President’s Desk

Ted Hewitt

Ted Hewitt
President, SSHRC

Canada’s 150th: Many Happy Returns of the Day

As we mark 150 years of Confederation on July 1, there is much to reflect on. Canada has evolved considerably from its modest beginnings, emerging as an important contributor to the North American and global economies, a trusted ally, and a world leader in social policy and individual rights and freedoms.

There is no question that over many years, social sciences and humanities research has contributed significantly to this evolution, providing evidence-based knowledge and rich insights to help guide the country’s policy-makers, legislators, educators, business leaders, community volunteers and activists in fashioning this place we call home.

In celebration of this contribution, and to help mark 2017, SSHRC has partnered with various organizations to help bring Canada 150 events to communities across the country, such as The Walrus Talks: Conversations about Canada, which is stimulating discussions in every province and territory about the Canada we want to see in 50 years. And, the multi-sensory travelling exhibition Game Changers, created by the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which explores Canadian innovations and the technological advances (such as augmented reality) that have revolutionized video game development and transformed how we interact with computer technology. SSHRC is also joining forces with Library and Archives Canada to create a special Canada 150 episode of their very popular series of podcasts that tell the story of Canada. It will explore how Canadians envision themselves, looking both to Canada’s past and its future, and will include a number of interviews with SSHRC-affiliated scholars.

SSHRC also created Canada 150 Connection Grants. This special funding opportunity is supporting a number of unique collaborative outreach activities throughout the country, bringing together postsecondary institutions and community partners in an effort to explore themes of critical importance to Canada.

For example, a research network at Dalhousie University and Memorial University of Newfoundland is examining the economic, social and cultural importance of our oceans in Canada’s evolution. And researchers, activists, and policy-makers are gathering at York University to exchange ideas and strategies on what needs to be done going forward to address climate change.

A number of our Canada 150 grant holders are also looking at Indigenous issues—including a partnership between the Songhees First Nation and the University of Victoria to examine early Indigenous treaties. In doing so, they will commission the first modern translation of the Douglas Treaties (1850-54) into local languages. A number of reconciliation events were held at this year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Ryerson University, including SSHRC’s session on “Indigenous knowledge systems, decolonization and research innovation.”

I am confident that SSHRC-funded research projects such as these will continue to enlighten and inspire us to create a better Canada and a better world over the next 150 years.

Many happy returns, Canada!

Other SSHRC president editorials:

Arrival, the movie: How linguistics saved the world? (University Affairs, January 2017)

Could “Uberification” be an opportunity rather than a threat? (The Hill Times, October 2016—subscription required)

Moving beyond the “moonshot” approach to innovation (iPolitics, August 2016)

Open innovation at Canada’s universities: an idea whose time has come? (Re$earch Money, 4 April 2016)

Canada’s researchers eager to support truth and reconciliation efforts (University Affairs, January 2016)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action

Good research key to helping refugees, youth flourish (Chronicle Herald, January 2016)

"It’s time to ‘think different’ about innovation" (The Hill Times, November 2015—subscription required)

Libre accès pour le bien public (Découvrir, May 2015)

"Canada’s newest resource is flexible, sustainable, potentially unlimited" (The Hill Times, October 2014—subscription required)

"Canadian Research on Social Licensing Can Bridge the Gap in Technological Innovation" (The Hill Times, July 2014—subscription required)