Map the System Canada caps record-breaking year

Three finalist teams moving forward to finals at Oxford University in June.

How does social change happen? It’s a question many of us are trying to figure out, and if we’re honest, we don’t quite know, but we can be reasonably confident about a few key ingredients: 1)  as Margaret Mead teaches us, a small committed group of people can change the world, and 2) they need to understand the causes and effects of the problem they are trying to solve.

Einstein said that “if I had 1 hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking of what question to ask.”

Don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions. Take the time to sit with the problem, explore its many facets, unearth its component parts, and crucially in the world of system change, the relationship between them.

A committed group of people, willing to apprentice with a problem, lies at the heart of Map the System global competition. Map the System asks students to think differently about social and environmental change and challenges them to thoroughly research a specific issue in order to fully comprehend what created the problem to begin with. Unlike a traditional pitch competition, students in the Map the System are evaluated based not on their solutions, but rather on the depth of understanding of the problem.

A record-breaking 725 teams from across the country participated in this year’s Canadian challenge. The top teams from 15 schools were invited to the national final, and three finalists were selected to move on the global finals at Oxford University. A Canadian team has won the global finals for the past two years. This year’s Canadian finalists are:

Mount Royal University: Kistoonon

Kistoonon examines how Canada’s current public policy, justice and societal systems have perpetrated violence, abuse and injustice for Indigenous woman in Canada.

SFU:  Team Inferno

An interdisciplinary group of SFU and UBC students explored the growing wildfire crisis in British Columbia. The team mapped out the social and environmental impacts of wildfires, identifying levers of change along the way to tackle this regional crisis.

University of Toronto: Indigenous Homelessness in Toronto

Team Against the Odds focused their research on contemporary and historical determinants which perpetuate Indigenous homelessness.


Congratulations to all of the participants for a fantastic weekend and best of luck to the 3 teams on the international stage next month!


See all of the finalists’ maps here.


Map the System Canada is managed by Mount Royal University, with support from the McConnell Foundation and Trico Charitable Foundation. Thank you to Ryerson University, the host for this year’s outstanding National Final weekend!


To learn more, contact Kelly Hodgins