Government of Canada launches the Smart Cities Challenge

News Release

Challenging communities to improve the lives of Canadians through innovation, data, and technology

Making our communities smarter by being innovative and using data and connected technology will strengthen our communities and create opportunities to continue growing Canada’s middle class.

Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, launched the Smart Cities Challenge, fulfilling a commitment made in Budget 2017. The Challenge will give communities a platform for implementing bold ideas to address priorities that they identify.

Communities of all sizes and from across Canada can apply—including municipalities, local or regional governments, and Indigenous communities. They will be encouraged to work with the private and not-for-profit sectors and the research community to achieve results that improve the lives of residents. It will be up to communities to set their goals and the pathways to achieving them.

With today’s launch, communities can begin developing their proposals.  Detailed application guidelines are now available on the new Impact Canada Challenge Platform.

Communities will have until April 24, 2018 to submit their applications. Those that are selected as finalists by the independent jury for the Smart Cities Challenge will receive a grant of $250,000 to support the development of their detailed proposal and business case. Winners will receive funding to implement their proposals.

Infrastructure Canada is engaging Indigenous leaders, communities and organizations to finalize the design of a competition specific to Indigenous communities that will reflect their unique realities and issues. Indigenous communities are also eligible to compete for all the prizes in the current competition.

The Smart Cities Challenge is part of the Government of Canada’s Impact Canada Initiative, which aims to accelerate and mainstream innovative programs that focus on the achievement of outcomes that address complex economic, environmental and social problems.

Calgary, Alberta, November 23, 2017

Montréal, Quebec, November 24, 2017

Ottawa, Ontario, November 24, 2017

Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, November 24, 2017

Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 27, 2017

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Friday, December 1, 2017


“This challenge—the first of its kind in Canada—will encourage communities to innovate and take risks to improve people’s lives. Across the country, communities large and small are bursting with new ideas. The Smart Cities Challenge will help bring them to life, and find solutions that achieve real and positive outcomes for Canada’s middle class.”

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The Government of Canada has recognized it must be bold, ambitious, and inventive when tackling difficult challenges. As the lead in the Government of Canada for the Impact Canada Initiative, I am pleased to be part of an approach that will help governments deliver meaningful results to Canadians. I look forward to the creative solutions that are developed as part of the Smart Cities Challenge and other future Impact Canada Initiatives, and to seeing the ideas of Canada's best and brightest come to life.”

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions

Quick Facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is launching the first competition of the Smart Cities Challenge, helping communities across the country develop and implement their smart cities initiatives.

  • The available Smart Cities Challenge prizes are: one prize of up to $50 million, available to all communities; two prizes of up to $10 million, available to communities below 500,000 residents; and one prize of up to $5 million, available to communities with under 30,000 residents. Finalists will be announced in Summer 2018 and winners will be announced in Spring 2019.

  • Finalists and winning communities will be selected by an independent jury.  An open call for jury members is posted on the Infrastructure Canada website. 


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