Digital Policy Salon: Public Participation and Accessibility in Tech



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Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Public Participation and Accessibility in Tech
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #40 • View online
Welcome to the 40th issue of the Digital Policy Salon.
How do we build a more inclusive and accessible technology sector? This question underpins much of our work here at ICTC, and likely resonates with many readers. In this issue, we unpack that question in several ways. First, we are pleased to announce the release of new research on accessibility and technology in Alberta. This study explores the current state of accessible hiring in the province’s tech sector, identifying opportunities for improvement. Our first perspective piece discusses another application of accessibility: inclusive public engagement practices in the tech sector. We also bring you an accessible hiring employer toolkit from the Alberta study.
This week, our policy updates zoom in on early signs from annual budgets, looking at health spending and public participation in budget consultations. Finally, “what we’re reading” and our second perspective piece jump into the Canadian AI sector and its workforce development needs.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Annual budgets for 2021-2022 highlight pandemic’s economic impact, project further deficits
While many provincial and territorial budgets for the 2021-2022 fiscal year have been tabled, some, including the federal government, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia’s, have yet to come. Most budgets tabled to date have prioritized healthcare spending and economic recovery, while many project further deficits in the coming years. The 2021 federal budget, which will be the first federal budget since 2019, is scheduled for release on April 19th.
Virtual budget consultation process sets new participation record among Manitobans
Almost 51,000 Manitobans participated in Manitoba’s virtual budget consultation process this year, setting a new participation record, and marking a 178 per cent increase in participation since 2020. The virtual consultation process included a variety of participation methods, including telephone town halls, virtual meetings, online surveys, and open calls for emails and written notes.
United States government announces 2 trillion-dollar spending program prioritizing green infrastructure
The United States has announced a 2 trillion-dollar spending program designed to accelerate infrastructure spending and clean technology uptake across the United States. While the program has yet to be put before congress—a process that can take months or years to complete—it will nonetheless have significant implications for Canada, including new opportunities for economic growth.
British Columbia reports highest uptake rate of electronic vehicles in North America as Prince Edward Island introduces new EV rebate program
According to the provincial government, more than 54,000 light-duty electronic vehicles (EVs) were registered in British Columbia in 2020, representing the highest uptake rate in North America. Moreover, as one of the few Canadian provinces with an EV incentive program, British Columbia is now on track to exceed its uptake targets for light-duty EVs by 2025.
In an effort to invest in clean technology and promote a healthier environment, the Government of Prince Edward Island recently introduced a $500,000 EV rebate program in its 2021-2022 annual budget.
- Mairead Matthews
Our Perspective
A Tale of Two Consultations: Meaningful Engagement for Technology in the Public Sphere
Building Canada’s Future AI Workforce in the Brave New (Post-Pandemic) World | Overview
Employer Resources
Toolkit for Alberta Digital Economy Employers: Engaging People with Disabilities
What We're Reading
The Secret Auction That Set Off the Race for AI Supremacy
Research Visualized
Many organizations still lack diversity and inclusion policies, despite a growing awareness of the need for them. This is highlighted in ICTC’s new report, Inclusivity and Accessibility at the Core. While global anti-racism movements highlighted the urgency of diversity and inclusion in 2020, not all HR practices have caught up. In this Albertan study, approximately two out of three medium and large companies, and one in five small companies, had specific policies related to diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
Source: ICTC Survey of Albertan employers
Source: ICTC Survey of Albertan employers
Our Research
Inclusivity and Accessibility at the Core: Pathways to Employment in the Digital Economy for Albertans with Disabilities
Twitter Highlights
Open Data Institute
Be more trustworthy and trusted when collecting, managing, using and sharing #data. Try our new (beta) guidebook and let us know what you think:
Talk to Us 💬
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