Making Sure People in Toronto Got Reliable Information during the Pandemic

8 May 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, we began closely monitoring the City’s website to ensure it contained accurate, up-todate information about the pandemic and that it was keeping people informed about all changes to City services.

In May, we noticed that the chatbot on the City Services website was giving people outdated and wrong information, saying that Toronto’s sports fields and tennis courts were closed, despite a City press release stating the opposite.

We also noticed that a number of links on the ‘COVID-19: Changes to City Services’ webpage did not properly direct people to the intended webpages, which contained critical information. We immediately brought these discrepancies to the City’s attention, who thanked us for raising the issues and said it would correct the information.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, we continued to monitor the speed and accuracy of the City’s updates to the City Services website—and other City communications—to ensure that people had a reliable and timely source of information they could count on.

Why This Matters: 2020 was an unprecedented and challenging year for our city. From the very start of the pandemic, people had a lot of questions. What was happening? How could they stay safe? What new rules and guidelines did they need to follow? What changes were there to City services? In the face of this uncertainty, clear, accurate and timely communication by our local government was more important than ever to the people of Toronto. Our work helped ensure they got it.