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Vision Van turns to Vision Critical for online engagement, and Vision Critical’s latest new hire is … former communications guy for Vision Van

September 12th, 2013 · 89 Comments

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring together these two news releases that landed in my inbox eight days apart. From Sept. 3/Vision Critical:

Vision Critical appoints Ryan Merkley Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Public Affairs


Former Mozilla Foundation Chief Strategy Officer to lead VC’s Public Affairs practice worldwid

TORONTO – September 3, 2013 – Vision Critical, the world’s leading provider of insight community technologies, is excited to welcome Ryan Merkley in his new role as managing director and senior vice president of public affairs.

Merkley brings to Vision Critical a proven track record of developing and executing strategy and communications across non-profit and government sectors in North America. This will be instrumental as VC continues its leadership in the online public consultation and civic engagement space.

Merkley most recently served as chief strategy officer of Mozilla Foundation, a global non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the Internet remains an open platform. Merkley has held senior communications roles at the City of Vancouver, the City of Toronto and for former Toronto Mayor David Miller. He currently serves on a variety of political, environmental and business boards, and is a founding member of TEDxToronto, the city’s premier annual event promoting ideas and innovatio

“I’m thrilled to have an experienced strategist and well-recognized communicator lead our renowned public affairs practice,” said Angus Reid, executive chairman of Vision Critical. “Vision Critical remains on a high growth path and, as such, it is essential for the business to expand the division responsible for producing public opinion and overseeing citizen engagement.”

Through his work supporting Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, Merkley helped recruit more than 35,000 residents to participate in ongoing public consultations, helping the city earn a Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as secure global recognition from the World Wildlife Fund. During his tenure at the Mozilla Foundation, the organization launched three new products supporting online learning and engagement and raised more than $1.8 million from 44,000 new donors.

“Vision Critical is an innovative and leading Canadian-based global technology company that is changing the way that people connect with brands, governments, organizations and each other. I’m truly excited to be joining such a strong team,” said Merkley. “Public-facing organizations are looking for new tools to reach their communities, and I look forward to working with the executive team and Angus Reid to grow the business through public affairs.”

And from yesterday, at city hall:

City of Vancouver News Release

September 11, 2013


City launches innovative online engagement program ‘Talk Vancouver’

 The City of Vancouver is launching a new, innovative way for people to provide feedback and share their opinions and ideas with City Hall at

Talk Vancouver is an online community, open to anyone over the age of 15 who lives, works or attends school in Vancouver. Participants will be asked to provide opinions and feedback on important city issues by participating in online surveys and discussions via their smart phones, computers, and tablets.

 “The launch of Talk Vancouver is one more way we are following through on recommendations from our Engaged City Task Force, and it will be a great new tool for people to have their say on the issues that matter to them,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “In a city like Vancouver, not everyone can make it out to a public hearing or come speak to council. People are busy with their kids, their jobs and their family lives. By partnering with Vision Critical on Talk Vancouver, we’re embracing new technology to support civic engagement, and providing people with a way to become part of an online community that’s plugged in to what’s taking place at City Hall and around Vancouver.”

 Talk Vancouver is operated in partnership with Vision Critical, a Vancouver-based company that is providing the technology and software platform on which Talk Vancouver operates.  Vision Critical now has 300 employees in Vancouver, with offices in 14 other cities around the world.

“We’re thrilled to be working on this groundbreaking initiative with the City of Vancouver,” says Andrew Reid, Vision Critical president and chief product officer. “We developed this software here in Vancouver and it’s great to see it being leveraged in our own backyard.”

 The Mayor also announced that Angus Reid, the Executive Chairman of Vision Critical and founder and CEO of the Angus Reid Group, will be his Special Advisor on Technology and Citizen Engagement. “With over four decades of experience in research and public opinion, Angus has a unique skillset that will ensure we stay at the forefront of using technology to engage people across Vancouver,” said the Mayor. “I’m very pleased he’ll be advising me on ways the City can stay on the cutting edge of using technology to better serve our citizens.”

 People who are interested in taking part in the Talk Vancouver online community are encouraged to register at


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