Smart Cities Challenge

About this project

This initiative is designed to deliver the expectations of the Smart Cities proposal as articulated in the contribution agreement with Infrastructure Canada (INFC)—specifically, those milestones and metrics associated with the 50X50X50 goals.

  • Goal 1: Increasing access to affordable, nutritious food by 50 per cent
  • Goal 2: Creating 50 new circular business collaborations and opportunities
  • Goal 3: Increasing circular economic benefits by 50 per cent by valuing waste as a resource

In Q2 2021, the Smart Cities Office (SCO) launched the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL). COIL builds on the work of Our Food Future to accelerate circular businesses in the food and environment sectors while also launching a series of larger scale challenges and demonstration projects.

In Q1 2022, COIL launched Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab (ZWETL). ZWETL will drive circularity through material-streams using new approaches and models to generate innovation, infrastructure, and sustainable secondary markets necessary for recovery, recycling, and reuse.

For more information on these initiatives visit and


  • Project: Asset and behavior mapping: Q1 2020 to Q3 2022
  • Project: Circular Food Security and Health Action Plan: Q4 2022 to Q4 2023
  • Project: Circular Food Economy Innovation Hub (CFE iHub): Q1 2020 to Q1 2022
  • Project: COIL—Capacity building for circular economy businesses: Q3 2021 to Q4 2023
  • Project: The Harve$t Impact Fund: Q1 2020 to Q1 2022
  • Project: COIL—Harve$t Impact Social Impact Investment Fund Expansion: Q3 2021 to Q4 2023
  • Project: New food economy skills and training: Q1 2020 to Q1 2023
  • Project: Business tools and services: Q1 2020 to Q4 2023
  • Project: “Reimagine Food” awareness campaign: Q2 2020 to Q4 2023
  • Project: Circular carbon credits: Q1 2021 to Q2 2023
  • Project: Circularity in municipal waste systems: Q1 2020 to Q4 2023
  • Project: COIL—Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab: Q1 2022 to Q4 2023
  • Project wrap-up: Q1 to Q2 2024

Project status and last quarter update

Our Food Future project status

Within scope

On schedule

Within budget

Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) project status

Within scope

On schedule

Within budget

Since launching in 2020, the Smart Cities Office Guelph-Wellington has been highly successful in increasing food access in our community, reducing food waste and emissions, and raising the profile of our region as a world-class circular economy (CE) innovation leader. Core funding for Our Food Future (Infrastructure Canada) and COIL (FedDev Ontario) has concluded as of December 2023. Both Our Food Future and Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) – were primarily funded by $15 million in federal grants from Infrastructure Canada and FedDev Ontario, plus funding raised from corporate collaborators.

Our Food Future and Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) have achieved or exceeded all program objectives by December 2023, a year ahead of schedule. Having achieved our goals and with federal and corporate funding fully expended, the Smart Cities Office at City of Guelph closed in December 2023. Remaining administrative functions including grant reporting, audit and other related activities will continue to be supported through Q2 2024.

With the program objectives completed by December 2023, we are concluding reporting on the Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge initiative within Tier 1 portfolio with the Q4 2023 update.

Additional project details

  • Executive sponsors: Andrew Telfer, Executive Director, Smart Cities Initiative
  • Project managers: Ashlee Cooper, Manager, Our Food Future Initiative; Andrew Telfer, Manager, COIL
  • Approved budget: $15,346,250
  • Funding sources: 65 per cent funded Infrastructure Canada, 32 per cent funded Federal Development Agency of Southern Ontario, three per cent grants and subsidies
  • Target completion: Q2 2024

For more information

Jodie Sales
General Manager, Strategic Initiatives and Intergovernmental Services
519-822-1260 extension 3617
[email protected]