Welcome to Fredericton 2015

Countdown to CWSF

May 11 to May 16

Welcome to Fredericton 2015

Finalists, delegates and judges: Register here



Click above to select your role

When Sir Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants,” he was being generous, but he was also being truthful. Good science builds on the work of others and explicitly acknowledges their work.

Youth Science Canada affirms that the pursuit of truth is grounded in certain core values, including diligence, civility and honesty. One of the most important traditions in the scientific community goes hand in hand with honesty, and that is the tradition of academic integrity. Scientists build on others’ achievements. They must be able to trust the integrity of the published literature they build on.

Students want to work in communities where competition is fair, integrity is respected and cheating is not tolerated. Students have significant responsibility to help protect and promote the highest standards of academic integrity. They are expected to respect the best values of their teachers, mentors and parents, and these values include a full commitment to academic integrity. At all science fairs, but particularly at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, students are required to present work that is the result of their own efforts. All assistance received from others must be acknowledged, and all written material that draws on the work of others must be accompanied by appropriate references.

Failure to follow the rules of academic integrity almost always results in disqualification at the CWSF. Specific examples of violations include:

  • Plagiarism – presenting the work of others as your own without acknowledging the source. In this case, “work” means scientific results, conceptual development of a topic and substantive formulation or reformulation of a problem. This includes work done by a family member or a mentor. Information on how to properly cite references can be found in CWSF Project Report (Policy
  • Fabricating or falsifying data
  • Forging signatures
  • Fabricating or falsifying registration information
  • Entering a project that is either derived from a previous CWSF project, or a continuation or revision of a previous project by the student (or by another), without documentation of the previous work

Students rightly expect their academic work to be fairly and fully assessed. Youth Science Canada will ensure that judging at the CWSF is of the highest professional and ethical standards, without bias or conflict of interest.

Youth Science Canada also works with affiliated regions and other partners to achieve the highest possible standards of judging at all levels of science fairs.

CWSF participants must read the full Youth Science Canada policies: Academic Integrity (Policy1.5.5), Code of Conduct (Policy1.5.1) and Discipline (Policy1.5.2)– before signing the CWSF Permission and Release form or attending the CWSF.


Fire Safety

The Host Committee will ensure that fire extinguishers of proper size and rating are available in the exhibit area and will establish an exhibit hall layout that minimizes long rows to reduce the possibility of flame spread.

Operation of an open flame, candle, torch or any other heating device is not permitted. Smoking is not permitted in the exhibit area.

Packing material shall not be stored under tables.

Electrical Safety

All AC electrical equipment used in your display must have a functional three-wire plug with ground or be CSA approved. Extension cords, power bars and lighting must be CSA approved.

Electrical cords shall have a three-wire conductor with ground and must be CSA approved and in good repair.

Any modification to an electrical device negates the CSA approval, and that device must not be used. Dry cells (Alkaline, NiCad, NiMH, LiIon, etc.) and sealed lead-acid batteries (gel cells) may be used. Wet cell batteries are not permitted.

Electrical devices constructed by finalists must comply with the following requirements to be approved for display. As they cannot be CSA approved, these devices may only be connected and operated during judging.

  • Electrical devices must be protected by a non-combustible enclosure.
  • An insulating grommet is required at the point where electrical service enters an enclosure.
  • Electrical devices shall use as low a voltage as possible.
  • The electric current must be limited so as not to cause any danger or discomfort if the terminals are touched.
  • A pilot light must be used to indicate when power is on.

Structural and Mechanical Safety

Exhibits must be sturdy, self-supporting and sufficiently stable to prevent accidental tipping.

Sharp edges or corners of prisms, mirrors, enclosures and glass or metal plates that may be contacted by the public must be removed or protected to prevent injury.

Dangerous moving parts such as belts, gears, pulleys and blades must be provided with a guard to prevent access to the moving parts.

An in-running nip hazard of any part of a motor, device or thing that may be a danger shall be guarded to prevent contact with the pinch point.

A certificate of safety inspection must be displayed if a project involves the construction or use of a boiler or pressure vessel with a capacity greater than 42.5 litres or operated at a pressure greater than 103 kilopascals. Evidence of inspection by an engineer with certification in boilers and pressure vessels should be displayed when the project involves any finalist- constructed pressure vessel, regardless of size or pressure. Such vessels may be displayed but must not be pressurized at any time.

Compressed gas cylinders shall not be displayed.

Moving exhibits (e.g., radio-controlled vehicles, robots) shall be restricted to the regulation display space. The Host Committee may, at its discretion, provide an area to safely demonstrate projects that require more than the regulation display space.

Chemical Safety

The following materials shall not be displayed:

  • Flammable, toxic or dangerous chemicals
  • Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications

Photographs or empty packages of prohibited materials may be displayed.

The display of chemicals is discouraged; however, other substances can be used to simulate chemicals for display purposes:

  • Table salt can be used to simulate many chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate.
  • Water can represent alcohol, ether and many other liquids. Molasses can be used to simulate petroleum products.
  • When chemicals are simulated, they should be identified with the name of the substance they represent, preceded by the word “simulated.” Any WHMIS labels (supplier or workplace) should be attached to show understanding of safe work practices.

The total quantity of liquids displayed at a project shall not exceed 1 litre. Photographs and/or video should be used to demonstrate processes requiring larger quantities of liquid.


The following materials shall not be displayed:

  • Biological toxins
  • Cell or tissue samples including blood and blood products, except on sealed microscope slides, which may be displayed
  • Plants or plant tissue
  • Soil containing organic material
  • Cultures – Photographs or simulated cultures may be used.

Human Subjects

  • The project display may include pictures of participants if prior permission has been obtained. Projects dealing with forensic science topics must preserve the anonymity of any human victims, and project displays must avoid sensational or gratuitous, macabre images.

Animals and Animal Parts

  • Live animals (microorganisms, non-vertebrate and vertebrate) shall not be displayed.
  • The only parts of vertebrate animals that may be displayed are those that are either naturally shed by an animal or parts properly prepared and preserved. For example, porcupine quills (safely contained), shed snake skin, feathers, tanned pelts and hides, antlers, hair samples, skeletons and skeletal parts are permissible, while cell and tissue samples are not.
  • Photographs of animals, animal parts or organs may be used on the display and in the Project Report; however, finalists and Regional Science Fair committees must be aware that other exhibitors and members of the public might find such photographs offensive. Finalists are encouraged to choose their photographs in accordance with the accepted norms of the community. Final decision regarding suitability rests with the Safety Check Coordinator and the Executive Director of YSC.

Firearms, Hazardous Materials and Equipment

  • Firearms (even if appropriately locked), ammunition, dangerous goods or explosives shall not be displayed. The manner in which such materials were used in a project may be conveyed through text, photos, video, computers or simulation.
  • Images of humans or animals that have been injured by the use of firearms or explosives shall not be displayed. Such images are deemed unsuitable for general public viewing and do not contribute to the scientific value of a project.
  • X-ray or hazardous radiation-producing equipment may not be displayed.
  • Radioisotopes or compounds containing radioisotopes at activities above normal background shall not be displayed.
  • Lasers may only be operated during judging.

Projects are required to pass a safety check before they can be displayed at the CWSF. The safety check involves an inspection based on a Safety Checklist. Once all items on the checklist are approved, a safety check sticker will be applied to your project’s table sign.

  1. Set up your project in the assigned space, including all items and materials that you plan to display during judging and public viewing. Store all packing materials in the assigned area for your region. Once your setup is complete, inform your delegate that you are ready for a safety check. Your delegate must be available if required.
  2. Proceed to the safety check area and obtain the Safety Checklist for your project.
  3. Wait in the designated area with your Safety Checklist until a safety inspector (red vest) greets you.
  4. Introduce yourself, hand your form to the inspector, and bring him/her to your project.
  5. The initial inspection should only involve the finalist(s) and the inspector. The inspector’s job is to ensure that your project passes the safety check. If all aspects of your project comply with the safety requirements, the inspection will proceed smoothly.
  6. If a safety concern is identified, the inspector may suggest a minor change. Your delegate will be consulted before any change is made. If the change can be made quickly, your project will be approved and the inspector will place a safety check sticker on your project’s table sign.
  7. For more serious or complex safety issues, a member of the National Science Fair Committee may be consulted. If extra time is required to make the necessary changes, your Safety Checklist will be returned to the safety check area by the inspector. After the required changes are made, return to the safety check area to obtain your checklist and wait for an inspector who will complete the safety check process and then place a safety check sticker on your project’s table sign.

Note: For questions related to project safety at the CWSF, the Chair of the National Science Fair Committee has the final authority.


Under Project Safety, you are asked whether your project involved the use of humans or animals (vertebrate or invertebrate). Your answers to these questions determine which forms are required in the Project Forms area.

Please note: If your project did not involve human participants or animals, no project forms are required.

Form 4.1A (Humans Low Risk)is required if your project involved the use of human subjects and the project meets the criteria for low risk, as defined in Youth Science Canada Policy - [Participation of Humans in Research - Low Risk] (i.e., the project involves a survey of attitudes and beliefs, skill tests, or observations of behaviour withthe participants’ consent where there is minimal risk to the participant).

Form 4.1B (Humans Significant Risk)is required if your project involved the use of human subjects in an experiment involving significant risk, but the project does not meet the criteria for low risk as defined in Youth Science Canada Policy - [Participation of Humans in Research - Significant Risk].

Form 4.1C (Animals)is required if your project involved any use of animals or animal parts. Refer to Youth Science Canada Policy 4.1.2 - [Use of Animals in Research] for details.

All required forms must be downloaded and completed using the free Adobe Reader software. After the form has been filled out on the computer, it should be saved and then uploaded to the online registration system.

To upload the saved form, go to the "Project Forms" area and then click the "Browse" button below the red “No file uploaded” message bar. Locate and select the saved form,and then click “Open” to confirm your selection. (If you have done this correctly, text showing the file location will appear in the box to the left of the "Browse" button.) Finally, click the "Save and Upload Forms" button to upload the file.

After any project form has been saved and uploaded, it must be printed and then signed as required. Bring the signed form(s) to the CWSF as they will be verified during the Safety Check. Unlike previous years, these project forms should not be faxed or mailed in advance of the CWSF.

Click the link to download the complete Project Report Guidelines https://secure.youthscience.ca/registration/documentation/Project%20Report%20Guidelines.pdf. The following is a condensed version:
Each project requires a Project Report of no more than five pages plus an appendix of no more than two extra pages for the references and bibliography (see the Format section below for further details). When you have finished writing and editing the report, you should upload the final version online in PDF format, as part of the CWSF registration process. Please note that your report will be evaluated using anti-plagiarism software.


A complete Project Report includes the following subtitles and sections. The five-page limit applies to sections 1-5. Sections 6 and/or 7 may be up to two additional pages, for a maximum total of seven.

  1. Introduction: a description of the background to your experiment, innovation or study. What measurements or inventions by other people have laid the groundwork for your project? Where did you get the idea? What need are you addressing or what question are you trying to answer? The Introduction should include the specific objectives of the project. For example, if your project tested a hypothesis or if there were design criteria, you would describe them here. If an earlier version of the project was submitted in a previous year, you should describe it and highlight the changes and additional work done.
  2. Procedure: a brief outline of the materials and methods used, which might include methods of data/information gathering in a study or construction of prototypes in an innovation, for example.
  3. Results or Observations: a summary of the results of the experiment, innovation or study. Graphs, diagrams and charts may be included in your report, but not the raw data or observations.
  4. Conclusions: an explanation of what can be concluded from the results of your project and why it is important.
  5. Acknowledgements: recognition of those individuals, institutions and businesses that provided significant assistance in the form of guidance, materials, financial support and/or facilities for this work.
  6. References: detailed references are mandatory for any specific literature referred to in the text of the report. Key sources used in the development of the project must be referred to in the text and listed in the References appendix. Author, title, source publication, volume, date and page numbers must be given for each reference, where available. Any use of quotations from references must be clearly identified in the report as well as the source being listed in the References appendix. It is recommended that senior projects format their references using APA format, which is commonly used in the scientific literature. Junior and intermediate projects may use APA format too. The references at the end of this article are in APA format. 
  7. Bibliography (if necessary): a list of all significant sources consulted, but not specifically referred to in the report (books, articles, audio-visuals, documents, web sites with dates of access, interviews, etc.).


  • The format of the report will be a maximum of five letter-sized (8.5 x 11 inches) pages as a PDF file, to include sections 1-5 above. 
  • An appendix of an additional two pages is allowed, containing the References and Bibliography (sections 6 & 7). Any additional material will be discarded and will not be distributed to judges. 
  • Text must be in 12-point Times, Arial or equivalent type, double-spaced with margins of 2.5 cm (1 inch) all around. 
  • Page 1 must have the project title and finalist name(s) at the top. 
  • A footer in 8-point type is required on each page containing the date, finalist name(s) and project title as well as the page number. Here is an example of the footer:  "16 April 2018 - Jane Doe: The Generic Project - Page 1 of 5"


As is the case with manuscripts submitted for publication in the scientific literature, project reports must be written in good, grammatical English. The following all contribute to the acceptability of the report:
  • composition style, 
  • appropriate vocabulary,
  • correct verb tense use,
  • agreement of verbs and their subject nouns in number,
  • and correct punctuation. 
Indeed, lack of attention to these writing requirements for project reports may result in the downgrading of the project.



Respectable scientific work for international consumption is recorded using Système international (SI) units (www.bipm.org/en/publications/si-brochure), which must be used throughout. Correct abbreviations for units must be used.

Measurements and uncertainty

Most physical measurements have uncertainty. Students should be aware of the concepts of accuracy, precision and uncertainty in measurements, and the methods scientists use to represent them e.g. (Bell, 2001). In senior projects, data are expected to have the appropriate number of significant figures, and graphs should have corresponding error bars. Junior and intermediate projects may have as sophisticated a treatment of uncertainty as the finalists’ experience allows.

Graphs, Charts and Maps

Captions, labels on axes and legends must be accurate and legible.

In conclusion

The ability to communicate scientific work clearly and succinctly is an important skill; therefore, the five-page limit (for sections 1-5) is strictly adhered to, regardless of the type or complexity of the project.
It is strongly recommended that someone from your regional organization check each project report for length, clarity, completeness and compliance with the formatting requirements.
A copy of the Project Report is provided to each CWSF judge before he/she sees the project or interviews the finalist(s). Remember, not only does the report account for 10% of the project evaluation, it is the first encounter a judge has with the project. A concise, well-written report that is free of spelling and grammatical errors makes a good first impression.

Saving the report as a PDF

The Project Report is submitted electronically as part of the online CWSF registration process. It must first be saved as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file, which preserves the appearance of your document regardless of which computer it is viewed on.

Please note: PDF is the only acceptable format for Project Reports.

PDF is the only acceptable format for Project Reports. PDF documents can be made from any document created in Microsoft Word, Works, Publisher, WordPerfect, Pages or any other application you would use to write a report. There are many different ways to create a PDF file from your report document. Here are a few:
  • Use the “Save As…” option in Microsoft Word 
  • Open the document and select Print > Save as PDF on any Macintosh computer running MacOS.
  • Download the free CutePDF Writer (Windows only) and use it to convert your file.
  • Go to Adobe and click “Try it for Free” to sign up and create up to five Adobe PDF files for free.
  • Enter “convert to PDF” into your favourite search engine. You’ll find several other free offers for online conversion services.
  • Get a local computer expert to do it for you. Your region should be able to help you with this process.

If you have won a place on your regional (or provincial) team to attend the Canada- Wide Science Fair (CWSF) - congratulations!

You will be joining 500 top young scientists from across Canada for a week that will be extremely busy, with activities including project set up and safety checks, judging, ceremonies, tours and social events. There is very little unstructured or “free” time.

Be sure to celebrate this achievement, but remember that this honour comes with certain expectations and responsibilities.

You (and a parent/guardian if you are under 18) are required to sign the CWSF Permission and Release Form acknowledging that you have read and agree to abide by the Youth Science Canada Code of Conduct (Policy 1.5.1) and policy on Academic Integrity (Policy 1.5.5), and to be governed by the Youth Science Canada policies on Discipline (Policy 1.5.2) and Appeals (Policy 1.5.3). Violation of these standards of conduct can result in a CWSF participant being disqualified and/or sent home at his or her own expense.

The CWSF is a great experience and adventure, and it’s fun, too. Thank you in advance for agreeing to meet the above expectations.


Youth Science Canada Code of Conduct

The Youth Science Canada Code of Conduct requires all CWSF participants to:

  • Maintain and enhance the dignity and self-esteem of CWSF participants.
  • Demonstrate respect for individuals regardless of gender, ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, political belief, disability or economic status.
  • Direct comments or criticism appropriately and avoid public criticism of finalists, judges, delegates, alternate delegates, host committee members, volunteers, guests, staff and members of Youth Science Canada, among others.
  • Demonstrate ethical conduct and practices.
  • Abstain from the non-medical use of drugs.
  • Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes harassment, that is, comment or conduct, directed toward an individual or group, that is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading or malicious.
  • Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, that is, unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Comply at all times with Youth Science Canada and CWSF policies, rules and regulations.

In addition, the Code specifically requires CWSF finalists to:

  • Support and cooperate with every member of their Regional team.
  • Adhere to the expectations set out in writing for them by their delegate(s).
  • Attend and participate in all activities, tours and events that are part of the CWSF.
  • Be punctual at all CWSF activities and events.
  • Attend their displays at all times during the period that the CWSF is open to the public.
  • Ensure that their delegate knows at all times where they are and with whom.
  • Obtain their delegate’s explicit permission before leaving the group.
  • Respect all curfews explained to them by their delegate.
  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Understand the consequences of serious misbehaviour as described in Youth Science Canada's Discipline (Policy 1.5.2).
  • Respect academic integrity as described in Youth Science Canada's Academic Integrity (Policy 1.5.5).

The Code also specifies that CWSF finalists shall not:

  • Visit any areas declared off limits.
  • Engage in any activity that will bring the moral tone of the CWSF into disrepute.
  • Buy, possess, consume or distribute alcohol or illegal substances and materials (including drugs).

Any finalist who experiences any incident that he or she feels is unwelcome, inappropriate or in violation of the Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity policies should report the matter immediately to their Regional Science Fair delegate or to a CWSF Host Committee member. You can be assured that any complaint will be investigated immediately.

Additional CWSF requirements


Finalists are required to complete the online CWSF registration process, including the uploading of a Project Report and the completion of a Project Abstract and Biography by midnight (local time) at the end of April 30.

Travel & Attendance

Finalists are required to travel to/from the CWSF, be present for the entire week and stay in residence with their regional/ provincial team. Late arrivals or early departures, regardless of the reason, may only be requested by the finalist’s Regional Coordinator and require the written permission of the CWSF Travel Plan Manager.


Disqualification may occur prior to or at any time during and after the CWSF for violations of the Youth Science Canada Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity policy or the CWSF policies governing the safety and ethics of student research and project displays. Any finalist disqualified after the fair will forfeit all prizes and monies awarded to him or her. Appeals are governed by the Youth Science Canada Appeals (Policy 1.5.3).

Registration Process

Online registration is open from March 1 to April 30.

After your Regional Coordinator has entered basic information into the system about you and your project, you will receive an e-mail message with a link to the CWSF Online Registration System.

Registration for the Canada-Wide Science Fair is completely on-line, except for a declaration, permission and release form that must be signed by a parent/ guardian (if the finalist is under 18) and by the CWSF national finalist.

Additional forms are required for projects involving the use of human subjects, animals or animal parts and those conducted in a recognized research institution or supervised by a professional scientist. All forms are available in the "Documentation" area after logging in to the registration system.

CWSF Online Registration System

Role of the Regional Coordinator

Each region appoints a Regional Coordinator who is responsible for entering basic information about each CWSF participant (youth or adult), preferred roommates and basic information on each project. These entries create a record for each participant from the region, each with a separate ID and password.

Once participant records have been created, each participant logs in to complete the remainder of the process using any current browser. While current versions of MS Edge (Windows only), Safari, Chrome Firefox and Opera work fine, we recommend Firefox – free for Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

Please note: The Regional Coordinator has access to all information entered by participants from his/her region.

Regional Science Fair Affiliation

The number of registered of finalists are determined by affiliated regional science fairs by December of the previous year. Registration fees for the Canada Wide Science Fair cover travel costs and participation. Regional coordinators may login to the registration system to access the complete details in the Youth Science Canada Regional Affiliation Guide.


Online Registration

Before you can register online, you will need:
  • A real email address, used as your unique ID in the system. The email address must be unique; it cannot be the same as anyone else’s in the system.
  • Your Project Report (five pages maximum), ready to upload in PDF format. Note: Only PDF files will be accepted.
  • Your Project Abstract (65 words) as plain text to copyand paste.
  • A brief personal biography (30 to 200 words). This willbe used to develop media materials on award recipients.
  • Your personal information, including emergency contactinformation, health card number (optional), doctor’s name and phone number, and a list of any special health or diet needs.
  • A careful check of your project and display to ensure that it meets the Youth Science Canada/Canada-Wide Science Fair project and display safety regulations.

Project Partner

If you have a project partner, each of you must complete the personal registration sections of the To-Do List, but either partner (or both together) may complete the project-related sections.


Online Registration, Awards Program, Sponsors and General Inquiries
CWSF Event/Logistics
  • Toll-free: 866-341-0040 ext. 233 (Liette Philippe)
  • Toll-free fax: 866-613-2542
  • [email protected]
Travel Inquiries
Participants should check with their region’s CWSF Team coordinator regarding travel information. He/she receives regular updates from the Youth Science Canada Equalized Travel Plan Coordinator.

University of New Brunswick
  • CWSF office: 506-447-3050
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Emergency on-campus: University of New Brunswick Conference Services Desk - 506-453-4800; Security - 506-453-4830
The Exhibit Hall will be in the Richard J. Currie Centre at the University of New Brunswick. 
The exhibit hall is about a couple minutes walk from the dining hall/residences. Plan to bring your comfortable shoes.
Admission to the Exhibit Hall is restricted to those with CWSF ID, from the start (Monday, May 11) to the end of the fair (Saturday May 16). The only exception is during scheduled public/school viewing.
Project Set-up:
The exhibit hall is open for set-up on Monday, May 11 (7:00 am to 5:00 pm):
  • A CWSF display unit, including a preprinted header sign with the project title is provided for each project.
  • Use of the CWSF display unit is mandatory - do not bring a backboard of any kind.
  • Details of the display unit are available under Projects - Display
  • Approved adhesives will be provided and must be used - no other adhesives may be used.
  • Each CWSF display unit will have access to one AC outlet.
  • Wireless Internet will be available in the exhibit hall.
When you arrive in the Exhibit Hall:
  • Go to your assigned project number.
  • Each display unit will be supplied with adhesives (e.g., Velcro squares).
  • If you need basic tools (e.g., scissors), or additional adhesives, go to the Tool booth.
  • If you need technical/computer assistance, go to the Information booth.
  • Once your project is completely set up, take any packing materials to the trash area or back to your room. (Packing materials cannot be stored at your display.)
  • Follow the procedure for the Project Safety-Check.
 Note: No display materials may be added after the project has been approved.
Project Take-down - Saturday, May 16 (12:00 pm to 5:00 pm):
A check-out system will be in place for project take-down. This is to ensure that all project materials and adhesives have been completely removed from the display units. Further details will be available on site.






Questions from finalists and answers from the judging committee. After watching the 3 videos and reading the answers to questions from finalists, if you still have a question, please fill out our Q&A form and come back here in 48 hours for an answer. 


The Questions will appear in bold

The answers from the judging committee will be underneath. We are looking forward to answering all your judging questions!

Is there Public Viewing and school tours?

Yes, there will be Public Viewing and School tours in 2015, but not on judging day. Public Viewing is on Thursday, May 14 from 1:00pm - 8:00pm, Friday May 15 from 9:00am - 12:00pm, and Saturday, May 16 from 9:00am - 12:00pm


The purpose of the CWSF Awards is to reward outstanding scientific and technological achievement and excellence by Canada’s young scientists at the national level and to recognize those national finalists at the Canada-Wide Science Fair whose achievement places them above the rest.

Rigorous judging standards ensure all projects are assessed critically and fairly. All are judged on the following criteria (Judge's Marking Form):

  • Scientific Thought
  • Originality and Creativity
  • Communication

About 325 judges from University, the public and private sectors, sponsors and regional science fair partners across Ontario volunteer their time to judge the science on display at the CWSF.

Awards include the Special, Challenge, Excellence (medals), and Grand Awards, with nearly $1 million presented as cash, scholarships, travel and other prizes!

Judging Policy

Youth Science Canada, with its National Judging Committee (NJC), establishes the criteria for awards, sets the judging standards, oversees selection of the CWSF Chief Judge, recruits award sponsors and organizes the presentation of the awards.

The CWSF Chief Judge recruits and trains judges, coordinates the judging process and selects the Special, Challenge, and Excellence Award recipients. A special Youth Science Canada panel selects the Grand Award recipients from the gold medal winners.

Awards are assigned to the best eligible project on the basis of ranking projects relative to others at the current CWSF.

Award recipients are selected based on the quality of their projects and presentations. Neither formal nor informal selection criteria based on gender or ethnocultural heritage are permitted in the National Awards Program or at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

Judging Process

Special Awards

These awards are for outstanding projects that meet specific criteria within a particular aspect of science and often reflect the special interests of the sponsoring foundations, companies and professional associations. All Special Awards include cash awards, trips, summer internships and other prizes for outstanding projects that meet specific criteria established by the sponsor(s).

Self-nomination is required; judges will only consider projects that the finalists have nominated for these awards in the online registration system. The list includes all available Special Awards. A project may be nominated for up to three Special Awards. Only those awards for which a project is eligible will appear in the Special Awards area of the CWSF online registration system.

Special Awards judges spend approximately 10 minutes with each project. Judges expect to hear a brief (5 minute) summary of the project and why it deserves the award, followed by time for questions.

Self-nomination is a commitment to accept the award as offered. If you plan to nominate your project for a travel or summer experience award, be sure you do so only after careful consideration and with parent/guardian approval.

Please note: Certain Special Awards involve travel and a commitment to be away from home for an extended period of time, to travel to another country and/or to live in unfamiliar surroundings. All travel involves an element of risk. Foreign Affairs Canada provides advice to international travellers through their website.

Challenge Awards

Challenge Awards recognize the top project in each of the 7 Canada-Wide Youth Science Challenges in each grade category. The seven Canada-Wide Youth Science Challenges – Discovery, Energy, Environment, Health, Information, Innovation and Resources – focus on issues that are important to Canadian youth, the future of their country and their world. They are meant to inspire students to exercise their curiosity and creativity by answering a question or solving a problem by doing a science project.

At the CWSF, 3 awards are presented - junior, intermediate and senior - for the best project that addresses each challenge.

During registration, finalists identify the challenge best addressed by their project. Interviews for these awards are unscheduled, and students may or may not see a judge for one of these awards.

Excellence Awards

Excellence Awards (CWSF medals) recognize science and technology excellence. The judging is a relative process, with medals awarded based on the ranking of consensus scores for each project within a grade category. A total of 70 medals is available in each grade category - junior, intermediate, and senior:

  • 10 Gold Medals
  • 20 Silver Medals 
  • 30 Bronze Medals

All medals are normally awarded as judged; however, the awarding of a gold medal requires that the following minimum standard be attained:

  • The project demonstrates Level 3 or 4 of Scientific Thought (see Judge’s Marking Sheet).
  • Analysis and conclusions are appropriate and based on the data;
  • The project demonstrates some knowledge of the relevant background and theory; and
  • The project contains no glaring or significant errors.

Each judging team is assigned a specific group of projects in the same grade category. Normally, four different judges evaluate each project. Judging is a three-step process:

First, judges read the Project Reports in advance and, on the evening before judging, view the projects without the finalists being present.

On judging day, each of the four judges meets with the finalist(s) for about 20-minutes. Judges expect to spend approximately 10 minutes hearing a presentation about the project, followed by 10 minutes for questions.

After the finalists have left the exhibit area for the day, each judging team meets to discuss each project and assign a consensus score based on the project level and relative merit of each project. After these scores are compiled, representatives of each judging team within a grade category meet to review the ranked scores and determine the Excellence (medal) and Challenge Award recipients. This step involves considerable discussion among the judges and may require additional viewing of projects without the finalists present. Sponsor representatives may work with the category teams at this time to select the recipients of Special Awards.


Several universities provide scholarships to medal winners at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

View scholarships.

Grand Awards

The Grand Awards include:

  • Youth Can Innovate Awards
  • Platinum Awards
  • Best Project Award

The Youth Can Innovate Awards, sponsored by the Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Foundation, recognize exceptionally innovative and original science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects that demonstrate a practical application in advancing the economic, medical, social or environmental well-being of society. All projects are automatically considered for these awards, which are judged by a special panel:

  • Junior: Four projects each receive a $500 cash award and certificate
  • Intermediate: Four projects each receive a $750 cash award and certificate
  • Senior: Eight projects each receive a $1,000 cash award and certificate. Four of these eight winners receive an additional $7,000 cash award.

Two Platinum Awards and the Best Project Award are presented to the top three projects at the CWSF - best junior, intermediate, and senior. These awards include a crystal presentation award and a trip to represent Canada at the 2019 European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) in Sofia, Bulgaria. A special panel of Youth Science Canada appointed judges selects the Platinum and Best Project Award recipients from the gold medalists.

The University of New Brunswick offers comfortable non-smoking accommodations. CWSF Registered Participants (delegates and finalists) will be housed in several residence buildings. 
Room amenities included: 
- Bed linens (pillow, sheets and blankets), towels (but bring extra)
- Wireless internet access 
- Each residence building has laundry facilities
Accommodations for finalists and delegates will be “shared” (i.e. there will be 2 persons per bedroom). 
Finalists and delegates will be assigned to rooms based on gender. Roommates can be selected through the online registration system.  Finalists who cannot be grouped with others from their own region may be matched with finalists from other regions in the same residence area as their own group.
All food service (breakfast, lunch and dinner), except banquets and off-site meals, will be provided on campus.
McConnell Hall and Lady Dunn Dining Hall will be the main CWSF dining facilities for all participants. 
Participants will enjoy nutritious, well-balanced meals in a comfortable atmosphere. We will work closely with food services to ensure that all dietary restrictions are provided, including vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, as well as allergies and other restrictions. 
Please include all dietary needs on your registration form.

Every project at the CWSF uses the same display unit - an aluminum frame with two white vertical panels, a triangular table, and a header sign pre-printed with the project title and finalist name(s). Use of the CWSF display unit is mandatory - do not bring a backboard of any kind.

The dimensions of the CWSF display unit (accurate to 1cm) are shown below. The diagram further down illustrates how standard paper pages fit on a display panel when arranged in a grid. Click each image to download a PDF file suitable for printing.

Display Requirements

The following information provides a summary of the display requirements. Finalists, delegates, parents, and Regional Coordinators are urged to review the CWSF Project Displays policy in detail when preparing CWSF display materials and before signing the CWSF Permission and Release Form. Some items accepted for display at a Regional Science Fair may not be permitted at the CWSF.

Before being approved for competition at the CWSF, each project must pass an inspection to ensure that the material on display complies with the CWSF Project Displays policy.

Once the project has been approved, no display materials may be added.

Presentation Materials

Presentation materials must be attached to the white display panels above the table, and may overlap from one panel to the other. Materials may not be attached to the display unit frame, including the header sign.

Adhesives for affixing presentation materials to the display panels will be supplied; no other adhesives may be used. At the end of the CWSF, display panels must be returned to their original condition, with all project materials and adhesives removed.

Although we will have sufficient tape for all participants, you may wish to bring your own supply of 3M Scotch 110 Heavy Duty Mounting Tape, as pictured, which is available in 1.9m rolls at Staples and Home Depot.

Presentation information including text, graphics, photographs and other data on the display panels must be printed on bond paper (laser, inkjet, or standard copier), or photographic paper. Laminated paper is permissible, but discouraged due to the environmental impact.

Construction paper, Bristol board and papers listed above may be used to outline or border presentation information or to add small decorative elements to the display panels.

If you are preparing a large-format poster, Staples will print a 24 x 36 inch page for about $30. A local municipal office, engineering or architecture firm, land surveyor, or university might be able to print a large poster at lower cost.

Finalists are encouraged to bring a USB drive with the files for their presentation materials saved as PDF files.

Display Materials

Papers presented on the table must be secured in a binder, Duo-tang, presentation folder, plastic sleeve or other appropriate enclosure.

Other display materials must comply with the CWSF Project Displays policy, which includes detailed rules for: fire safety; electrical safety; structural and mechanical safety; chemical safety; biohazards; human subjects; animals & animal parts; firearms; and hazardous materials and equipment.

Computers, tablets, and other electronic devices that comply with electrical safety requirements may be used as display materials. Finalists should remove all valuables from their display when the exhibit hall is closed.

A project may be granted additional space to display an innovation that exceeds the capacity of the display unit table. This request must be made by the Regional Coordinator to the CWSF Fair Director. The final authority for approval rests with the Executive Director.

Display Equipment and Damage

Although every effort will be made to prevent damage to exhibits, Youth Science Canada, the Host Committee or other sponsoring organizations or cooperating groups accepts no responsibility for loss or damage to any exhibit or part thereof.


Online Registration, Awards Program, Sponsors and General Inquiries
CWSF Event/Logistics
  • Toll-free: 866-341-0040 ext. 231 (Julia McDevitt)
  • Toll-free fax: 866-613-2542
  • [email protected]
Travel Inquiries
Participants should check with their region’s CWSF Team coordinator regarding travel information. He/she receives regular updates from the Youth Science Canada Equalized Travel Plan Coordinator.


The Principles of Mentoring

When participating in a mentoring relationship, Youth Science Canada asks that all mentors and mentees review these guidelines, in order to develop a rewarding, beneficial relationship for all who are involved.

Youth Science Canada is dedicated to nurturing the scientific impulse, creativity, and dedication amongst Canadian youth - encouraging them to develop scientific and technical knowledge and skills through project-based science. We are inspired by the potential of Canada’s youth to improve the world through science and we make programs and resources to help realize that potential. We recognize that mentorship from those established in the Canadian scientific community can provide an enriching relationship for youth engaged in project-based science, adding to knowledge and experience.

A mentor is a teacher, guide, or advisor who works with an individual who is developing their scientific knowledge and expertise, providing support, insight, and resources from their own scientific background and experience. Mentors encourage and empower youth involved in project-based science to help them succeed and discover their own abilities and passions in a supportive, non-judgemental manner. Mentors provide an environment in which youth may learn and grow, whether that be in a laboratory setting, or virtual communication.

Mentors benefit from their participation by raising their academic and community profile and developing a relationship with a member of Canada’s youth.

It is the student’s role, and not the mentor’s, to conceive the project’s specific topic. All data taking must be the student’s own, unless the student does not represent it as his or her own and credits the actual data taker properly. Similarly, analysis of the data, the write-up of the project, and any public presentation of thereof are also exclusively the student’s responsibility. A student undertaking a mentored project has the responsibility to disclose that her/his project was mentored and by whom.

Responsibilities of Mentors and Mentees:

  • Treat your mentor or mentee with respect at all times;
  • Commit sufficient time and effort towards your mentorship. Set clear expectations for each other;
  • Always communicate in a truthful manner;
  • Do not accept/offer any kind of payment for your mentoring relationship
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the mentoring relationship
  • Read and respect Youth Science Canada's Academic Integrity Policy.

Responsibility of Mentors:

  • Support and encourage the goals of your mentee - be enthusiastic and share your love of science;
  • Encourage your mentee to maintain high scientific and ethical standards;
  • Provide advice, guidance, and access to facilities or equipment not otherwise available to your mentee where possible;
  • Ensure that your mentee is an active participant;
  • Avoid the intent or appearance of unethical or compromising practice in communications, actions, and relationships;
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all ideas, products, and materials that a mentee has, or may develop. Do not use any ideas, products, or materials from your mentee in order to further your academic, business, or financial career;
  • Acknowledge any conflicts of interest relative to competitions involving the project to your mentee;
  • Do not make inquiries regarding the decisions made by judges in competitions in which the project is entered;
  • Refer your mentee to Youth Science Canada for issues or questions that you feel unqualified to answer;
  • Always maintain a professional relationship with your mentee.
  • For the protection of the mentor and the student, all meetings should be held in the presence of others during business hours, at the student’s school in the presence of a teacher or staff member, or at another location with a parent or guardian present.

Responsibility of Mentees:

  • Clearly communicate your goals and needs for your project to your mentor;
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the mentoring relationship;
  • Communicate regularly and openly with your mentor;
  • Complete any tasks you have agreed to do with your mentor in a timely manner; Maintain the confidentiality of all ideas, products, and materials that your mentor has, or may develop.
  • Hold all sensitive scientific information provided through the relationship with your mentor in strict confidence.
  • Always maintain a professional relationship with your mentor.

Levels of Mentorship

Youth Science Canada defines the following levels of mentorship:

  1. Student does not receive any mentoring.
  2. Student exchanges a few emails or phone calls, and/or meets with the mentor once or twice to discuss the student’s ideas.
  3. Student occasionally contacts the mentor by email or phone, and/or meets occasionally with the mentor who provided some advice or materials.
  4. Student has regular contact with the mentor by email or phone, and/or meets regularly with the mentor who provides advice, materials, assistance with design/testing, or data analysis.
  5. Student has regular face-to-face contact with the mentor and regular access to advice, materials, space, equipment, design/testing, or other personnel in a specialized facility.
  6. Student works closely with the mentor over an extended period of time to develop the project idea, plan and conduct the research/development, and analyze the results or test the innovation.

Finalists will be asked to enter the level of mentorship received when they register for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

Youth Science Canada has policies governing the use of human participants, animals (vertebrate and invertebrate) and animal parts in research by young scientists (elementary and secondary school students). Ideally these policies are consulted prior to beginning work on the project; however, even if they have not been, they define what is acceptable at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

Use of Human Subjects

Participation of Humans in Research - Low Risk

All human participants in scientific research must give Informed Consent, which comprises consent, confidentiality and the right to withdraw. Class surveys of attitudes, beliefs or skill tests, such as “Do my classmates remember better if they read while listening to jazz or hip hop?” may be termed Low Risk, as defined in the Participation of Humans in Research - Low Risk policy.

For Low Risk projects, completion of the simple Participation of Humans - Low Risk (Form 4.1A) is required. Approval by the student’s adult supervisor is usually sufficient to ensure that the appropriate ethical issues have been addressed. Be aware, however, that not all such surveys are low risk. For example, a survey to measure the Body Mass Index of class members could affect participants’ self-esteem and would therefore be classified as Significant Risk.

Participation of Humans in Research - Significant Risk

The Participation of Humans in Research - Significant Risk policy establishes what constitutes a drug and specifies that drugs and invasive procedures may only be used in a science project experiment under the direction of a qualified Scientific Supervisor.

Effective October, 2010, sensory food projects (i.e., those designed only to assess the sensory characteristics of a food or drink), within certain restrictions (e.g., not involving "energy drinks"), are the only ingestion projects considered to be low risk. Significant risk ingestion projects are only allowed at the CWSF if carried out under professional supervision at a laboratory with its own internal Ethics Review Committee, such asa university or hospital laboratory. Projects in which human participants, including the student researcher, are required to consume a substance or apply a substance to the skin must be carefully reviewed for compliance with the indicated Humans in Research policies before any testing begins.

All projects involving human participants in ways other than surveys and skill tests are considered Significant Risk. For Significant Risk projects, the more detailed Participation of Humans - Significant Risk Approval (Form 4.1B) must be completed, and the indicated approval procedures must be followed.

Use of Animals (Vertebrate and Invertebrate)

All experimental care and use of animals in Canada is subject to the requirements of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a national, peer-review organization founded in Ottawa in 1968. CCAC documentation states: “Youth Science Canada, amongst its responsibilities, regulates animal experimentation in science fairs.”

Research using vertebrate animals for science fair projects may only be carried out in one of five ways:

  • Observations
  • Behavioural studies with positive rewards, without any stress involved
  • Any project carried out in a university, medical or industrial laboratory and approved by the appropriate Scientific Review Board
  • Experiments on embryos - These experiments are subject to the same rules that apply to the animal producing the embryos. Studies of mammalian embryos are restricted to observation without intervention with drugs or other chemicals.
  • Research involving cephalopods (cuttlefish, nautilus, octopus, squid, etc.) must follow the same rules as for vertebrates above. Research on all other invertebrate animals is presently unrestricted, except that the project must have some scientific or educational merit and be judged to be ethical.

The Use of Animals in Research policy establishes what constitutes a drug and specifies that drugs may only be used in a science project experiment under the direction of a qualified Scientific Supervisor.

Form 4.1C Animals - Approval is used to ensure that the appropriate review of projects involving animals has taken place.

A reminder

Each Youth Science Canada-affiliated region is expected to set up a Regional Science Fair Ethics Committee- even if it’s a committee of only one person - who will undertake to become knowledgeable in the rules and ethical issues surrounding student research.


Shop the CWSF Online Store

Visit the Online Store to pre-order your CWSF merchandise, including hoodies, t-shirts, mugs - and Expo, the CWSF Bear. Your order will be ready for pickup at the CWSF Store outside the Project Zone.


Android or iOS download

Go to http://eventmobi.com/app/cwsf-espc19 in your device's web browser

View in a web browser

Go to http://eventmobi.com/app/cwsf-espc19

Blog Posts

Mon, May 22, 2017 by Jessie MacAlpine
In case you missed the ‘Meet the Winners’ breakfast during the Canada-Wide Science Fair, here is a summary of the interview with the three Platinum Award winners. Read more
Thu, May 18, 2017 by Jessie MacAlpine
Today was a fun and busy day for the finalists, beginning in the morning with rotations between public viewing in the exhibit hall and the STEAM event across the University of Regina campus. In the afternoon, finalists split into groups for the U R a Scientist sessions, allowing students to learn more about the cool science being conducted right here in Regina. Read more
Wed, May 17, 2017 by Jessie MacAlpine
Now that judging has officially ended, the finalists and delegates woke up bright and early to begin their exploration of Saskatchewan on a variety of different tours. Thanks to the hard work of the local host team, there was an incredible variety of tours available for the students. Read more
Wed, May 17, 2017 by Jessie MacAlpine
This morning, finalists and delegates arrived at breakfast bright and early, dressed to impress for the day of judging ahead. As the clock struck 8am, the students rushed into the exhibit hall to make last minute adjustments to their displays and nervously await the arrival of the judges. Read more
Mon, May 15, 2017 by Jessie MacAlpine
Today marked the first official day of the Canada-Wide Science Fair! This morning finalists set-up their project in the exhibit hall in preparation for judging day tomorrow. Then in the afternoon, finalists and delegates divided to go to their separate orientations before some free time and relaxation. Read more
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