The Honourable Kim Pate, Senator from Ontario, and SFU President Andrew Petter launching the Data for Good initiative at SFU’s Big Data Hub.


SFU launches Data for Good to solve social and economic challenges in Canada

September 16, 2019

Simon Fraser University launched the Data for Good initiative today in SFU’s Big Data Hub at the Burnaby campus. The Honourable Kim Pate, Senator from Ontario and SFU President Andrew Petter explained how big data’s power and potential can address pressing social and economic challenges facing Canada.

Data for Good invites mission-driven organizations, advocates and government to partner with SFU and work with our big data experts to amplify our collective efforts to effect greater social impact.

SFU has a long-standing history of working with government, business and non-profit groups to securely—and safely—apply technical advances. In turn, this work improves government services, builds inclusive and safer cities, and improves the health and wellbeing of our neighbours—near and far.

Senator Pate officially announces Data for Good and speaks on how data can be applied to solve social problems.

Senator Pate—a Canadian icon of social justice—was eager to announce Data for Good. She is a nationally renowned advocate who has spent the last 35 years working in and around Canada’s legal and penal systems, with and on behalf of some of the most marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized, particularly those who are imprisoned.

“We need to critically examine and engage increasing technological innovations and advances while working to ensure that all in Canada benefit from our county’s wealth of knowledge and resources,” says Senator Pate.

“I am particularly concerned about those who have for far too long been marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized because of their gender, race, class and/or ability. I am interested in exploring how the Data For Good initiative can harness SFU’s cutting-edge big data capabilities to disrupt systemic inequality and injustice, support empirically sound progressive economic and social policy and legislative initiatives to help create a more equal future for all and a country of which we can all be proud to call home.”

Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international, expresses her excitement about using big data innovations to benefit society.

“As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is committed to building stronger and healthier communities,” says SFU President Andrew Petter. “Today, we are proud to launch an initiative that will harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to address issues that matter to the communities we serve.”

From left to right, SFU professor Laurel Weldon, SFU President Andrew Petter, The Honourable Kim Pate, Senator from Ontario, and SFU’s Vice-President, Research and International, Joy Johnson.

Learn more about Data for Good and how to be an active part of this national data movement. Visit