The Short Report - November 30, 2022: Canada's first space-tech law group; Mitacs innovation awards; funding Canada's climate adaptation strategy; updating Canada's code development system, and more

Cindy Graham
November 30, 2022

GOVERNMENT FUNDING Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has published a national climate adaptation strategy that provides $1.6 billion in funding to protect against the impacts of global warming and focuses on five priorities: improving health, building and maintaining resilient public infrastructure, protecting nature and biodiversity, supporting the economy, and reducing the impact of climate-related disasters. The climate and adaptation strategy brings Ottawa's total spending earmarked for climate adaptation and resilience to more than $8 billion. GOC Reuters Meanwhile ECCC has earmarked more than $27.5 million in funding through the Enhanced Nature Legacy – Priority Places for Species at Risk initiative to support dozens of projects protecting species at risk and their habitats. The initiative will fund 11 priority places across Canada, including Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia, Wolastoq/Saint John River, PEI Forested Landscape, the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Long Point Walsingham Forest and the Mixed Grass Prairie. Priority places cover nearly 30 million hectares and include two million hectares of critical habitat for more than 300 species at risk which are identified and implemented in conjunction with the provincial and territorial governments. ECCC The Government of Canada awarded 166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships to doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to attract and retain highly qualified trainees in health, natural sciences and engineering, and the social sciences and humanities in Canada. The awards are funded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and represent an investment of nearly $35 million over three years, with nearly $25 million going to Vanier scholarships over three years and nearly $10 million going to Banting fellows over two years. Vanier awardees include Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh (Université de Montréal), who is researching how to improve the quality and accessibility of health care, and Helen Wong (Dalhousie University), who will research how to identify opportunities to support healthy food and beverage purchasing decisions through grocery shopping online. Banting-backed projects include a proposal led by Daniel Peach (University of British Columbia) to better understand how to protect against arboviruses, and a project led by Juuso Nieminen (University of Ontario Institute of Technology) that will produce research to help students with disabilities thrive in academics and support them throughout their educational pursuits. GOC The Government of Canada is investing up to $58 million in 24 projects supporting Canada’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Among the project recipients are the University of Waterloo (nearly $16 million for six environmental research projects, including creation of an open-access database modelling peatland response to extreme weather conditions and disturbances); the University of Toronto (nearly $9 million for projects, including quantifying the carbon-capture potential of wetlands); McGill University (nearly $5 million to create a modelling framework and tools to evaluate emissions reduction actions); Dalhousie University (more than $3.6 million to develop an activity-based transport network and emissions modelling system); the University of Calgary (nearly $7 million to assess carbon dioxide removal technologies) and the University of British Columbia (more than $5 million to characterize greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, dispersion, and toxicity from various modes of urban freight transport systems). GOC University of Waterloo Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra has launched the first call for proposals for the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative under Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program. The initiative will provide up to $10.5 million in funding this year in support of projects that repair damage from significant weather events, and will also support rail infrastructure projects that increase resilience to extreme weather events. Transport Canada will be accepting applications until January 6, 2023. GOC Applications are now being accepted for the Government of Ontario's newly-launched two-year, $5-million Critical Minerals Innovation Fund, initiated to help build a supply chain for clean technologies, including electric vehicles, by promoting collaboration between industry, academia, and start-ups. The fund will increase exploration, mining, smelting and processing of critical minerals within Ontario and will support technologies that allow companies to recover critical minerals from mine tailings and waste sites across the province. The Ontario government launched its five-year plan to position Ontario as a global leader in supplying critical minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum group elements earlier this year. Ontario Government Meanwhile, the federal government will contribute $27 million to E3 Lithium (Calgary) through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative in support of E3 Lithium’s $87 million project to build a demonstration plant specializing in lithium production. The facility is the first step toward a full-scale lithium production plant, which will produce up to 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium and develop a long-term source of lithium supply. The project is also expected to advance the federal government's forthcoming Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy by bringing mineral processing capability to the Canadian ecosystem. GOC The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has posted an upcoming Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) opportunity and is requesting letters of interest. LEAP was created to provide opportunities for Canadian science and technology activities related to lunar exploration. CSA says a request for proposal is being planned for a winter 2023 release by Public Works and Government Services Canada, which will support the science instrument project element of the LEAP portfolio. The closing date to receive letters of interest is March 20, 2023. PWGSC RESEARCH, TECH NEWS AND COLLABORATIONS Toronto corporate law firm Aird & Berlis has created a space-focused task force group to serve Canada's growing space tech industry. The group is focused primarily on helping early stage companies grow, but also plans to provide government contracts and regulatory affairs services as well as mergers and acquisitions and litigation and dispute resolution. Clients will include manufacturers and sellers of rockets, satellites and constellations, aerospace products and technologies, drones, robotics, and propellants. The group also plans to advise financial institutions, investors, and governments that finance and partner with the industry. Space Q Aird Berlis Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and Atomic Energy of Canada have signed separate Memorandums of Understanding in recent weeks with the University of Ottawa and Ontario Tech University. The MOUs are meant to encourage closer working relationships with the academic communities and establish a framework to facilitate joint research projects, foster professional development of highly qualified personnel, and encourage shared access to specialized infrastructure to advance research in health and environmental sciences, clean energy and nuclear safety.  CNL AECL HEALTH FUNDING NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES GlaxoSmithKline (Mississauga) has filed a drug submission to Health Canada for its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) older adult vaccine candidate which, if approved, has the potential to be the first vaccine available to help protect adults aged 60 years and older from lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV infection. The filing follows regulatory submission acceptances by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Cision Up to four awards, worth $82,000 each per year for two years, are available through a JDRF Canada-Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Type 1 Diabetes. The funding will be shared between Mitacs, JDRF, and eligible Canadian for-profit companies, supporting research with industry partners driving new therapies in the disease. The fellowships will support projects in the research areas of cell replacement therapies, disease modifying therapies, and research that aims to improve the quality of life for people living with T1 diabetes. Letters of Intent packages are due March 24, 2023. JDRF The ALS Society of Canada and Brain Canada are investing nearly $400,000 to support doctoral awards and a postdoctoral fellowship that will build on the knowledge of the biological processes that lead to the onset and progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and to explore therapeutic targets and a possible treatment strategy. This brings the total amount of funding generated through the ALS-Brain Canada partnership to more than $24 million. Lucia Meng Qi Liao of the University of Waterloo, Charlotte Manser at the University of Ottawa, and Donovan McDonald at Western University have received $75,000 each in funding for doctoral awards. Dr. Hussein Ghazale, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Carol Schuurmans’s lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute, has been awarded $165,000 for the post-doctoral fellowship, with funding provided by Fondation Vincent Bourque, which contributed $82,500 to ALS Canada, and was matched by Brain Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund. Brain Canada The Bruyère Research Institute has launched a clinical trial on a preventive treatment for poor oral health in older Canadians. The study will document current oral health status, identify unmet needs for oral health care in seniors, and evaluate if a new preventive treatment called Prevora, an antiseptic coating that manages the bacteria causing poor oral health, can meet these needs. The study, which is sponsored by pharmaceutical company and developer of Prevora CHX Technologies (Etobicoke), will enroll up to 144 seniors with various levels of independence, general health, and frailty over a three-month period. Preliminary findings are expected in early 2023. Bruyère REPORTS & POLICY The third and final report of the Competition Bureau’s Digital Health Care Market Study, examining how pro-competitive policies can foster innovation and bring greater choice and access to digital health care services for Canadians, has been released. The third report recommends Canadian governments and policymakers review existing health care provider payment models, to support the use of digital health care and implement licensing frameworks, which allow providers to practice beyond provincial and territorial borders, to improve digital health care delivery where appropriate. The report also calls for governments to review and modernize policies, to facilitate the uptake of digital health care. Overall the study found that digital health care is not being used to its full potential in Canada: in 2021, only 14 percent of Canadians had visited their provider virtually; meanwhile more than 70 percent of physicians believe that virtual care improves patient access and enables both quality and efficient care. Competition Bureau The federal government is implementing a new model for the National Model Codes development system, which includes the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada, the National Plumbing Code of Canada, and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. The new system will see a federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) governance model replace the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, which has been responsible for code development in Canada since 1991. The goal of the new approach is to make the code development system more responsive to provincial and territorial code priorities and contribute to more efficient construction in Canada by lowering construction costs for industry and reducing internal trade barriers related to manufacturing, operation, inspection, education and training. National Research Council GOC Backgrounder THE GRAPEVINE The winners of Mitacs' annual innovation awards received recognition for innovation, leadership and commercialization at an awards ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa last week. The 2022 Mitac awardees include:

  • Stephen Choi (University of British Columbia). Received the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Postdoctoral for his work to develop a groundbreaking treatment for prostate cancers.
  • Thierry Judge (Department of Computer Science at the University of Sherbrooke). Received the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s for his work to speed the process of analyzing ultrasound images to accurately detect heart disease.
  • Courtney Toth (Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto). Earned the Mitacs Award for Commercialization for her role in developing a cocktail of microbes capable of “eating” some of the world’s most widespread contaminants.
  • Maude Champagne (Neuroscience Department at Queen’s University). Received the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — PhD for her work to fill a gap in Canadian support services by launching three first-of-their-kind initiatives to help families facing pandemic-driven uptick in aggressive behaviours at home from children living with disabilities.
  • François Routhier (Department of Rehabilitation at Laval University). Earned the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership — Professor for his collaborative work to improve the everyday activities of people living with disabilities, including the development of an online dating-like app that matches individuals with volunteers in their community who can help them safely participate in outdoor leisure activities.
  • Cristiane Maucoski (Department of Dental Clinical Sciences at Dalhousie University). Received the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — International for her work to decrease time spent in the dental chair by helping dentists make stronger, longer-lasting fillings.
  • Mateen Hessami (Department of Biology, University of British Columbia). Earned the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous for helping the Splatsin First Nation recover the endangered caribou population in their traditional territory and for playing a leadership role in Canada’s conservation efforts.
  • The Arctic Research Foundation received the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Industry for empowering Inuit communities to direct and determine projects that address their most pressing challenges. Mitacs

Dr. Healy Hamilton has been appointed chief scientist for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, effective  April 4, 2023. Hamilton currently serves as chief scientist for NatureServe (Virginia) and is an elected member of the executive committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature U.S. National Committee. Her research projects include leading the recent development of the most comprehensive and detailed map of species extinction risk in collaboration with the Environmental Systems Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy. SFI Dr. Cindy Blackstock has been appointed the first chancellor of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University. Blackstock is an Indigenous child and family rights activist and a member of the Gitxsan First Nation and is a professor at the McGill University School of Social Work and an Officer of the Order of Canada. NOSM University Patrick Godin has been appointed the new president and CEO of New Gold mining company (Toronto), which operates the New Afton gold-silver-copper mine in British Columbia and the Rainy River gold-silver mine in Ontario. Godin has been serving as vice president and chief operating officer of New Gold since May, and was responsible for the construction and operations of the Renard Diamond Mine, Quebec's first diamond mine. He succeeds Renaud Adams, who has served as CEO since September 2018. Cision

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