Government Announces Ontario's First-Ever Digital and Data Task Force, Unveils Second Phase of Data Strategy Consultations

Published on

Government Announces Ontario's First-Ever Digital and Data Task Force, Unveils Second Phase of Data Strategy Consultations

Ontario's Government is developing a provincial strategy that will put people first by helping Ontarians and businesses benefit directly from the data economy, while ensuring their personal privacy is protected.

Today, the government announced the creation of a Minister's Digital and Data Task Force along with a series of in-person and online consultations to gather expertise and insights into developing and implementing a best-in-class data strategy.

These consultations will take place over the summer in six locations across Ontario. This is the second phase of consultations in the development of Ontario's Data Strategy.

Results of Phase 1:

An online survey, posted on, contained 13 questions and was posted for 31 days, concluding on March 7, 2019. The consultation garnered 773 entries from respondents who were interested in the topics presented.

  • 83 per cent of respondents felt that businesses don't do a good job of explaining what they plan to do with the public's data.
  • A majority of respondents indicated that government should be able to securely share data among ministries to streamline and improve interactions between citizens and government.
  • 40 per cent of respondents think government should have some control over how businesses use personal data, and 73 per cent think they themselves should have some control as well.
  • 79 per cent of respondents believe that data about people and businesses in Ontario needs stronger protection.
  • A majority of respondents indicated that allowing government to securely share data among ministries will streamline and improve interaction between citizens and government.
  • A majority of respondents indicated they would like the government to responsibly share more of its own data with businesses to help them create new jobs, products and services for Ontarians.
  • A significant portion of respondents indicated fears and concerns about data breaches, identity theft, hacking, lack of personal controls on how data are used, and excessive surveillance and tracking.
  • Close to half of respondents were open to new legislation by government to address these fears and concerns.
  • With regard to the Task Force, respondents suggested that Task Force appointees focus their work on privacy, security and stewardship of data (55 per cent), governance and accountability (42 per cent), how the government uses data (42 per cent), and access, quality and ethical use (34 per cent). Respondents also suggested that Task Force appointees should include subject matter experts with deep knowledge (54 per cent) and strong professional backgrounds (50 per cent).

Phase 2 Province-Wide Consultations:

The second phase of consultations will include stakeholder and public roundtables in six locations across the province:

  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Sarnia
  • Stratford
  • Ottawa
  • Peterborough
  • Toronto

Task Force Members:

The Task Force consists of a diverse and balanced team appointed based on their knowledge, expertise, skills and backgrounds.


Linda Mantia is the former Senior Executive Vice-President and Group Chief Operating Officer of Manulife Financial, where she was responsible for technology, advanced analytics, marketing, corporate strategy, corporate development, innovation, and regulatory and public affairs. Prior to Manulife, Ms. Mantia was the Executive Vice-President of Digital, Payments and Cards at Royal Bank of Canada. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co. and as a Corporate Securities Lawyer at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP. Ms. Mantia has been twice celebrated as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network. Ms. Mantia holds a LL.B from Queen's University.

Vice Chair

Bryan Smith is the Co-Founder and CEO of ThinkData Works, a Toronto-based technology company that enables data processing and refinement for governments, banks, and corporate clients across Canada and globally. Previously, Mr. Smith served as Senior Policy Advisor to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada, where he helped implement the Government's "Value for Money Ethic", leading to over $7B in annual savings. Mr. Smith holds a B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Task Force Members

Bilal Khan is the Managing Partner and Head of Deloitte Data, where he is responsible for helping develop and execute Deloitte's data and innovation agenda, as well as the development of data strategies and transformations for the firm's clients. Prior to this, Mr. Khan was the founding CEO of OneEleven, a scale-up innovation hub focused on helping Canada's high-growth start-ups commercialize their technologies and scale their operations. He previously held the role of Director of Policy and Senior Advisor to three consecutive Ministers of Economic Development, Trade and Innovation for the Government of Ontario. Mr. Khan holds a LL.B. degree from the University of Windsor.

Avner Levin is a Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Law & Business Department. He is the Founding Director of Ryerson University's Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute. Dr. Levin's research interests include the legal regulation and protection of privacy and personal information, online and in social media. He has been a recipient of funding from bodies such as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and Public Safety Canada. His work has been published in the American Business Law Journal, the Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, the Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law, the International Journal of Information Security and others. Prof. Levin is an alumnus of Tel-Aviv University, holding a B.Sc. and LL.B. degree, and of the University of Toronto, holding a LL.M. and S.J.D.  

Maithili Mavinkurve is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Sightline Innovation, one of Canada's longest-standing Artificial Intelligence companies. Recognized for her pioneering role in the sector, Ms. Mavinkurve has been cited as one of the 30 Most Influential Women in AI in Canada. Previously, she served as a member of the federal Economic Strategy - Digital Industries Table, leading the sub-group that developed national data strategy and IP recommendations. Ms. Mavinkurve has also represented Canada at the G7 ministerial meetings on AI and the future of work. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Toronto and is licensed as a P. Eng. from Professional Engineers Ontario.

Shyam Oberoi is the Chief Digital Officer of the Royal Ontario Museum where he oversees the museum's digital and technology strategy. Prior to this, he held leadership positions at the Dallas Museum of Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art with responsibility for media creation, gallery interactives, technical services and mobile experiences. Mr. Oberoi previously worked as a software engineer for over a decade. He holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Manhattan College, and a M.A. from New York University.

Mark Sakamoto is an entrepreneur and investor in digital health and digital media. He currently serves as the Executive Vice-President of Think Research, a leading provider of cloud-based clinical solutions for the healthcare sector. A lawyer by training, Mr. Sakamoto has worked at a national law firm and served as a Senior Political Advisor to a national party leader. Previously, Mark worked as an Executive Manager for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, focusing on content deals. He holds a LL.B. degree from Dalhousie University.

Kirsten Thompson is currently a partner with Dentons Canada LLP, where she serves as the national lead of the Transformative Technologies and Data Strategy group. Her work focuses on data-driven industries and disruptive technologies, and she is a leading practitioner in areas such as digital identity, open data, data analytics applications, and enterprise data strategy. Previously, Ms. Thompson was a partner with McCarthy Tetrault LLP. Her community involvement includes serving on the board of Canadian Tech Law and acting as a member of the Open Banking Advisory Committee for the Government of Canada. Ms. Thompson holds a LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School and a J.D. from Queen's University.