CanInfra Challenge Announces Ideas Contest Winner

Project aimed to bring affordable, de-carbonized energy to northern communities by creating a renewable microgrid

TORONTO—The CanInfra Challenge has awarded a prize of $50,000 to Team IceGrid, the winner of the CanInfra Ideas Contest. The group was selected by a panel of judges that included BCG Senior Advisor George Stalk; former Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Drew Fagan; Olivia Steedman, MD Infrastructure and Natural Resources, OTPP; and Drew Buchanan, Co-Head of Debevoise & Plimpton's Global Infrastructure and Finance Group. The second- and third-place winners, and the People’s Choice winner from the public online voting, were also announced.

The Challenge—sponsored by Brookfield Asset Management, RBC, CIBC, Deloitte, Torys LLP, and media partner The Globe and Mail, and presented by The Boston Consulting Group in Canada—crowdsourced proposals from across Canada to tackle the country’s biggest infrastructure challenges.

“While we continue to innovate and create, we can’t underestimate the effect on people,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke to the CanInfra Conference and winning team. “Canada needs people like you who are ready to innovate and seize opportunities.”

The CanInfra Challenge has fostered infrastructure ideas that will have an economic and social impact; encourage partnership between government, academics, and the private sector; and advance the national conversation on infrastructure.

The Top Three Teams

The winning team was awarded $50,000: “IceGrid: A Renewable Energy Microgrid for Nunavut,” from Memorial University in St John’s, has developed an idea to build solar- and wind-powered micro power grids to replace dirty fuel-burning systems in rural communities. The IceGrid plan starts with a site in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and would scale to other rural communities across Canada’s north.

The runner-up team was awarded $25,000: “Redefining the Waste and Water Utility Model” from MaRs has identified a way to generate revenue and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using organic waste and waste water to create biogas on a significant scale.

The third-place team was awarded $10,000: “Taking the High Road,” from the University of Toronto, has created a model for dynamic wireless-charging lanes on Canada’s highways, enabling electric-vehicle batteries to be charged wirelessly while driving.

The People’s Choice winner, selected by public online voting, was awarded $25,000: “Electric Airship Transportation System” envisions building a hydrogen-powered cargo airship serving Canada’s northern communities.

“Canada is too big to think small, and we need transformational infrastructure ideas to position ourselves for the next century,” says Kilian Berz, a BCG senior partner based in Toronto and the chair of the Centre for Canada’s Future. “We have been inspired by the diverse entries from universities, think tanks, and the general public that were submitted from across Canada.”

To learn about the top ten finalist submissions, and for more details about the CanInfra Challenge and the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit, visit

About the CanInfra Challenge

The CanInfra Challenge is organized to encourage the development of transformational infrastructure ideas by a private sector consortium led by The Boston Consulting Group in Canada, supported by media partner The Globe and Mail, and founding sponsor Brookfield Asset Management Inc., a global alternative asset manager with over US$250 billion in assets under management. Private sector sponsors provide the prize funds and executive coaching, and include Deloitte Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Torys LLP. Visit the CanInfra Challenge and Transformational Infrastructure Summit website for more information, including details on rules and regulations at

About The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail, founded in 1844, is Canada’s foremost news media company. Each day, The Globe leads the national discussion by engaging Canadians through its award-winning coverage of news, politics, business, investing, and lifestyle topics, across multiple platforms. The Globe and Mail print and digital formats reach 6.4 million readers every week, with Report on Business magazine reaching 1.7 million readers every issue in print and digital. The Globe and Mail is owned by Woodbridge, the investment arm of the Thomson family.

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures—and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

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