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Welcome to our new Digital Strategy Advisory Panel members!

Apr 1, 2019

Kristina Verner speaks at the second Civic Lab on Digital Stewardship held on March 4, 2019

Waterfront Toronto's Vice President of Innovation, Sustainability & Prosperity Kristina Verner was joined by members of the Digital Strategy Advisory Panel for the second Civic Lab discussion on Digital Stewardship held on March 4, 2019.

By: Vance Lockton

From the outset of Waterfront Toronto’s Quayside project, digital infrastructure and the data that it generates has been recognized as one of the key pillars of urban innovation. However, it was also understood that the benefits of this innovation could only be realized if the principles of ethical use of technology, accountability, transparency, protection of personal privacy, data governance and cyber security are upheld, and resources such as intellectual property and data are safeguarded.

In April 2018, Waterfront Toronto announced the formation of a Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, an arms-length body which provides expert advice about proposed digital initiatives within the Designated Waterfront Area. The Panel is intended to be an advocate for the highest quality outcomes for Toronto citizens through thoughtful, robust discussion that encourages innovation and economic development which prioritizing the preservation and promotion of the public good. Currently, the panel – chaired by Dr. Michael Geist – has 12 members.

To support the Panel’s on-going work, in late-2018 we launched a call for new panelists. We received applications from a wide range of diverse and highly-qualified candidates, and were encouraged by the range of people – Torontonians and otherwise – who are interested in contributing their expertise and experience to this project.

After a thorough review process which examined the candidates’ qualifications to identify those who would best complement the Panel’s existing skill set, the evaluators settled on three additions. We are pleased to welcome the following new panelists:

Dr. Khaled El-Emam - Khaled is the founder of Privacy Analytics Inc. As an entrepreneur, he helped found five companies involved with data management and data analytics. He has worked in technical and management positions in academic and business settings in England, Scotland and Japan.

Dr. El-Emam is also a senior scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and Director of the multi-disciplinary Electronic Health Information Laboratory (EHIL) team, conducting academic research on de-identification and re-identification risk. He is a world-renowned expert in statistical de-identification and re-identification risk measurement. He is one of only a handful of individual experts in North America qualified to anonymize Protected Health Information under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Previously, Khaled was a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada. He also served as the head of the Quantitative Methods Group at the Fraunhofer Institute in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Khaled was one of the first Privacy by Design Ambassadors recognized by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner. He previously held the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa and is a Professor of the Faculty of Medicine at the University. He has a PhD from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, King’s College, at the University of London, England.

Diane Reynolds - Diane Reynolds currently works as the Head of Engineering & Chief Data Scientist for Customer Insights for Banking, Wealth Management and Insurance within IBM Watson Financial Services.

Based in Toronto Canada, she was previously responsible for a team of data scientists who build, adapt and integrate statistical and machine learning models for the Customer Insights solutions, train Watson engines on BlueMix for Regulatory Compliance Analytics and work with ICM devops to improve hardware performance and deliver value-added reports for clients.

During her 20+ years at IBM, Diane has worked with numerous clients around the world to deliver leading-edge risk measurement and management solutions for credit risk, market risk, portfolio management, asset-liability management, exposure management, regulatory compliance, operational risk and risk monitoring.

Karen Gomez - Karen has worked for all three levels of government and some of Canada’s leading non-profit organizations, which includes Canada’s largest innovation hub. Today, she is leading the project management for the Municipal Innovation Exchange (MIX). MIX is a multi-city collaboration led by the City of Guelph, with the City of London and the City Barrie, as well as MaRS Discovery District, using procurement as the foundation to build an emerging center of excellence for municipal innovation. Using procurement challenges, they will explore pain points shared across municipalities, navigate emerging technology and the challenges cities face in the adoption.

Prior to this, Karen worked in Employment and Social Development Canada to explore how existing trends could impact service delivery in the next decade and worked with Open North to help the City of Toronto develop their Open Data Master Plan.

We are looking forward to each of their respective contributions to the Panel, and I – as Waterfront Toronto’s new Manager of Digital Governance – personally look forward to working with each of them!


To learn more about the rest of our Digital Strategy Advisory Panel members, please click here