Community Readiness

A city of over 500,000 residents, with major health service providers and leading post-secondary institutions within its city-limits, Hamilton has big city size and resources but is small enough the major institutions sit around one table to enable change.

In fact, in 2018, Hamilton was recognized as a global TOP7 Intelligent Community for its commitment to progress digital infrastructure, equity and advocacy. A big part of that recognition is the innovative work and program delivery of our major institutions, as well as our willingness to work together, which the Intelligent Community Forum described as “world class”.

The Hamilton Anchor Institution Leadership (HAIL), is Hamilton’s largest public and private sector members: City of Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHSC), Local Health Integration Network, the local school boards, Hamilton Police Services, McMaster University and Mohawk College, Chamber of Commerce, ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

There is a collective commitment to build bridges between institutions and across sectors to solve challenges. Sub-tables have been formed to lead on major issues. One is the Community Health Working Group, which in the fall of 2017 reached a formal commitment to support an integrated health care and social support system between the leadership of Hamilton’s major institutions, the Hamilton Family Health Team, and community representatives.

The players are at the table, we have a foundation in place.


Hamilton also has significant experience implementing large, complex projects

HHSC is the second largest hospital group in Ontario, and home to one of the largest regional electronic health record implementations in North America (ClinicalConnect™). In a multi-disciplinary partnership model (provincial, regional, local) HHSC led the integration of all acute care hospitals in the region and a number of provincial assets (labs, diagnostic imaging). It is now deployed to over 40,000 users serving over 3.6 million people (for context Alberta has 4.2M).

Recognizing governance was a critical success factor that provincially funded implementation was overseen by a multi-partner/multi-stakeholder governance model. That program represented in excess of $100 million in direct investment, and hundreds of stakeholders representing thousands of providers.

HHSC remains positioned with regional scale technology delivery capability and change management services. 

HHSC also has formal partnership with IBM Canada for health innovation. Based out of a dedicated innovation space in downtown Hamilton; specifically designed to enable innovators and experts from HHSC, IBM and the Hamilton healthcare ecosystem to interact, ideate and collaborate.

As a key partner, given their investment and existing partnerships in Hamilton, we will look to leverage IBM's global leadership in the Smarter Cities initiatives.

MIRA has mobilized 80+ researchers from all six faculties and multiple disciplines to coordinate their efforts to enhance the University's research strengths in aging. MIRA serves as an entry point to McMaster’s well-established platforms in aging research and knowledge translation, such as McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, and the national coordinating centre for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA); a 20 year study of 50,000 Canadians aged 45 and 85 at recruitment, collecting a very robust data set on the health and social aspects of their lives.

The Hamilton Public Library (HPL) is internationally recognized as a leader in technology adoption; seeking out new services and partnerships that help better serve the community – physical, virtual, and cultural. They have a multi-service approach, co-locating with other partners, such as the City and Mohawk. If given the resources, HPL can execute on leading delivery of the digital hubs.

Another readiness example is the Mayor’s Intelligent Community Task Force, which works directly with the community, private sector and telecommunications industry to identify gaps in our broadband infrastructure and service offerings. Our goal is to collectively work towards a Digital Hamilton that is purpose built for the future.

To become Canada’s Most Connected Community we will establish a cross-institutional governance model that will include citizen representatives to guide the program – a model we know works. We will also work within our existing structures and build on the deep community engagement that exists today. A co-design approach in program delivery will be used.

Change management, communication and ongoing resident engagement will be critical to success. To address any concerns about access to data, we will deploy ‘privacy and security by design’ principles throughout the project.

One weakness is a gap in the availability of rural broadband infrastructure and access to digital services. A component of our proposal will be to close that digital gap to enable more programs to be delivered there – including the digital hubs, which will build on the programming of HPL for our rural residents. Our telecommunication partners have indicated a willingness to partner together with the City to begin to close these gaps in rural digital infrastructure.

While we recognize that size and number of partners may be viewed as an obstacle, we know that it’s not. The HAIL table demonstrates we already work well together, and we have extensively consulted to ensure alignment with organizational priorities and capabilities. As mentioned we will employ a multi-partner governance model that includes a steering committee, and working groups by stream to enable success, with citizen representation. We are committed to collaboration and success.

Previous experience and planning is a clear strength. We are combining the intellectual and delivery capacity of our major institutions to reach common goals in the community. In a multi-partner model we will ensure delivery is managed by an overarching program that will oversee successful implementation. The City will act as a primary point of accountability, with clear roles and responsibilities for each partner from the outset.

We know we have many of the foundational pieces and that this is achievable – the gap in scaling these pieces was lack of funding and access to smart technology, which this proposal addresses. As evidenced, we have world class institutions that routinely work together effectively. What gets built and delivered here can be rolled out and replicated anywhere. Hamilton has the experience and the capability to deliver. It really is no ordinary place.