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Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery and Wawanesa Insurance announce five youth-led projects fueled by $150,000 in Youth Innovation Grants

HAMILTON, Ontario, April 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) announced today the five youth-led projects selected to receive funding through the Wawanesa Climate Champions: Youth Innovation Grant – an initiative, in collaboration with Wawanesa Insurance, that supports young leaders who aim to address climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Announced in March 2024, the initiative was created to inspire and support the next generation of leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts with the assistance of applied research professionals from accredited Canadian colleges. Youth currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a C2R2 partner institution submitted their climate-focused ideas for evaluation. The five selected projects receive the support of $30,000 from Wawanesa Insurance, providing the young innovators with a unique opportunity to work with C2R2 partner institutions to develop, deploy, and advance their project ideas.

Wawanesa’s $150,000 support is part of the Wawanesa Climate Champions program, which sets aside $2 million annually to support people on the front lines of climate change working to build more climate-resilient communities.

In total, C2R2 received 16 project submissions from nine of its partner institutions. Of those submitted, the following projects have been chosen to receive funding:

  • CNETE – Maxim Bergeron – Creation of Microbial strains producing 2 enzymes for degrading hydrocarbons and plastics
  • Red River College Polytechnic (RRCP) – Sophie Walker – Climate Resilient Nursing
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic – Muhammad Abdullah – Flood Zone Mapping with Machine Learning and Augmented Reality
  • Seneca College – Navdeep Singh – Reducing Carbon Emissions with Variable Rate Technology and Best Practices in Agriculture
  • Mohawk College – Pal Patel – Asset Management for Climate Resiliency in Indigenous Communities

“The quality of the proposals received for the Wawanesa Climate Champions: Youth Innovation Grant was impressive. Congratulations to the successful innovative young leaders,” said Paul Armstrong, C2R2 Chair and Chief Operating Officer, Mohawk College. “This grant presents an amazing opportunity to advance these important initiatives across the country and we are excited to see the impact these impressive young people and their projects will have on Canada’s climate action efforts.”

The projects selected will have one year to implement and achieve deliverables outlined in their submitted project plans, with the goal to create long-lasting impact.

“We are proud partners with the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery on the Wawanesa Climate Champions: Youth Innovation Grants,” said Jackie De Pape Hornick, Director, Communications & Community Impact, Wawanesa. “The passion and commitment youth across the country display towards building more climate-resilient communities is inspiring. We are honoured to support the five selected students and their work.”

C2R2 is proud to partner with Wawanesa Insurance. This partnership underscores the shared dedication to fostering positive change and resilience in the face of climate-related challenges, and C2R2’s overarching goal of supporting Canadians coast to coast to coast in the transition to a green economy.

About Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2)
Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) is a coalition of 14 highly aligned colleges, cégeps, institutes, and polytechnics across Canada with an established commitment to sustainability. The coalition members have come together as a driving force, providing the skills required to transition to a clean economy in Canada. They are positioned to support workforce upskilling and bridge the skills gap across Canada, and currently run Quick Train Canada and the Community Workforce Development Program. C2R2’s administration and secretariat are located at Mohawk College in Hamilton.
For more information, visit

About Wawanesa Insurance
The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is one of Canada’s largest mutual insurers, with over $3.5 billion in annual revenue and assets of $10 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with its National Headquarters in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada, and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Canada. Wawanesa proudly serves more than 1.7 million members in Canada. The company actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities, donating more than $3.5 million annually to charitable organizations, including over $2 million annually in support of people on the front lines of climate change. Learn more at

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Becky Arsenault

Becky Arsenault

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