FIRST Robotics Canada, a registered charity, was established in 2001 and incorporated in 2004 with a mission to inspire Canadian high school and elementary school students to pursue further studies and careers in science, technology and engineering. It pursues its mission primarily through offering opportunities for students, working in teams and assisted by expert adult mentors, to build robots and to take part in tournaments which feature on-field competitions, judged awards and other forms of recognition, potentially including university and college scholarships. The mission of FIRST Robotics Canada is:
- We inspire young people to pursue further studies and careers in the fields of science, technology and engineering
- We celebrate success in science, technology and engineering through robotics competitions for students at the elementary and secondary high school levels
- We develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills in our youth
- We engage the community through mentorship, sponsorship and volunteering at events
With privately raised funds, the organization held the inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition in Canada at the Hershey Centre, in Mississauga in 2002. With ongoing support from the private sector and donations from the public sector, including the province of Ontario and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, FIRST Canada continued to grow. A second high school regional event was added in Waterloo starting in 2005, together with a range of additional tournaments for elementary school students. In 2004-2005, with funds donated by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), an expansion program was launched, leading to the growth of FIRST teams primarily in Ontario. This program helped foster important relationships with Ontario’s school boards, colleges and universities amongst others.
In April 2010, the Province of Ontario announced that it would make a grant of $3 million to FIRST Robotics Canada over five years to offer its programs to school boards across Ontario. In 2011 the Federal Economic Development Agency for Sothern Ontario announced at grant of $1.5 million over three years.
Currently there are 7 FIRST High school events in Ontario in the following locations:
- University of Waterloo (Waterloo)
- University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa)
- Crescent School (Toronto)
- University of Windsor (Windsor)
- Nipissing University (North Bay)
- Uniprix Stadium (Montreal)
- University of Calgary (Calgary – Olympic Oval)
There are 160 FRC teams involving over 5000 students, 1000 mentors and 800 volunteers. In the elementary FIRST Lego League Program there are over 700 teams across Canada competing in over 60 individual qualifying and provincial championships. This involves over 6000 students, 1000 mentors and 500 volunteers. In total FIRST Robotics Canada engages over 10,000 of our youth in exciting competition based Robotics programs. We could not do it without our fantastic dedicated teachers, mentors and volunteers !