For two decades, the City of Vancouver has been ahead of many other public-sector organizations in the digital world.
In the Lower Mainland, it was the first local government that started posting staff reports on its website.
It was the first to post video of its council deliberations—years before this was adopted at Metro Vancouver.
And Vancouver was the first to launch an open-data program, due in large part to Coun. Andrea Reimer.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Public Library has been a leader in providing access to digital services. Its access to online resources was one of several reasons it was named as one of the world's top public libraries in 2013. And Vancouver was the first city in the region to allow people to pay for parking meters through their phones.
Vancouver has also been the first city in Canada to implement a digital strategy.
This effort has been spearheaded by the city's chief technology officer, Jessie Adcock, and it advanced "mobile-first perspective" through the Vanconnect app.
"Vancouver's city app, for example, can now be used to get around the city and book swimming lessons, get a dog licence, watch a council meeting, or submit other service requests," states a video posted by IT World Canada on YouTube. "The team also worked with engineers to lay fibre-optic cables when any street construction took place to ensure future connectivity, and also worked with libraries on a digital-literacy education plan."
There are also more than 500 free Wi-Fi points in Vancouver, according to the video. When the Straight's homeless blogger, Stanley Q. Woodvine, strolled down West Broadway from Granville to Cambie streets to test the reception, he found it was "much better" than he expected.
Last night, the City of Vancouver's efforts were recognized by IT World Canada when it won a Digital Transformation Award in Toronto.
It came first in the Large Public Sector Transformation category.
“People, businesses and governments around the world are grappling with emerging technologies and the pace of technological change," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a city news release. “Through the city’s digital strategy, we’ve been able to leverage and embrace technological innovation to better deliver services to residents and provide them with tools to more actively engage and participate in local government.”
The awards were launched in 2017 to celebrate leadership in digital transformation across a variety of sectors.