The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and his Parliamentary Secretary Marco Mendicino have announced the four winners of the country’s first-ever Smart Cities Challenge, a pan-Canadian competition that encourages communities of all sizes to harness the potential of connected technology and data to improve the lives of Canadians.
The winners will receive prizes worth a total of $75 million, which will be used to implement their visions. The winners are:
- Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia – $5 million prize for its proposal to reduce energy poverty.
- Nunavut Communities, Nunavut – $10 million prize for its proposal to use a life promotion approach to suicide prevention.
- City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario – $10 million prize for its proposal to create a Circular Food Economy.
- City of Montréal, Quebec – $50 million prize for its proposal to improve mobility and access to food.
“Congratulations to finalists and winners of Canada’s first-ever Smart Cities Challenge. The work you have put into developing your proposals and to improving the lives of your residents is huge. You are all winners!”, said Minister Champagne in a statement. “Your efforts will benefit your communities, and also communities across the country who may be facing similar challenges. You are shining examples of Canadian ingenuity and innovations at its best and I am immensely proud.”
When the Challenge was launched in November 2017, communities from across Canada responded in great numbers. From the largest metropolitan areas to some of the smallest towns, to Indigenous communities, communities from across the country demonstrated that innovation and technology-enabled change can improve local realities in meaningful ways.
Over the past year, 20 finalists have been working intensely with their residents and partners to turn their bold ideas into real, practical plans. They have defined the smart city concept in a truly Canadian manner, and have come up with homegrown solutions that will benefit communities across the country as they develop their own visions. All communities that have participated in this Challenge have innovated and developed plans and partnerships to further their smart cities visions.
The four winners will implement their smart cities approaches over the next five years. Updates on their implementation will be posted on Infrastructure Canada’s website, where their proposal summaries are currently posted so they can inspire communities across the country on their own smart cities journeys.
Last June, 20 finalists were selected to move on to the next step of the Challenge. These finalists each received a $250,000 grant to develop their project proposals. These proposals outline the design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans.
The grant enabled each finalist to fund activities in support of the development of their proposal. Such activities included professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, and research.
On March 5, 2019, each finalist submitted a final proposal for consideration. The Smart Cities Challenge jury assessed and evaluated these final submissions using the criteria outlined in the Smart Cities Challenge Finalist Guide and recommended four winners to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
The winners were announced on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, by Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne and his Parliamentary Secretary, Marco Mendicino.
$5 million prize
Community: Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
Challenge Statement: Our community will lift its residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate by 20% by 2025.
$10 million prize
Community: Nunavut Communities, Nunavut
Challenge Statement: Our communities will implement protective and preventative measures to reduce the risk of suicide in Nunavut, which is ten times the national average, and increase the amount and accessibility of peer support networks, educational resources and creative outlets that promote positive Mental Health to all Nunavummiut.
Final Proposal: https://katinnganiq.com/proposal/
Community: City of Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario
Challenge Statement: Guelph/Wellington will become Canada’s first technology-enabled Circular Food Economy, reimagining an inclusive food-secure ecosystem that increases access to affordable, nutritious food by 50%, where “waste” becomes a resource, 50 new circular businesses and collaborations are created, and circular economic revenues are increased by 50%: 50x50x50 by 2025.
$50 million prize
Community: Montréal, Quebec
Challenge Statement: The Montreal community is shaping an efficient and dynamic neighbourhood life by innovating mobility and access to food. Through a co-creation and citizen participation process, the accessibility of services and the well-being of Montrealers are increasing significantly.
Final Proposal: https://www.realisonsmtl.ca/defi (available in French only)