BCIT School of Transportation, Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF) , Canadian National Railway Company Classroom , CQDM, Government of Canada, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) on Plastic Pollution , Investissement Québec , New Brunswick Innovation Foundation , OpenAI , Tall Grass Ventures , Transition Accelerator , Université de Moncton , 2048 Ventures, BCIT Motive Power Centre of Excellence, Beedie Capital, British Columbia Institute of Technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian National Railway, CANARIE, Carleton University, Center for AI Safety, Center for AI Safety, CND Capital, Desjardins Group, East Valley Ventures, Emmertech, Energy Futures Lab, FemTherapeutics, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, GSK Canada, Health Canada, House of Commons, Integra Resources, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Kinross Gold, Koan Capital, Maison de l’Innovation de la Médecine Spécialisée (MIMS), McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), Merck Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health, Picketa Systems, Polar Knowledge Canada, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Public Health Agency of Canada, PwC Canada, RCF Jolimont, Research Canada, ResearchNB, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Sheboot, Southern Cross Gold, Startup TNT, Support Our Science, Teck, The51 Ventures, Tiny, Universities Canada, Universities Wales, University of Waterloo, Vector Institute, VRIFY, WildFireSat , and Wilfrid Laurier University



The Short Report - June 7th, 2023: Ottawa's long-term wildfire response; PwC's investment in its AI capabilities, a boost for breast cancer research, and more.

Cindy Graham
June 7, 2023

Photo courtesy of Credit: British Columbia Institute of Technology


Canadian National Railway (CN) has donated a $475,000-1992 GE Dash 8-40CW locomotive to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), its second locomotive gift to the BCIT School of Transportation.  The locomotive will be used as a training aid for students in BCIT’s Railway Conductor and Operations program. At the recognition event, BCIT also announced the naming of the new Canadian National Railway Company Classroom at its Motive Power Centre of Excellence. BCIT

McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to offer a course with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at ICAO's second Global Implementation Support Symposium in Seoul. McGill

Merck Canada has committed $3 million in funding to biopharmaceutical research consortium CQDM  to support R&D projects selected through the CQDM Quantum Leap or SynergiQc funding programs that will  contribute to the advancement of more treatment options for patients. The investment aligns with Quebec's life sciences and research strategies and brings Merck Canada's total contribution to CQDM to $12.5 million. CQDM

Meanwhile, CQDM is providing nearly $2 million in funding under its SynergiQc program for four projects that will accelerate drug development for new therapies against cancer and infectious diseases. The funded initiatives include the creation of a biophysical platform for early-stage drug discovery, the advancement of immunotherapy for aggressive cancers, the development of a universal booster vaccine against COVID-19, and the identification of new antifungal agents. CQDM

Universities Canada and Universities Wales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance educational cooperation between the two countries. The MOU aims to strengthen long-term relationships and promote institutional collaboration in further and higher education. Key objectives of the agreement include increasing staff and student mobility, fostering research and development collaboration in areas such as green energy and technology, health, creative industries, and digital advancements, and solidifying bilateral relationships in the education sector. Universities Canada

The Université de Moncton has signed a collaboration agreement with the Maison de l’Innovation de la Médecine Spécialisée (MIMS), a French non-profit organization that promotes technology transfer in the health sector. Under this agreement, UMoncton will become an official research partner of MIMS and its partners. The university will provide MIMS with an office in their institution and participate annually in the MIMS Innovation Forum. The partnership will also support the exchange of students and trainees between France and Canada. UMoncton

PwC Canada will invest $200 million over the next three years to enhance its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. The announcement follows PwC US' commitment of $1 billion to generative AI programs. PwC Canada will focus on leveraging the OpenAI suite of tools within the Microsoft Azure OpenAI service, including the popular ChatGPT AI solution. The investment will be used to improve internal operations, assist clients in harnessing generative AI for stronger insights and productivity, and drive innovation in products and services. PwC Canada says its priorities include  deploying AI responsibly and training employees to work with AI tools and capabilities. PwC Canada

The Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF) has unveiled a roadmap outlining its policy to guide the Canadian aviation sector towards a net-zero future by 2050. Developed in collaboration with the Transition Accelerator and Energy Futures Lab, the roadmap emphasizes the importance of sustainable aviation fuels in decarbonizing the industry. C-SAF aims to achieve one billion litres of domestic SAF production by 2030, increasing that output to meet 25 percent of total jet fuel demand by 2035. Cision


The Government of Canada is committing to projects aimed at increasing Canada’s wildfire fire-fighting capacity, including $284 million to establish the Wildfire Resilient Futures Initiative, supporting priorities identified by the National Adaptation Strategy. Key measures of the initiative include:

  • enhancing the FireSmart Canada program
  • launching research and pilot projects on fire risk reduction measures
  • creating a Centre of Excellence for Wildland Fire Innovation and Resilience

Other key measures and projects being adopted include the following:

  • Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate Program funding to train 300 Indigenous firefighters and 125 Indigenous fire guardians for this season
  • Working with the International Association of Fire Fighters on a pilot project training members to respond to wildland fires threatening homes, communities and infrastructure
  • Receiving updates of all active wildfires at least twice daily from the WildFireSat satellite mission, informing provincial and territorial fire management agencies making critical decisions

Natural Resources Canada

Polar Knowledge Canada will award a total of $920,000 to 340 students from 36 Canadian universities through its Northern Scientific Training Program for the 2023-2024 research season. The awards will support research projects related to topics like community food security (Aimee Yurris, Public Health Science, University of Waterloo); the stability of drilling waste disposal sites in the permafrost (Rachelle Landriau, Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University); the effects of permafrost on forests (Caitlyn Lyons, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University), and the role of cultural programming in suicide prevention strategies (Chloe Hamilton, Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University). Polar Knowledge Canada


Health Canada has established an external Health Products Supply Chain Advisory Committee to share expertise and provide advice on approaches to drug shortage prevention and management. Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos says the committee will explore the challenges and explore solutions to help prevent more shortages. At Duclos' request, Health Canada has also launched a 60-day consultation with Canadians and will be holding roundtables on how the federal government and its partners can better prevent and mitigate drug shortages of drugs and other health products. Health Canada

Canada will become the first country in the world to mandate health warnings on individual cigarettes, as announced by Health Canada. The new regulations will require health warnings to be printed directly on the tipping paper of cigarettes and aims to help adults quit smoking, protect youth and non-smokers from nicotine addiction, and reduce the appeal of tobacco. The regulations will be implemented in a phased approach, with most measures on the market by April 2024 and all cigarettes featuring individual health warnings by July 2024. Health Canada

Breast Cancer Canada has announced $3 million in funding over three years for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to support the 3P Precision Prevention Progress Project. The project, led by Dr. Rama Khokha, aims to drive molecular breast cancer prevention research to enhance early detection, screening, treatment, and prevention strategies for breast cancer patients. The project will focus on reducing incidence, improving early detection, and developing personalized and targeted prevention strategies. BCC

Biopharma company GSK Canada has granted $1 million to the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) in Halifax to strengthen its position in the national infectious disease research landscape by enhancing training, equipment, and facilities. The grant "recognizes CCfV's national leadership and its contribution to Canada's research capabilities," having conducted numerous clinical trials, including those for H1N1, Ebola, and COVID-19 vaccines. The grant will support the core infrastructure of CCfV, which is currently funded through competitive academic research grants, and industry contracts. GSK

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, the Ontario Ministry of Health, ResearchNB, and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation are investing $9 million in 60 research teams to generate evidence-informed policy solutions to improve how health services are financed, organized, delivered, and governed. The teams will advance health priorities, including improving primary, home, long term and community care, virtual care, mental health services, and Indigenous health. A set of 17 teams will look specifically at challenges facing health care workers, contributing to policies to improve planning, development, recruitment, retention, delivery, and the health and wellbeing of this work force. CIHR

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has released a new guide to provide support and information to new parents, part of ongoing efforts to promote maternal and newborn health. "Your Guide to Postpartum Health and Caring for Your Baby" covers various aspects of postpartum care, including physical and mental health, family health, nutrition, breastfeeding, and pregnancy and infant loss. PHAC


Canadian technology startup investors David Dufresne and Matt Roberts have launched an early-stage venture capital firm to fill the gap in pre-seed and seed-stage lead investment in Canada's tech sector. The firm, called CND Capital,  aims to raise between $50 million to $75 million CAD to lead and price rounds for AI-focused startups in the B2B and enterprise sectors. BetaKit

Vancouver-based mining communications startup VRIFY has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by RCF Jolimont (Denver) and Beedie Capital (Vancouver) with participation from Tiny (Victoria). Mining and mineral exploration companies use Vrify’s technology and 360-degree mining site virtual tours to refine communications and attract and secure investments.  Clients have included mineral exploration companies Southern Cross Gold (Australia) and Integra Resources (Vancouver), as well as major mining companies Teck (Vancouver) and Kinross Gold (Toronto). BetaKit

Medical device company FemTherapeutics has raised $2.5 million in a Series A funding round led by 2048 Ventures (New York) with participation from Investissement Quebec, The51 Ventures (Calgary), Sheboot (Ottawa), and several physicians and angel investors. The Montreal-based startup has created a technology that combines artificial intelligence and 3D printing to manufacture a new category of personalized prosthetic devices to address common pelvic floor disorders in women.  Forbes

Fredericton agtech startup Picketa Systems, which develops technology for plant tissue analysis, has raised a $1.4-million seed round. The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation led the funding, with contributions from a number of agricultural sector investors, including  Tall Grass Ventures (Calgary), Emmertech (Regina), and Koan Capital (Calgary). Desjardins Group (Montreal), as well as members from angel groups East Valley Ventures (St. John) and Startup TNT (Edmonton), also participated. Picketa's testing hardware that shortens the turnaround time for agricultural analyses by  processing plant tissue data on site. BetaKit


The Vector Institute's chief scientific advisor, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, and Mila founder and Université de Montréal professor Dr. Yoshua Bengio are among 350 executives and researchers who have signed a public letter warning of the "risk of extinction" from artificial intelligence (AI). The letter, published by San Francisco-based research and field-building nonprofit Center for AI Safety, calls for mitigating the risks associated with AI and advocates for a global priority in addressing the potential dangers. BetaKit

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault has announced that Canada will host the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) on Plastic Pollution in April 2024. Canada has committed to negotiating a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution on a global scale by 2040. Cision

A petition to the Government of Canada demanding better graduate student and postdoctoral pay has already obtained more than twice the minimum 500 signatures required for it to be presented to the House of Commons. The petition, sponsored by Liberal Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid and led by grassroots organization Support Our Science, calls on Ottawa to invest in Canada’s next generation of research talent through increased funding for graduate scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships and research grants via Canada’s granting councils. The petition is open until June 29th. National alliance group Research Canada has issued a press release supporting  Support Our Science statement of the critical need to invest in the country's research students and trainees. Research Canada

Not-for-profit Internet research and education body  CANARIE has announced an open call for applications for a volunteer position on its board of directors. The position is specifically for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at post-secondary education institutions in Canada. The selected candidate will provide insight regarding the changing needs of Canadian post-secondary institutions and ensure alignment between CANARIE programs and stakeholder community needs. Interested individuals can apply by June 26 and the final candidates will be reviewed and approved by the CANARIE Board before being submitted for election at the annual general meeting on September 19, 2023. CANARIE

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