Northern Policy Hackathon

Policy Recommendations

Northern Policy Hackathons are events that bring together northerners to discuss policy issues and create tangible, actionable solutions.

This innovative model brings northerners from the three territories and Inuit Nunangat together — in person — to develop made-in-the-North recommendations on issues which are important in their communities.

Northern Policy Hackathons are an effective way of engaging a diverse group of people who are passionate about driving solutions for pressing policy issues. By advancing skills in policy development, this model builds and sustains policy capacity across the North.


Recommendations from the 2nd Northern Policy Hackathon on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

On August 21-22 2018, the Gordon Foundation convened their second Northern Policy Hackathon in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The second Hackathon brought together northerners from across the three territories and Inuit Nunangat, to develop innovative policy recommendations on the growth of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) both locally and internationally.  Participants were from a wide array of backgrounds, including an Inuk elder, business owners, representative from chambers of commerce, development corporations, and municipal, territorial, regional and federal government.

Policy Recommendations

Background Research (Summary)

Background Research (Full)

The Foundation has hosted two Hackathons to-date:

Recommendations on Country/Traditional Food

October 25-26, 2017,

Nain, Nunatsiavut

Read the Recommendations.


Recommendations on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

August 21-22, 2018,

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Read the Recommendations.



A third Northern Policy Hackathon will be held in 2019. The theme and location are pending.


Northern Policy Hackathons create a space for rich conversation, but they are also designed to go beyond dialogue. They provide an essential opportunity for participants to create and recommend viable federal policy solutions to problems that many northerners face.

Northern Policy Hackathons bring together people from across the North so that networks can be built and expanded. This provides a platform to share best practices and sustain regional collaboration on issues of common concern.

 There will be many opportunities throughout the event to develop a wide array of skills including consensus building, presenting ideas, and policy-writing.

The Foundation works in collaboration with partners to share the policy recommendations with key stakeholders that are best placed to translate policy into action.

The Foundation also conducts research with partners to provide background and context. This research is designed to bolster dialogue and provide an overview of existing, relevant policy work.

What are Hackathons?

Hackathons are short, intensive, all day events – typically lasting several days – during which a number of people meet to engage in collaborative problem-solving. Traditionally, hackathons refer to computer programmers gathering to develop leading-edge software. This model has proven very effective in driving innovative solutions, and has now been adapted by governments, non-profit organizations, universities, and crown-corporations.

What makes Northern Policy Hackathons different from a regular policy conference or workshop is the focus on generating concrete, actionable outcomes. Policies that impact the North are often made in the South. Northern Policy Hacakthons are designed to help shift this narrative and create a norm of federal policy being made by northerners for northerners.


Policy Recommendations
“It’s really exciting to be able to share ideas over the course of two days but also to now be connected to these different people. Just to hear from people in different areas, what they’re having success with but also what the challenges are, and how we can overcome them.”

Kristeen McTavish: Food Security Coordinator- Nunatsiavut Government