Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Announces Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project One of Three Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program Projects Announced Today


Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced three projects from its Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program (AOSP) stream, including the Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project. This is an ecosystem building project designed to develop technical skills training for Inuit participants across Inuit Nunangat. The total project value is $1,787,238, where the Ocean Supercluster will provide $1,150,258 and the balance of funding will come from project partners working together from Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Nunavut to make this a reality.

SmartICE will lead the Ocean Supercluster project in partnership with Pinnguaq Association, Nunavut Fisheries Association, Ilitaqsiniq Literacy Council, and Social Research and Demonstration Corporation.

SmartICE is an internationally recognized work integration social enterprise (WISE) that empowers Indigenous communities to adapt to increasingly unpredictable ice conditions. As a social innovator, SmartICE harnesses the vast potential of Indigenous women and men—especially youth—to embrace science, technology and traditional knowledge as a vehicle for sustainable employment, economic development and wellbeing in their communities.

Based in principles of co-design and in partnership with communities and stakeholders, the holistic, culturally contextualized training curriculum developed, piloted, and evaluated through the Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project will address the barriers faced by Inuit in remote northern communities and promote their inclusion and participation in the ocean economy. This project will create 14 direct jobs and dozens of indirect jobs.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is an industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling the shared challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally-relevant solutions, while also building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce. To encourage innovation and trigger new industry investment during these challenging times, the Ocean Supercluster supplemented its core programs with an additional project stream called Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program (AOSP). This enables the development of smaller projects on a shorter timeline that deliver tangible outcomes, while continuing to build resiliency in our ocean sectors.




“Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is undeniably building momentum, adding three new and highly-innovative projects to its Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program. By working together in partnership with Inuit organizations, the benefits this project will provide will be numerous; from creating more opportunities for under-represented communities to better integration of modern technologies and traditional knowledge to monitor ocean climate change. This kind of cross-sector collaboration is what will make the difference in pushing Canada further in ocean technology market and help communities adapt to climate change.” The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry


“Building a workforce that draws on diverse knowledge, experiences, and perspectives is critical to realizing our full potential for inclusive, sustainable growth in Canada’s ocean economy. This project will help remove barriers to opportunities in ocean and increase the participation of Inuit living in remote northern communities, helping us grow a well-connected ocean network that is rooted in partnerships and collaboration.” Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster


“The funding announced today in support of our Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology project will provide important training for Inuit to enter an emerging labour market in Canada. Building on the land skills of Inuit, and creating a training curriculum that is grounded in Inuit ways of knowing and learning, SmartICE and its partners will bridge many of the training barriers facing Inuit in remote northern communities, and promote their inclusion and participation in the ocean economy. We appreciate the support of the Ocean Supercluster in our northern social enterprise and its investment in Inuit women and men—especially youth—to embrace technology and traditional knowledge as a vehicle for sustainable employment and well-being in their communities.” Dr. Trevor Bell


“The Pinnguaq Association is delighted to collaborate with Smart Ice in bringing this incredible project to life.   We are looking forward to coordinating our efforts in order to develop and implement a high quality holistic training program and are grateful to Canada’s Ocean Supercluster for supporting this initiative.” Ryan Oliver


“The Nunavut Fisheries Association is a proud partner of SmartIce and its important ice safety work in our member communities throughout the Qikiqtani Region.  We look forward to working with SmartIce on its new Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project.” Brian Burke, Executive Director, Nunavut Fisheries Association


“Ilitaqsiniq is proud to work in partnership to bring unique training and learning opportunities to Nunavut Inuit through this project. The value of this work will save lives, provide employment opportunities and acknowledge the wisdom and scientific knowledge of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.”  Adriana Kusugak


“The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation are pleased to play a part in supporting this meaningful work, to co-create new and enduring solutions to complex problems. As evaluators, we will be joining SmartICE and the other partners on this journey and will be capturing the story of the initiative as it unfolds. We will focus on gathering key learnings that can inform and improve not only this project, but others to follow.” Christina Hackett


Watch the project video announcement here.




Media contact:

Nancy Andrews