The Short Report – Feb. 3, 2021: Corporations partner on rapid COVID testing for employees, Conestoga launches national institute for senior care, Lakeland offers Canada's first AgriTech degree, and more

Cindy Graham
February 3, 2021


The Canadian government and COVID-19 vaccine developer Novavax (Maryland) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to produce the Novavax vaccine at the National Research Council's newly-commissioned Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montreal. The centre is to be completed by the end of the year and will have a vaccine production capacity of approximately two million doses per month.– NRC

A consortium of some of Canada’s biggest corporations will begin offering their workers rapid COVID-19 testing. The pilot project is being led by the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, which has partnered with 12 companies, including Air Canada, Suncor, MDA and Rogers Communications.– NYT

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are seeking proposals to encourage vaccine confidence in Canada. A total of $2.25 million is available to non-profit organizations, non-federal museums and science centres, academic institutions and researchers with experience promoting science or health or in combatting vaccine-related misinformation. The deadline is early April, and applicants may request up to $50,000 for a one-year period. – GoC

A bilateral agreement between the Government of Canada and the Yukon government will see the territory receive $3.12 million for 1HealthYukon, its new integrated health information system. The goal is to increase capacity in virtual health care services to Yukon residents. In related news, the two governments are also investing $10.4 million to support patient-oriented research in the Yukon through CIHR’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. – GoC

The Colorado subsidiary of Cambridge, Ontario-based Synergy Disc Replacement has started a US clinical trial for the company’s Synergy disc, a device which helps restore motion and balance in patients with degenerative disc disease. The company says it could be as safe and effective as conventional anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. – Synergy Disc

Gold Sentinel (Waterloo) and the University of Waterloo are working together to improve a fall detection and remote movement system for seniors in long-term care. The system relies on hardware, software and artificial intelligence to monitor and track a resident’s motion, respiration, heart rate and temperature. – Gold Sentinel

The British Columbia Centre on Substance Use has received more than $1.5 million to develop the first national guidelines for healthcare providers to identify and manage high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder and to provide treatment and support to patients throughout their lifetime. – GoC

The Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Kitchener) is launching a new national institute dedicated to senior care. It will be a collaboration led by Dr. Veronique Boscart, the CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care. – Conestoga

Altima Dental (North York) has launched several virtual checkup and monitoring tools that allow patients to take photos of their mouth at home and use artificial intelligence to analyze and assess treatment options, making dental treatment more accessible and creating less COVID-19 contact opportunities. – Cision


Business incubator the Founder Institute (Toronto) has announced a Canadian legal services partnership with international business law firm Torys LLP (Toronto) to help strengthen Canada’s startup ecosystem. – Communitech News

Four Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System projects are the recipients of $3 million in federal funding that will improve ocean conservation and enhance data sharing on a national scale. The University of Victoria will see $820,000 for the Pacific region while St. Lawrence Global Observatory receives $1,020,000 for the St. Lawrence region and Dalhousie University receives $820,000 for the Atlantic region. St. Lawrence Global Observatory will also benefit from $340,000 to streamline data visualization and sharing among the three regions. – GoC

The Canadian and Saskatchewan governments are contributing a combined $4.1 million through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund towards livestock and forage-related research to enhance competition and create future growth in the agricultural industry. They are also awarding nearly $3.5 million for operational costs for the Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization .  – GoC

Lakeland College (Vermillion, Alberta) will offer Canada’s first Agricultural Technology degree starting this fall. The two-year program will see students specializing in either crop or livestock technology applications. Lakeland has received close to $2 million from the Governments of Canada and Alberta to transition its Pulse Agronomy and Beef Production system programs as they aim to prioritize research opportunities for instructors and students and increase industry collaboration. – GoC

The Canadian and British Columbia governments, through the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), are investing $4 million over the next four years to support programs that protect salmon habitats across B.C. A total of 42 projects have received BCSRIF funding, representing an investment of approximately $71 million to protect wild Pacific salmon and secure B.C.’s fish and seafood sector.  – GoC

The Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan has launched the Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory, the first facility in Canada to provide analytical and computational services including genomics (the study of genetic materials), phenomics (the study of an organism’s traits) and bioinformatics (analyses of biological data). It was founded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the National Research Council and the University of Saskatchewan with a strategic investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada to speed up innovation across the agriculture and food sectors. – GIFS


Dr. Baljit Singh is the new vice-president, research at the University of Saskatchewan, effective Feb.1, replacing Dr. Karen Chad, who has served in the position since 2008. Singh spent 17 years at USask, including as associate dean of research for its Western College of Veterinary Medicine (2011-2016) before becoming dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. – USask

Khaled Hassanein has been named the new dean of the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, effective July 1. He is currently associate dean of graduate studies and research for the business faculty, and director of the McMaster Digital Transformation Research Centre. – McMaster

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