The Short Report, April 22, 2020: Ottawa extends graduate research scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships; McGill prepares to decarbonize its investment pool; and more

Mark Mann
April 22, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced $9 billion in financial aid for post-secondary students, who will be eligible for up to $1750 a month from May through August, to compensate for the lack of summer jobs. Students can also earn money from the federal government for volunteering. Trudeau also raised the maximum weekly amount that can be provided through the Canada student loans program in 2020-2021 to $350 from $210; added more than $75 million in additional supports for Indigenous post-secondary students; and released another $291 million to extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships and supplement existing federal research grants. "The funding announced today addresses Canadian research trainees’ economic hardships due to pandemic-related closures and pressures and will help maintain our ability to compete for, train, and retain highly skilled talent," Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement. - CBC

McGill University’s Board of Governors received recommendations from the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) for a plan to accelerate the decarbonization of the McGill Investment Pool (MIP). The actions include removing investments from highly carbon-intensive companies, strengthening investment in clean technologies, and increasing the number of fund managers who practice socially responsible investing (SRI). - McGill

The Royal Society of Canada's Task Force on COVID-19 has published the first two articles in a series on the broad societal challenges facing Canadians as a result of the pandemic. The first, by RSC’s past president Chad Gaffield, discusses the challenges of relying on virtual capacity in order to support physical distancing measures; the second, by Don Redelmeier and Jonathan Zipursky, looks at public perceptions of risk during COVID-19 based on an analysis of polling data from Ipsos. - RSC

Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster announced the first investments in projects submitted to its COVID-19 Program. The supercluster is investing $60 million in solutions to health and safety problems created by COVID-19. Of the 300 submissions received, four projects have been selected for the first round of funding: a cloud-based network for secure data-sharing developed by Toronto's DNAstack; a tool for forecasting emerging pandemics by Finger Food Advanced Technology Group; an e-grocery management system by Food-X Technologies; and a generative artificial intelligence application to identify approved medications that can be repurposed for COVID-19 treatment, developed by Variational AI and adMare BioInnovations. - Newswire

The Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN) launched a survey of Canadian graduate students to understand how they are being affected by COVID-19, covering their experiences related to working from home, health and wellness, teaching and course requirements, research, and funding. The survey is intended to ensure the availability of evidence for efforts to support graduate students.- TSPN

The Toronto-based investor relations software company Q4 Inc raised $25 million in debt financing from CIBC Innovation Banking to grow its team, improve its platform, and pursue “inorganic growth opportunities.” - BetaKit

The federal government is tightening its foreign investment rules and more carefully examining direct investments — especially by state-owned companies or investors with ties to foreign governments — in Canadian companies involved with public health or critical supply chains during COVID-19. “As we look at challenges around supply chains for essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as we strengthen our own domestic industry and production, we wouldn’t want a foreign investor to be able to take that production that is being made for Canadians in this moment of crisis and send it overseas,” Trudeau said during a news conference. - The Globe and Mail

Pharmacologist Dr. Lauren Kelly (PhD), physician Dr. Ramy Saleh and colleagues launched, a Canadian patient portal that matches those seeking to participate in a research project with physicians and investigators working on trials. - Think Research

Ontario launched a COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund with $20 million to support medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The investment is part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together website.

The non-profit organization Techlink Innovation Exchange waived subscription fees for any company that signs onto its intellectual property network in 2020. Techlink provides qualification, introduction and matching services to holders of IP, in order to ease the “deadly bottleneck in the manufacture of critical COVID-19 equipment.” Techlink also promotes cross discipline exchanges to help companies in various sub-sectors get to know each other. - Canadian Lawyer Magazine


Macky Tall was promoted to head of private equity and infrastructure at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Tall was a lead architect of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) in the greater Montreal area. Tall is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra, a CDPQ subsidiary whose mandate is to plan, execute and operate public infrastructure projects. Prior to joining CDPQ in 2004, Tall held senior management positions with companies in the energy and finance sectors, namely Hydro-Québec, MEG International, Novergaz and Probyn & Company. - Journal de Montreal, CDPQ

Jane Rowe will take the new role of Vice-Chair, Investments at the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board. Rowe, who joined Ontario Teachers’ as head of private equity in 2010, will provide advice and counsel on the US portfolio. Under her leadership, net assets managed by the Equities team have grown from $11 billion to $47 billion. - OTPP

Michael Zych has been appointed independent director of Flow Capital, which provides minimally dilutive capital to emerging growth businesses. Zych is an active advisor and angel investor to the Canadian start-up ecosystem. Previously, he served as Global Head of Fixed Income, Global Banking, and Markets for Scotiabank. - MarketWatch

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