The Short Report - April 20, 2022: CPP Investment Board invests $536M in Indian tech platform; IP partnership for BC, Experimental Lakes get a funding boost, and more

Cindy Graham
April 20, 2022


The Government of British Columbia, Innovation Asset Collective (IAC), and Innovate BC have partnered as part of an intellectual property (IP) strategy to provide business owners and entrepreneurs in the province with access to resources to protect and develop ideas and products by hosting information sessions, education events and speaking opportunities. Brenda Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation, will be leading a new intellectual property strategy for B.C. that includes connecting with businesses and stakeholders to further develop knowledge and next steps. Innovate BC

Montreal-based Sollum Technologies is proceeding with a $14-million demonstration project showing the benefits of LED lighting solutions for the production of greenhouse tomatoes, after receiving $2.5 million in Phase 2 funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). Sollum is partnering on the project with SAVOURA Group (Sainte-Sophie, QC), Prism Farms (Leamington, ON) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrow Research and Development Centre (Harrow, ON). Sollum Technologies

Meanwhile, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's (CPPIB) Alpha Generation Lab and New York-based encrypted analysis company Inpher will form an ecosystem of collaborators to create a network for secure data analysis. Through this collaboration, CPPIB will work with organizations to incorporate new data sources into forecasting and investment decision-making, while keeping that data private and secure. CPPIB

NOVA Chemicals (Calgary) and clean tech company Enerkem (Montreal) are advancing their chemical recycling technology to the pilot stage thanks in part to $4.5 million in funding from Alberta Innovates’ Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (“TIER”) Economic Recovery Program. The funds will help expedite construction of a pilot-scale reactor system that converts synthesis gas produced from used, non-recyclable and non-compostable plastics to feedstocks for virgin-grade plastics. NOVA Chemicals


CPPIB is investing $536 million in VerSe Innovation, an Indian content technology platform company that raised over USD $100 million from Google, Microsoft and others in December 2020. VerSe operates one of India’s largest local language content platforms and one of the country’s largest short video platforms. The funds will be used to strengthen VerSe Innovation’s position in the local language content space in India by enhancing its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities and broadening its offerings to include areas such as e-commerce and live streaming. Benefits Canada

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced an investment of up to $376,200 for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) under the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP). The investment will support a national pilot project that will explore ways for industry to migrate to using sustainable packaging design and material options that enhance recyclability or compostability. GOC

The Government of Ontario is investing $9.5 million to support ecological research in the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario. The five-year agreement will cover implementation of an acid rain recovery program for the Sudbury region, address phosphorus in inland lakes and the Great Lakes, and study the effects of mercury emissions from coal-fired plants in Ontario and the U.S. Government of Ontario

The Ontario government is supporting investments made by Conavi Medical (Toronto; $6.7 million) and ventureLAB (Markham; $3.3 million) with $2.5 million each through the Ontario Together Fund. The projects will help grow local manufacturing capacity, accelerate commercialization of domestic innovations for heart disease and medical technology, and strengthen pandemic preparedness. Government of Ontario

The Ontario government is increasing funding for the Northern Energy Advantage Program (formerly the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate program), from $120 million annually to more than $176 million by 2025 to allow more companies in northern Ontario to fund their electricity costs. The new program will allow more businesses to qualify for funding and removes the $20 million cap for current participants. Government of Ontario

Wawa OSB (Wawa, ON) received a $15-million grant over four years through the Ontario government's Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program to support a new state-of-the-art plant that will produce oriented strand board (OSB). Wawa is investing $181 million to build the OSB plant, which is the third OSB manufacturing facility in Ontario. Government of Ontario

Research Nova Scotia has allocated nearly $1.5 million in funding for 2021-22 research projects at six Nova Scotia universities and healthcare centres through its New Health Investigator Grant. The grant supports early-career health researchers engaged in work that aligns with the province’s health research priorities and aims to provide two years of support of up to $100,000 for researchers who are within the first five years of their academic appointment in Nova Scotia or who are new to the field of health research. RNS list of grantees


Forum IA Québec, the non-profit created as part of Quebec's 2018 Strategy for the Development of Quebec’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem, has launched a platform to serve as a directory of Quebec's AI organizations and as a portal to facilitate AI adoption in the province. Funded by Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the Ministry of International Relations and la Francophonie as well as various AI industry working groups, the Vitrine AI Québec will include a range of tools to help users adopt and integrate AI solutions more quickly. Forum AI

The Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS) opened its new McGill-Concordia Research Data Centre (RDC) lab in February, along with a new Centre d’accès aux données de l’Institut de la Statistique du Québec (CADRISQ). The RDC is one of 33 across Canada. It offers research data from Statistics Canada not available to the general public and ensures they are protected in a way that preserves confidentiality. McGill

The Government of Canada's 2022 National Inventory Report on GHG Emissions reports greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) dropped by 66 megatonnes in 2020, almost nine percent of Canada’s total emissions. It's the first report tracking the impact of the pandemic on emissions in Canada, and findings show a seven megatonne reduction in electricity generation, largely due to the phasing out of coal-fired electricity. Among other findings, the government is on track to meet its 2025 goal to reduce methane from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent below the 2012 level, and the emission intensity of the entire economy has declined by 39 percent since 1990. GOC

Read the full article: Alberta has largest and fastest-growing GHG emissions in Canada, new national report shows

A Royal Bank of Canada agriculture poll conducted by Ipsos Canada shows Canadian agriculture producers are increasingly focused on sustainability, diversity and technological adoption. An overwhelming majority (91%) report that they regularly use technology and data insights to guide decision-making, with a large number intending to further accelerate on-farm technological adoption. Over the next 12 months, about half anticipate introducing new technology to their operations to support functions like data management (55%), digital field, crop, and inventory management (51%), financial planning and cash flow management (47%), and automation (45%). Cision


Arctic researcher Dr. David Barber passed away April 15 following complications from cardiac arrest. He was an influential, accomplished Arctic researcher as well as a distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, the founding director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), and associate dean research of the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources. He also held a Canada research chair in Arctic System Science and Climate Change. UM

Michael Garcia has been announced as the new CEO of Algoma Steel, effective June 1 upon the retirement of current CEO Michael McQuade. McQuade will continue to serve on Algoma's board of directors and Garcia will also join the board concurrent with his appointment as CEO. Algoma

Dr. Bipasha Baruah has been named the new Strategic Focus Western Research Chair at Western University. Baruah is a gender, sexuality and women’s studies professor and joined Western in 2012 as the Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues. Her current research "aims to understand how to ensure a global, low-carbon economy will be more gender-equitable and socially just than its fossil-fuel based predecessor." Western U.

The Agri-Food Innovation Council (AIC) has selected steering committee members for the Call for a National Strategy for Agri-Food Research and Innovation made last September. The committee will be chaired by AIC CEO Serge Buy and will include the following members: Ian Affleck, Vice President, Plant Biotechnology, CropLife Canada; Andrea Brocklebank, Executive Director, Beef Cattle Research Council; Trish Henderson, United Farmers of Alberta; Marie-France MacKinnon, Vice-President, Public Affairs & Communications, Canadian Meat Council; Martin Scanlon, Dean, Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences, University of Manitoba, Member, Deans Council – Agriculture, Food & Veterinary Medicine; Natisha Stashko, Executive Director, Smart Agriculture and Food, Alberta Innovates, and Steven Webb, CEO, Global Institute for Food Security. AIC

Other News

Events For Leaders in
Science, Tech, Innovation, and Policy

Discuss and learn from those in the know at our virtual and in-person events.

See Upcoming Events

Don't miss out - start your free trial today.

Start your FREE trial    Already a member? Log in


By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.