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Canada Is Too Big To Think Small

Among the first projects undertaken by the Centre for Canada's Future are the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit and the CanInfra Challenge Ideas Contest.  These efforts are part of a 6-month CanInfra initiative BCG has undertaken in collaboration with media partner The Globe and Mail, founding sponsor Brookfield Asset Management, and other private-sector partners.

The summit and the contest aim to reignite the drive for the future by recognizing ideas that will have an economic and social impact, spark dialogue among leaders in government and the private sector, and advance the national conversation on infrastructure.

“Canada is too big to think small, and we need transformational infrastructure ideas to position ourselves for the next century,” says Kilian Berz, a Toronto-based senior partner and chair of the Centre for Canada’s Future. “Canada has an enviable quality of life and strong economy, but our infrastructure is often not keeping up with our growth.”

Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit

Private-sector infrastructure leaders and policy makers will gather May 28 for the two-day Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit in Toronto. The 2018 conference will continue the national dialogue begun at the Leadership Launch which brought together more than 270 participants on October 4, 2017.  

The Leadership Launch featured a lively workshop attended by academics, students, public policy makers and C-suite executives.

The upcoming Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit will feature:

  • Keynote Address. Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will share their thoughts with conference attendees.
  • Panels with Canadian Thought Leaders. They will explore key topics such as infrastructure for Canada’s digital economy, leveraging private-sector capabilities to meet infrastructure challenges, and some of the nation-building projects on the drawing board today.
  • Interactive Breakout Sessions. Participants will help tackle challenges such as how to imagine a more ambitious national pipeline of infrastructure projects or how to avoid a “digital divide” in the access to future digital infrastructure across Canada.  BCG innovation expert Alan Iny will lead a “Brainblizzard” session on how Canadian infrastructure might look if we brought the mindsets of Amazon, SpaceX, or Uber to the topic.
  • The CanInfra Challege Ideas Contest Finale. Finalists in the national infrastructure contest will be pitching for $100,000 in prizes.

The CanInfra Challenge Ideas Contest

The CanInfra Challenge Ideas Contest has surfaced more than 70 infrastructure ideas that will bring transformational benefits to Canada. A wide range of ideas were submitted from universities, think tanks, and the general public.

Applicants tackled the diverse challenges we face as a nation. Some offered ideas that would have a national impact; others presented city-focused solutions. More than half of the submitted ideas contained a significant digital component.

The top 10 finalists will be presenting their ideas in a live pitch session to a panel of judges and a live audience on May 28 at the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit. In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, the challenge will also present runner-up prizes, including a People’s Choice Award chosen by the public via online voting.

Judges include George Stalk, BCG senior advisor; former Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Drew Fagan; Drew Buchanan, cohead of Debevoise & Plimpton's Global Infrastructure and Finance Group; and Robert Steiner, director of the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affair's Fellowship in Global Journalism, and professor of global practice.

The Centre for Canada's Future
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