TORONTO, ONTARIO – Humber College, in partnership with the City of Toronto, is launching the Beyond COVID-19: Global Systems Gap Challenge 2021. Humber students and mentors will collaborate in virtual teams with post-secondary students from around the world to identify what is needed for systemic, equitable, and sustainable change to build the City of Toronto back better, together, beyond COVID-19. 

Over six weeks, more than 400 students from 32 countries will use a system thinking mindset to identify possible paths to future solutions to pressing urban challenges in one of four themes: arts & culture, economic development, health & wellness, and social innovation. 

"The Humber Global Systems Gap Challenge fosters 21st-century leadership skills in students by welcoming diverse perspectives and encouraging self-reflection in communications, digital fluency, and critical analysis while working together in multidisciplinary and intercultural research teams," said Gina Antonacci, associate vice-president, Academic. "This collaborative experience will give students the tools to address current problems through a system thinking approach, helping the City of Toronto build towards equitable and sustainable solutions, post-pandemic." 

Humber's student participants represent 86 academic programs from each of the college's six academic Faculties. Additional students are joining from Humber's global academic partner network. Teams will be supported by mentors representing more than 140 Humber faculty, staff and external community partner members. 

"Toronto, like so many other large urban centres, faces many challenges," said City Manager Chris Murray. "These challenges became far more evident as the COVID-19 pandemic hit every part of our City and every community in it. This is especially true for the most vulnerable people in Toronto. I am excited about the City's partnership with Humber's Global Systems Gap Challenge and look forward to the outcomes of the hundreds of post-secondary students from across the globe, along with their mentors, working to help the City rethink, plan for and rebuild a thriving city that is equitable, inclusive and sustainable." 

The teams will work on a project that aligns with one or more of the City of Toronto's research priorities. Examples are:

  • Social Innovation: How would permanent paid or unpaid sick leave impact workers during and beyond the pandemic?
  • Health and Innovation: Thousands of internationally trained medical graduates have passed their qualifying exams, yet they cannot practice in Canada due to the limited number of residency spots. What role can internationally trained physicians play in the current public health crisis? 
  • Economic Development: Many small businesses have been affected by COVID 19. According to The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), it is estimated that one in eight small businesses may close their doors. What can be done to help small businesses move forward post-COVID-19 and not rely on government supports?  
  • Arts and Culture: How can we avoid a cultural crisis and build economic resilience in the arts community, given the loss of many creative spaces (such as galleries and music venues) in Toronto during the extended lockdown? 

This is the second year of Humber's Global Systems Gap Challenge, and it runs from May 17 to June 25, 2021. The official kick-off to the Challenge was held on May 25. More information can be found here.  


About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
Humber College is focused on our students' future. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 33,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time and continuing education students across three campuses. A comprehensive range of credentials, including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit 


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