The Canada Comeback Challenge creates opportunities for post-secondary students to contribute to Canada’s COVID-19 recovery while gaining valuable work-integrated learning (WIL) experience. Through a fun, skill-building challenges in an entirely online format, USask students will tackle real-world problems facing employers in Canada’s public, private, and non-profit sectors.
This federally-funded initiative, announced by Prime Minister Trudeau in June 2020 as part of a $9 billion support package for post-secondary students and recent graduates, empowers students, links them with employers, and increases Canada’s capacity to address the social and economic challenges brought about by the global pandemic.
Canada Comeback Challenge aims to:
- Provide the kind of WIL experience that kick-starts careers. Up to 10,000 spots will be available through the Challenge for students.
- Provide students with opportunities to apply their skills, develop new ones, and expand their professional networks.
- Provide access to curated resources for professional and career development, health and wellness, and diversity and inclusion.
- Provide access to a virtual mentorship community and dedicated employer mentors for teams that make it to the final round.
- Provide opportunities for students to create meaningful solutions to real-world challenges facing Canada’s public, private, and non-profit sectors.
- Connect students with employers.
We have partnered with multiple organizations across the country to curate concurrent professional development that will be available for all students to use throughout the challenge. Some participating partners include Jack.org, Venture for Canada, Future Design School and Bridgespace.
Resources provided are both synchronous and asynchronous in nature to provide multiple forms of engagement. They are all timed to give a clear idea of duration of participation and are supplemented with worksheets. The topics covered include team fundamentals, design thinking tools and methods as well as mental health and wellness.
Business and Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) considers mentorship an essential component of a work-integrated learning experience. As such, we are committed to providing participating students the chance to connect with our network of talented mentors across Canada. We will curate a list from our existing network and assign mentors to work with the students. Along with the list, a guide for facilitating conversations between students and mentors will also be provided.
Student participation and timeline
As part of the Canada Comeback Challenge students from across Canadian post secondary institutions have been asked to find solutions to the most pressing issues of our time. For students participating from the University of Saskatchewan, you can participate individually or in groups of 2-5. Students will have to complete thier registration before the 29th of January.
The final output will be due on the 4th of March with all final reimbursements submitted by the 15th of March. Feedback on their work will be provided by the second week of March.
Available challenges & projects
Trust in both our public service and our political leadership rose during the pandemic, although not necessarily on a sustained basis. How can governments adapt to be more inclusive, i.e. to give more Canadians a voice in decision making?
As a trading nation, Canada’s rich natural resource base has historically provided a steady stream of income and quality of life to communities across the country. However, globalization and a softening demand for certain products and commodities (e.g. forest and mining products) has caused population-levels across rural and remote communities to decline. Municipalities that were once hubs of economic activity now face a number of challenges including: an aging population; income inequality; a limited ability to attract professional services (e.g. doctors, nurses, lawyers, etc.); and high unemployment levels.
What can be done by governments and the private sector to create new economic opportunities for rural and remote communities under stress and address key social issues such as health care and inequality?
Tourism business in Canada employed 1.8 million Canadians in every region of Canada, which equals 1 in every 10 jobs. Post pandemic, tourism businesses across the country will once again be struggling to hire and retain workers with the skills required in tourism.
What changes and innovative solutions will make the tourism sector an attractive sector for future workers while helping grow the industry?
How can public health better support the mental wellness of children and youth, especially those facing inequities, adversity and/or racism and discrimination?
What might be the longer-term impacts and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic for diferent transport modes, on commuting patterns and/or broader individual socioeconomic habits and preferences (e.g., telework, retail development trends, car use, consumption choices?
How can post-secondary institutions best identify mental health challenges among students learning remotely and deliver supports in this learning environment? How could this approach be adapted once in-person classes resume?
Combating online hate and harassment Online harassment and hate on social media platforms and websites is pervasive. How can individual Canadians help combat online hate and harassment of women politicians? What are the most efective tools or strategies to combat hate?
You will be required to submit an Executive Summary of 2 pages with an additional 3 pages allowed for supporting appendices. This will be due on the 4th of March.
The general rubric for submission will be based on the following criteria:
- Proposed Solution
- Stakeholder Engagement and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Barriers and Risks
- Costs and Budget
Details on each round will be provided throughout the competition. Feedback provided each round will be qualitative in nature.
BHER is committed to reducing the barriers students may be facing in accessing the resources necessary to participate. Students have up to $250 to seek reimbursement for costs associated with participating in this competition.
- Office supplies: consumables such as paper, ink cartridges, pens, pencils, etc.
- Software licenses, software subscriptions
- Postage and courier
- Cellphone: air and data charges
- Internet: connection and data charges
- IP Fees and licenses: costs to access intellectual property
- Prototype equipment & materials: equipment and materials related to solution
- Learning resources: books, e-books, conferences, webinars, registration
- Daycare: daycare charges as a result of COVID financial challenges
The expense reimbursement limit for each participant in Round One is $250 including tax. A complete guide to submit reimbursement is available on the website
For institution specific information, contact your instructor or department administering the Canada Comeback Challenge.After reading through this website and this document, if you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.