The Short Report - August 11, 2021: A feasibility study to export blue hydrogen from Alberta to Asia, tech to reduce pesticide use, and more

Cindy Graham
August 11, 2021


The Government of Canada has established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with COVID-19 vaccine developer Moderna to build a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine production facility in Canada as part of Ottawa's recently announced biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy, which aims to establish a competitive, domestic life-sciences sector and ensure Canada is prepared for future health emergencies and pandemics. – GoC

The University of Waterloo is partnering with Western University, the City of Kitchener and medical technology startup centre Medical Innovation Xchange to establish a health tech innovation hub that serves the southwestern Ontario region. FedDev Ontario is investing $10 million in the project, which takes advantage of the network of health tech companies setting up in the area and will allow them to connect with UWaterloo's planned Innovation Arena and Western University, combining the digital technology acceleration strengths of the Waterloo region with the research hospital-based assets of the London region. – GoC

The Government of Canada has halted increases in maximum residue limits (MRLs) for glysophate and other pesticides to allow time for the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to review and modernize the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), which was last updated in 2002. Meanwhile, Ottawa will contribute $42 million to strengthen PMRA's safety oversight and increase transparency, $7 million to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and $1 million to Environment and Climate Change Canada to accelerate the R&D and adoption of alternative pest control solutions. – GoC


The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the federal government have agreed to establish an environmental science and stewardship secretariat to coordinate stewardship activities and scientific research and analysis in the Burrard Inlet. The agreement includes a $20-million investment over ten years to maintain the Burrard Inlet Environmental Science and Stewardship Fund, which will be managed by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation's Treaty Lands and Resources Department and will include scientific research and analysis, restoration, planning and other science-based activities. – Cision

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is providing more than $23 million in R&D funding to support collaborations between its scientists and partners in academia and industry. Funding will flow through the NRC’s Ideation Fund initiatives, challenge programs and the Supercluster support programs. Funded projects cover a wide range of social and technology challenges, including: developing high-quality plant protein crops, developing precision-engineered cell and gene therapies for chronic diseases and rare genetic disorders, expanding broadband internet service in rural and remote areas, and developing smart manufacturing in ground and aerospace equipment. Federal funding for NRC collaborations was initially announced in Budget 2018. – GoC

The Protein Industries Canada supercluster is investing more than $2 million towards the creation of a project that will build provincial and regional databases and connect them to a national network of Canada’s leading food and beverage associations. The Food Convergence Innovation (FCI) Canada – Food and Beverage Supply Chain Project will be led by McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics along with a national consortium including Food and Beverage Canada, Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ), Food & Beverage Atlantic, Food and Beverage Ontario, Food & Beverage Manitoba, BC Food & Beverage, Bivizio and the University of Ottawa. These organizations are together investing $500,000 into the project for a total project value of $2.7 million. – PIC

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor) will function as an independent agency after having operated since 1987 as an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The decision was made in response to feedback and support from community and business leaders in the region. – GoC

The Government of Canada plans to invest up to nearly $4 million to develop a first-of-a-kind technology to reduce pesticide use and the loss of crops. Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriInnovate Program, the new system developed by Ecoation Innovative Solutions (Vancouver) will help identify crop stress and allow commercial greenhouse growers to target or reduce pesticide use, limit crop loss and improve greenhouse productivity. – GoC

The federal government is opening calls for front-end engineering design (FEED) studies to advance carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology in Canada. The call is funded through the Energy Innovation Program which funds research, development and demonstration projects to advance clean energy technologies to help Canada meet its climate change targets while supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. – GoC

Forestry R&D centre FPInnovations (Montreal) will receive more than $2 million through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Region's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. The contribution will go towards the purchase of equipment for R&D and technology transfers to small and medium-sized forestry businesses in Quebec. – Cision

An engineering team at the University of Waterloo headed by Dr. Sebastian Fischmeister has received just over $400,000 through Natural Resources Canada's Cyber Security and Critical Energy Infrastructure Program to develop an enhanced system to mitigate security threats to Canada's critical energy infrastructure. The project is backed by Bruce Power and Palitronica, a startup company with roots in Fischmeister’s lab, for a combined investment of over $830,000 in the project. – UWaterloo GoC

The Canadian division of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas Energy is partnering with Japan’s Itochu Corporation on a feasibility study to build a $1.3- billion petrochemical plant in central Alberta that would export hydrogen to Asian markets and produce approximately 1 million tonnes of ammonia per year that would capture carbon in the process. Ammonia is an efficient way to transport hydrogen because it can be converted by the end user into hydrogen for a fuel source. Last April, federal, provincial and municipal governments contributed funding of more than $2.25 million to launch the Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB, the first of its kind in Canada and a blueprint for replication in other regions across the country. – Calgary Herald

Related: Three levels of government provide more than $2 million to launch Canada's first hydro hub in Alberta

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions is contributing $2 million towards startup ethanol producer 96 Plus (Sherbrooke, QC), which will give Canadian businesses access to a locally-produced, high-purity pharmaceutical and food-grade supply of ethanol based on Canadian, U.S. and European standards. The funding was awarded under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, which targets entrepreneurs who leverage innovation to scale their businesses and make them more competitive. – GoC

Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O'Toole has announced that a Conservative government would fund the creation of a Quebec R&D centre on food self-sufficiency, citing food security as a fundamental issue for Canadians on his summer tour ahead of the anticipated federal election announcement. – CBC


Dylan Jones, deputy minister of Western Economic Diversification and the former CEO of the Canada West Foundation is the new president of the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and interim president of Prairies Economic Development Canada, effective August 6, 2021. Paul Halucha, the assistant secretary to the Cabinet, Economic and Regional Development Policy, Privy Council Office will become associate deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change on August 16, 2021. The announcements were made as part of Prime Minister Trudeau's changes in the senior ranks of the public service on August 6, 2021. – GoC

Irena Creed has been appointed the University of Toronto Scarborough’s new vice-principal, research and innovation for a five-year term. Creed led strategic initiatives to support research areas at the University of Saskatchewan, where she served as executive director (dean), associate vice-president research and special adviser to the president on sustainability. A renowned ecosystem scientist, she was also a professor at USask's School of Environment and Sustainability. – U of T

Public data expert Andy Best has been appointed special advisor by the Ontario government as the province develops a provincial data authority. Best is CEO and co-founder of the Civic Digital Network, a non-profit that supports public institutions in adopting digital infrastructure. – Government of Ontario

Former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan and former Conservative Party deputy leader Lisa Raitt are co-chairing an advisory council that is seeking perspectives on Canada's economic future and leading the Coalition for a Better Future a movement of businesses, organizations and Canadians who want to develop an economic vision for Canada. Council members include Lightspeed founder Dax Dasilva, former Desjardins Group CEO Monique Leroux, and Suncor CEO Mark Little. Research and innovation organizations including the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, the Council of Canadian Innovators, the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, the Smart Prosperity Institute, the Institute for Research on Public Policy and Innovative Medicines Canada are also members. – Cision

Tyler McCann and Al Mussell have joined the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) as managing director and part-time research coordinator, respectively. Tülay Yildirim, who spent five years at CAPI after a career in agricultural policy research, retired at the end of May. – CAPI

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