CASE STUDY
The City of Timmins, Ontario overcomes unique citizen engagement obstacles

The City of Timmins is northeastern Ontario’s fourth largest city and one of Canada’s major centers of mining. Local legends say that in 1909, a Porcupine Lake prospector named Harry Preston skidded on a moss-covered rocky knoll and revealed a massive vein of gold, setting off the great northern Ontario Porcupine Gold Rush of 1909-1911. The company town that sprang up to house the miners became known as Timmins. Over the next hundred years, over 50 mines in the area produced 70 million ounces of gold making this region Canada’s greatest gold producer.

In 1973, 35 townships covering 1,260 square miles (including Porcupine, South Porcupine, Schumacher, and Timmins) were organized into the City of Timmins.

City of Timmins, Ontario, Canada, EASE

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The Need

During the cold winter months, many of Timmins’ 41,000 residents can become snowbound, while others head south for warmer climates. “The city can get snowstorms that close roads and make driving conditions unfavorable for those residents who want to attend regular meetings,” said David Laneville, former Director of IT for the City of Timmins.

Timmins’ search for a video streaming solution for its meetings met a major obstacle in Canadian law, however. Canadian law mandates that government server technology and database storage must remain within Canadian borders, to avoid privacy risks that could arise from international transfer of personal information.

City of Timmins, Ontario, Canada, EASE

The Solution

In 2010 the City of Timmins launched its new streaming video solution, which provides greater access to municipal information and services for residents.

“The city looked at several vendors across North America,” said Laneville. “Swagit was the best fit and had the most robust CDN that was qualified to handle our needs.” Swagit’s Content Distribution Network allows Timmins to store and deliver all of its content from Swagit’s Montreal Point-Of Presence (POP). By developing its own CDN, Swagit does not rely third-party providers like Akamai or Limelight. This not only keeps costs low, but enables Swagit’s international customers maintain compliance with their laws.

By using Swagit’s EASEsolution the city is able to promote live events, as well as broadcast meetings and other content via the internet. “Now, residents can watch live meetings from the comfort of their home, or can tap into the video-on-demand database and watch at their convenience from anywhere in the world,” Laneville said.

The Benefit

The City of Timmins provides transparency for residents despite unique obstacles: Canadian international privacy law, a 1,260-square-mile city footprint, and northeastern Ontario winters. Providing remote access to City Council meetings has notably eased concerns of reduced citizen engagement due to distance from the City’s Council meetings or weather that could make it impossible to attend public meetings.

Since 2003, Swagit has been a leader and innovator when it comes to streaming media technology. Swagit helps government agencies to transform their role with the public and provide better service for their citizens. Swagit’s hands-free EASE solution harnesses the power of streaming video for government.

Meetings for the City of Timmins can be viewed on the City’s website from any device that is connected to the internet (livestream and on-demand videos at http://www.timmins.ca/mayor-and-council/webcasts.)

Timmins, Ontario, Indexed, City Council Meeting, EASE

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