Category: DEEP 2017

DEEP 2017




Oct. 10-11, 2018.

OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

We’ll be posting more details here soon! 


This year at DEEP 2017:

Learning to Support and Understand Diversity & Complexity

“Let’s not teach our machines our stereotypes & presumptions.”

More and more decisions are being delegated to machines, whether to authorize access, recognize illnesses, predict risks, determine loan and credit worthiness, academic potential, future employment performance or a multitude of other functions. This trend has the potential to amplify existing inequities.

Whether we welcome or fear machine intelligence, it is important that we attend to what we teach machines. Do our machines understand and serve individuals that are different or fail to recognize and ignore anyone that does not conform to the model of an average human?

In understanding how bias against outliers is detrimental to machine-learning we gain insights into how our human stereotypes are embedded in our traditional research and public policies, and damage our society.

Topics at DEEP 2017

Discussions will centre around four areas:

  • Government Accessible ICT Procurement Policies—recommendations for federal accessible procurement policies will be shared and discussed. Participants will be able to provide input and respond to the final recommendations.
  • Cognitive Access & Learning Differences – an area that is not well developed in accessibility legislation and services is the area of cognitive access, yet it is the most prevalent experience of disability. There is a call for Canada to take bold steps in this issue. Participants will help to establish a bold plan.
  • Machine Learning—participants will delve into the challenge of teaching machines and automated systems to recognize and adapt to diversity rather than rely on flawed models of “average humans” that perpetuate social, political, and economic biases.
  • Co-operative Platforms—participants will step through development of a cooperative platform and consider social implications, privacy implications, inclusion aspects and potential barriers.

Each group will be working toward concrete policies, inclusion models or recommendations for inclusion that will be published and shared openly under Creative Commons licensing.

In the tradition begun in 2012, this event to plan meaningful change will bring together a diversity of fresh perspectives, new ideas, together with seasoned experience, and insight gained from failures and successes. DEEP participants know that digital inclusion is necessary and urgent. We don’t need to persuade each other of the “why”. This allows us to focus our time together during the think tank on the “how”? We will spend our collective time and talents to design strategies, plans, collaborative projects, cross-sector initiatives and new disruptive ways to foster more inclusive prosperity, privacy, and life-long learning.


Events at DEEP 2017

In cooperation with BIG IDeA

“Start Your Machine Learning Engines and Race to the Edge”
Inclusive Design Challenge 3: Race to the Edge

Race to the EDGE

49 McCaul Street | Oct.10th at 10am to 6pm
register now for Race to the Edge
BIG IDeA and DEEP 2017 are looking for teams to help prepare the racecourse for our AI “Race to the Edge”.
Our society is about to hand over many decisions to machines and we need to make sure they understand and can serve human diversity. Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems currently have difficulty recognizing and understanding outlying and edge scenarios or people.

This is bad for people because we are relying on AI systems more and more because soon systems won’t be able to deal with the unexpected, transfer knowledge to new situations, address weak signals, predict changes or deal with our current diverse society. – Jutta Treviranus

This is even worse for people who are different from the models the machines use.
People who are unusual or different:

  • will be filtered out of competitive job applications
  • won’t be offered limited school placements
  • won’t get credit, loans or insurance
  • won’t be understood by voice recognition systems
  • won’t be recognized by identity systems
  • may be flagged as a threat
  • may be run over by automated vehicles
  • won’t be properly diagnosed by telehealth systems

We need you to prepare the tests for the ultimate challenge.
We are looking for diverse teams that will prepare edge scenarios that might stump the AI systems. Ideally each team should include someone that has experienced being excluded because of difference and someone with a very basic knowledge of machine learning systems and data.

Machine learning and AI have the power to transform our lives and to empower every person and organization around the world. It’s crucial that as these technologies develop they are designed to include people with disabilities.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft.

With machine leaning and cognitive technology, we have the opportunity to provide personalized services to people with all abilities.

Ruoyi Zhou, Ph.D., Director, Accessibility Research, IBM Research



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Panelists and Special Guests

Special Guests


Sara Diamond Photo


Dr. Sara Diamond is the President of OCAD University, Canada’s university of the imagination. She holds a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering from the University of East London, a Master’s in Digital Media theory from the University of the Arts London and an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in History and Communications from Simon Fraser University. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists, and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Digital Pioneer Award from the GRAND Networks of Centres of Excellence. She is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. In 2014, Toronto Life described her as one of “Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People.”



David C Onley Photo


The Honourable David C. Onley is Special Advisor on Accessibility to Minister Tracy MacCharles Minister Responsible for Accessibility. Mr. David Onley is well-known throughout Ontario and internationally for his advocacy and activism for accessibility. His current role as the Special Advisor on Accessibility has allowed him to raise the profile of accessibility within and outside of government, with a specific focus on better participation of people with disabilities as contributing employees and consumers in Ontario.
Previously, Mr. Onley was Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor from 2007–2014. Prior to his vice-regal appointment, Onley had a 22-year career as a television journalist for CityTV, working as Education Specialist as well as covering science and technology stories.






Michael Bach Photo


Michael Bach is Executive Vice-President, Canadian Association for Community Living, a national association to advance human rights and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities and their families; and Managing Director of IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society. For over twenty-five years Michael Bach has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.




Dr. Ann Cavoukian is recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy experts. She is presently the Distinguished Expert-in-Residence, leading the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University. Appointed as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada in 1997, Dr. Cavoukian served an unprecedented three terms as Commissioner. During that time, she elevated the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner from a novice regulatory body to a first-class agency, known around the world for its cutting-edge innovation and leadership. There she created Privacy by Design, a framework that seeks to proactively embed privacy into the design specifications of information technologies, networked infrastructure, and business practices, thereby achieving the strongest protection possible.


  Nicole Cormier is an Accessibility Consultant in the Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division of the City of Toronto. She advises City Councillors, executives and management on innovative approaches to implementing AODA requirements using principles of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, while balancing complex business considerations.





Catherine Frazee
In three words, I’m a writer, an educator and an activist.  Drawing from my own experience of disablement as point of entry, I seek to write and teach pathways into ethical and cultural dialogues about citizenship and personhood.  My present work is informed by many years of involvement in the equality struggles of disadvantaged and marginalized groups, most notably during a term as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1992. Reproduced from



Deborah Kaplan has been involved in technology accessibility for many years and in a variety of roles. At the World Institute on Disability, where she also served as Executive Director for 8 years, she pioneered projects on technology policy focused on universal design in technology as a goal. She headed the Accessibility Technology Initiative for the California State University System, and she currently is the Section 508 Policy Lead in the Office of the Chief Information Technology Officer at the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency. She is also on the Executive Committee of the CIO Council Accessibility Community of Change. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


  David Lepofsky Since his admission to the Ontario Bar in 1981, David has practiced law in the Ontario Public Service in the areas of constitutional, civil, administrative and most recently, criminal law. Since 1991, he has also served as a part time member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he teaches an advanced constitutional law seminar on freedom of expression and press. From 1994 to 2005, he led the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. That coalition successfully campaigned for ten years to win passage of two new Ontario laws to make Ontario fully accessible to persons with disabilities, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005.  Since then, he has helped in efforts to get that law effectively implemented. As of late February, 2009, David became the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.




Amy MacFarlane is founder and CEO of Recreational Respite, a team of Recreation Therapists working on the premise that FUN changes behaviour! The work we do in both areas of 1:1 support (in the home or community setting) and group based recreation programs promote engaging activity in order to support clients in achieving individual goals and reach desired outcomes that include: social skills, re-integration into family, school, work or community, participation, life skills, independence and identifying sense of role and purpose.




Cathy O’Neil is an American mathematician and the author of the blog and several books on data science, including Weapons of Math Destruction. She was the former Director of the Lede Program in Data Practices at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Tow Center and was employed as Data Science Consultant[1] at Johnson Research Labs.




Inmaculada Placencia Porrero is Deputy Head of Unit, for Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Directorate General for Justice. The unit is in charge of the coordination of the European policies for persons with disabilities and responsible for the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at EU level. The focus of her work in the “e-Inclusion” unit of the Directorate General Information Society and Media as well as in the Integration of people with disabilities unit in Directorate General for European Employment social affairs and equal opportunities addressed policy-related activities in the area of accessibility at  European and international level, as well as eAccessibility and eInclusion and work related to Design for All and Assistive technologies. She is responsible for the Task Force for the preparation of the European Accessibility Act.



Trebor Scholtz Photo

Trebor Scholtz is a scholar-activist and Associate Professor for Culture & Media at The New School in New York City. His book Uber-Worked and Underpaid. How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy (Polity, 2016) develops an analysis of the challenges posed by digital labor and introduces the concept of platform cooperativism as a way of joining the peer-to-peer and co-op movements with online labor markets while insisting on communal ownership and democratic governance. His next book will focus on the prospects of the cooperative online economy. In 2009, Scholz started to convene the influential digital labor conferences at The New School. Today, he frequently presents on the future of work, solidarity, and the Internet to media scholars, cooperativists, lawyers, activists, designers, developers, union leaders, and policymakers worldwide.


Karen Peltz Strauss “Why have I spent my career focused on ensuring access to communications by people with disabilities? Imagine not being able to use the phone, watch the news, search the Internet. Imagine how much smaller your world would be if you weren’t fully connected. For me, this isn’t just a job, it’s about being on the right side of history.” Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau



Kevin Stolarick Photo

Kevin Stolarick, PhD was the Associate Director and Research Associate at The Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He has held faculty positions at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and for over a decade worked with technology in the insurance industry as a manager of strategic projects. One of the few statistical analysts who has the complete works of Edward Tufte and Donald Norman on his shelves, Kevin presents informative, accessible and entertaining insights into the Creative Economy and the role of the Creative Class in increasing regional growth and prosperity.



Denis Carr is Supervisor (I&T) Open Data at the City of Toronto.








SJRK team members are working to help youth movements and social justice initiatives to:

  • become welcoming environments for youth with learning differences, and
  • benefit from the advantages of inclusive design.

The project will provide a hub:

  • with toolkits, applications, and examples
  • to share, repurpose and reuse resources.

The kit will be openly available to any group or individual hosting youth movements, youth action events and social justice movements.

Team members represent Colombia, Mexico, Rwanda, Canada’s remote North, and beyond.



Emily Shea Tanis Photo

Emily Shea Tanis is the Associate Director of Research at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado and on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She also serves as the research coordinator for the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project of National Significance funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which investigates the determinants of public spending for Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services in the United States and contributes to the project of Public Spending and Services for People with Disabilities examining cross-disability public spending in the United States.



Jutta Treviranus Photo

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto ( With its origins in the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, which Jutta established in 1993, the IDRC is an internationally recognized center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging information and communication systems and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute a multi-university regional centre of expertise ( Her most recent awards include the IEC 1906 Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and recognition as one of Canada’s top 45 over 45.


  Nigel Robb received his PhD in Philosophy from Queen’s University Belfast. He also holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Software Development. He has a broad range of professional experience, including experience in illustration, game design, software engineering, and interdisciplinary research. Previously, he led the design and development of a cognitive training game, tailored for children with Prader-Willi syndrome. He is currently a Marie Curie ASSISTID Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin, and a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University, where he is developing adaptive video games and multisensory stories for children with intellectual disability.


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Agenda 2017

All locations are at OCAD University, inside the Main Building (100 McCaul Street) unless otherwise noted.

At a glance

Day 1 : Wednesday, October 11, 2017

  • Morning: Learning Difference and Cognitive Access
  • Afternoon: Procurement & Innovation—Supportive Regulations

Day 2 : Thursday, October 12, 2017

  • Morning: Platforms for Economic Inclusion and the Future of Work
  • Afternoon: AI and Machine Learning

Detailed Agenda

Day 1 : Wednesday, October 11, 2017

9:15 AM   Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230

  • Traditional Indigenous welcome: Shandra Spears Bombay
  • Greetings from OCAD U: President Sara Diamond
  • The DEEP Approach: Jutta Treviranus (IDRC, OCAD University)

9:45 AM   Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230
PANEL: Learning Difference and Cognitive Access

  • Michael Bach, Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society
  • Catherine Frazee
  • Nigel Robb, University College, Dublin
  • Shea Tanis, Coleman Institute
  • Social Justice Repair Kit Team Members

10:45 AM  Refreshments – Outside Room 230

11:00 AM Breakout Sessions – Various Rooms

  • Room 642 Education
  • Room 650 Employment and the Future of Work
  • Room 654 Smart Cities
  • Room 656 Artificial Intelligence

1:00 PM  Lunch – Room 187

2:00 PM Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230
PANEL: Procurement and Innovation-Supportive Regulations

  • David Lepofsky, AODA Alliance
  • The Honourable David Onley
  • Inmaculada Placencia Porrero,
  • Karen Peltz-Strauss, FCC
  • Nicole Cormier, City of Toronto
  • Richard Donovan, ROD-Group

3:00 PM Refreshments – Outside Room 230

3:15 PM   Town Hall – Auditorium – Room 230

4:00 PM  Wrap up and Day 2 information

4:15 PM   Networking – 49 McCaul – Open Gallery

4:30 PM  Reception and BIG IDeA Showcase – 49 McCaul – Open Gallery

4:50 PM  Greetings

5:00 PM  BIG IDeA Showcase

6:30 PM PMAdjourn

  • Day 2 : Thursday, October 12, 2017

9:30 AM   Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230

  • welcome

9:45 AM   Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230

Panel:Platforms for Economic Inclusion and the Future of Work

  • Amy MacFarlane, Recreational Respite Inc.
  • Deborah Kaplan, 508 Policy Lead and HHS 508 Coordinator
  • Kevin Stolarick, OCAD U, Research & Innovation

10:45 AM  Refreshments – Outside Room 230

11:00 AM  Breakout Sessions – Various Rooms

  • Room 642 Education
  • Room 650 Employment and the Future of Work
  • Room 654 Smart Cities
  • Room 656 Artificial Intelligence

1:00 PM   Lunch  – 100 McCaul–Room 187

2:00 PM   Plenary Session – Auditorium – Room 230

  • Morning Recap

Panel: AI and Machine Learning

  • Ann Cavoukian, Ryerson University
  • Cathy O’Neil, Mathematician & Author
  • Denis Carr, City of Toronto

3:00 PM Refreshments– Outside Room 230

3:15 PM   Town Hall – Auditorium – Room 230

4:00 PM Economic Platforms–A Conversation with Trebor Scholtz – Auditorium – Room 230

4:30 PM  Closing Remarks

  • Jutta Treviranus