Award of Excellence 2024

The Bank of Canada Museum’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics

We want to celebrate great teaching about the economy. Learn more about the award, submit a nomination, and meet the winners.

About the award

The Bank of Canada Museum’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics recognizes outstanding economics educators. We want to inspire teachers to bring economic concepts into the classroom in new and creative ways.

In addition to the award, the winning teachers will each receive:

  • a cash prize of $1,000
  • a gift basket of resources and supplies for their class

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for the award, nominees must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident teaching in Canada
  • be a certified teacher working full- or part-time at a Canadian school in the 2023–2024 school year
  • have taught (or be teaching) students in grades 6–12 (or Grade 6 to Secondary V in Quebec)
  • have taught an economic concept to one of the grade levels listed above, in either the current or previous school year

Economic concepts

From social studies to geography, math to history, economic concepts are found across the curriculum. They may be taught as specific concepts or incorporated into a project, activity, unit or lesson plan.

Some example concepts include:

  • regional, national or international economies
  • early trade in Canada
  • supply and demand
  • inflation
  • economic history
  • wealth and inequality
  • the role of money and currency
  • climate change and the role of the green economy

Selection process

The selection committee will convene and select two winners.

  • One award will be given to a teacher from grades 6-9 (Grade 6 to Secondary III in Quebec), and one to a teacher from grades 10-12 (Secondary IV-V in Quebec).
  • The committee will consist of a panel including Bank of Canada staff and other experts in the field.
  • The decision of the committee is final and cannot be appealed.

We will notify the winners in late May 2024, along with a public announcement.

Submit a nomination

You can nominate any teacher you can vouch for personally—whether you are a colleague, administrator, parent, or past or present student. You can also nominate yourself.

Your nomination must outline a specific project, activity or lesson plan that explored an economic concept. You must also provide evidence of the following award criteria:

  • innovation or creativity in teaching using instructional strategies and resources used
  • the impact on the students’ understanding of the economy and economic literacy
  • the connection between the lesson or activity and broader economic concepts in personal, local, regional, national or international contexts
Call for Nominations - Closed
The nomination period is now closed. Thank you to all who took the time to submit a nomination.

Meet our winners

2024 winners

The two winners of this year’s award are Canadian educators who showed innovation and creativity in teaching economic concepts.

The winners were determined by a jury comprised of Bank of Canada staff and experts from non-profit organizations and government agencies in the fields of economics and education. The jury chose the winners through an impartial selection process that evaluates each submission anonymously, focusing solely on merit.

Middle school recipient: Philippe Bélanger-Leroux

Philippe Bélanger-Leroux

Teacher at École secondaire Toronto Ouest in Toronto, Ontario

Philippe Bélanger-Leroux piqued his students’ interest in economics through literature. He assigned them to read the novel C'est ici que tout a commencé! by Franco-Ontarian author Liliane L. Gratton. Among the issues the book tackles is the gender wage gap—a social inequality that has real economic consequences.

To make his students more aware of this inequity, Philippe organized a career fair in his classroom. Students used gender statistics on average wages to calculate the hourly salary for a chosen job—both in Canada and abroad. Students compared the results and discussed the causes and consequences of the resulting wage gap.

Philippe’s students gained a greater awareness and understanding of an economic issue that persists in Canada today. They also developed great critical thinking skills.

The judges felt this project was not only a creative way to incorporate economic thinking into a language class but it also addressed a highly relevant social issue.

High school recipient: Kimberly Orr

Kimberly Orr

Teacher at St. George’s School in Vancouver, British Columbia

Each year, Kimberly Orr holds a “Dragons’ Lair” business plan competition similar to the CBC television program Dragons’ Den. Popular throughout the school and open to all students, the competition is part of her grade 10 entrepreneurship course, where she introduces the fundamentals of economics and business to her students.

Contestants identify market needs, conduct research and identify solutions to address those needs. As the students progress through the competition, Orr mentors them with feedback and guidance at every step. Students present their business plans to a panel of local entrepreneurs at the end of “Dragons’ Lair.”

Orr’s enthusiastic approach to teaching economics combines theoretical knowledge with practical applications, equipping students to take an interest in the world of commerce—and maybe future careers in business.

The judges saw inspiration for other teachers in Orr’s competition. An economics project that generates interest across all grades of a high school can only deepen students’ understanding of key economic principles.

2023 winners

Both winners are Canadian teachers in middle and high school who showed innovation and creativity in teaching economic concepts.

The winners were determined by a judging panel comprised of members of non-profit organizations, government agencies and the Bank of Canada.

Middle school recipient: Andre Boutin Maloney

Photo, man, bearded, glasses, standing before a painting of a prairie landscape.

Andre Boutin Maloney

Teacher at Bert Fox Community High School in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan

Bringing history to life is a goal of many teachers, but to teach applicable economic concepts at the same time is a win-win situation for any educator.

Andre Boutin Maloney taught his financial literacy class to be teachers themselves. His students developed an interactive trading post simulation that combined Indigenous history and ingenuity with many economic principles.

Students learned about Canada’s fur trade, the roles of trapper and trader, economic concepts such as free markets and supply and demand, and social issues related to perceived value and industrialization. They then created a game to exchange beaver pelt tokens for cards representing trade items. But, of course, there was a catch. Each card came with conditions that could help or hinder a trapper’s efficiency, allowing players to better understand the economic and social challenges fur trappers faced in pre-Confederation Canada.

Andre’s students made sure the game was accessible to younger learners. Then the middle school students ran it with those learners at Fort Qu’Appelle’s Treaty 4 Gathering, creating opportunities for peer learning and strong community engagement.

High school recipient: Kim Dudek

Photograph, woman, long hair, smiling, cloud filled sky behind her head.

Kim Dudek

Teacher at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Can you teach economics to kids while simultaneously benefitting the community? Seems like a big challenge, but it turns out you can do just that.

Kim works with an Indigenous Academic Achievement class. Their classroom name is Mino-pimatisiwin, or "the good path," a space where learning centres on sharing and generosity. Her winning project began as a student-led initiative to raise money for a women’s shelter—and do it during the economically challenging holiday season. So, they started a trading post.

Using all of their creative skills, the students made crafts and cultural gifts to sell in their post. They faced head-on such issues as business contracts, sourcing supplies, labour, advertising, multiple payment methods and currencies. They also learned key economic lessons about free and mixed market economies.

But above all, Kim’s students experienced Indigenous understandings of shared wealth and community assistance while learning to become entrepreneurs themselves.

2022 winners

Middle years recipient: Alysha Coates

Alysha Coates

Alysha Coates

Elementary school teacher at Elijah Smith Elementary School (Whitehorse, Yukon)

When entrepreneurial spirit and economics combine, great things can happen. Especially if you’re selling something as delicious as hot chocolate.

Alysha’s class designed their own hot chocolate business—brand, logo, slogan and all. The students began by comparing prices for ingredients and then purchased their supplies with a small business loan of $20. Planning and prototyping were followed by a weeklong sale to peers. Amid the fun, students learned about budgeting, price comparing, and compound interest. 

Creating this entrepreneurial activity was a formative experience for the students. Alysha introduced many larger concepts within the activity. Students had conversations about income tax through their budgeting and learned about the role of branding and advertising through their own trial and error. Students used play money for their transactions which ensured an equal playing field for all. Alysha’s teaching demonstrated the incredible role real-life learning can play in introducing economic and financial literacy.

High school recipient: Chris Moon

Chris Moon

Chris Moon

High school teacher at Vancouver Technical Secondary (Vancouver, British Columbia)

How do you teach the complexity of the economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic when it’s happening in front of your student’s eyes? Gamify it. 

Chris’s students conducted background research and game development to create a COVID-themed board game “COVID-19-opoly.” This inquiry project involved students parsing out the news and reflecting the economic realities of the pandemic in a fun and informative way. Masking, lockdowns, subsidies and food delivery were all elements in the game.

Students explored urban markets, household budgets, social reform, the role of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and impacts on international trade and the supply chain. Throughout the learning Chris incorporated teaching on economic thinkers including Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Malthus, Keynes and Hayek. Given the challenges of the global pandemic, Chris brought real-world experiences into the classroom and helped his students develop resiliency and imagine a better future.

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