The Grapevine

Mark Lowey
October 25, 2023

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities in the innovation ecosystem.

Denise Amyot (photo at left), outgoing president and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), shares her insights, reflections and cherished memories about CICan in a CICan podcast. Amyot has served as CICan’s chief executive for 10 years. In September, CICan announced that Pari Johnston is its incoming president and CEO, effective December. 4, 2023. Johnson currently leads Genome Canada’s federal advocacy, policy and corporate partnership strategy as vice-president, policy and public affairs. CICan



Dr. Jonathan Burchill, PhD, (photo at right) at the University of Calgary is part of an international team that received funding from the European Space Agency to show the feasibility of a concept to launch a group of tiny satellites – called a “swarm”  into space. The satellites can take new measurements in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, called the ionosphere. With these measurements, scientists will be able to more accurately predict and prevent satellite and debris collisions. Space debris is a growing threat to global communications systems and space exploration. More than 27,000 pieces of orbital debris are tracked by the Space Surveillance Network. Yet there are more than 170 million smaller pieces that cannot be tracked. Much of Burchill’s work is funded through Alberta’s Major Innovation Fund, through the Space-Defence Technologies Alberta program. UCalgary

 Alexandra Clark (photo at right) is returning from leave to become vice-president of communications and public affairs at Ottawa-headquartered Shopify, she posted. She will replace Erin Pelton, whom Shopify hired from the White House in August 2022. Alexandra Clark post

Damien Steel is the new CEO of Deep Sky, a Montreal-based venture commercializing carbon removal and storage solutions at scale. Steel brings more than 20 years of venture capital and operator experience to the position. In his new role, he will work towards the goal of guiding Deep Sky into the world’s first gigaton-scale carbon capture company. Most recently, Steel served as managing partner and global head of ventures at Toronto-based OMERS Ventures. CleanTech Canada  

Nicolas Brunet was appointed president of Lion Electric Company, a Quebec-based manufacturer of electric medium- and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Brunet served as executive vice president and chief financial officer since December 2019, playing a role in the execution of the company’s strategic plan, including through the completion of key financing transactions, the establishment of partnerships with key customers and stakeholders, and the management of the company’s corporate development and corporate affairs. Cleantech Canada

The Government of Canada announced four new members who are joining the Net-Zero Advisory Board (NZAB), which provides advice to support the development of plans and policies needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The new members are:

  • Louise Comeau, Iris Communications, and Senior Advisor, Re.Climate, for a term of two years
  • Anne de Bortoli, Carbon Neutrality Research Lead, Polytechnique Montréal, for a term of three years
  • Robert Hornung, Independent Consultant, for a term of three years
  • Shianne McKay, Senior Project Manager, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, for a term of two years

In accordance with the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, NZAB has been asked to submit advice to the minister to support the establishment of Canada’s next target for 2035, which must be set no later than December 1, 2024. Environment and Climate Change Canada

 Cégep du Vieux Montréal (GVC) was certified “carbon neutral,” becoming one of the first colleges to achieve carbon neutrality. The target is now met for 2021-2022 for both direct and indirect energy emissions. The college will continue its actions to further reduce its carbon footprint in the coming years. To achieve net-zero emissions, the GVC produced a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report that presents all data on GHG emissions and removals from its operations. GVC

Northern Lakes College in Slave Lake, Alberta, launched mamawapowin, the Virtual Indigenous Student Centre. Mamawapowin is a Cree word meaning “the act of coming together or an organized meeting.” This virtual space, accessible to all, was created to support Indigenous students and those who want to learn about Indigenous culture. Visitors to the site will learn about Indigenous arts, the Elders in Residence program, and Indigenous Library resources, check out featured Indigenous authors, and read Indigenous student success stories. Northern Lakes College

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Surrey, B.C. launched a new Indigenous Studies Department in the Faculty of Arts, providing the university a key focus for Indigenization and decolonization. KPU has been offering courses in the growing field of Indigenous studies, along with a well-subscribed minor in Indigenous Community Justice, since 2017. KPU

The Government of Quebec plans to nearly double tuition for out-of-province students at its English-language universities, as part of an effort to reduce the amount of English spoken on Montreal streets and increase funding for French-language universities. With tuition set to rise to about $17,000 per year from the current $8,992, the province says enrolment at three anglophone universities will drop, starting next year. Bishop’s University, the smallest of the anglophone institutions, has said it would be “very difficult” for the university to survive the loss of almost a third of its students. Concordia University’s principal Graham Carr said he was “shocked and disappointed, and that anglophone universities were never consulted about the drastic changes.” McGill principal Deep Saini said he’s “very disappointed” by the announcement. Montreal Gazette


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