DesignMeets… Public Policy Toronto

This is event has already happened. Read about it here.

Around the world, progressive governments are embedding design principles in the foundations of their public policy and service delivery. Design-led approaches are being recognized for bringing citizen-centred perspectives and innovation to complex government challenges. While examples are mounting of how design is being used to help build a stronger economy and improve everyday life, what’s happening in Canada?

In this follow-up to the Ottawa event earlier this month, this DesignMeets will shed light on how our cities and country are — or could be — using design as a process to drive innovation from informing public policy to improving government service delivery. With events in Ottawa and Toronto, we hope to take a progressive step towards better understanding, and ultimately engaging in furthering design’s role in government.

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Event Speakers

Bruce Bell


So much of Toronto’s history is either buried under parking lots or confined to dusty history books hidden on the top shelves of libraries or just plain forgotten. Using his wealth of knowledge and experience, historian and author Bruce Bell is determined to look under those parking lots to see what secrets are held in Toronto’s much overlooked colonial and 19th century past. Bruce Bell has been the popular monthly history columnist for the Bulletin, Canada’s largest community newspaper since 1999. He is a former board member of the Town of York Historical Society and is the author of two books Amazing Tales of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood and the just published TORONTO: A Pictorial Celebration. Bruce’s History Project — a plaque program around the city marking historical sites with large bronze markers — includes Toronto’s First Jail, The Great Fire of 1849, the hanging of the Rebellion of 1837 leaders Lount and Matthews and the birthplace of Canadian Statesman Robert Baldwin.

Bruce’s mission is to tell Toronto’s history through his tours, writings and lectures including his sold out shows at Toronto’s famed Winter Garden Theatre, in an informative and entertaining way. Recently Bruce has expanded his tours into Southern Ontario bringing groups of people from Toronto to the beautiful countryside that surrounds our great city in search of shared roots.  Hear him speak at DesignMeets about some key happenings in our Public Policy’s history.

Topic: The design and public policy input of St Lawrence Market over the past 200 years

Jutta Treviranus


Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute a multi-university regional centre of expertise. Jutta founded and directs an innovative graduate program in inclusive design at OCAD University. She is the co-director of Raising the Floor International and leads many international multi-partner research networks that have created broadly implemented innovations that support inclusion e.g., Fluid Project, FLOE, and many others.

Jutta and her team have pioneered network-supported personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including W3C WAI ATAG, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751, and AODA Information and Communication).

Topic: Inclusive Design as a Platform for Economic Inclusion

Jamison Steeve


Jamison Steeve is the Executive Director at the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, two of Canada’s leading think tanks. In these roles Jamison is responsible for the day to day operation of both institutes, as well as the development of the strategic plan, communication vehicles and policy agenda. He is excited to be working with top minds like Roger Martin, Richard Florida and Don Tapscott, as well as developing policy content of his own.

Prior to joining the MPI and ICP, Jamison built a successful career in Ontario public policy serving as advisor to provincial cabinet Ministers and most recently as Principal Secretary in the Office of the Premier. During that time, Ontario became known as a “public policy powerhouse”. He worked with Premier Dalton McGuinty to create and shape the policy and legislative agenda for the provincial government. Jamison played a key role in the development and writing of Throne Speeches, Provincial Budgets and the Liberal Party Platform in 2007 and 2011. Before entering the public policy arena, he practiced law with Fasken Martineau DuMoullin. He is a graduate of Queen’s University and Dalhousie University.

Jamison’s most important roles continue to be husband to Carolyn and father to Will and, the family’s newest addition, Natalie.

Topic: Making public policy in a political environment

Bruce Chau


Bruce Chau is the Open Source Community Manager at Microsoft and an organizer of Make Web Not War, a community of technologists dedicated to drive open standards, open source and open data. As part of Make Web Not War team, Bruce is working on building an open data ecosystem to enable government to release more data and increase the rate of developer adoption. He believes that open data is a means to government transparency that will enable the citizens to help drive public policy.

At Microsoft, Bruce and his Open Platforms team collaborates with government and developers to create apps that benefit our family, friends and fellow citizens. He was part of the team who brought the Play in Peel app to the youth in Peel region seeking after school programs. The project was a collaboration between Peel Children Youth Initiative (PCYI), Microsoft, Web Nodes and the cities of Brampton and Mississauga — the perfect recipe of how transparency + tech = more engaged youth building up their skill sets.

Topic: Public policy empowering designers to build a better society

Dave Meslin


Multi-partisan and fiercely optimistic, Dave Meslin embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, in Toronto and globally, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together. (His business card reads “Dave Meslin: community choreographer,” which feels about right.)

Topic: TBA

Cameron Norman

Cameron Norman

Cameron Norman is an innovation archaeologist of sorts, channeling his inner Indiana Jones to problems related to health and wellbeing. He works with health and human service sector organizations to uncover the impact of their work through research and design. Cameron is the Principal of CENSE Research + Design, a social innovation consultancy focused on training, program design, evaluation and strategic communication. His specialization is working with programs operating in highly complex, dynamic environments and helping organizations and their partners better adapt and thrive in those conditions.

Dr. Norman has graduate degrees in psychology and public health and is part of the community of learners in the Masters of Design program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCADU. He is also an adjunct professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto where he’s taught courses on systems thinking, behaviour change and health promotion.

Topic: Healthy publics and healthy policies

Michael J. Young

Michael Young

Michael is an information officer and in-house designer for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. In this role, he provides accessible design solutions for tools and resources to help organizations meet Ontario’s accessibility standards. Michael also helps partner organizations, other government ministries and private-sector studios create attractive designs that are both AODA compliant and user-friendly.

Topic: Creating accessible graphic design



John Lorinc


John Lorinc is a Toronto journalist who writes about urban issues for Spacing, The Globe and Mail, and The Walrus. He is author of three books, including The New City (2006).



Loftraum (venue)
Pivot Design Group (hosts)
Microsoft – Make Web Not War
The Pink Grapefruit
Steam Whistle