Digital personalization in the spotlight at the CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon

October 11, 2018

CBC/Radio-Canada today announced the launch of its first-ever national bilingual Hackathon which will be held simultaneously at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto and at Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal from February 1–3, 2019. The CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon will be open to participants across Canada and will spotlight innovation and leading-edge technology in relation to this year’s theme of digital personalization. The event underscores CBC/Radio-Canada’s commitment to personalizing its digital products and enabling public discourse.

“When CBC/Radio-Canada organizes an event with the aim of inspiring dialogue and encouraging reflection, you can be sure that innovative ideas and original concepts will be at the heart of the discussions and debated in a productive, collaborative atmosphere,” said Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada. “The CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon is a stimulating and rewarding challenge that will help keep our digital platforms at the cutting edge of technology while performing at a high level and remaining relevant.”

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, CBC/Radio-Canada will offer all Canadian residents the chance to take part in this friendly tech competition, either on-site in Toronto or Montreal, or remotely via online access. Interested amateur, professional and student programmers, designers and other digitally-inclined Canadians have until Friday, November 30, 2018, to register their team’s application at

Nora Young, host and creator of CBC Radio One’s Spark, will emcee the English-language half of the competition in Toronto while Radio-Canada TV and radio host Matthieu Dugal will act as the Hackathon’s French-language host in Montréal for the third consecutive year. Working in teams of three to five people, participants will develop a web or mobile solution that improves user experience or applies cutting-edge technology in a novel way. The Hackathon will encourage and highlight achievement by providing a collaborative environment focused on skill enhancement, knowledge sharing and the exploration of new avenues. A number of awards will be presented to top teams as decided by a five-member panel made up of representatives from CBC/Radio-Canada, as well as digital experts from outside the Corporation. Radio-Canada has held two previous Hackathons and the 2019 edition expands on these events, opening the competition to English and French-speaking participants from across the country.

“CBC/Radio-Canada is an incredibly digitally-focused and forward-thinking organization and the Hackathon provides a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment in this area to like-minded Canadians from across the country in an engaging way,” said Lauris Apse, Senior Director, Digital Products, CBC. “We're constantly working to refine and improve the user experience of our digital products, so who better to work with on new ways to personalize these platforms than the Canadians who use them on a daily basis?”

“As digital and social media continue to evolve, digital personalization opens up a world of possibilities to drive user engagement across multiple platforms,” said Maxime St-Pierre, Executive Director of Radio-Canada Digital Media. “The CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon is a great opportunity to showcase creativity, collaboration and technological prowess. By inviting participants from inside and outside the company, we’re always looking for people to surprise us with innovative, relevant solutions. We’re excited about getting together to discuss the theme of personalization, which lies at the heart of the challenges we face today and in the future.”

To support the Hackathon effort, teams will be given API access to an anonymized sample of the CBC/Radio-Canada's content performance data. Teams will also have access to the Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS platforms.

As part of CBC/Radio-Canada’s ongoing drive to make its digital platforms accessible to people with disabilities, prototypes teams will develop must meet at least WCAG 2.0 AA standards.

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About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

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