Meet Tomorrow’s Visionaries
The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize was a Canada 150 Signature Initiative and is now closed.
Thunder Bay ▸ Wednesday, September 13, 2017
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Kingston ▸ Tuesday, September 19, 2017
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Windsor ▸ Thursday, September 21, 2017
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Waterloo ▸ Tuesday, September 26, 2017
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Brampton ▸ Thursday, September 28, 2017
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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
Toronto ▸ Monday, October 2, 2017
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About the Prize
The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize was announced in September 2016 by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and is being administered in partnership with the Walrus Foundation. The prize was created to give Ontario’s most creative thinkers a forum for tackling the challenges that Ontarians and Canadians will face over the next 50 years—and to give them a chance to present their solutions in front of a panel of the province’s thought leaders.
Since the announcement of the prize, Ontarians from across the province have submitted ideas in six categories: Reconciliation, Governance, Inclusive Prosperity, Environmental Stewardship, Social Cohesion, and Scientific and Technological Innovation. This fall, these finalists—six from each category—will present their ideas at public events in six cities across Ontario; their visionary ideas reimagine police reform, housing, sustainability, and other pressing issues.
Finalists will showcase their visions in front of an audience that will include policy makers, industry leaders, and a panel of expert judges. Audience members will play a crucial role: they’ll help choose the category winner through a round of live voting. At each event, a winner will be declared—all six category winners will receive $2,500, a spread in the pages of The Walrus magazine, and recognition from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
WINNER Rumboldt, Jessica: Addressing the Overrepresentation of Indigenous Female Offenders in the Canadian Correctional System
Based in Cambridge, Ontario, Jessica Rumboldt is currently a doctoral student at York University and hopes to pursue a career in teaching. Building on her background in criminology and sociology, she is researching the overrepresentation of Indigenous female offenders in the Canadian correctional system. Rumboldt identifies as having Mi’kmaq heritage and is a member of the Criminal Justice Association of Ontario and the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.
Beaudoin, Gaylen: Increasing Federal Accountability to Indigenous Communities
Gaylen Beaudoin is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work at Lakehead University in Orillia. She believes that the only way to bring about change is to work together and dream big. She and her partner, Myles, have three sons and a daughter.
Bertschmann, Jessica: Countering the AIDS Epidemic in Northern and Indigenous Youth
Jessica Bertschmann recently earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and genetics from the University of Western Ontario, where she spent time in the Ramachandran Lab studying cell signalling in prostate cancer. She loves learning about innovation and biotechnology and all of their societal and ethical implications. In the fall of 2017, she’ll be starting an MA in bioinformatics at the University of Calgary. When she’s not in school, Bertschmann loves spending time outdoors with her family and two dogs.
Intahchomphoo, Channarong: Facebook Usage Among At-Risk Urban Indigenous Youth in Ontario
Channarong Intahchomphoo is pursuing a PHD in electronic business technologies at the University of Ottawa. Under the supervision of Dr. André Vellino, he is studying Facebook usage among at-risk urban Indigenous youth in Ontario. Winner of a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology in 2016, he was recently appointed a visiting scholar at the University of Oslo’s TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Culture. His research interests include human-computer interaction, the management of information systems, and social computing in marginalized populations.
Kratochvil, Eva: Preserving Indigenous Culture through Collaborative Language Engagement
Eva Kratochvil has been a frontline shelter worker for the past nineteen years, and served on the board of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, a provincial coalition founded by women’s shelter advocates. In 2013, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her activism in the areas of homelessness and mental illness. She co-wrote a play—performed at the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness Conference in 2016—about and featuring women who have first-hand experience of homelessness. A passionate social justice activist, Kratochvil is dedicated to raising the voices of the oppressed.
Lalonde, Dianne: Using Public Policy to Prevent the Harms of Cultural Appropriation
Dianne Lalonde is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Western University. Her work focuses on contemporary political theory and social justice—in particular, on how cases of cultural appropriation can be identified and whether they are harmful. She is interested in exploring the relationship between cultural appropriation and colonization or oppression, and the ways it may hinder reconciliation. Lalonde is active on campus and in her local community, volunteering for initiatives and organizations focused on mental health and suicide prevention.
WINNER Mager, James: Modernizing Democracy: Technology and the Ontario Government
James Mager is an eternal optimist and unabashed millennial with an academic background in political science. He is honoured to participate in an event that encourages free thought and critical exploration. If you can’t find him on his bike tracing the network of Toronto’s cycling routes, you can find him at a local coffee shop…advocating for more cycling routes. He would like to thank his family and all of the sponsors, organizers, judges, and participants for their support.
Couvrette, Alana: Increasing Political Accountability with the Polidash
Alana Couvrette is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social science at the University of Ottawa. Over the past few years, she has worked with several organizations dedicated to improving the well-being of at-risk and marginalized youth. As a member of the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, she advises the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Children and Youth Services on ways to improve government programs and services for youth. She is also one of the youngest board members of the Young Professionals Network of Ontario, serving as Co-Director of Advocacy. She is an active member of the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee, which advises the city on strategies for amplifying underrepresented youth voices. She served as the President of the United Way Student Association at the University of Ottawa and managed the LeadHer Initiative, a program that organized leadership and confidence-building activities for young women at the Evelyn Horne Shelter. Couvrette recently represented Ottawa Centre as a delegate for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s “A Remarkable Assembly” event. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities award.
Lang, Gregory: Strengthening Indigenous Representation in Government
Gregory Merchant Lang has spent his career developing business management solutions in the internet-technology and sustainable-energy industries, and working with start-up companies in new and emerging markets. Born into politics as one of the seven children of the Honourable Otto Lang and Adrian Macdonald, he became the youngest-ever president of a Young Liberal association in Canada at sixteen years old. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of Manitoba, he completed his MBA at Dalhousie University. Ever passionate about politics, or more precisely, socio-economic equality, Lang has been active in every election and makes a hobby of dismantling and reconstructing the precepts of a democratic society. Still a competitive athlete in ultimate (Frisbee), Lang has represented Canada at the World Championship on four occasions and hopes to compete at his thirtieth Canadian National Championships this summer. Lang currently lives in Toronto with his partner Zuzana Glatzova and their cat, Homer, researching and writing about social policy, and trying his hand at fiction.
Leung, Frances: Making OHIP Sustainable
Born in Hong Kong in 1954, Frances Leung immigrated to Canada when she was eleven. After earning her medical degree from the University of Alberta, she completed her post-graduate studies in Toronto. She was the first female Chief Resident at Sunnybrook Hospital, and now practises as a consultant rheumatologist in Toronto in affiliation with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Since 1984, she has conducted a monthly rheumatology clinic in Sault Ste. Marie. Her interests include music, language, food, and word games, and she is fluent in three Chinese dialects.
Singh, Ryan: Improving Police Standards and Community Relationships through Education and Accountability
Ryan Singh is a paralegal from Sarnia, Ontario. An alumnus of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa, he has a keen interest in political matters. His time as a student border services officer with the Canada Border Services Agency provided him with valuable firsthand experience of law enforcement. Through his work as a defence paralegal, Singh has gained insight into the impacts the actions of law enforcement have on civilians and their daily lives as they navigate Ontario’s court system. He strongly believes that law enforcement agencies are necessary for the harmonious governance of Ontario but is also convinced that law enforcement needs to be dramatically revamped in order to successfully adapt to the evolving needs of Ontarians in the twenty-first century.
Wlodarek, Leah: Boosting Public Safety by Changing Legal-Age Requirements
Leah Wlodarek is a passionate public servant dedicated to the continuous improvement of both herself and her surroundings. She has been a Canadian immigration officer, an insurance adjuster, and a summer student at Queen’s Park. Since before she was old enough to hold a paying job, she has been serving the public—devoting volunteer hours to the hospital and acting as president of the local Junior Civitan community service organization. Wlodarek earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce, and for the past decade, she has been inspecting Ontario’s bars and casinos for compliance with provincial regulations. Married with two young children, she enjoys running with her large, lovable dog in her beautiful new hometown of Windsor.
WINNER Bray, Cierra: Making Entrepreneurship a Mandatory Class in Ontario
Powered by passion and coffee, Cierra Bray is a youth entrepreneurship advocate, event curator, and business owner. She is the founder of CGal Media, an event-planning and digital-marketing agency, and the director of a community-driven monthly event series called YQG Talks. She has also been active in the effort to make entrepreneurship a mandatory high-school course in Ontario by the end of this year. In her free time, she’s busy kayaking and planning her next road trip.
Ariyakumaran, Rishikesh: Replacing Loans with the Co-operative Model to Finance Higher Education
Rishikesh Ariyakumaran is currently a law student at the University of Toronto. After coming to Canada from Sri Lanka as a child, he made his home in Scarborough. Attracted to the sciences from a young age, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical biology. He is interested in pursuing a career that brings together science, technology, and policy. An avid reader and basketball player, he also enjoys watching a good heist movie.
Bednar, Vass: Start-Up Funding for Middle-Income Families
Vass Bednar is a Senior Policy Associate at Airbnb and chaired the Expert Panel on Youth Employment for the federal government earlier this year. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Toronto and served as Associate Director of the Rotman School of Management’s Martin Prosperity Institute, where she worked with urbanist Richard Florida on a range of economic geography projects. A proud millennial wonk, Bednar has also worked as a Senior Advisor at Queen’s Park and has completed the Action Canada and Civic Action Diverse City fellowships. She is also the co-host of Detangled, a pop-culture and public-policy radio show.
Singer, Tim: Leveraging Technology to Improve Access to Social Support Services: Introducing “LEAP”
Tim Singer is a near-lifelong resident of Ottawa and has enjoyed the unique perspective that living in the nation’s capital affords. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Guelph before pursuing a master’s degree in biology from Carleton University. Now fifteen years into a career in the federal public service, he works to improve the lives of Canadians in the area of environmental health.
Langdon, Terri-Lynn: Centralizing the Leadership of Persons with DisAbilities on Provincial Boards, Agencies, and Commissions
Terri-Lynn Langdon is a Disabled social worker and social justice activist based in Toronto. She currently sits on the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) and works at the Eight Branches Healing Arts Centre as a social worker and instructor. Currently pursuing her doctorate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, she researches health equity in under-serviced populations. She takes a human rights approach to advance social justice initiatives in the communities to which she belongs.
Young, Graeme: Supporting Youth Employment and Job Market Preparedness through a Dual Education System
Graeme Young is a PhD student in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Scholar in Residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law School. His current work focuses on the politics of informal economic activity and urban development in Kampala, Uganda, and he has written about post-conflict reconstruction in South Sudan, transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and local perceptions of international peace operations. He holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario and an MPhil from the University of St Andrews. Originally from Grimsby, Ontario, he currently lives in New York City, where he recently worked at the United Nations to promote human rights in the Middle East. He is an avid guitar player and probably spends too much time watching soccer.
WINNER Jaiswal, Charu: Making Ontario a Leader in Energy Storage
Charu Jaiswal is a machine-learning scientist at Peak Power Energy, helping commercial buildings reduce their energy consumption. She received a master’s degree in industrial engineering and machine learning from the University of Toronto, where she was a junior fellow at Massey College, and she has participated in Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program and in Studio Y’s fellowship program at the MaRS Discovery District. The co-founder of an agricultural technology start-up, she has also produced a documentary web series with National Geographic about Indigenous food in Alaska.
Abou-Rabia, Yasmine: Sym-bee-osis: Urbanism and the Honeybee
Inspired by regreening movements in her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Yasmine Abou-Rabia has developed a passion for environmental sustainability. Now an architecture student, she’s interested in creating designs that integrate nature into built environments. In the summer of 2017, she’ll be participating in a co-op program in Iqaluit, Nunavut, where she hopes to learn first-hand about the effects of climate change in the North. In the summer of 2018, she’ll be taking on a design internship in a sustainable community in the Panamanian jungle.
Kennedy, Erin: Using Robots to Clean the Environment
Erin “RobotGrrl” Kennedy is a robot maker and the founder of Robot Missions, an organization that harnesses robot power to improve the planet. She designed and developed a robot—replicable anywhere with a 3D printer—to collect shoreline debris. During field tests with volunteers, the prototype collected 2.5 kilograms of shoreline debris in Toronto and Ottawa. To further the effort, schools will be able to adopt robots for a month and complete missions that will help our nation preserve its natural spaces. Kennedy studied digital fabrication at the Fab Academy, and worked with a global team at MIT on a forty-eight-hour challenge during Fab11 to build a fully functional submarine. A former fellow in systems thinking at the MaRS Discovery District’s Studio Y, she is the creator of the RoboBrrd, a kit that allows you to build your own robot pet. To engage robot makers from the international community, she started Robot Party, a Google+ hangout that now has more than 1 million followers. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Wired,and IEEE Spectrum and on the Discovery Channel.
Lee, Shannon Tin Oi: WaterWind: Renewable Energy to Provide Clean, Potable Water
Shannon Tin Oi Lee is a fourth-year biomedical mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa and a prosthesis engineering student at the Ottawa Hospital. The founder of Personaliz3D Medicine, which is designing software that will instantly convert MRI scans into 3D-printed objects, she is also the Chief Operating Officer of VitalTracer, a company that produces medical smartwatches. She enjoys playing classical music on the piano, yoga, cooking, travelling—and, of course, inventing new engineering applications.
Luba, Andrew: EcoMeat: Innovative Food for a Sustainable Future
Andrew Luba’s life goal is to make people happy. He thinks most people are happy when nobody takes advantage of them, they can trust their community, others in society respect them, and they have a sense of equality with the people around them—essentially, when they have a real opportunity to live a fulfilling life. He is dedicated to breaking down barriers and creating a better world: one in which more people can find happiness.
Seaward, Bill: Greenobie: Reducing Greenhouse Emissions through Social Gamification
William Seaward majored in philosophy at York University, where he concentrated on the philosophy of science and technology. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in economic development and innovation at the University of Waterloo, and is engaged in a variety of research projects focusing on smart cities, electronic markets, distributed systems, and geothermal energy. A founding member of Distribics Technology, he is actively researching and developing new technologies.
WINNER Hossack, Andrea: Supporting Community Health through Intergenerational Care for Ontario’s Children and Elders
Andrea Hossack is a writer, producer, and strategist based in Eastern Ontario. A former producer for CBC Radio and CPAC, she is fortunate to be inspired and supported by her two sons and her very cool husband, Eric. When she’s not writing, she is probably walking in a forest, photographing Ontario farmhouses, pretending she is French, teaching children to cook, laughing, or reading.
Abdulla, Adil: Teaching Empathy in High School
Adil Abdulla is pursuing a law degree and an MA in economics at the University of Toronto, and spent the summer working at Spiteri & Ursulak LLP, a law firm in Ottawa. Abdulla, the child of refugees from East Africa who built several small businesses in Canada, is dedicated to making sure that opportunities are equally available to all—and that Canada lives up to its reputation as a haven for multiculturalism and an incubator of social mobility.
Ahmad, Nazish: Building Social Cohesion by Mentoring New Immigrant Families
Five years ago, Nazish Ahmad was an unemployed single parent with two young children. After assessing her options, she went back to school full-time and earned an undergraduate degree. She continued her studies, and recently graduated with a master’s degree in industrial relations from Queen’s University. She now works as a labour relations advisor for FCA Canada Inc.
Cullen, Emily: Using Preventative Strategies to Improve Mental Health in Adolescents
Emily Cullen is a full-time high-school teacher and part-time graduate student living in Kitchener, Ontario. Emily has spent the last ten years as a special education teacher in a mental health treatment classroom at the Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Centre in Waterloo. She works with youth, helping them learn to cope with and manage their mental health challenges so they can return to their community schools. Cullen recently earned a master’s degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education—her research interests include the education of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the treatment of adolescent sex offenders, and approaches to social justice education. Cullen lives with her husband, dog, and rabbit, and in her free time, enjoys practising yoga and playing classical violin in a community orchestra.
Parent, Rachel: One Seed: Enhancing Patient Well-Being with Hospital Gardens
Rachel Parent is a high-school student in Toronto. Her passions include social justice, animal rights, responsible consumption, and environmental protection. For the past five years, she has positioned herself as a strong advocate for the mandatory labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food. In 2012, she founded Kids Right to Know, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about food safety, challenging them to claim their right to know what’s in their food, and demanding GMO labelling in Canada. Currently a blogger for the Huffington Post, Parent has been acknowledged as a Clean50 Summit Emerging Leader, named by NOW Magazine as one of Toronto’s Environmental Heroes, and recognized as one of Toronto’s Top 20 under 20 by Post City Magazine. Wherever she goes, Rachel reminds young people that their voices can and do make a difference.
Zhu, Angela Anqi: A Price Worth Paying: Employer-Funded Mental Health Services in the Legal Profession
Born in Tianjin, China, and raised in Vancouver, Angela Anqi Zhu moved to Toronto to study in the Peace, Conflict, and Justice program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. Since completing her degree in 2014, she has advocated for the reform of employment standards and action on climate change. She is passionate about combatting precarious work, reducing income inequality, and empowering young people. Interested in pursuing a career in the human rights field, she is now a law student at the University of Windsor. This March, Zhu represented her riding of Toronto Centre as one of 338 delegates participating in the historic “Daughters of the Vote” event in Ottawa. She has also been an elected member of the Ontario NDP Executive since 2014.
FINALISTS: SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
WINNER Li, Carter:Fighting Climate Change with a Community-Based Platform for Electric-Vehicle Charging
Carter Li is the founder and CEO of SWTCH, a clean-technology start-up dedicated to improving electric vehicle charging accessibility, reducing driver range anxiety, and promoting the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Prior to launching SWTCH, Li was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, where he developed digital and implementation strategies related to clean technology, healthcare, and financial services. He holds a PhD in experimental surgery from McGill University.
Abell, Brent: Generating Sustainable Energy with Peat Fuel
Brent Abell was born and raised on a cattle farm in Dunkeld, a village near Walkerton, Ontario. Now a paramedic in the Durham Region, he is currently working toward a degree in public administration and governance from Ryerson University. Abell lives with his wife and two children in Sunderland, Ontario, and serves as a volunteer firefighter for Brock Township. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey and baseball, snowmobiling, and hunting deer in the Saugeen Valley.
Cant, Ryan: Combatting Climate Change with the EnviroDrone
Ryan Cant is an environmental scientist with a background in geospatial technology, civil engineering, resource management, and agriculture. An innovator and entrepreneur in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology, Cant believes that drones can be a powerful tool in the fight against climate change.
Hyodo, Brian: Stretching Science and Technology – Innovating New Industry From
Global Leadership in Multiculturalism
After graduating with a degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo, Brian Hyodo worked in CIBC’s IT department before joining IBM. There, he transitioned into sales management, eventually becoming one of two Global Insurance Industry Partner Executives. Brian followed up his IBM career with partner executive roles for various software companies, including Performancesoft, Actuate, and Varicent. After retiring from sales, Hyodo studied and apprenticed in the ancient craft of farriery. Currently, he serves on the board of the Ontario Farriers’ Association.
Mykhaylova, Natalia: Green Canopy, Greener City
Natalia Mykhaylova has a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Toronto and is now a doctoral student in U of T’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Her current work involves developing novel devices and adaptable wireless networks for the monitoring of air pollution. She has founded two companies, worked with various start-ups and non-profit organizations, and received numerous awards for her leadership and research. Her work has been covered by such outlets as The University of Toronto Magazine, Phys.org, Metro News, and CTV News.
Shahid, Sadaf: Implementing Thermoelectric Roads in Toronto
Sadaf Shahid is a student at Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. Having grown up in a quiet suburban area, she was struck by the heavy traffic congestion and concrete expanses of downtown Toronto and has made it her goal to help develop and sustain ecologically diverse environments in urban settings. A videographer and photographer, she’s never far from her Nikon D810.
Host of CBC’s Out in the Open
Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister on Indigenous Issues, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Photographer, Co-Director of Watermark
Host of TVO’s The Agenda
Futurist, expert in change management, resilience, and innovation
Former President of Home Depot Canada, CEO of NRStor Inc.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
CEO of MaRS Discovery District
About the Walrus Foundation
The Walrus Foundation is a registered charitable non-profit organization with an educational mandate to create forums for conversations on matters vital to Canadians. The foundation is dedicated to supporting writers, artists, ideas, and thought-provoking conversations. We achieve these goals across multiple platforms by publishing The Walrus magazine ten times a year in print, tablet, and mobile editions; curating the national series of Walrus Talks and leadership dinners; posting original, high-quality content daily at thewalrus.ca; and creating other digital projects. The foundation also trains young professionals in media, publishing, and non-profit development. The foundation is the implementation partner for the Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize.
In 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As a founding province of Confederation, Ontario will be marking the occasion by supporting events and programs across the province that celebrate our diversity, encourage Ontarians to get involved, and leave a lasting legacy for communities across the province to enjoy. This is a chance to reflect on our history and look ahead toward the next 150 years in Ontario. The Ontario150 program is intended to engage Ontarians of all ages, but especially our youth, who will help lay the groundwork for strong economic, social, and cultural legacies for the next generation.
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