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 Nunagat together- in person- to develop made-in-the-North recommendations on issues important in their communities.

The Northern Policy Hacakthons (NPHs) are a new way to engage and pool the knowledge of a diverse group of people passionate about driving solutions for pressing policy issues. By supporting advanced skills in policy development, NPHs will further strengthen the voices of emerging leaders while continuing to build and sustain policy capacity across the Canadian North.

The Gordon Foundation has committed to holding three NPHs, each in a different location in the North and dealing with a different policy issue.

NPH I –  Country/Traditional Food Policy (Completed)

October 25-26, 2017, Nain, Nunatsiavut

NPH II – Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

August 21-22, 2018, Iqaluit, Nunavut

NPH III – 2019 (tbd)


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 co-create and recommend viable federal policy solutions to problems that many people in the North face. While some outcomes of the NPHs can be concretely measured, others are more nuanced and cross-cutting.

  • NPHs will bring together people from across the North so that networks can be built and expanded. This networking provides a platform to share best practices and sustain regional collaboration on issues of common concern.
  • Participants will develop their policy skills. There will be many opportunities throughout the event to develop a wide array of skills including through group discussions, policy presentations, and guided policy-writing.
  • final policy report will be published presenting the policy recommendations that were developed over the course of the event. With partners, the Foundation will work to share these recommendations with the networks, both internal and external, that are best placed to translate policy into action.

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.

Policies for the North by the North

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; NPHs 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