Backgrounder : Smart Cities Challenge improving the lives of Canadians through innovation, data, and technology


In November 2017, the Government of Canada challenged communities across the country to develop bold and ambitious ideas to improve the lives of their residents using data and connected technology.

Over 200 communities, large and small, from across Canada submitted their innovative ideas to the Smart Cities Challenge. An independent panel of 13 jury members evaluated these submissions based on the criteria set out in the Applicant Guide.

Twenty finalists have been selected to go on to the next step of the Challenge.

Each finalist community will receive a $250,000 grant to help develop its final proposal that outline all design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans. The grant can be used for activities such as staffing, professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, data, and relevant training.

The Challenge Statements
As part of its application, each community was asked to engage with its residents to come up with a Challenge Statement that defines the outcomes it aims to achieve through its smart cities proposal.

Below are the Challenge Statements submitted by each finalist.

In the prize category of up to $5 million, open to all communities with populations under 30,000 people:


Challenge Statement

Contact Information

Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, Ontario

By means of active, cross-generational, technology-empowered, real-world participation in the intergenerational transfer of traditional Nishnaabe knowledge through the medium of our language, and the bilingual delivery of modern K-12 STEM knowledge, our community will transform our youth into better-educated, more employable, better-grounded, and more holistically Nishnaabe people.

Duncan Michano
Chief of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
Tel.: 807-229-1749

Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Our community will lift 20% of its residents out of energy poverty by 2028.

David Mitchell
Mayor, Town of Bridgewater
Tel.: 902-541-4364
Email :

Leon de Vreede
Sustainability Planner
Town of Bridgewater
Tel.: 902-541-4390

Cree Nation of Eastmain, Quebec

Improving community well-being. Our community will develop an affordable Net Zero Energy Housing Program, offering culturally appropriate designs, using smart technologies, innovative building techniques and alternative energy systems in order to address the housing shortage crisis, the poor-quality and costly construction of houses in Eastmain and Indigenous communities across Canada.

Daniel Mark-Stewart
Communications Officer
Cree Nation of Eastmain
Tel.: 819-977-0211 ext. 325

Stanley Gilpin
Housing Director
Cree Nation of Eastmain
Tel.: 819-977-0211 ext. 327

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Quebec

Decrease the rate of new cases of diabetes per year in Akwesasne to the Canadian average (0.5%; 5.9/1,000) by improving community wellness using traditional approaches encompassing holistic Indigenous practices, improved access to community services and health diagnostics.

Ashley Tarbell
Communications Officer
Akwesasne/Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Tel.: 613-575-2250 ext. 2211

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Yellowknife will experience a rise in our community’s social and environmental well-being by transforming the simple lamppost into a beacon for sustainability.

Richard McIntosh
Communications & Economic Development Officer
City of Yellowknife
Tel.: 867-669-3424

In the prize category of up to $10 million, open to all communities with populations under 500,000 people (2 prizes available):


Challenge Statement

Contact Information

Airdrie and Area, Alberta

Become Canada’s healthiest community, by engaging and securing the participation of all in the community to create a community healthy culture that improves social, economic, physical and health care environments and individual characteristics and behaviours, so that healthy life expectancy is increased by 3+ years over 5 years.

Jill Iverson
Team Leader, Corporate Communications
City of Airdrie
Tel.: 403-948-8800 ext. 8475
Cell.: 403-807-7550

Communities of Nunavut, Nunavut

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.

Madeleine Redfern
Nunavut Association of Municipalities
Cell: 867-222-0638

Brian Fleming
Executive Director
Nunavut Association of Municipalities
Tel.: 867-975-3327
Cell.: 867-222-4806

Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec

Our city will provide socially isolated seniors with confidence they can live more autonomously, secure in the knowledge that the city is looking out for their well-being.

Darryl Levine
Public Affairs, Communications
City of Côte Saint-Luc
Tel.: 514-485-8905

Saint Mary's First Nation and Fredericton, New-Brunswick

My city does not recognize me or connect me to what matters most; Fredericton will collaborate with First Nations to create an accessible, welcoming, supportive city for youth, newcomers, and an aging population, empowering everyone with a Personalized Inclusion Plan that connects people to create an exceptional quality of life.

Wayne Knorr
Manager of Communications
City of Fredericton
Tel.: 506-460-2181

Greater Victoria, British Columbia

Freedom to move. We will collaboratively create a multimodal transportation network that is convenient, green and affordable, which will boost South Islanders’ mobility wellbeing score by at least 20%.

Emilie de Rosenroll
Chief Executive Officer
South Island Prosperity Project
Tel.: 250-891-9220

Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario

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.

Cathy Kennedy
Manager, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
Strategy, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
Tel.: 519-822-1260 ext. 2255
Cell.: 226-821-3701

Parkland, Brazeau, Lac Ste Anne and Yellowhead Counties, Alberta

Our agricultural community will revitalize and grow through the connection of people to the land and food while attracting citizens to share in its prosperous, innovative and resilient way of life.

Sara Mate
Manager, Communications
Parkland County
Tel. : 780-968-8888 ext. 8432

Richmond, British Columbia

Richmond, an island city with a rapidly growing and diverse population and home of nationally significant infrastructure and government services, requires resilient physical and virtual platforms that are integrated seamlessly across all levels of government to enhance quality of life in day-to-day activities and minimize community impacts from major disasters.

Ted Townsend
Director of Communications
City of Richmond
Tel.: 604-276-4399
Cell.: 604-516-9585

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

To be the city that breaks the cycle of Indigenous youth incarceration by creating a new cycle focused on building purpose, belonging, security and identity.

Michelle Beveridge
Chief of Staff
Office of Mayor Charlie Clark
City of Saskatoon
Tel.: 306-975-3500
Cell.: 306-229-4471

The Pas, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and Kelsey, Manitoba

Our community will utilize LED Smart Farm technology to support local nutritious food growth and promote food security, create a smart phone distribution system and integrate wearable technology to achieve a 40% reduction in the number of imported vegetables and a 20% reduction in community diabetes rates by 2023.

Stephanie Cook
Operations Manager Lead
Vertical Farms Technician
Tel.: 204-620-2622

In the prize category of up to $50 million, open to all communities, regardless of population:


Challenge Statement

Contact Information

Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton will lead the transformation of Canadian healthcare using an unprecedented municipal approach by focusing on leveraging relationships, health data and innovative technologies to provide a personalized health connection and experience as unique as the health of every Edmontonian.

Sean Clovechok
Communications Advisor
Open City and Technology Communications and Engagement | Communications Services
City of Edmonton
Tel.: 780-508-9169
Cell.: 780-886-7552

Montreal, Quebec

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.

Youssef Amane
Press Secretary for the Executive Council
City of Montreal
Tel.: 438-832-1221

Quebec City, Quebec

The social inequalities in health: Understanding and engaging differently.
To engage the community of Quebec City in a societal project centered on citizens’ sustainable health and well-being using the collective intelligence and the deployment of digital tools that support decision-making and follow-ups.

David O’Brien
Communications Advisor
Quebec City
Communications Branch
Tel.: 418-641-6411 ext. 2527
Cell.: 418-930-8266

Region of Waterloo, Ontario

We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth wellbeing by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.

Bryan Stortz
Director of Communications
Region of Waterloo
Tel.: 519-575-4408

Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia

Vancouver and Surrey will implement Canada’s first two collision-free multi-modal transportation corridors, leveraging autonomous vehicles and smart technologies to demonstrate the path to safer, healthier and more socially connected communities while reducing emissions, improving transportation efficiency and enhancing livability in the face of rapid growth and traffic congestion. #SmarterTogether

Corporate Communications
City of Vancouver
Tel.: 604-871-6336

Sean Simpson
Director, Information Technology
Corporate Services Department
City of Surrey
Tel.: 604-591-4730

Winners will be announced in spring 2019.

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