One of the world’s first platforms that aligns the needs of individuals, families and communities with the right combination of social service options
(February 22, 2022) Vancouver, BC – When people need social supports like income assistance or food subsidies, it often involves a complicated process of hunting down numerous agencies with different requirements and procedures creating confusion for Canadians at a time when they are most in need of help. Fragmented social services make it difficult to receive support, leaving people feeling “lost in the system”.
There is tremendous potential to fully leverage the $380 billion being invested in social supports every year for better outcomes. Without sufficient data about how these social supports interact, service providers and policymakers cannot address the gaps. To increase the speed, fairness and efficiency of social service options, the Digital Technology Supercluster is proud to announce its investment in the Compass project. This ground breaking project will leverage technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a social services safety net that aligns the needs of individuals, service providers and policymakers across the social services sector to streamline and improve wayfinding for Canadians and their families.
Led by HelpSeeker Technologies in collaboration with Corsac Technologies, Microsoft and the University of Toronto Centre for Social Services Engineering, Compass will deliver a humanized experience for those in need of social services, while providing transparency and efficacy for service providers and policymakers.
“Over the last seven years, our government has worked tirelessly to make sure no Canadian is left behind. The Digital Technology Supercluster’s Compass project will use digital technologies to help Canadians seamlessly find and access the social services and supports that they need,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By using AI and machine learning models, this new technology platform will introduce a more holistic, person-centred approach to social service provision.”
Technology developed through the Compass project will streamline the experience of seeking help, enhance coordination and referral among service providers, and provide essential data for decision-makers and funders to create a social safety net that changes lives.
“Unleashing our social responses to meet current and future challenges requires technology innovation to allow us to address the root causes of societal challenges. Compass is the project to build this technology foundation that will underpin effective solutions to the world’s complex social challenges” said Dr. Alina Turner, Co-Founder, HelpSeeker Technologies.
The Compass project will be delivered through community partnerships with the City of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, and Homeward Trust in Edmonton, as well as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“We are exceptionally proud of the ambition and focus in the Compass project as it shows how digital innovation can transform any sector in Canada and demonstrates how technology can serve the greater social good”, said Sue Paish, CEO Digital Technology Supercluster. “Canadian-made technologies like this show the world that Canada is poised to own the podium in digital innovation.”
“Every person deserves easy and simple access to social supports, especially during times when they’re needed the most,” said John Weigelt, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada. “Projects like Compass demonstrate the importance of technology and the role that cloud and artificial intelligence play in reducing barriers to critical services and empowering the lives of Canadians.”
The project has a total investment of $4.9 million, with $3.4 million invested by industry and $1.5 million co-invested through the Supercluster’s Technology Leadership program. More information on the Compass project can be found here.
If you are struggling and need support, go to helpseeker.org to search for the best supports for you. With over 300,000 services to choose from, this free and anonymous service is available in 23 languages across Canada.
Director, Public Affairs
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
About Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Technology Supercluster is building a better Canada by growing Canadian businesses, creating a digitally skilled workforce and positively impacting lives across our Country. We accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies that keep Canadians healthy, address climate change and drive economic productivity. Through a powerful combination of co-investment, cross-sector collaboration, IP creation and digital talent development, we unlock the potential of Canadians to lead and succeed in the digital world. For more information, visit: https://www.digitalsupercluster.ca/