Infrastructure Canada announced yesterday that the City of Montreal won the prize. Over 200 local supporters for Waterloo Region gathered at the Tannery building in Kitchener yesterday to recognize how the project has already benefited the community.
The Region of Waterloo was one of five large areas across Canada to be shortlisted for the challenge. Competitors were asked to define a community issue, then combined data and technologies to solve it. “Based on citizen input, the Region and area municipalities chose to focus on healthy children and youth for the challenge,” said Karen Redman, Regional Chair. “Thanks to our community and more than 50 new partners, we’re already on our way to becoming the best community for kids in Canada,” said Redman.
Smart Waterloo Region (SWR) worked directly with children and youth; technology firms; school boards; community services; Indigenous people and more. The team held more than 35 input sessions and generated over 40 solutions to improve young people’s well-being. Particularly in areas of childhood development, literacy, mental/emotional health and belonging. SWR also partnered with UNICEF Canada, who monitors and works to improve child and youth wellbeing in Canada. “The Region of Waterloo could have focused on building smart cars or almost anything else, but chose to focus on children and youth,” said Lisa Wolff, Director, Policy and Research, UNICEF Canada. “There is no more important priority, and UNICEF Canada recognizes the bold leaders, community members and young people of the region whose dedication to child and youth well-being will continue.”
The list of solutions addresses nearly all aspects of a young person’s life in our community – supporting things like rural education, Indigenous STEAM programs and resources for New Canadian youth to get connected. The SWR team plans to continue the work, developing community solutions and build on the momentum created in the community.