A group of Canadian researchers and democracy advocates watched the U.S. political elections with a degree of awe as the media parsed votes by geodemographic profile at the county level, and as maps became a central part of election coverage for insight into the electorate. Canada possesses detailed demographic and voting data, but it’s not freely and readily available as in the United States, instead it’s sold and licensed by Statistics Canada and not affordable for research on social and political trends.
A one-day conference called Democracy and Technology (DemTech): Canadian Citizenship in the Information Age has been organized to raise issues of government data access for greater government transparency and more informed and engaged citizens in the democratic process. The event will take place on May 29th in Montreal, preceding the Canadian Library Association conference. The event is sponsored by Apathy is Boring, VisibleGovernment.ca and members of the CivicAccess.ca community. The event will explore themes of policy and legal challenges that stand in the way of freely available government data, and the technologies that can be applied to enable greater data access.
If you have an interest in freeing up Canadian demographic data, be sure to attend, and if your organization is interested in being part of the dialogue, the group is also looking for sponsors.