, Vice-President of Product Management to Director of Marketing & Communications. He is a passionate open data advocate, promoting the use of open data for social good and business creation. In June 2016, Rob founded the Open Data Institute Ottawa Node to help crystallize the open data movement in Ottawa. Rob is also an organizer for the Data for Good Ottawa meetup groups and was on two of the Ontario government’s Open Government advisory committees for Ontario’s first Action Plan. Rob has spoken at national and international events on open data, AI and emerging technologies.
Rob is the Manager of Data Analytics and Research at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), an independent, non-profit think tank. Rob has a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc) in Data Analysis from the University of New Brunswick and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Ontario.
Lindsey Marchessault, Director, Open Contracting Partnership (OCP)
As a member of the Senior Management team of the (OCP), Lindsey is responsible for the stewardship of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), managing the OCDS Helpdesk, and several of OCP’s implementation projects. In her work, she advises on policy & legal reform to implement open contracting and supports the co-creation of tools, methodologies, and feedback loops to ensure that open contracting is delivering impact. Lindsey is a lawyer who previously worked with the World Bank, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, and in private practice in Canada.
Dr. Tracey Lauriault, Assistant Professor, Carleton University
Dr. Tracey Lauriault is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media and Big Data in the School of Journalism and Communication who is also cross appointed with Digital Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa. She is a Research Associate with the Maynooth University Social Science Institute in Ireland, the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University, the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Montreal and the Centre for Law Technology and Policy at Ottawa University. She sits in an advisory capacity on civil society and boards on topics related to open smart cities, open data and open government.
She is an engaged critical data studies scholar working in public policy research as it pertains to data, processes (AI/ML), institutions and infrastructure in large and small social and technical systems. Her current area of research is Open Smart Cities and Digital Twins.
Catherine Roy, Accessibility and Inclusion Specialist
Catherine Roy has been active in the not-for-profit sector for 30 years. She has worked with various stakeholders (community organizations, government agencies, academia and private enterprise) on a variety of key issues such as access to the built environment, culture and information, education and employment as well as policies and programs. Since 1999, Catherine has worked primarily on access for marginalized populations, notably people with disabilities, to the Knowledge Society and to information technologies. She has coordinated or collaborated on research projects and initiatives, presented numerous conferences and has written or collaborated on papers relating to access to information technologies. She has also served on many committees and boards of organizations concerned with digital divide issues and is presently a member of the Inclusive Design Advisory Council for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
In the last 15 years, Catherine has taken a particular interest in data and open data especially, and how that can help move the needs and concerns of people with disabilities forward. She has been involved in projects experimenting open data use cases or promoting the accessibility of initiatives making use of open data. More information about Catherine can be found on her website (link: http:www.catherine-roy.net)
Ana Brandusescu, McConnell Foundation Professor of Practice, CIRM, McGill University
Ana is a researcher, advisor, and facilitator who works on a more critical and publicly accountable use of data and technology. As the 2019-21 McConnell Foundation Professor of Practice at McGill University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal, Ana is researching public investments in artificial intelligence (AI) in Canada to better understand the socio-economic implications of this technology. Ana is also co-leading “AI for the Rest of Us”, a research project to develop a new model of public (civic) engagement in government decision making processes that are being automated with AI.
During her time at the World Wide Web Foundation, Ana led research on the implementation and impact of open government data in 115 countries with the Open Data Barometer, co-chaired the Measurement and Accountability Group of the international Open Data Charter, and co-led gender equality research advocacy with Women's Rights Online. Ana's work also includes building strategic partnerships in open data for agriculture and nutrition, and co-developing the Open Contracting Data Standard.
Ana is a member of Open Heroines, a community by and for all those who identify as women in civic technology, open government and open data. She holds a graduate degree from McGill University.
Kejo Buchanan, Information Professional and Broadcaster
Kejo Buchanan is an information (library) professional, community radio host and online library science master's student with over 4 years invested in open data through community initiatives and academic research and 7 years experience in non-profit database management. Her community initiatives include civic engagements and projects as an Associate of Open Data Institute (ODI) Toronto Node, an organizer with Civic Tech Toronto, a member of Civic Tech Waterloo Region and multitude of library association work. Kejo has accumulated her most recent leadership through 9 years of membership with the Special Library Association holding a final position as Information Systems (IS) Section Chair with the IT Division and hosting talks involving AI and other IS discussions. Grounded in community needs along with strong interests, work and study in open data, tech and data repositories Kejo, is prepared to engage and support the national open government movement by offering accessible, sustainable and responsive guidance as a civil society member.
James Cohen, Executive Director, Transparency International Canada
James Cohen is an anti-corruption expert with a background in international development and security. He is currently the Executive Director of Transparency International Canada. James’ work includes advocacy, program management and design, training, and research for organizations including the United States Institute of Peace, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, the Global Organization for Parliamentarians Against Corruption, and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. James also worked for Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme from 2011-2013 where he focused on corruption risk to military, police, and peacekeeping, as well as advising governments and civil society. James joined TI Canada in 2016 as Interim-Executive Director, and held the post of Director, Programmes and Engagement before becoming Executive Director where he is addressing issues such as white collar crime enforcement. James holds a Masters of Arts in International Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science from the University of Ottawa.
Mélanie Robert, Executive Director, Open Government and Portals, Treasury Board Secretariat
Mélanie Robert is the Executive Director of Open Government at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). She leads the Government of Canada’s efforts to open data and information and to increase accountability and citizen participation, and manages Canada’s Open Government and Open Data Portal as well as the Online Access to Information Request Service.
With over 20 years of experience in the federal public service, Mélanie has lead business analysis, policy, regulation, communications and consultations for a variety of technology and innovation files.
You can follow Mélanie on Twitter @MelRobrt.
Erica Ren, Director General, Modernization, Department of Canadian Heritage
Erica Ren is the Director General of Modernization at the Department of Canadian Heritage. She leads digital transformation in service delivery, which aims to provide more transparent, collaborative, citizen-centered and digitally enabled services to Canadians.
Erica joined the public service in 2005 and has since held multiple senior roles in digital business transformation and IT service delivery, including Senior Director at Correctional Services Canada; Director, Open Government and Data Analytics; and Director, Information Management at the Canada Border Services Agency.
Erica holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master in Engineering and a Bachelor in Applied Science from the University of Ottawa.
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