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.
Cara F. Zwibel, Director, Fundamental Freedoms Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)
Cara Faith Zwibel graduated from McGill University in 2001 with an Honours degree in Political Science and received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2004. She articled as a law clerk to the Honourable Justice Ian Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada before being called to the Ontario bar in 2005. Cara also received her Master of Laws degree from New York University, as an Arthur T. Vanderbilt Scholar. Prior to joining the CCLA in 2010, Cara was an Associate at a national law firm, practicing public law, health law and commercial litigation. She has represented clients before administrative tribunals and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. At CCLA, Cara manages a large portfolio of litigation, makes submissions to parliamentary committees on proposed laws, and frequently represents the organization in the media. Cara’s work at CCLA is diverse, but includes a significant focus on freedom of expression, state accountability and transparency, and access to information.
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.
Pamela Robinson, Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Dr. Pamela Robinson MCIP RPP is the Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson. Throughout her career as a planner her research and practice have focused on complex, emergent challenges that Canadian communities face. Her current research focuses on the question: who is planning the Canadian smart city? Since 2010, Pamela has written a regular column for Spacing Magazine where she writes about equity, technology and civic engagement in Canadian cities. Pamela is a member of Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, an Advisor on the Toronto Public Library’s Innovation Council and she is a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum for the Government of Canada’s Open Government work.
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.
Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy
Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. Katie cofounded Evidence for Democracy, Canada's leading, national, non-partisan, and not-for-profit organization promoting science and the transparent use of evidence in government decision making. Before working in the non-profit sector, Katie completed her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Ottawa. Her ongoing success in advocating for the restoration of public science in Canada has made Katie a frequent resource for national and international media outlets including Science, The Guardian and the Globe and Mail. Katie is involved in global efforts to increase evidence-based decision-making and advises science integrity movements in other countries and serves on the board of directors for Water Rangers and Ecology Ottawa.
Mélanie Robert, Executive Director, Open Government and Services, 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.
Most recently Ruth has been focussed on supporting institution to implement recent changes to the Access to Information Act to make more government information available to Canadians.
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. Most recently Ruth has been focussed on supporting institution to implement recent changes to the Access to Information Act to make more government information available to Canadians.
Erica holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master in Engineering and a Bachelor in Applied Science from the University of Ottawa.
John Medcof, Director General, Transferable Skills, Canada School of Public Service
My name is John Medcof and I work in the Transferable Skills team at the Canada School of Public Service. Our team curates, designs and delivers learning for federal public servants to help them develop portable skills and mindsets that are relevant inside, outside and across government. This includes learning related to Business Acumen, Leadership, and Enabling Skills, to help build a public service that is kinetic, connected and collaborative. Before joining the School in 2018, I worked at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Infrastructure Canada, and Transport Canada, in addition to spending twelve years in the private sector.
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