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March 10, 2017
City of Toronto launches Civic Innovation Office to enhance service to the public

The City of Toronto has created the Civic Innovation Office, which will help solve municipal service delivery challenges by creating a bridge between City divisions and Toronto’s growing innovation and technology communities.

Mayor John Tory, joined by Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43 Scarborough East), Chair of the Government Management Committee; Councillor Michelle Holland (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy; and City Manager Peter Wallace, announced the new office today at Normative Inc., an innovation company located in Toronto.

“Toronto is home to a large population of innovators, startups and tech companies who can help the City deliver better services to the public, while promoting a new approach to problem solving within government,” said Mayor Tory. “I look forward to working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, City divisions and our civic technology community to launch this exciting new Civic Innovation Office.”

The Civic Innovation Office will be housed within the City Manager’s Office and apply technology, data analysis and design thinking to develop and test solutions to challenges faced by Toronto residents. The office is fully funded through Bloomberg Philanthropies, a collective that works to address pressing urban challenges to improve the quality of life for local residents. Recently, Bloomberg selected Toronto as the first Canadian city to join its global network of Innovation Teams.

“Innovation Teams bring 21st century problem-solving skills to City Hall,” said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation programs for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The teams implement creative solutions by breaking down silos within city halls, engaging residents to jointly understand citizen needs and testing ideas before taking them to scale.”

The Civic Innovation Office will work with City divisions and agencies as required to identify major challenges to be solved through innovative partnerships with external teams, who will work through 16-week stints to deliver real solutions that can be procured by the City.

“Governments can learn so much from the innovation community when it comes to how they solve problems through data, design and agile development,” said Councillor Ainslie. “I look forward to seeing the solutions developed through the Civic Innovation Office and the culture shift this will produce inside Toronto City Hall.”

The Office will work closely with Bloomberg Philanthropies and actively collaborate with other Innovation Team grantee cities, including Anchorage, Alaska; Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Be’er Sheva, Israel.

“Toronto is an emerging centre of innovation and technology and home to so much diverse talent,” said Councillor Holland. “This is a city where people can have an impact and create new solutions, building their lives and their companies, while helping us build a great city.”

The City of Toronto has begun a search for a Director, Project Manager and Design Strategist to lead the Civic Innovation Office. More information about the postings can be found at

The City of Toronto is an emerging global centre of technology and innovation. Technology-related jobs account for 400,000 jobs in Toronto and the sector has been growing at twice the rate of overall jobs.

About the Innovation Team
Launched in 2012, the Innovation Teams Program is one of eight Government Innovation offerings at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Innovation teams (i-teams) function as in-house innovation consultants, helping agency leaders and staff go through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results. The City of Toronto is one of more than 20 cities around the world that is participating in the program. Starting in May, Toronto’s i-team will begin to work closely and supportively with their colleagues across city government – offering them a different set of tools and techniques to innovate more effectively. In partnership with these colleagues, the Toronto i-team will aim to deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve by building empathy for the people impacted by it and then work quickly and creatively to co-create and test solutions that deliver meaningful results for residents.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Don Peat
Office of the Mayor

Wynna Brown
Strategic Communications

Garnesha Crawford
Bloomberg Philanthropies



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