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Saskatoon shortlisted for $10M national prize to address Indigenous youth incarceration

For immediate release: June 1, 2018 - 8:20am

The federal government announced today that Saskatoon is a finalist for the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge. 

The Smart Cities Challenge is a national competition that invites communities to implement bold ideas to address enduring challenges through innovation, data and connected technology. Saskatoon’s application has brought together a wide range of Indigenous, community, and institutional partners to focus on breaking the cycle of Indigenous youth incarceration. The application proposes to create a new cycle based on integrated and coordinated data and programs that build purpose, belonging, security and identity. 

“Through our engagement, our partners and residents have told us that Saskatchewan’s incarceration rates, and in particular Indigenous youth incarceration rates, are at a shameful level,” said Mayor Charlie Clark. “This has a price for all of us in our community and our country. We have an incredible group of partners, and most importantly, we will work directly with Indigenous youth so that this work remains grounded in lived experiences.”

By being selected as a finalist in this competition, the City of Saskatoon has been awarded a prize of $250,000 to more fully develop its proposal. The City will continue work with community partners to develop an innovative technology platform and coordinated programmatic system that will support youth to make choices that reduce the chances of incarceration. 

“We are beyond thrilled to have been selected to move on to the next phase in the Challenge,” says Lynne Lacroix, Director of Recreation and Community Development. “Saskatoon residents, institutions and businesses worked together to successfully and innovatively rise to the challenge, and we have now been given a genuine opportunity to put forward our final proposal that could lead to transformational change to the wellbeing of residents and overall quality of life in our city.”

The community and institutional partners include:

Central Urban Métis Federation Inc.

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools

Saskatchewan Health Authority

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatoon Police Service

Saskatoon Public Schools

Saskatoon Tribal Council

United Way of Saskatoon and area

University of Saskatchewan

There will be additional partners included in this next phase.

The final proposals are due in the coming winter with the winners being announced in early 2019. The competition that Saskatoon has entered is for communities with a population of under 500,000 residents, and there are two prizes of $10 million available to be won in this category.