At General Committee, Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Shawn Slack presented highlights of the City of Mississauga’s draft submission for the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge.

“The City of Mississauga’s Smart Cities Challenge submission furthers our plans to create a connected and engaged city,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “By combining community-based solutions with innovation, we can bridge the digital divide between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. As we continue to create a city for the 21st century, we want to ensure Mississauga continues to be a place where we can all live, work and prosper.”

The Smart Cities Challenge encourages communities to think creatively to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

The City’s plan will “solve for social resilience” by providing easy and equitable access to services through the use of technology and data. The plan supports new immigrants, those at risk, youth and the broader community. It is comprised of several pieces that include:

• providing a basic digital kit to people who may have financial or other barriers
• creating community workspaces with amenities to enable learning, places to work, meet and succeed
• encouraging the use of active and public transportation
• using Intelligent Digital Signage, Artificial Intelligence A/I, Voice First Services, Augmented Reality, Open Data, Mobility and integration with agency services

“We want to continue to look for opportunities to positively improve the quality of life for residents. By investing in new and emerging technologies, we can create a city that is more inclusive and focuses on achieving outcomes that align with our existing master plans and Strategic Plan,” said Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer.

The Challenge is a cross-Canadian initiative open to communities of all sizes, including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). Successful applicants will receive prizing based on population size.

“Through public engagement sessions, feedback received online and consultation with community partners, we’ve identified a need to support youth, newcomers and those at risk in our community within the submission,” said Shawn Slack, Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. “At the same time, we’ve taken this opportunity to use these key insights to begin the planning process for a Smart City Master Plan which will provide a more fulsome response to broad needs across the community. The plan will set the agenda for data and technology planning at the City for the next 10 years.”

An independent jury appointed by the federal government will select finalists by summer 2018. Each finalist will receive a $250,000 grant to develop their final proposal which must be submitted in winter 2019. Winners will be announced spring 2019.

The submission deadline is April 24, 2018. To learn more about the Smart Cities Challenge, visit mississauga.ca/smartcity.