The Short Report - Jan. 12, 2022: Chair and vice chairs elected for standing committee on science, Order of Canada appointments, Health Canada's 2021 cannabis survey, and more

Cindy Graham
January 12, 2022


Transport Canada has released updated guidelines for testing automated driving systems (ADS), which will apply to any organization conducting R&D trials of vehicles equipped with ADS. The guidelines are meant to clarify the roles and responsibilities of federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments as they relate to trial organizations and to establish a baseline of best-practices. McMillan

The Government of Canada is making $25 million available for new projects under the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund, one of the initiatives of the $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). Projects must be led by non-profit organizations, be national or multi-regional in scope, and be focused on intersectionally diverse and/or underserved women entrepreneurs while providing business and skills development to support startups, scaleups, supplier diversity or recovery planning. GoC

Health Canada has published the results of its 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey. Among the key findings: 53% reported a legal storefront as their usual source (a 41% increase since 2020) whereas 11% reported obtaining cannabis from a legal online source. Changes in the amount of cannabis used due to COVID-19 seemed to primarily affect younger age groups: 25% of people 25 years and older reported using more cannabis compared to 46% of those aged 16 to 19 years and 40% aged 20 to 24 years. GoC


Evidence for Democracy is launching a policy accelerator program offering early-career researchers skills-based training and opportunities to enable them to participate in the different processes that contribute to public policy, including training in science policy and communication. The program will accept up to 25 researchers from across Canada. Applications to the pilot cohort close January 20th. E4D

Ontario Tech University’s Brilliant Energy Institute (BEI) has joined the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) to serve as headquarters for CGAI’s Energy Security Forum, a think tank focusing on the issue of global energy security. Along with serving as senior advisor to BEI, CGAI CEO Kelly Ogle is leading development of the CGAI office at Ontario Tech with BEI’s Executive Director, Jacquie Hoornweg. Ontario Tech University

University of Waterloo has opened a new aquatic threats research facility to study the impact of climate change on fish stress. The new Waterloo Aquatic Threats in Environmental Research (WATER) facility will simulate and research aquatic stressors and threats, allowing researchers to bridge the gap between lab and fieldwork. Researchers include Drs. Paul Craig, Brian Dixon, Barb Katzenback, Rebecca Rooney, Mark Servos, and Heidi Swanson. The facility was a two-year, $5.2-million project undertaken by UWaterloo's Faculty of Science. UWaterloo

Meanwhile, Blackberry and the University of Waterloo's Water Institute are partnering on an inaugural challenge to engage professors and students in proposing R&D projects "that advance BlackBerry’s technology interests while addressing water-related challenges or opportunities, with particular reference to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Six for Clean Water and Sanitation or related SDG’s." R&D areas of interest to Blackberry include the Internet of Things (IoT) and water; cybersecurity and water; emergency events and water, and greener technology for wastewater treatment. UWaterloo

American pharmaceutical Eli Lilly (Indianapolis) and Edmonton-based Entos Pharmaceuticals have formed an agreement to generate technology to deliver nucleic acid therapies to the central and peripheral nervous system. Nucleic acid-based therapies hold promise in addressing the biologic cause of serious diseases that have significant unmet medical need. Entos will receive an initial payment of $50 million, which includes an equity investment by Lilly and is eligible to receive up to $400 million in potential developmental and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties upon the successful development and commercialization of products for each of the programs under collaboration. Entos


Ottawa-based Assent Compliance, a supply chain sustainability management company, has achieved unicorn status after being valuated at more than $1 billion USD. The company raised $350 million USD in funding led by Vista Equity Partners (Austin, Texas), making it one of the largest raises in Canadian software company history. Assent intends to advance its SaaS platform, expand in Europe and grow its team by 40 percent. Assent Compliance

A nearly $10-million investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) will see four new partners added to Markham-based ventureLAB's Hardware Catalyst Initiative, ventureLAB's incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products. The new partners are Imec (Belgium), Dena Technologies (Burnaby), Micro Interface Design (Markham), and Testforce Systems (Ottawa); they join the Initiative as the demand for chips and sensors continues amid global shortages and production disruptions. Hardware Catalyst Initiative partners have so far committed over $15 million in resources, equipment, expertise, and mentorship for participating companies.

RELATED: CMC Microsystems pitches Ottawa on $120-million chip manufacturing plan amid global shortage

The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are investing more than $9 million in crop research in 2022 to support 55 projects through Saskatchewan's Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). They will include studies on the effect of intercropping on disease levels in various pulse crops, ways to mitigate root rot in peas, and strategies for removing undesirable characteristics of protein ingredients from canola, hemp and flaxseed. In addition to the federal and provincial government commitments, more than $4 million was contributed from ten industry partners, including the Western Grains Research Foundation, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Manitoba Crop Alliance. GoC

Montreal-based Sonoscope closed its first round of funding at $4 million, which it will use to support development of a new medical monitoring device in the training of physicians in point-of-care ultrasound resuscitation. The round was conducted by Groupe Benoît, the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation through Investissement Québec, and with support from Centech of the École de Technologie Supérieure, Catalyst Technology Health, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the National Bank of Canada as well as the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Cision

Research Nova Scotia is contributing nearly $1.5 million to 15 early-career health researchers. Funding will provide two years of support of up to $100,000 to researchers within the first five years of academic appointment or who are new to health research and will expand the research productivity necessary to obtain long term funding. Projects include measuring the effects of vaping on lung health (Sanja Stanojevic; Dalhousie University), an in-vivo assessment of the chronic neuroanatomical and cognitive abnormalities in COVID-19 survivors (Carlos Hernandez-Castillo, Dalhousie University), a low-cost virtual reality neurorehabilitation for chronic stroke (Daniel Blustein, Acadia University) and identifying ALC patients by leveraging machine learning algorithms (Enayat Rajabi, Cape Breton University). RNS


The Government of Ontario has published a statute on its website creating a new agency called Intellectual Property Ontario. The agency was launched following a report issued in early 2020 by a panel of IP lawyers, professors and experts to study how effectively Ontario-funded institutions were commercializing ideas. According to The Globe and Mail, the agency will "encourage the development, protection and commercialization of intellectual property in the province." G&M


Kirsty Duncan was elected chair of the new Standing Committee on Science and Research at its December 14th session, while Corey Tochor and Maxime Blanchette-Joncas were elected vice-chairs. The Standing Committee on Science and Research was created in May based on a motion put forward by Duncan to study matters relating to science and research, including any reports of the Chief Science Advisor. House of Commons Recent Business Members and Associate Members

RELATED: Parliament votes to create a new committee to spotlight science and research issues

Governor General Mary Simon announced 135 new appointments to the Order of Canada, an honour to recognize achievements, dedication to community and service to the nation. This year's appointees include a number of recipients in health and science: Mehran Anvari (leadership in telerobotic surgery), Carl-Éric Aubin (creating innovative diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools to build bridges between engineering and musculoskeletal medicine), Barry D. Bultz (contributions to the field of psychosocial oncology), Pieter Cullis (advancing biomedical research and drug development, and for mentorship of the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs), Connie J. Eaves (advancing understanding of cancer development, and for national and international leadership in stem cell biology) and Cara Tannenbaum (for leadership in geriatrics, women’s health and gender research, and for inter-professional collaborations to optimize healthy aging across the lifespan). Full list of appointees

Dr. Suzanne Fortier has announced that she is stepping down from her second term as principal and vice chancellor of McGill University on August 31. Prior to her appointment in September, 2013, Fortier served as the President of NSERC for seven years. McGill is forming an advisory committee to identify and recommend candidates for the role to the Board of Governors. McGill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made changes in the senior ranks of the public service recently, including the following: Jean-François Tremblay, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, became Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development effective January 10. John Hannaford, former Deputy Minister of International Trade, became Deputy Minister of Natural Resources effective January 10. Paul Thompson, former Associate Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, became Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, effective January 11. Francis Bilodeau, former Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategy and Innovation Policy Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, became Associate Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, effective January 10. Paul Samson, former Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, became Associate Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, effective January 10, 2022, and Martine Dubuc, Associate Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has retired. GoC


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