The Centre for Law, Technology and Society is delighted to announce the publication with the University of Ottawa Press of Citizenship in a Connected Canada: A Research and Policy Agenda edited by CLTS Faculty members Dr. Elizabeth Dubois and Dr. Florian Martin-Bariteau.
This interdisciplinary edited collection brings together scholars, activists, and policy makers to build consensus around what a connected society means for Canada. The collection offers insights on the state of citizenship in a digital context in Canada and proposes a research and policy agenda for a way forward.
What does it mean to be a citizen in Canada in a digital context?
What are the implications of this digital setting for citizens and policy making?
Citizenship has become digital. In 2020, all experiences and expressions of civic and political life in Canada are impacted by digital technologies in some way. Whether they use a mobile app to listen to a news podcast, log in to their online banking profile, order food online or connect through social media with co-workers, friends, or family, most people’s lives are necessarily digital to some degree. Even for those who choose not to use digital technologies in their daily lives, and for those who do not have the needed access, resources, or skills to employ these tools… Governments and other institutions make use of digital technologies in ways that impact everyone.
However, many different actors in society—civil society groups, governments, journalism organizations—, and legal systems struggle to keep up with shifting the ways in which individuals might enact their citizenship, with the impacts of increased use of digital tools, and with questions about what is technically possible and ethically advisable. Without continued reflection of these practices, we risk losing track of the state of the digital context and the needs of the citizens who act within it.
This project began in 2017 when Dr. Elizabeth Dubois and Dr. Florian Martin-Bariteau brought together academics, policy-makers, and technologists for the Connected Canada conference at the University of Ottawa. They wanted to generate discussion and build a network of people interested in generating research about what it means to be a citizen in a connected Canada and how we, as researchers, policy-makers, and members of civil society, can overcome gaps in data that limit our understandings of the impacts of digital tools on civic life. In 2018, they published Canadians in a Digital Context: A Research Agenda for a Connected Canada, a knowledge synthesis report presenting the perspectives of participants in order to facilitate discussion and collaboration, and to propose a collaborative research agenda.
Today, they publish Citizenship in a Connected Canada, an interdisciplinary edited collection that brings together some of those scholars, activists, and policy makers to build consensus around what a connected society means for Canada. The collection offers insight on the state of citizenship in a digital context in Canada. Chapters are authored by some of Canada’s pre-eminent leading and emergent voices, in order to propose a research and policy agenda that is informed by evidence-based research.
This collection of policy-oriented essays is divided into three parts. Part 1 examines the current landscape of digital civic participation and notes some of the missing voices which are required to ensure an inclusive digital society. In Part 2, experts reflect on relationships between citizens and their political and democratic institutions, from government service delivery to academic and citizen engagement in policy-making. Finally, in Part 3, experts address key legal frameworks that need to be discussed and redesigned to help build an inclusive society and strengthen our democratic institutions.
In addition to being edited by two of our Faculty members, the collection includes pieces authored by CLTS Faculty members Jane Bailey, Michael Geist, Marina Pavlović, Teresa Scassa, Valerie Steeves, and Associate Member Jacquelyn Burkell.
The book is also available in open access on ConnectedCanada.ca.
The publication of this book in open access was made possible thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of Ottawa Research Chair in Technology and Society, and the Fund for Law, Risks and the Internet at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society.
Congratulations to Dr. Dubois and Dr. Martin-Bariteau on this publication!