Innovation Station Presentation Summaries

Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative (RTEI)

Sonia Molodecky, LLB, Centre for Global Engineering, University of Toronto
Shakya Sur, Research Associate, Centre for Global Engineering, University of Toronto

The Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative (RTEI) at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Engineering is a multi-disciplinary initiative taking a community-based approach to addressing challenges faced by Indigenous communities such as: housing, water, wastewater, clean energy, natural food systems, transportation and telecommunication. Indigenous Peoples have been Traditional Knowledge keepers and have been adapting to the land for thousands of years. RTEI thus seeks to harmonize Indigenous knowledge and the expertise of faculty members at the University to co-develop sustainable, practical, cost-effective and long-term solutions to one or more of these challenges.

Approaches to Developing Sustainable Solutions for Housing and Infrastructure

Jeffrey Siegel, Ph.D., Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

Jeffrey Siegel and the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering work to educate and research system-based approaches to developing sustainable solutions for housing and infrastructure.
Department-wide research themes around housing and infrastructure development:

  • Design of energy efficient buildings
  • Building design for seismic resilience
  • Piping networks in urban areas
  • Restoration and retrofits of ageing infrastructure
  • Study of materials with low carbon footprints

Increasing Efficiency in Regional Water, Storm Water and Sewage Distribution Systems, and Hydro Dams

Jennifer Drake, Ph.D., Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

Jennifer Drake and the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering work to educate and research system-based approached to developing water sustainability. Their research interests include flooding, floodplain mapping, ecological flows, low-impact development (LID) and green infrastructure storm water management, watershed planning, water security, green roof testing.
Department-wide research themes around water:

  • Biologically active filtration
  • Inactivation of emerging pathogens
  • Disinfection of reuse waters
  • Control of disinfection by-products
  • Studying the behavior of organic chemicals in surface water environments such as rivers and lakes, contaminated groundwater, wastewaters, industrial and agricultural effluents

Thirteen Moon Journey and Water Gathering

Bonnie McElhinny, Ph.D., Department of Antrophology, University of Toronto
Debby Danard, Ph.D., Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto

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High Food Prices and Subsidy Policy in Northern Ontario Communities

Tracey Galloway, Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Toronto

Despite the addition of a number of remote communities to the NNC subsidy-eligible list in 2017, residents in 31 northern Ontario communities continue to experience food costs that are among the prices for food and other essential household items. Study goal: Support national efforts to convince policy-makers that a new, Indigenous-led cost-containment strategy is needed.

Impact of Air Service Reliability on Community Resilience and Well-being

Pia Dimayuga, Engineering, University of Toronto
Erik Ohlrogge, International Visiting Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Remote northern communities depend on reliable air transportation for many aspects of daily life. The ability for planes to arrive and leave on time is partly dependent on the quality of airport and community services and equipment. Study goals: 1. To understand how existing airport and community buildings, runways and equipment affect the reliability of air service in northern communities; 2. To understand the impact this has on life in northern communities, from the point of view of people who live and work there.

Promoting Holistic Wellness Through Traditional Teachings and Best Practices

Janet Zanutto, Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle

The Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle provides resources, programming and services that support Indigenous people to live a life free of the complications of diabetes. IDHC works in partnership with community members to identify needs and support the work of local organizations by providing culturally relevant training and resources in the areas of Diabetes Management, Foot Care, Gestational Diabetes, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Sustainable Energy, Wildfire Impacts, and Bioprocess Engineering

Arthur Chan, Ph.D., Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto

The Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry integrates chemistry, biology and engineering through leading edge research and education to drive solutions for global challenges in energy, the environment and health.
Department-wide research themes:

  • Environmental Science and Engineering: development of sustainable industrial processes and ecosystems such as the use of bacteria to remediate polluted groundwater, analyses of air contaminants, development of wetlands for water treatment
  • Sustainable Energy: biofuels, fuel cells, energy recovery, biogas production from biological treatments of effluents
  • Bioprocess Engineering: manufacturing of materials from renewable feedstocks; applications include food processing and preservation, air and wastewater treatment, bioenergy and applications in the pulp and paper industry

Current Research and Innovation Projects Between Lakehead University, Sioux Lookout, and Partners; Future Areas of Collaboration

Andrew P. Dean, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Innovation, Lakehead University
Bill Maloney, Economic Development and Innovation, Lakehead University
Taylor Gynane, Economic Development and Innovation, Lakehead University

Lakehead University representatives will be presenting on research and innovation projects that they have participated in, in partnership with Sioux Lookout and partners in the region. Lakehead will be engaging to see where future collaborations could occur.

Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag – Land-based Indigenous Youth Program

Elder Whabagoon, Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag, University of Toronto

Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag (Flooded Valley Healing) is a participatory employment training program that includes the voices of indigenous youth and Elders/Knowledge Keepers in the planning and designing of green infrastructure. The 2018 inaugural program provided four Toronto high school youth and two University of Toronto graduate students with an opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of Bolton Camp, a 254-acre site 40 km north of the city. More than 30 experts mentored the students through lectures, workshops, design reviews, guided site visits and training in the field. The program challenged the youth to brainstorm design concepts to transform an existing cabin structure at Bolton Camp into a sustainable cabin that will provide indigenous youth, Elders and others with access to future programming and ceremonial space. Phase 2 of the program will begin in spring 2019 and continue to offer participants the opportunity both to explore traditional teachings of the Land, and to learn about potential post-secondary education opportunities and career paths in less familiar disciplines or professional fields.