The Short Report - April 6, 2022: Ontario Greens issue supply chain strategy for EVs, federal funding for climate and pandemic research, a review of Canada's Remote Sensing Space Systems Act, and more

Cindy Graham
April 6, 2022


The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are spending $259 million each to support General Motors of Canada as GM starts up production at its Oshawa and Ingersoll assembly plants and launches its first full-scale commercial electric vehicle production facility in Canada. GOC Government of Ontario

The Government of Canada will invest more than $45 million in research projects through two streams of the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). The exploration stream will support 102 research projects in social, cultural, economic, health-related and technological areas, with research teams of two or more receiving grants of up to $250,000 each over two years. Projects being funded include research on flood-resilient and climate-adaptive amphibious housing for Indigenous populations in Canada; the design of root system architectures that improve crop resilience to climate change; and Black creativity in the arts, sciences, technology and business. The NFRF special call on innovative approaches to research in the pandemic context will support 90 research projects that will accelerate the development and testing of new directions in research methodologies. Funded projects include artificial-intelligence-based solutions to facilitate clinical trial enrolment, mobilizing a network of health communicators to investigate and respond to online abuse, and reimagining food systems for a sustainable and equitable future. GOC

RELATED: In advance of Budget 2022, Ottawa announces New Frontiers awards and slew of other research investments

Invest Ontario is planning to contribute up to $40 million towards a new, commercial-scale cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility being built in Hamilton. The new OmniaBio facility will support a range of cell and gene therapy companies from Canada and internationally and will operate as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). It will be located at McMaster Innovation Park and spun out of Toronto’s Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). Government of Ontario

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is investing more than $30 million to provide training and development opportunities to thirteen interdisciplinary teams of early career researchers and trainees. The funding comes through CIHR's Health Research Training Platform and will build research capacity in several areas including women’s health, dementia, kidney disease, diabetes and the mental health of LGBTQ/2S populations. GOC

Minister of Natural Resources Canada Jonathan Wilkinson has announced a combined investment of over $7.5 million in four Alberta organizations advancing emerging clean technologies. The projects include $3 million for Suncor Energy (Fort McMurray); $2 million for Cenovus Energy (Calgary); $1.5 million to MEG Energy (Christina Lake); and $1 million to Seal Well (Calgary). Federal funding was provided through the Clean Growth Program, a $155-million investment in clean technology research, development and demonstration projects in energy, mining and forestry that sunsets this year. GOC

Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), the federal government's new regional development agency dedicated to British Columbia, is contributing $10 million towards Simon Fraser University's AGtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS), which will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to scale-up and commercialize agritech in B.C. PacifiCan is also contributing nearly $2 million to SFU's WearTech Labs, a core facility that works with academia and industry to research and develop wearable technology. SFU

The Green Party of Ontario has released a supply chain strategy for electric vehicles (EVs) which includes plans to scale innovations with a $5-billion EV mobility and green tech innovation fund and $4-billion climate bank, and increase demand for low-emission vehicles with cash incentives. GPO


A team of University of Alberta scientists has joined a global network of more than 900 researchers called LaserNetUS to take advantage of 10 high-power laser facilities across North America. U of A engineering doctoral candidate Chandra Breanne Curry has been appointed the first coordinator of LaserNetUS, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. U of A

Medical image storage and sharing provider PocketHealth (Toronto) has raised $20 million in a Series A financing round led by Questa Capital (Washington, D.C.) and supported by Toronto investor Radical Ventures. PocketHealth plans to scale up its US expansion efforts. BetaKit


An independent review of Canada's Remote Sensing Space Systems Act says the legislation is becoming increasingly irrelevant in light of advancement in the small satellite and remote sensing technology industry. The review, carried out by Ottawa-based Space Strategies Consulting, concludes significant reform is needed if Canada is to keep up with the US and international competitors in realizing the opportunities provided by remote sensing space systems. GOC

A C.D. Howe Institute study says Canada needs to create an Intellectual Property (IP) Box to improve its innovation performance. Study author John Lester says the measure would tax income from patents and other intellectual property at a special low rate that would boost Canada’s flagging business investment in R&D, raise the low commercialization rate, and stem an outflow of IP profits to tax havens. C.D. Howe Institute

The Government of Canada is launching a second cycle of the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS). Led by Statistics Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, the survey aims to understand the impacts of the pandemic on the health and well-being of Canadians, including the prevalence of chronic symptoms and conditions and the challenges that Canadians may have faced in accessing healthcare. GOC


Dr. Barbara Fallon has been appointed the University of Toronto’s associate vice-president, research. Fallon is a professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, holds a Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare, and is an expert in child welfare policies and practice. She will begin the position on May 1 for a five-year term and is tasked with boosting the quality, impact and resourcing of research across U of T's three campuses. U of T

Dr. Brent Wolfe has been appointed acting associate vice-president and dean of the faculty of graduate and postdoctoral studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Wolfe is a former northern research chair with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and has trained more than 50 graduate and postdoctoral researchers in northern environmental science. He will start his new position on July 1. Wilfred Laurier University

Dr. David Muir was appointed inaugural associate vice-president in charge of innovation and strategic partnerships at Western University on Feb. 1. Muir served as director of research and development for the automotive and surface transportation portfolio at the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council. He has two decades of experience in senior roles at 3M Canada, working in research, product development, manufacturing, commercialization and business. Western


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