Canadian Institutes of Health Research , Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada , Western University , 3E Nano, a16z crypto, ACT Venture Partners, Adara VC, Agnostiq Inc., Alumni Ventures, askBetty, BDC Capital, Bluesky Equities, BOND, BoxOne Ventures, Brain Canada, Brizo Data, Cake Ventures, Canadian Business Growth Fund, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Research Society, Cape Breton University, ChopValue, Christie's, Circle Ventures, Clearco, Communitech, Creative Ventures, Differential Ventures, eCampusOntario, Edmonton Global, Eli , Energy Foundry, EverWind Fuels, Felix, First Spark Ventures, FRAMEWORK Venture Partners, Fusion Fund, Garage Capital, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, Government of Manitoba, Government of Nova Scotia, Green Egg Ventures, Heart and Stroke charity, Heidelberg Materials, Infrastructure Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, International Monetary Fund, Ipsos, Jane Street Capital, Joyance Partners, Kensington Capital Partners, Kensington Private Equity Fund, Kidney Foundation of Canada, LayerZero Labs, Leva Capital, LNG Canada , London Health Sciences Foundation, Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation , Mantella Venture Partners, Maritime Launch Services, MCI Onehealth, Microsoft, Mount Royal University, Muse Capital, MUUS Climate Partners, New Climate Ventures, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, Nimble Science, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada , OKX Ventures, OpenAI, OpenSea Ventures, Prairies Economic Development Canada, Real Ventures, Research Manitoba, RH Capital, Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Saint Mary's University, Samsung Next, Scout Ventures, Sequoia Capital, St. Francis Xavier University, Staircase Ventures, Startup TNT, TD Bank, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, Tensility Venture Partners, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Threshold Impact, TNT Capital, UCeed Child Health and Wellness Fund, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, Vectors Capital, VertueLab, Victor Dahdaleh Foundation , Virtual Guru, and Whitecap Venture Partners



The Short Report – April 12, 2023:

Mark Lowey
April 12, 2023


The Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba announced $221 million for strategic agricultural initiatives under the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments, supporting Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector. Manitoba has launched a suite of programs under the Sustainable CAP framework in several priority areas, including research, innovation and market development, emergency preparedness and technology advancement. Govt of Canada

The Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) global innovation cluster launched its latest call for advanced manufacturing proposals. NGen will co-invest $35 million of federal funds, along with industry contributions, to launch $95 million worth of new advanced manufacturing projects across Canada. NGen will support collaborative, business-led projects aimed at de-risking, commercializing, and scaling-up innovative manufacturing capabilities in the country. NGen’s existing portfolio consists of more than 165 projects valued at $55 million. NGen

 The Government of Canada signed an agreement to support (without specifying any any funding or in-kind contribution) multinational Heidelberg Materials AG’s $1.36-billion project to build a full-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage system (CCUS), along with a combined heat and power system, at its Edmonton cement facility. The CCUS system, which the federal government said will be the first of its kind in North America, will enable Heidelberg to produce carbon-neutral cement by capturing and compressing carbon dioxide for transportation and permanent storage. According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes annually — equivalent to removing 300,000 passenger vehicles from the road yearly. Concrete is the most used building material on the planet, and the cement needed to make this concrete accounts for seven percent of global CO2 emissions. ISED

The Government of Canada, the Government of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton University announced more than $84 million in joint funding for the new Centre for Discovery and Innovation academic building on the CBU campus in Sydney. The new building will house laboratories, classrooms, research facilities, and student services, and its modular design will enable interactive learning experiences. Through the installation of a geothermal closed loop system, solar panels, and smart building controls, it will be net-zero ready. The federal government is investing $20 million; the Nova Scotia government $35 million; and Cape Breton University about $29.5 million. Infrastructure Canada

 The Government of Canada and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax announced a joint investment of $20 million to support Phase 2 of the Sobeys Inspiration Hub and the modernization of several campus buildings at Saint Mary’s University. This funding will enable the addition of solar panels and integrated audio-visual communications technology to the Sobeys Inspiration Hub. The Hub, currently under construction, will be dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation at the university. The federal investment is $8 million, while SMU is contributing $12 million. Infrastructure Canada

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is offering postdoctoral fellowships under its Human Frontier Science Program for frontier, potentially transformative research in the life sciences. Applications for high-risk projects are particularly encouraged. The projects should be interdisciplinary in nature and should challenge existing paradigms by using novel approaches and techniques. Scientifically, they should address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field. Two types of three-year fellowships are available: Long-Term Fellowships for applicants with a PhD in a biological discipline, and Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships for applications with a PhD from a non-biological discipline. NSERC


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) in partnership with Brain Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Cancer Research Society, and the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation, announced $55 million over five years in research grants for 10 team-led projects focused on low-survival cancers. The CCS Breakthrough Team Grants: Transforming Low-Survival Cancer Rates represents the largest-ever collective effort in Canada focused on changing outcomes for pancreatic, esophageal, brain, lung, liver, and stomach cancers. Fewer than 30 percent of people diagnosed in Canada with one of these six low-survival cancers are expected to survive five years or more. The CCS Breakthrough Team Grants unite teams of researchers, clinicians, people with lived cancer experience, and other experts to find new and innovative approaches to preventing, detecting, and treating these six low-survival cancers. CCS

Edmonton Global, a foreign direct investment and business development agency, in partnership with Calgary-based Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, launched the Hydrogen Innovation Accelerator (HIA). Funding support for the accelerator came from $9.7 million announced in January by Prairies Economic Development Canada, for hydrogen-related projects in Alberta. The HIA, Alberta’s newest accelerator, will support the growth of existing small- to medium-sized businesses, by helping to identify new opportunities related to the hydrogen sector and then helping SMEs to operationalize them. HIA’s first cohort of company teams begins in May, 2023, with five cohorts over the next 18 months. Mount Royal University

Western University in London, Ontario, established the $3.5-million endowed William F. Clark Chair in Nephrology at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Western matched funds raised through the London Health Sciences Foundation and The Kidney Foundation of Canada to create the new research chair. The chair is named in honour of renowned nephrologist Dr. William F. Clark, professor emeritus at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. With one in 10 people affected by chronic kidney disease, it is projected to become the fifth most common cause of early death globally by 2040. Western University

The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation contributed $1.5 million to St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) to help create Victor Dahdaleh Hall — the single largest gift ever made to StFX by a private donor. The facility will house the Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health, an incubator for health research on the StFX campus. The Government of Nova Scotia announced in March its commitment of $37.4 million to the new institute, which will look at ways to improve health promotion and mental health and wellness in rural communities. The federal government contributed $8 million in 2017 to the Xaverian Commons project, in which the health institute is a key component. StFX

eCampusOntario, a provincially funded non-profit organization, relaunched its EdTech Sandbox to support higher education innovation in Ontario. The initiative provides a safe, risk-free environment for institutions to discover, pilot, review, and adopt educational technology tools that support digital transformation. The EdTech Sandbox is an online collaborative hub for institutions and suppliers to meet online to explore, exchange ideas, and securely test new tools and technologies. eCampusOntario

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) launched the RBC Climate Action Institute, to bring together economists, policy analysts and business strategists to help research and advance ideas that can contribute to Canada’s climate progress. The Institute will work closely with businesses and industry partners to design practical ways to reduce net emissions. It will focus initially on buildings and real estate, agriculture, and energy systems. The Institute will undertake work that advances a key pillar of RBC’s climate strategy, the RBC Climate Blueprint, focusing on providing ideas in areas where it believes it can have a meaningful impact. RBC

Nova Scotia-based EverWind Fuels, a “green” hydrogen developer, and Maritime Launch Services Inc., which is building a spaceport near Canso, signed a letter of intent to explore a green liquid oxygen supply agreement. It would involve EverWind supplying liquid oxygen, along with other products such as green hydrogen (made by electrolyzing water using wind power), to Maritime Launch. Green liquid oxygen, an output from EverWind’s planned green hydrogen facility in nearby Point Tupper, is required for the operation of launch vehicles from Maritime Launch Services’ Spaceport Nova Scotia. EverWind, the first independent green hydrogen and green ammonia project in North America to receive an environmental approval (from the Nova Scotia government), plans to begin construction of the US$1-billion first phase of its project in the first half of 2023, with scheduled operation by 2025. EverWind has signed MOUs with German multinational energy firms Eon and Uniper for more than one million tonnes per annum of green ammonia. EverWind Fuels

Canada’s federal privacy commissioner launched an investigation into San Francisco-based OpenAI, the operator of artificial-intelligence-power chatbot ChatGPT. The investigation was launched in response to a complaint alleging the collection, use and disclosure of personal information without consent, said the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). Last month, more than 1,000 key players in the field of AI and technology, signed an open letter urging all AI labs to agree to a six-month “public and verifiable” pause on training systems that are more powerful than GPT-4. OPC

Clearco, a Toronto-based e-commerce merchant financier, co-founded by Dragon’s Den star Michele Romanow (who stepped down as CEO in January) is pursuing a complex recapitalization plan that would wipe out most of its previous US$2 billion-plus valuation. The company, officially known as CFT Clear Finance Technology Corp., is in advanced talks with investors, led by past backer Inovia Capital, hoping to raise US$20 million to US$25 million in an equity deal that would value the company at US$200 million including the new cash. Either way, the deal, which is not finalized, would amount to one of the steepest ever devaluations in dollar terms of a private Canadian tech company. Clearco was one of 61 companies named to Communitech’s Team True North of Canadian high-performing tech firms tracking to $1 billion in annual revenue with growth rates that match the top one per cent of companies in the world. Globe & Mail

MCI Onehealth, a Toronto-based clinician-led healthcare technology company, launched a strategic review in announcing its 2022 financial results. As of March 31, 2023, the company had about $1.4 million in cash and current liabilities of approximately $18 million, according to its 2022 results. Additional financing will need to be obtained by the end of April to fund ongoing operations, and further financing may be required in the future, the company said. MCI Onehealth operates a chain of 19 physical primary-care clinics in Ontario and Alberta, and also offers virtual and “executive” private care. GlobeNewswire


Toronto-based venture capital firm Kensington Capital Partners raised $158 million in the first close of its Kensington Venture Fund III, towards a goal of $290 million. The Business Development Bank of Canada, TD Bank, and individual investors and family offices contributed to the fund, along with Kensington Private Equity Fund. Kensington is one of four fund managers selected by the federal government to receive funding from its Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI). Through VCCI, Ottawa has committed to provide 25 percent, or $72.5 million, of Kensington’s $290-million target for Kensington Venture Fund III. The fund will serve as both a fund-of-funds investing 75 percent in other VC funds while also directly investing 25 percent of the capital in promising tech startups. Kensington Capital Partners, BetaKit

Vancouver-based LayerZero Labs announced the closing of a $120-million Series B funding round. The round included 33 investors, including a16z crypto, BOND, Christie’s, Circle Ventures, OKX Ventures, OpenSea Ventures, Samsung Next, and Sequoia Capital, among others. LayerZero is a messaging protocol that connects each blockchain’s developers and user community. The protocol provides the underlying infrastructure needed for decentralized applications to “live” across multiple blockchains (distributed databases that maintain a continuously growing list of ordered records, called “blocks”). BC Tech News

Toronto-based Staircase Ventures, founded by venture capitalist Janet Bannister, secured a first close of $22 million for Staircase Ventures Fund I. Bannister, the sole managing partner of Staircase, aims to raise $30 million overall for the fund. She launched Staircase six months after leaving as managing partner at Real Ventures. Current backers of Staircase Ventures Fund I include Royal Bank of Canada, other institutional investors, and several high-net-worth individuals and family offices. The Fund is focused on in Canadian-based B2B software startups at the seed stage. Staircase is taking a unique approach by giving portfolio founders a portion of fund profits, along with paying for executive and health coaches and financial advisors for its founders and providing them cash to pay for child care, elder support or other family needs. Portfolio companies will receive support from an eight-member advisory group of entrepreneurs who have each launched and built $1-billion-plus companies. Newsfile

Toronto-based Felix, which provides on-demand treatment for everyday health needs, raised $18 million in a Series B funding round. BDC Capital led the round through its Women in Technology Venture Fund, with participation from the Canadian Business Growth Fund, Whitecap Venture Partners, and Mantella Venture Partners. Through its digital platform, Felix connects Canadians with a healthcare practitioner via text, audio, and video calls and delivers medications discreetly to their door. The company provides on-demand treatment for erectile dysfunction, weight loss, hair loss, HIV prevention, acne, and birth control, among other categories. Business Wire

Brizo Data, a Quebec City-based food-service analytics startup, raised more than $12 million in a Series A funding round. The round, led by FRAMEWORK Venture Partners and BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, included $2.5 million of debt. Six returning angel investors also participated. Brizo’s AI- and machine-learning-powered platform can deliver intelligence on 1.3 million food-service industry firms. Brizo said it will use the funds to expand into new regions and market segments. Newswire

Vancouver-based ChopValue, which creates sustainable products from recycled chopsticks, closed a $ funding round of close to $10.4 million to expand its decentralized “Microfactory” network serving B2B clients. The funding round was led by two high-profile (unnamed) technology entrepreneurs, jointed by corporate venture capital funds (also unnamed) and existing investors. ChopValue’s home and office products include tables, desks and chairs. The company recently signed strategic growth agreements for market entries in Japan, Singapore, Central Europe and the U.S. ChopValue’s Microfactory approach uses local resources for local production to meet local demand. ChopValue

Agnostiq Inc., a Toronto-based distributed computing startup, secured $6.1 million in seed extension funding to accelerate further development and commercialization of its enterprise-grade quantum and high-performance computing platform. Differential Ventures led the financing, with follow-on participation from Scout Ventures, Tensility Venture Partners, Green Egg Ventures and Rob Granieri, Principal at Jane Street Capital. Agnostiq develops software tools that make quantum and high-performance computing resources more accessible to enterprises and developers. Accesswire

Eli, a Montreal-based health tech startup, raised $5 million in seed funding. Muse Capital, a venture capital firm in Los Angeles focusing on underserved markets, led the seed round, accompanied by San Francisco-based RH Capital and Cake Ventures. TELUS Pollinator Fund For Good, Garage Capital, and Leva Capital also contributed. Eli aims to provide daily hormonal data through real-time saliva analysis, allowing women to track hormonal fluctuations to gain better insights into their health. The company’s at-home technology addresses unmet needs in several key areas, including menopause, fertility, contraception, and endocrine conditions. The new capital will allow Eli to finalize product development and move through clinical validation and regulatory approvals leading to product launch. Eli

Toronto-based 3E Nano, which offers innovative window-insulation technology, secured nearly $5.4 million in a seed funding round. The seed round was led by Energy Foundry and included MUUS Climate Partners, ACT Venture Partners, Creative Ventures, and New Climate Ventures. Additional climate impact investors that participated included Vectors Capital and VertueLab. Spun out of technology developed at the University of Toronto, 3E Nano’s patented nano-thin optical coating is a transparent, flexible, and low-cost solution that quadruples a window’s R-value, or insulating effectiveness. 3E Nano is collaborating with multiple commercial partners to bring the innovation to market. The company plans to incorporate its coated polymers into windows for residential and commercial buildings and architectural applications such as glazing, façades, skylights, greenhouses and window inserts, thereby advancing the decarbonization of the built environment. BusinessWire

Nimble Science, a Calgary-based digital health startup focused on intestinal health, raised $2.7-million in seed funding. Fusion Fund in California led the financing round, which included new investors First Spark Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Joyance Partners, Adara VC and Startup TNT and TNT Capital, with follow-on funding from pre-seed partners, which include BoxOne Ventures, Threshold Impact, BlueSky Equities, UCeed Child Health and Wellness Fund, and angels. Nimble Science is commercially scaling its SIMBA™ ingestible capsule, which enables at-home data collection from previously inaccessible areas of the small intestine. More than 15 chronic diseases are associated with dysbiosis (an imbalance of organisms in the human gut) of the small intestine. Nimble Science


When artificial intelligence fails, it does so “quite spectacularly,” says one of the co-authors of a study on AI algorithms and human values, published by MIT Sloan Management Review. Human values are often subsumed by AI’s efficiency imperative, said Dr. Vern Glaser, PhD, associate professor of strategy, entrepreneurship and management in the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business. Glaser cited Microsoft’s Tay as one example of bad outcomes. When the chatbot was introduced on Twitter in 2016, it was revoked within 24 hours after trolls taught it to spew racist language. Also, in the “robodebt” scandal of 2015, the Australian government used AI to identify overpayments of unemployment and disability benefits. The algorithm presumed every discrepancy reflected an overpayment and automatically sent notification letters demanding repayment. If someone did not respond, the case was forwarded to a debt collector. By 2019, the program identified more than 734,000 overpayments worth two billion Australian dollars (Cdn$1.8 billion). To guard against the “tyranny of technique” in AI, Glaser recommended that AI designers strategically insert human interventions into algorithmic decision-making, and create evaluative systems that account for multiple values. U of A

Canada should recognize natural gas as an essential component of a lower carbon energy mix, and build infrastructure — including for LNG export — to transport Canadian gas across Canada to global markets, recommends a new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The report, Canada and Global Energy Security: The Role of Natural Gas in a Lower Carbon Future, written by Eric Miller, fellow with the CCC’s Future of Business Centre and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, also recommends:

  • aligning and development a more efficient regulatory processes to increase Canadian competitiveness
  • advancing the idea that natural gas produced under a carbon price is a superior and more marketable product
  • promoting the understanding of the engineering and economics around an eventual transition from natural gas infrastructure to hydrogen
  • working with First Nations across the country to expand their participation in natural gas projects
  • pursuing a comprehensive initiative to support the conversion from coal- to gas-fired power plants abroad.

Since 2008, at least 18 new LNG export terminals have been proposed, Miller wrote, including 13 in British Columbia, three in Nova Scotia and two in Quebec. Only the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat, B.C., is anywhere near completion.

“Regardless of whether Canada ‘leaves its resources in the ground,’ other countries will not produce or consume less energy. Doing so could in fact worsen global emissions by making way for dirtier energy sources and its suppliers,” said Miller’s report.

The report’s recommendations run counter to efforts by some jurisdictions, including New York, San Francisco, Boston and Denver, to ban natural gas. California is the first jurisdiction to ban the sale of gas furnaces and water heaters by 2030. New York voted in 2021 to ban the use of natural gas in new buildings by the end of 2023.  CCC, Edmonton Journal

Alberta’s oil and gas sector reduced methane gas emissions from its operations by about 44 percent between 2014 and 2021, according to the Government of Alberta’s second annual progress report on methane emissions reductions. Based on these estimates Alberta will meet or surpass its target to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45 percent from 2014 levels by 2025, the government said. Alberta’s Methane Technology Implementation Program has allocated almost $24 million for methane-reduction projects at oil and gas sites. Funded projects are estimated to reduce methane emissions by 17 million tonnes over the lifetime of the technologies, versus if the projects had not moved forward. The climate change impact of methane is significant — 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Govt of Alberta

Canada is the top preferred global supplier for countries that import oil, according to a new survey by Ipsos. The market research company asked respondents in 28 countries around the world to complete a ranked ballot of eight oil-producing nations to determine which countries they prefer to import oil from. Canada’s average ranking was the highest, followed closely by Norway and the United States. In North America, 55 percent of Americans picked Canada as their choice for oil import, while 57 percent of Canadians chose the U.S. first. Aside from a trend favouring the geographically closest supplier being chosen first, the data show another trend toward choosing suppliers based on shared values, such as democratic practices. It was against this backdrop that Canada rose through the rankings. Canada was selected second nearly a quarter of the time (23 percent), more than any other supplier and six points ahead of the next supplier (the US at 17 percent). Ipsos said the global poll is accurate to within plus or minus 0.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Ipsos

Over the last decade, the share of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows among geopolitically aligned economies has kept rising, more than the share for countries that are closer geographically, according to an analysis by International Monetary Fund officials. This suggests that geopolitical preferences increasing drive the geographic footprint of FDI, according to the analysis. The trends also indicate that if geopolitical tensions continue to intensify and countries further diverge along geopolitical fault lines, FDI may become even more concentrated within blocs of aligned countries. A rise in political tensions could trigger a large reallocation of capital flows at the global level, said the co-authors. While emerging market and developing countries are more vulnerable than advanced economies to FDI being relocated, several large and advanced economies also are vulnerable, the report found. “While reconfigured supply chains could potentially strengthen national security and help maintain a technological advantage over geopolitical rivals, reshoring or friend-shoring to existing partners will often reduce diversification and make countries more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks,” the analysis found. In addition, relocating FDI closer to source countries could hurt host economies through reduced access to capital and technological advances. “The widespread economic costs from FDI fragmentation suggest that policymakers should carefully balance the strategic motivations behind reshoring and friend-shoring against economic costs to their own economies and the spillovers to others.” IMF Blog


Dr. Nishita Singh was appointed to the new Heart & Stroke & Research Manitoba Chair in Clinical Stroke Research at the University of Manitoba (UM) Singh is a neurologist and research scientists who joins UM from the University of Calgary. The chair, which has a five-year term, is funded by the Heart & Stroke charity ($500,000), provincial agency Research Manitoba ($300,000) and the University of Manitoba ($200,000). It is the first chair in clinical stroke research to be established in Manitoba. UM

Dr. Fredrich Götz, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, used GPT-2, a precursor to the ChatGPT chatbot, to develop a psychological test that performed as well as what psychologists currently use. He published his research in a paper in Psychological Methods. UBC

Bobbie Racette, founder and CEO of talent-as-a-service platforms Virtual Guru and askBetty, received the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business 2023 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Virtual Gurus trains and connects highly skilled, remote workers (virtual assistants) based in Canada and the U.S., with companies in need of fractional and on-demand help that can be scaled quickly to meet the changing needs of their clients. Racette, who is Cree-Metis, has built her enterprise with the goal of offering equitable work opportunities to individuals from underrepresented communities. University of Victoria 



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