Innovate BC AI Justice Challenge

AI Justice Challenge

Innovate BC AI Justice Challenge

Innovate BC, the Ministry of Citizens’ Services and the Ministry of Attorney General have partnered to host the first-ever AI Justice Challenge.

The Justice Sector is considered ripe for AI solutions, and the Ministry of Attorney General wants to actively engage the innovator community to help solve their business challenges with AI. These solutions would provide the public with better access to the justice system, allowing citizens to navigate their legal matters more quickly, easily, and affordably. The AI Justice Challenge offers a huge opportunity for both government and the innovation community to collaborate on solving problems that impact millions of people across the province.

Why get involved?

The benefits for innovators include: 

  • Opportunities to demonstrate AI expertise and technology in a controlled setting that provides access to data and resources from a provincial government ministry
  • Potential for contracts to deliver production applications and act as a springboard to business opportunities in other jurisdictions
  • Opportunity to grow your business and have government as a potential partner, customer and reference

Benefits for government include:

  • Quick delivery of proof-of-concept solutions that can be funded through to production
  • Potential for powerful solutions that dramatically improve user experience, as well as increase internal efficiency
  • Partner with industry to stimulate business growth and job creation

Benefits for B.C. include:

  • Solutions that will help create a more streamlined, efficient, and accessible experience for B.C. residents who are going through a legal process

AI Justice Challenge Details

The Ministry of Attorney General is seeking five different AI solutions:

  • Smart Online Guide: an aid to help someone complete forms easily and correctly, aids to respond to citizens in their preferred language, or aids to converse
  • Intelligent Reviewer: a system that can intelligently parse a document and retrieve salient and relevant points quickly
  • Online Justice Chatbot: smart guide AI to provide legal information or guidance to matters OR processes involving probate, wills and estates planning
  • Auto Transcriber: faster, cheaper transcription
  • Smart Court Inquirer: an online inquiry or interactive platform for choosing terms, tracking trial processes, or generating basic information for judgements; needs to include a virtual or augmented reality for way finding and simulation

For more information and to apply for one of the challenges, head to BCBid and search for the following:

  • Smart Online Guide Challenge
    •  RFQ ON-003240 Smart Online Guide
  • Intelligent Reviewer Challenge
    • RFQ ON-003241 Intelligent Reviewer
  • Online Justice Chatbot Challenge
    • RFQ ON-003242 Online Justice Chatbot
  • Auto Transcriber Challenge
    • RFQ ON-003244 AI Auto Transcriber
  • Smart Court Inquirer Challenge
    • RFQ ON-003245 AI Smart Court Inquirer

Key Dates

  • Respondents’ MeetingAugust 20
  • Submissions close: August 31 at 2PM PST
  • Finalists chosen and invited to AI Challenge Event: September 17
  • AI Challenge: October 1-12, 2018

Challenge Process 

  • Stage 1: Applications submitted and reviewed
  • Stage 2: Finalists chosen and invited to AI Challenge
  • Stage 3: AI Challenge; finalists have two weeks to develop and demo proof of concept
  • Stage 4: Short-listed finalists go through a 16-week “Residency Stage” to develop minimum viable product
  • Stage 5: Winners go through a 12-18 month “Development & Implementation Stage”


All questions regarding the AI Justice Challenge can be sent to


Canadian Innovation Week

Canadian Innovation Week

Canadian Innovation Fair

Powered by the Rideau Hall Foundation, this series of events demonstrated that Canada’s culture of innovation is thriving – across sectors, regions, and age groups.

Plans already underway. Next year’s Canadian Innovation Week coming May 21-31, 2019.

The inaugural Canadian Innovation Week brought together partners and stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem to connect, cultivate, and celebrate Canadian Innovation. The diverse range of events across the country generated awareness, interest and enthusiasm, reaching a broad rage of inquisitive and curious minds.

Key events included: Governor General’s Innovation Awards, #BCTECH Summit, and the Government of Canada Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair.

“Innovation is very simple. It’s simply doing things better. It’s a mindset. Looking at something and saying, ‘How can we do that better?’” The Right Honourable David Johnston, 28th Governor General of Canada and Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation.

Celebrating national innovation!

If you’d like to add an innovation celebration to the national map and share the tech and innovation initiatives in your community, please do so HERE!

Canada Innovation Week stats

Plans are already under way for next year’s Canadian Innovation Week coming May 21-31, 2019.

Engineering University Transfer Programs in the Kootenays

Engineering University Transfer Programs throughout the Kootenays

Engineering University Transfer Programs in the Kootenays

With the rise in demand for Engineers of all disciplines, post-secondary institutions in the Kootenays make it easier for regional students to begin their Engineering educations, along with valuable co-op experiences, closer to home.

Kootenays colleges meeting the demand for regional, transferrable, first year programs

Generally speaking, engineering is for students who are interested in the physical structures and systems in our modern world.  Engineers are are the thinkers and builders who apply science and math to every aspect of modern life, designing and developing the products and processes we use every day.

It is a solid, in-demand career path often offering high-paying jobs as well as challenging, satisfying work.

 Engineering careers include:

  • civil  (structures)
  • mechanical (machines)
  • electrical and computer (circuits and software)
  • chemical and biological (chemical and biochemical processes)
  • physics (applied physics in the design of new devices)

College of the Rockies

The College of the Rockies Engineering Certificate is designed to satisfy the first year requirements of undergraduate programs at both UVIC and UBC as well as other institutions.

With a Block Transfer agreement with University of Victoria, College of the Rockies’ engineering certificate students will receive full credit for first-year engineering at UVIC and will be on equal footing with UVIC students when it comes to competitive entry into second year.

According to College of the Rockies Dean of Instruction, Darrell Bethune, “College of the Rockies’ engineering certificate students will receive full credit for first-year engineering at the University of Victoria, and better yet, will be on equal footing with UVIC students for competitive admission into year two.”

“This is a terrific opportunity for students to begin their engineering education at College of the Rockies with smaller class sizes and more personal instruction,” Bethune notes.

The COTR engineering certificate meets the first-year requirements of all UVIC engineering streams except software engineering, though those COTR students interested can enter software engineering by taking the additional computer science course at UVIC after they transfer.

For more information on the College of the Rockies’ Engineering certificate, call (250) 489-2751 ext. 3243 or go to

Selkirk College

The first-year Engineering Transfer (Applied Science) program at Selkirk College allows for the transfer option to UBC, SFU, UVic or U of A.

This program focuses on physical structures and provides the necessary background in math and physics required to pursue the remaining three years in a degree program.

Additionally, any prep or prerequisite courses can be fulfilled and successful completion of this certificate program allows for transfer of credits towards an engineering degree at UBC, UBC Okanagan, SFU, UVic, or the University of Alberta. Most of Selkirk’s first-year engineering courses in fact transfer to universities across Canada.

Engineering Co-op

Co-op education programs are vital to providing valuable on-the-job, hands-on experience to future engineers. The Selkirk College co-op education integrates the first year of academic study with periods of paid, related work experience. The co-op work term credit is also transferable to further university co-op engineering programs.

Click HERE to learn more!

Coordinated with the East and West Kootenay Branches of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, Selkirk College organized a day-long field trip to Kimberley on September 10, 2016 to tour the Kimberley Underground Mine and the Sunmine Solar Facility.


























B.C. startup developing wearable tech that could save drug users from overdosing

Technology for Good: B.C. Wearable Tech to Save Drug Users From Overdosing

B.C. startup developing wearable tech that could save drug users from overdosing

UBC biomedical engineering physics student Sampath Satti holds a commercial masimo pulseoximeter sensor and custom reflectance pulseoximeter. Satti is part of a team who are developing a overdose detection device.

According to the latest B.C Coroners Service data, at least 1,448 British Columbians died of illicit drug overdoses last year.  That’s nearly 28 a week!  In the first three months of this year, that number rose past 30 deaths a week, 91 per cent of them indoors and alone.

Wearable tech addresses drug users’ need for a buddy

In answer to the increasing state of this crisis, Gordon Casey having made a lucrative living in finance in the Caribbean for 15 years, saw an opportunity to put his money to work for good when he moved to Vancouver in 2016.  With the aim of saving lives, he committed $50,000 to a startup addressing the opioid epidemic.

Seeing the need for a stigma-free buddy system for drug users, Casey and biomedical engineer Sampath Satti decided to use technology to invent one.

“What if there was a local alert system that, when someone is using and an overdose episode occurs, we look at the physiological changes that happen in the human body and elicit a local response?” pondered Casey.

The province, which experts said has become a world leader in the area, is looking at any number of technologies to help save lives from this overdose epidemic that has hit B.C. hard in recent years. For instance, the overdose-reversing drug naloxone has been made more available to the public, allowing pharmacies to carry the kits and creating online tutorials on how to use the antidote.

While having a naloxone kit handy is helpful where aid available (there have been no deaths at supervised injection sites to date, for example), it isn’t much use when people use opioids alone, as overdoses can happen so quickly users can’t inject the antidote themselves in time.

To address vulnerable lone users, Satti, a masters student at the University of B.C.’s biomedical engineering department, is developing a device that drug users can wear on their wrist or finger.

A wearable device to help bring help when needed

The device is essentially a pulse monitor, but Satti and a team of engineers are developing software that can calculate users’ breathing rate based on very slight variations of their pulse. Since slowed breathing is one of the first symptoms of an overdose, the monitor could detect a problem.

“Heart rate does slow down eventually,” Satti said, “but by then it’s too late.”

Naxalone can then be administered as once the device detects a suspected overdose, it would alert either health authorities or a network of volunteers to come to the person’s aid.

Currently, Satti and his team have created a prototype of the wearable device and are at work to collect enough data to establish the exact relationship between heart rate and breathing.

“We estimate that once this device actually gets built, this device will be cheaper than a Naloxone kit,” Satti said.

It’s what he calls a “bare-bones project” as Satti and the handful of fellow engineers at UBC are not getting paid for their work.  Consequently, they are making the technology open-source simply out of the desire to help, Satti said.

“You cannot be living in Vancouver and not notice the overdose problem,” he said. “I have some skills which can be put to use and I have some time on my hands so, in a very weird way, why not?”

Valuable partnerships and collaboration to provide help where it’s desperately needed

Satti recently joined Casey’s company Brave in its small office in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Brave is a co-operative with 14 founding members and 50 pending members who are either users, or contributors — app developers, engineers, and community workers. Every member is a shareholder.

The company is preparing for a four-week pilot project in July, in which 80 participants who frequently use drugs alone will test their prototype app, Be Safe.

The app anonymously connects drug users with their peers who can monitor them via a phone call while they use. That peer would only get the drug users’ location if he or she does not respond on the phone, signalling a possible overdose.

“We’re using that to answer the really basic question of, ‘If you are a person who uses drugs alone, will you use technology to keep you safe?’” Casey said. “We’re very confident that the answer is yes.”

The pair hope to combine their two projects together to create a wearable device that detects overdoses and comes with a safety net of volunteers who can monitor and provide an antidote if people overdose.

Read more about this helpful and essential innovation.


Innovate BC and the Provincial Government Invest in Tech Talent

Innovate BC and the Provincial Government Invest in Tech Talent

Innovate BC and the Provincial Government Invest in Tech Talent

$102 million will help create opportunities for co-ops, entrepreneurs and students

The tech sector is playing an enormous role in supercharging B.C.’s economy — contributing nearly $15 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output — but Dawn Wood, Director of Programs at Innovate BC, notes that a key ingredient is required for future growth. “We need to nurture new talent, not just for the tech companies but also for the thousands of businesses that increasingly rely on tech in their daily operations,” she says.

That’s why B.C. Premier John Horgan’s pledge at the recent BC Tech Summit to invest over $102.7 million in the sector is so exciting to Wood and her colleagues. Of that sum, $10.5 million is going towards co-op opportunities and entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students, with the goal of helping them prepare for careers in tech.

Specifically, the money will enable Innovate BC (formerly the BC Innovation Council) to award more grants via its BC Tech Co-op Grants Program and re-launch the Crown agency’s Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) Program.

The Tech Co-op Grants Program gives salary support of up to $10,800 annually to tech firms hiring for any roles as well as non-tech companies hiring for tech-specific roles, providing they’re established in B.C. and have less than 100 employees. Similarly, the ISI grant gives tech companies and startups up to $10,000 annually to hire post-secondary business or tech students from accredited institutions in the province.

Over the years, such programs have repeatedly proven to benefit both student and employer. “In the late 1990s and early 2000s I was a Simon Fraser University kinesiology student who was hired through a co-op program as a disability management consultant, and then by an orthopedics company,” says Eric Jang, who today is a chiropractor and owner of the TeamWell Health clinics in Burnaby, Richmond, and Surrey. “Getting these professional credits was great for my résumé and facilitated my acceptance into chiropractic school.”

Read more at BC Business.

TIA BC Tech Scholarship Winners

2018 BC Tech Scholarship Winners

TIA BC Tech Scholarship WinnersOn June 1st the incredible individuals and companies transforming BC’s expanding tech sector were celebrated at the 25th anniversary of the TIAs.   Nine companies and two of the tech community’s most prominent leaders were recognized for their positive impact and contributions to the tech industry.

Alongside, another set of exciting awards were announced. This year marked the 13th year BC Tech has supported high-school and post-secondary students in their goal of pursuing an education in STEM-related fields.   The BC Tech and Bill Tam Scholarship awards were presented providing several gifted and innovative students scholarships to continue pursuing STEM.

Investing in the future of the local workforce is one of the keys to success for the BC technology sector; this includes the students, programs, and institutions that help make that happen. Established in 2005, the industry-funded BC Tech Scholarship is proud to provide grants to students who have a proven passion for technology, a desire to leave a mark in the tech sector, and are pursuing a post-secondary education in a technology-related program.

Eligible disciplines include Engineering, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, Biotech, Cleantech, IT & Applied Technology, Business & Technology Management, Product Management, Digital Media, and other technical programs.

This year’s recipients of the BC Tech Scholarship and the inaugural Bill Tam Scholarship represent the diversity and innovative spirit that British Columbia was built upon. It’s also the first time that more women than men were awarded the scholarships—a welcome shift towards an increase in women pursuing careers in tech.

“Every year we receive applications from students across the province who are passionate about technology and determined to use tech for good to make the world a better place” said Jill Tipping, BC Tech President and CEO. “This year was no exception, there were so many deserving applicants who aren’t just excellent students, they’re visionary change-makers. This year’s scholarship recipients are truly exceptional, and we look forward to all of their incredible accomplishments.”

The 2018 BC Tech scholarship winners are:

Brianna Carrels of the University of Victoria received UVIC’s Co-op Student of the Year award, is a nominee for the Canadian Co-op Student of the Year Award, and hopes to pursue a career in biotech. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Engineering.

Kieran Halliday of the University of British Columbia is a decorated athlete, recipient of academic distinctions, and wants to be part of the sustainability movement in the technology industry. He is currently working towards a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Computer Engineering with a focus on mobile app development.

Johanna Jucutan of Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary—an active part of her community, she is involved in promoting STEM to elementary school girls and is a project developer for the Youth Mental Health Association. Johanna will be pursuing a career in web development and UX design. She has been accepted into the Bachelor of Science, Interactive Art and Technology program at Simon Fraser University.

Giulia Mattia of the University of British Columbia is currently completing the Bachelor and Master of Management Dual Degree Program. She is an active committee member for UBC’s Focus on Women in Computing Society and is an advocate for diversity in STEM. She aspires to one day represent women in the tech sector across BC and around the world.

Stephanie Nguyen of Terry Fox Secondary—is a top academic student at her school, and a dedicated volunteer at the MSL Piret Lab at UBC. She aspires to become a biomedical engineer and has been accepted into the Bachelor of Applied Sciences program at the University of British Columbia.

Kaylan Wang of Ecole Hugh McRoberts Secondary—an active member of Science World’s Future Science Leaders program. She aspires to build a career in the field of public health and disease prevention. She has been accepted into the Bachelor of Science Program at the University of British Columbia.

Bill Tam Scholarship recipients: Giulia Mattia and Kaylan Wang

Bill Tam Scholarship recipients: Giulia Mattia and Kaylan Wang.

Are you a secondary or current university or college student with a passion for STEM? Do you know an eager and innovative young person with an interest in science, tech, engineering, and math?

Awards offered for 2018:

  • Up to 3 x $3,500 for current University and College students
  • Up to 3 x $2,500 for Grade 12 graduates entering post-secondary

Check back for information about next year’s scholarship opportunities coming soon!