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Canadian Smart Communities Announced

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 16 May 2000 00:00

Last week, Industry Canada announced that 12 Canadian communities -- selected from 129 applicants -- will be Canada's official Smart Communities. Each will receive up to $5 million in matched funding to implement Smart projects that integrate "information and communication technologies into community life - in areas such as health care, education, training and business." This federal program is part of the national "Connecting Canadians" initiative, which aims to make Canada the most connected country in the world.

The Smart Community movement is not exclusive to Canada. Communities such as Ennis, Ireland, and Victoria, Australia, share the objective of using information and communication technologies to make their communities better places to live, work and play.

According to Industry Canada, a Smart Community is one with "a vision of the future that involves the use of information and communication technologies in new and innovative ways to empower its residents, institutions and regions as a whole and make the most of opportunities that new technologies afford – better health care delivery, better education and training and new business opportunities." Each province has one federally-designated Smart Community, including:

  • Ontario - SmartCapital, Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, Region of Ottawa-Carlton
  • Quebec - Le Carrefour Virtuel de la Mauricie, Shawinigan
  • BC - SMART CHOICE Community Network, Tri-Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody
  • Alberta - INFOPORT Community Empowerment Project, Calgary.

The Northwest Territories, Yukon and our newest territory, Nunavut, are represented by TheYellowknife Smart Network, based in Yellowknife. First Nations efforts will be focused through The Kuh-ke-nah Network (K-Net) of Smart First Nations in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Your community or neighbourhood should not wait for the government to organize it into a Smart Community or it may get left behind. Here are a few simple first steps you can take:

  • Collect email addresses from neighbourhood residents

  • Match up non-computer households with those online so no one is left out

  • Establish a regular online forum or listserv that allows information sharing and opinion soliciting

  • Add local businesses and professionals to this, or a parallel, network since they have a stake in the success of the neighbourhood as well

  • Contact municipal offices to find out what plans local departments and politicians have for connecting your community

  • Investigate plans for e-medicine and telemedicine through district health boards, local hospitals and medical colleges so that your neighbourhood can be involved in testing and design of health care and home care services

  • Research distance education programs offered by colleges, universities and other schools in the area to determine what training, employment and education opportunities are electronically available to your neighbourhood

  • Join an e-business group to stay tuned to Internet business trends and opportunities

  • Consider forming a smart community team or club to discuss the progress of other Smart Communities and explore possibilities for your neighbourhood.

    Strengthening relationships within your community should result in improved quality of living in many areas including increased child safety, faster government response to concerns, reduced crime levels, less disruptive real estate development and greater support for older residents. Whether your group sets up a website, online forum or web radio station or just keeps in touch electronically, you will be in a better position to respond quickly and effectively to opportunities for residents and to threats to the neighbourhood. A strong, cohesive community may make the area more attractive to home buyers, which in turn can give real estate values a boost.

    For more information, on Smart Communities, visit

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