First Winners of Governor General’s Innovation Awards
OTTAWA—The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Governor General’s
St. John’s, NL
Sea ice is not only a hunting platform and travel highway; it has, for centuries, defined Inuit culture and identity. Now, because of climate change, Inuit are increasingly concerned about their travel safety and the impacts that declining ice conditions are having on community well-being. Specially designed technologies such as the SmartQAMUTIK and SmartBUOY empower communities to monitor their own ice trails. For the first time, such technology is being produced for Inuit communities by Inuit youth in Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homeland in Canada), and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit societal values and knowledge) is being combined with technical training for local residents to operate and manage SmartICE services in their communities.
The SmartICE team is an internationally recognized social enterprise that empowers Inuit communities to adapt to unpredictable ice conditions. It is the world’s first climate change adaptation to integrate traditional knowledge of sea ice with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. Its business model commits to maximizing societal impact while applying an entrepreneurial approach to ice monitoring and information services. In the spirit of reconciliation and self-determination, and for SmartICE to be effective, Inuit are involved in all decision-making and operational aspects of the program. As a social innovator, the SmartICE team harnesses the vast potential of young Inuit women and men to embrace science, technology and traditional knowledge as a vehicle for economic development and well-being in their communities.