CanInfra Challenge Seeks Breakthrough Ideas to Solve Canada’s Infrastructure Challenges

Winner of Canada-Wide Contest, Sponsored by BCG, Will Be Announced at the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit in Spring 2018

TORONTO—The CanInfra Challenge, a six-month public contest, kicks off today to seek out innovative ideas for transformational infrastructure in Canada. The Challenge, presented by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Canada, the Canadian arm of one of the world’s leading management consultancies, will crowdsource proposals from Canadians to tackle the country’s biggest infrastructure challenges.

Past generations of Canadians have left an enduring legacy of connecting our people and economy across our vast geography, from the Canadian Pacific Railway to the Trans-Canada Highway to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. But does our infrastructure fully support our needs today? And are we doing what it takes to meet the needs of tomorrow?

Research suggests Canada has trailed world leaders like Australia and the Nordics in infrastructure investment per capita over the last 50+ years. Funding is not the only challenge. Canada must decide how best to upgrade its aging infrastructure, accelerate productivity growth, balance resource development with environmental stewardship, and ensure economic inclusion for all Canadians regardless of location or income.

“Whether you live in a city or the countryside, one thing we all agree on is the need to challenge the status quo,” says David Walmsley, editor-in-chief, The Globe and Mail, media partner for the CanInfra Challenge. “What we haven’t agreed on is where improvements should be made. What is the best way to ready Canada for her future, a future where transportation becomes easier, where technology benefits society at large, and where global leadership isn’t just talked about but becomes a way of life?”

Advancing the National Conversation on Infrastructure

The CanInfra Challenge will reignite that 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.

Ideas are not limited to traditional infrastructure, such as bridges and telephone lines. The CanInfra Challenge is seeking submissions that include building a new infrastructure asset (for example, a high-speed railway), transforming an existing asset (for example, an airport), or enabling the development of infrastructure through innovative technology, financial structures, or implementation approaches.

“The CanInfra Challenge is a call to action,” says Kilian Berz, a senior partner and managing director for BCG and chair of the BCG Centre for Canada’s Future. “Canada’s spending on transportation, energy, waste and water, utilities, and communications is relatively low. We need to ask ourselves: are our current infrastructure plans sufficient to support the country that we aspire to grow into over the next century? What are transformational infrastructure projects that will allow us to take advantage of technologies of the future? We need to identify the big ideas to drive economic growth, environmental protection, and connectivity. That’s what we are after in the CanInfra Challenge.”

The private sector, university programs, think tanks, and the public are encouraged to submit compelling transformational infrastructure proposals by December 31, 2017. Canadians will be offered a chance to vote for their favorite ideas online as the contest progresses. Short-listed finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges at the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit in the spring of 2018. The winner will be announced at the end of the summit. There will also be runner-up prizes and a People’s Choice Award chosen by the public via online voting.

The Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit will bring together infrastructure stakeholders from across the country to participate in discussions on key opportunities and challenges. The summit will also feature presentations on current project proposals in Canada.

“Today’s infrastructure leaders have an opportunity to address Canada’s most pressing environmental, economic, and social issues, from preparing cities for growth to de-carbonizing mass transport to ensuring economic inclusion of all Canadians,” says Keith Halliday, director of the BCG Centre for Canada’s Future. “The CanInfra Challenge is about crowdsourcing the very best thinking from across Canada to fundamentally change how we live, set us up for future prosperity, and move us forward as a nation.”

Throughout the contest period, The Globe and Mail and BCG will advance the infrastructure conversation in Canada by sharing a series of discussion pieces that will offer insights from senior leaders in the national infrastructure community and from around the world.

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 platinum 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. 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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