The City of Mississauga will be participating in the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. Officially announced at the end of November, the Smart Cities Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.
The Challenge is a cross-Canadian initiative open to communities of all sizes, including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). Successful applicants will receive prizing based on population size.
- One prize of up to $50 million open to all communities, regardless of population;
- Two prizes of up to $10 million open to all communities with populations under 500,000 people; and
- One prize of up to $5 million open to all communities with populations under 30,000 people.
“We are very excited to see the official launch of this Challenge. Smart Cities use technology to develop more liveable, workable and sustainable communities. Mississauga is a Smart City,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “I’ve no doubt that this challenge will bring out the best and the brightest ideas that we can offer. We welcome the opportunity to share our innovative solutions to create an engaged and connected city.”
According to program details released by Infrastructure Canada, the Challenge will be an open and transparent process. Communities that submit proposals will also post them online, so that residents and stakeholders can see them. An independent jury will be appointed to select finalists and winners.
“When the Smart Cities Challenge was initially announced in June 2017, we began a consultation process with our senior management and Council in preparation for the official kick-off of the program,” said Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “Now that the details have been released, we’ll begin the work to craft our submission in consultation with our residents, businesses and community partners.”
“As part of the submission process, we will be preparing a Smart City Master Plan,” said Shawn Slack, Director of IT and Chief Information Officer. “This will not only inform the submission for the Smart Cities Challenge but will also provide a framework for the City. The plan will create Smart City strategies and actions for a three to five year period.”
The City’s IT Master Plan, endorsed by Council in 2015, included a series of strategic actions that have already advanced the City of Mississauga’s smart city framework and is a good foundation to build on leading into the Smart Cities Challenge. Some of the successes from the IT Master Plan include:
- The City of Mississauga was the first in Canada to become a Virtual Campus in May 2017.
- More than 100 Open Data sets are now available on the City’s new and modern Open Data Portal.
- Code and the City and Tech and the City were two major Open Data hackathon events held in partnership with the University of Toronto Mississauga, Sheridan and several private sector sponsors.
- The City of Mississauga has expanded its free public Wi-Fi “wireless Mississauga” which is available at all City buildings, many public spaces and some parks.
- The City has had the foresight to build a publicly owned fibre optic network known as the PSN in partnership with the Region of Peel, Caledon and Brampton resulting in the largest publicly owned and operated fibre network in Canada. With over 800 kilometres of high speed fibre connecting 291 City sites and critical City infrastructure, the City-owned fibre network is essential to connecting smart city technologies.
Smart Cities Challenge submissions are due April 24, 2018. The Jury will select finalists by Summer 2018. Each finalist will receive a $250,000 grant to develop their final proposal which must be submitted in Winter 2019. Winners will be announced Spring 2019.