Leaders Prize: Fact or Fake News?

The Problem

In today’s society, misinformation is everywhere. From hoaxes passed around on social media, to misrepresented scientific studies, to fiction posted on shady websites to get clicks. Misinformation makes it challenging for people to know what is really going on in the world, prevents citizens from making informed decisions and ultimately jeopardizes the integrity of the democratic system all over the world.
For many years, human fact-checkers have reliably debunked false reports by conducting independent research to validate or disprove controversial claims. Unfortunately, fact-checking is an expensive, time-intensive process and by the time a hoax has been disproved, it has already spread through social media and been accepted as truth by a disconcertingly large number of people.
With the advancement of machine learning and natural language processing techniques, we have an opportunity to fact-check claims faster than ever and stop fake news before it spreads. The Leaders Prize will award $1 million to the team who can best use artificial intelligence to automate the fact-checking process and flag whether a claim is true or false.

What is fake news?
Fake news is false information that is presented as a fact, whether in a news article or publicly made statement, and is typically created to generate advertising revenue or advance a certain political or social agenda.
The Prize
The Leaders Prize offers $1 million to the team that most effectively automates the fact-checking process using artificial intelligence. This breakthrough will help people to know whether something they have seen online is accurate when its most relevant: before they read it.
We invite teams from all across Canada to create solutions to automatically verify a series of claims, flag whether they are true, partly true, or false and provide evidence to support their determination.

How to win

How true is a claim or statement? In Phase 1 of the competition, your solution must automatically assign a truth rating to a given claim and provide a short text explanation of the rating rationale. There are three possible truth ratings.

Interested in being part of Leaders Prize? Download our Leaders Prize prospectus or contact Janelle Chalouhi for more information.

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Leaders Prize: Fact or Fake News?

Pioneer Partners:

Navigator Partner:

Trailblazer Partners:

The claim is factually accurate

Mostly True
Part of the claim could be true, however important details are left out or   verified facts are taken out of context

The statement is incorrect

Note that all of the statements to be fact-checked in this competition are considered verifiable claims meaning that it is possible to fact-check them using publicly available information.

In Phase 2 of the competition, team solutions must also provide evidence to support the truth rating and text explanation for each claim.

  • If a claim is flagged as TRUE then evidence must be provided that verifies all parts of the statement.

  • If a claim is flagged as PARTLY TRUE then evidence must show that there are both accurate and false elements to the statement.

  • If a claim is flagged as FALSE then evidence must be provided that contradicts all parts the statement.

The winning team will create artificial intelligence that assigns a truth rating to a given claim and provides evidence that either supports or refutes the claim. The team that verifies claims most accurately and provides the best supporting evidence wins $1 million.


Leaders Prize 
for his AI solution to identify fake news.

Congratulations to Bill Wu of team Ava! 

Winner of the

Creating the next generation of technology innovators

Competition rules

Creating the next generation of technology innovators

Leaders Prize Timeline

Leaders Prize


June 19, 2019
Problem statement is announced.

Official registration opens.

December 2, 2019
Teams must submit Phase 1 solutions.

January 10, 2020 
Top 10 teams moving on to Phase 2 announced. Full details and data for Phase 2 released.

January 10, 2020 to May 8, 2020
Teams work on Phase 2 with mentorship from partners

May 8, 2020
Teams must submit Phase 2 solutions

June 3, 2020
Finalist pitches to vie for $1M prize

Scientific Committee: Vikash Balasubramanian, Vikash Goel, Kashif Khan, Neda Paryab,  Gaurav Sahu, Pascal Poupart and Sarah McKenzie

Watch now

Meet the winner on True North TV.

Meet the winner on True North TV.

Meet the judges

Which of the top teams has developed fact-checking AI technology that can automatically separate fact from fake news? Our judges will decide the winning team and award the coveted cash prize. We are joined by experts and leaders in data science, innovative technology, finance and artificial intelligence.

Meet the judges

David Arbuthnot
Director, Innovation Outpost
Wawanesa Insurance

Terry Hickey
Chief Analytics Officer

Kevin Northrup
Senior Director, Analytics and AI Strategy & Planning

Avvey Peters
Chief Strategy Officer

Anna Matta
Director, Industry Innovation
Vector Institute 

Viktoriia Samatova
Head of Technology Innovation
Thomson Reuters

Maathangi Sankar
Senior Data Scientist

Aaron Sharockman
Executive Director

David Stein
Managing Partner
Leaders Fund

Kevin Tuer
VP, Data and Advanced Technologies

Ozge Yeloglu
VP, Enterprise Advanced Analytics