Canadian Nuclear Laboratories , Eavor Technologies , Export Development Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada , Varian, AbCellera Biologics, adMare BioInnovations, Angus Reid Group , Astronomy North, Ballard Power Systems, Barclays, Boann Social Impact, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Space Agency, CAP Finance, China Fusion Corp., China National Nuclear Corp, City of Yellowknife, Conduent, Constellation Software, DACK, Emissions Reduction Alberta, Enthusiast Gaming, Entropy Inc., Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, Farmers Edge Inc., Federal Court of Canada, General Fusion, Government of Nova Scotia, Government of Onario, Government of Saskatchewan, Harvard University, HarveyCorp., Health Canada, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Hydro Quebec, Inspire Bio Innovations, Institute of Governance, Jobber, Ksi Lisims LNG Limited Partnership, London School of Economics, Lynk Global, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Modaxo, NFI Group , Nisga'a Nation, Nova Scotia Health, Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Wet Lab Coalition, Operto Guest Technologies, Palo Alto Networks , Public Service Commission of Canada , Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Realize Capital Partners, Research Manitoba, Rockies LNG Limited Partnership, Rocscience, Rogers, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, Shell, Siemens Healthineers, Solartility Inc., SpaceX, Start Alberta, Sustainable Development Technology Canada , T-Mobile, TA Associates, The Conference Board of Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, University of Calgary, University of Pennsylvania, University of Waterloo, University of Winnipeg, Untether AI, Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, Western LNG, and Xplore



The Short Report: January 10, 2024

Research Money
January 10, 2024


Nova Scotia Health will invest up to $224 million over the next 10 years in a partnership with  Varian, a U.S.-based Siemens Healthineers company that provides cancer care technologies. The 10-year multidisciplinary oncology partnership includes utilizing artificial intelligence in digital imaging, aimed at modernizing the way cancer care is delivered in the province and around the world. The partnership will provide Nova Scotia with new, state-of-the-art equipment and software to expand the ongoing oncology transformation project across the province. Provincial health authority Nova Scotia Health’s investment includes $175 million to purchase hardware, software and digital solutions and services, and $49 million for renovations to accommodate new equipment and create new positions to support the project. Varian has committed up to $50 million over 19 years to open a new office in Halifax that will create at least 60 jobs. Government of Nova Scotia

Emissions Reduction Alberta awarded Solartility Inc., a Calgary-based renewable energy utility provider, and the University of Calgary $3.1 million for a new agrivoltaics research facility. Agrivoltaics is the simultaneous use of land for both agricultural production and solar energy generation. (Photo at right by Bradley Heins, associate professor of organic-dairy management at the University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center). Agrivoltaics is currently used with various types of crop production and to a limited extent with sheep and dairy cattle. But very little research has occurred using agrivoltaics on cattle ranches. Agrivoltaics initiatives have the flexibility to arrange solar panels in different configurations tailored to the requirements of the animals or crops that co-exist with the solar installation. For this project, solar panels will be positioned in vertical rows, ensuring ample space between the rows to facilitate grazing for cattle. This practice is called solar grazing. The project will be built at W. A. Ranches, a 19,000-acre ranch in the Alberta foothills that was donated to UCalgary in 2018 for teaching and learning purposes. UCalgary 


Ballard Power Systems in Vancouver announced a long-term supply agreement with Winnipeg-based NFI Group, a bus and coach manufacturer. Under the agreement, NFI placed its first order for a minimum 100 fuel cell power modules – to be delivered this year – for use in hydrogen fuel cell buses. The modules will primarily be produced in Ballard’s Bend, Oregon facility with Buy America compliance, and will power NFI subsidiary New Flyer’s next-generation Xcelsior CHARGE FC™ hydrogen fuel cell buses for deployment across the U.S. and Canada, including California, Manitoba, Nevada, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ballard Power Systems

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. could invest upwards of $18.4 billion in an electric vehicle plant in Canada that could also produce batteries, according to a report by a Japanese news outlet. According to Nikkei Asia, Honda is looking at several sites, including next to its existing facility in Alliston, Ontario, with a potential investment decision expected by the end of this year. A spokesperson for Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne did not confirm whether any talks were going on between the company and the government. Champagne said in a statement that the news report about Honda’s potential investment is a “testament to Canada’s growing reputation as a green supplier of choice and global EV leader,” and “speaks to the quality of workforce and the strength of our industry.” The Nikkei report said the abundance of renewable energy in the country is part of the reason Honda is considering Canada. In December, the federal government mandated that all passenger vehicle sales would be electric by 2035. A Honda Global team will be in Canada this week to meet with senior federal government officials, according to a CBC News report. CTV News

Ksi Lisims LNG Limited Partnership, a co-development of the Nisga’a Nation, Calgary-based Rockies LNG Limited Partnership, and Western LLG in Houston, announced the signing of a 20-year LNG sale and purchase agreement with Shell. Under the agreement, Shell will purchase 2 million tonnes of liquified natural gas per year from the Ksi Lisims LNG project. It is the first LNG sales agreement executed by Ksi Lisims. Ksi Lisim’s project would utilize two floating LNG production and storage units build by Samsung Heavy Industries and an all-electric (utilizing hydropower) process technology developed by Black & Veatch. The facility, designed to produce 12 million tonnes per year of LNG, will be the lowest-emitting LNG liquefaction facility in the world, Ksi Lisim said. The facility will be built on Nisga’a Nation-owned land on the norther tip of Pearse Island on the B.C. coast north of Prince Rupert. KSI Lisims LNG

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the first set of Starlink satellites that can beam wireless phone signals from space directly to smartphones. U.S.-based wireless carrier T-Mobile will use the Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with network access in parts of the U.S. In Canada, Rogers has a deal with SpaceX  and Lynk Global to use the Starlink satellites for cellphone service. The service will start with texting capabilities and expand in the coming years to full data and voice communications. Reuters

The Government of Ontario selected New Brunswick-based Xplore and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to respond to a request for proposals to deliver satellite internet service for about 43,000 homes and businesses across the province. As the first competitive process of its kind in Canada, Ontario's Satellite Program will leverage modern technology to provide high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved homes and businesses across rural Ontario where fibre optic or fixed wireless services are not available. The two satellite internet providers were selected based on criteria identified through a request for qualifications process that began in August 2023. Selection criteria included technical, financial and other requirements to deliver a program of this size and complexity. A successful bidder is expected to be announced this summer. Infrastructure Ontario

Winnipeg-based Farmers Edge Inc., an ag-tech company, announced it signed a letter of intent to be acquired by and taken private by Toronto-headquartered Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. The agreement comes after Fairfax proposed in November to take Farmers Edge private for 25 cents per share, which Fairfax has now increased to 35 cents per share. The deal is subject to final approval by Fairfax and negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement satisfactory to both parties. The higher offer from Fairfax still represents about a 98-per-cent discount from Farmer’s Edge 2021 initial public offering price of $17 per share. Farmers Edge

TA Associates, a Boston-headquartered global private equity firm, made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Toronto-based Rocscience Inc. which specializes in geotechnical software for 2D and 3D modelling, simulation and analysis of rock and soil behaviour. More than 10,000 customers across 120 countries use Rocscience's technology, the company said.. Rocscience

Vancouver-based Operto Guest Technologies, a hospitality software company, announced an agreement to acquire Los Angeles-based DACK, which offers guest experience technology to create a guest experiences for the short-term rental, vacation rental and boutique hotel sectors. It is the most recent deal for Operto, which acquired Spanish company STAYmyway in 2022 and VRScheduler in Leavenworth, Washington, in 2021. Operto 

Toronto-based Constellation Software’s people and transportation division, Modaxo, announced an agreement to acquire New Jersey-based Conduent’s curbside management and public safety business. The deal is worth approximately US$260 million, according to Conduent’s public filing. Conduent’s curbside management business provides parking management systems to the public sector, while its public safety business provides traffic management, such as automated photo enforcement for speed and red-light violations process, to its government clients. In 2022, Volaris Group, an operating group of Constellation Software, acquired cybersecurity firm Bravura Security (previously known as Hitachi ID Systems), including Bravura’s single identity, privileged access, password and passwordless management platform. Constellation Software

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) plans to select the site for Canada’s $26-billion deep geological repository for nuclear waste by late this year. Millions of bundles of used nuclear fuel will be placed 500 metres underground, in a network of rooms connected by cavernous tunnels. There are two candidate sites: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario, and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario. The municipalities and First Nations are planning votes this year, more than 20 years into the process to move ahead with a deep geological repository. Both the municipality and the First Nation in the area of either proposed site must confirm willingness to host the repository before the NWMO will proceed. The NWMO estimates that regulatory approvals will take about 10 years, and then construction will take 10 years. NWMO was established under federal legislation in 2020 and is funded by the corporations that generate nuclear power and waste, including Ontario Power Generation and Hydro-Quebec. The current fleet of nuclear reactors in Canada will produce about 5.5 million used fuel bundles, with about 3.2 million already in either wet or dry storage on site at nuclear plants. CTV News

China unveiled a new national company and formed a broad coalition of industrial giants to advance research in nuclear fusion technology. The goal of the consortium, led by China National Nuclear Corp., is targeting nuclear fusion development through high-temperature superconductors, large-capacity energy storage and tritium production, according to a statement by the corporation. The consortium comprises 25 central government-owned enterprises and research institutes, including some of the country’s largest energy and steel firms. China also announced it is preparing to form China Fusion Corp., with the aim of leading the industry’s development. China is a member of the 35-nation, $25-billion nuclear fusion power research project, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, and is also running its own studies in the southwestern city of Chengdu. Canada’s fusion community has produced a “roadmap” to deploy a demonstration fusion power plant. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and Vancouver-based fusion developer General Fusion have an agreement with a goal to construct a commercial power plant before 2030. Bloomberg


Toronto-based Realize Capital Partners announced its first nine investments, committing total capital of $35.2 million to nine direct investors. The recipients include six social and environmental impact-focused technology financiers from across Canada. They include Idealist Capital, Maple Bridge Ventures, PaceZero Capital Partners, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, Relentless Pursuit Partners, and The51, along with three other organizations. Realize Capital Partners didn’t disclose how much each organization will receive. Realize – a joint venture between Rally Assets, a Toronto impact investment management and advisory organization, and early-stage venture capital firm Relay Ventures – is one of three fund-of-fund managers chosen by the federal government to deploy the $775-million Social Finance Fund (SSF). The federal fund was announced in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement and launched in mid-2023. The other two SSF distributors are Boann Social Impact, and CAP Finance. BetaKit

Alberta’s tech sector in 2023 nearly matched 2022’s record levels of venture capital and private equity investment, according to early figures from Start Alberta. Alberta posted about $1.17 billion in VC and private equity investment, compared with the approximately $1.2 billion in 2022. Early numbers (more precise figures are expected in February) show Alberta overperformed in a year in which most tech hubs continued to see lower investment compared with the mid-pandemic highs. At the end of the third quarter, Canada’s overall tech sector had posted 494 deals – close to pre-pandemic numbers but well behind the pace needed to reach the 926 total deals in 2021. Mega-deals valued at $100 million or more are taking up an increasingly large bulk of overall investment dollars in Alberta, with about $585 million worth of deals valued at or higher than that mark. Among the big investments were Entropy Inc., which in December received a $200-million investment and a carbon contract from the Canada Growth Fund (CGF), geothermal company Eavor Technologies Inc.’s $90-million investment in November from the CGF, and Edmonton-based Jobber in February closing a $100-million Series D funding round. Calgary Herald


This week’s issue of Innovation This Week includes a story about the need for Canada’s life sciences industry to establish anchor firms. Another major challenge for the sector – as Research Money reported nearly a year ago – is a shortage across most of the country of specialized “wet” laboratory space needed by startups and scaling companies. Gordon McCauley, president and CEO of adMare BioInnovation Solutions, a nonprofit organization that helps build life sciences companies, ecosystems and talent, said the market is now doing a good job of responding to the wet lab shortage. In B.C.’s life sciences industry, new projects by companies and organizations include: AbCellera Biologics’ 380,000-sq-ft headquarters expansion in Vancouver; the City Centre 4 project in Surrey’s Health and Technology District, and a new wet lab facility in Vancouver to support biotech startups – a joint project between the B.C. government and adMare BioInnovation Solutions. In Toronto’s life sciences industry, where the wet lab shortage is particularly acute, the second phase of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society facility will add 650,000 sq ft of AI and life sciences space. Another project, a new seven-storey life sciences laboratory building in Toronto’s lower Junction area, is scheduled for tenants to move in by the first quarter of 2025. While there are a total of 2.7 million sq ft of proposed life sciences projects in Ontario, the earliest occupancy for most is 2026-27 – if they proceed, according to the Ontario Wet Lab Coalition. Developers are having trouble finding anchor tenants who’ll commit to leases for such large blocks of space with such long delivery timelines. In Montreal, significant new projects announced this year include the 180,000-sq-ft Inspire Bio Innovations life sciences centre in the university district, and life sciences building specialist HarveyCorp.’s project to convert and expand space in office buildings to accommodate 300,000 sq ft of research labs and create a life sciences campus in the Cité de la Biotech in Laval. R$, The Globe and Mail

Two board directors at Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) have stepped down, further depleting a board that came under scrutiny after an investigation showed evidence of lax governance at the federal government’s main funding agency for cleantech. Judith Athaide and Jill Earthy left the organization, after the departures of board chair Annette Verschuren, CEO Leah Lawrence and board director Jessica McDonald late last year. Athaide, who serves on several boards including Canada Pension Plan Investments, had been an SDTC director since 2018. Earthy, who is CEO of InBC Investment Corp., had been on SDTC’s board since 2019. Last October, an investigation by accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton into SDTC, ordered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, produced a report that showed evidence of inappropriate funding, conflict-of-interest breaches and human resources shortcomings. The probe was triggered by allegations made by a whistle-blower group of current and former SDTC employees. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne has suspended SDTC’s ability to provide funding to cleantech entrepreneurs. He has said the freeze will remain in place until he is satisfied that the board has instituted a series of corrective measures he ordered, and that a separate investigation into workplace practices is completed to his satisfaction. With the latest departures, SDTC now has 11 directors. Champagne has yet to appoint a new chair. The Globe and Mail

Health Canada is cautioning Canadian drug makers against exporting scarce prescription drugs to the U.S., after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the state of Florida’s plan to import select prescription drugs in bulk. “The Government of Canada is taking all necessary action to safeguard the drug supply and ensure Canadians have access to the prescription drugs they need and has been clear in its position: bulk importation will not provide an effective solution to the problem of high drug prices in the U.S.,” Health Canada said. Regulations have been implemented under the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit certain drugs intended for the Canadian market from being sold for consumption outside of Canada if that sale could cause, or worsen, a drug shortage in Canada, Health Canada said. This includes all drugs that are eligible for bulk importation to the U.S., including those identified in Florida’s bulk importation plan, or any other U.S. state’s future importation programs. Health Canada said it is actively monitoring the Canadian drug supply and will continue to ensure that Canadians have access to the drugs that they need. Health Canada

SaskEnergy and SaskPower will remove the federal carbon tax from home heating starting January 1, 2024, Crown Investments Corporation Minister Dustin Duncan said in a December 28 statement. “Our government is ensuring fairness for Saskatchewan families by removing the federal carbon tax on natural gas and electric heat, just as the federal government has done for families in Atlantic Canada by removing the carbon tax on heating oil,” Duncan said. The removal of the carbon tax from SaskEnergy bills will save the average Saskatchewan family approximately $400 in 2024, according to the Saskatchewan government. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in November that Saskatchewan’s public utility, SaskPower, would stop collecting the federal tax on homes heated by natural gas, and the cost of the carbon tax would be discounted on the bills for 30,000 homes that use electric hearing. Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has warned it would be illegal for Saskatchewan to stop remitting the carbon tax on natural gas for home heating. SaskPower could face stiff fines for not remitting the tax, while its executives could face jail time, according to legal experts. Government of Saskatchewan

The MacDonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) named Steven Guilbeault, federal minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the MLI Policy-maker of the year for 2023. In 2023, Guilbeault introduced four “sector-destroying, economy-killing, counterproductive climate policies. He pushed through his agenda with ruthless efficiency,” said the editors of MLI’s Inside Policy magazine, which featured Guilbeault on the cover of its December issue with the headline: “Ruthless, reckless and damaging.” Heather Exner-Pirot, MLI’s director of energy, natural resources, and environment, wrote in the magazine’s cover article: “No one else in Canada has been as influential, and, in my view, no one else has done so much damage.” She listed four “sector-destroying polices” she blamed on Guilbeault: a cap on oil and gas industry emissions, labelling plastic manufactured items as toxic, Clean Electricity Standards, and the Clean Fuel Standard. “Guilbeault is a threat to Canada’s prosperity, and to our allies’ too,” Exner-Pirot wrote. MacDonald-Laurier Institute

Steven Guilbeault, minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), launched a consultation on the creation of the Federal Plastics Registry, which will be used as a tool to monitor and track plastic from the time it is produced to its end of life. This is another step to deliver on Canada’s comprehensive plan to reduce plastic pollution and waste, ECCC said. The Registry would require producers to report annually on the quantity and types of plastic they place on the Canadian market, how that plastic moves through the economy, and how it is managed at end of life. The Registry would collect information to help monitor plastic in the economy over time. The federal government would use this information to measure progress toward zero plastic waste and inform actions to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The consultation is open to Canadians and all interested parties until February 13,  2024. In 2019, Canadians threw away 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste, only nine per cent of which was recycled, ECCC said. Environment and Climate Change Canada

Just 18 per cent of more than 1,344 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses surveyed by The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), in partnership with Export Development Canada, are measuring carbon emissions and only 15 per cent have set net-zero targets. The actions SMEs are currently undertaking mostly relate to increased recycling, reducing waste and improving energy efficiency, according to a report by the CBoC. It found that the top two challenges hindering the implementation of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies were cost considerations and limited resources and staff. “The reality remains that most surveyed SMEs simply don’t have the resources on their own to pursue significant and lasting emission-reduction measures,” the report said. SMEs identified financial support and lending as the most significant factor to enable them to implement a GHG-reduction strategy. Other factors mentioned were training and help to comply with government GHG regulations. A total of 58.9 per cent of SME respondents said implementing a GHG-reduction strategy would be costly for their business. About 40 per cent of respondents said measuring GHG emissions would be bad for their business’s bottom line and would put them at a competitive disadvantage. The survey found that smaller businesses and those with comparatively lower annual sales are lagging in taking action. In terms of sectors, manufacturing, mining, business services, and utilities are further along in reducing their GHGs, while the construction, agriculture, and government sectors are lagging. The report calls for tailored information that boosts knowledge and capabilities among SMEs, clarifies regulatory frameworks, and leverage external professional consultants to help SMEs. Conference Board of Canada

Canadians mid-market companies (more than 100 employees) paid on average more than $1.13 million in ransomware attacks on their IT systems and corporate data in 2023 – an increase of nearly 150 per cent in two years, according to a survey of IT decision-makers by the Angus Reid Group conducted for California-headquartered cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks. Thirty-four per cent of organizations paid the ransom, compared with 45 per cent in 2021. The average ransom demanded in 2023 rose by 102 per cent, to more than $906,000, up from just under $450,000 in 2021. Fifty-three per cent of businesses that paid ransom in 2023 paid more than $500,000 – a 29-per-cent increase compared with 2021. Thirty-five per cent of Canadian businesses were hit by ransomware in 2023, compared with 37 per cent in 2021, a slight decline. “The decrease in the number of attacks may very well be the result of more organizations taking a proactive approach in modernizing and updating their security infrastructure and refusing to pay ransoms,” the survey said. As with the 2021 survey, more than half (58 per cent) of businesses said it took more than a month to recover from the attack.

Organizations in Quebec appear to be the most targeted in Canada with 43 per cent of respondents saying they were hit with a ransomware attack. Organizations in British Columbia are most likely to pay ransoms as 42 per cent of those hit with ransomware paid, followed by Quebec (35 per cent) and Alberta (31 per cent). Conversely, organizations in Atlantic Canada (five per cent) and Manitoba (eight per cent) were least likely to pay ransoms. Businesses in the manufacturing sector appear to be targeted significantly more than other sectors, with 47 per cent of respondents saying they have been hit with an attack; followed by construction (38 per cent) and healthcare + pharma (35 per cent) sectors. Only 18 per cent of organizations in the public sector have been impacted by ransomware. More than two-thirds of respondents (69 per cent) believe the emergence of more AI technologies has increased the threat level to their organizations. Conversely, only two per cent of respondents believe AI will decrease the threat to organizations.

More than two-thirds of IT decision-makers (70 per cent) believe the federal government has a responsibility to help businesses protect against the latest threats. Currently, 25 per cent believe the government is doing enough to help businesses protect themselves against cybersecurity threats. One in five (20 per cent) IT decision makers believe Canadian institutions – both public and private sector – are well prepared for a cyber threat from a nation-backed threat group, while 34 per cent believe they’re not. When asked what actions can be taken to help improve Canadians cybersecurity posture, almost three-quarters (74 per cent) believe cybersecurity compliance for organizations should be mandated by the federal government. Palo Alto Networks

The number of federal public service employees continued to increase during the 2022-2023  fiscal year, rising by 16,642 employees to a total of 274,219 employees between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023, according to a Public Service Commission of Canada report. That’s up 6.5 per cent from the previous fiscal year and up about 40 per cent from FY 2014-2015, according to data from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The federal public service population, categorized as indeterminate (permanent), term, casual, and student, is defined under the Public Service Employment Act. The growth in the number of employees corresponds to an increase in hiring, with 71,200 external hires (hires from outside the federal public service) during the fiscal year – an increase of 6,404 hires (9.9 per cent) compared with the previous year. A total of 8,919 students were hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program in FY2022-2023, an increase of 17.4 per cent compared with the previous year. Hiring through the Post-Secondary Co-op Internship Program also increased year-over-year by 7.2 per cent, to 5,889 hires. Public Service Commission of Canada

Canadian foreign policy in recent years has frequently appeared to be reactive and focused and the current course needs correcting, said the head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We have too often concentrated our efforts on policies designed to produce good feelings instead of on those that will produce good results,” Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said in an end-of-the-year open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Beatty said his recent discussions with officials and local business leaders throughout the Indo-Pacific region “indicated that Canada is increasingly being viewed by our partners in the region as a well-meaning but unserious player on the international stage.” Canada’s continued absence from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is weakening the country’s economic position in the region, “and indicates how many of our regional partners view our international relevance,” Beatty said. When it comes to national security, Canada is excluded from the Australia-U.S.-U.K. (AUKUS) enhanced security partnership and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the U.S., he noted. When it comes to international collaboration, “Our go-it-alone approach to issues like the Digital Service Tax in the midst of ongoing OECD discussions only undermines our multilateral relationships and exposes our economy to the risk of retaliation.” To correct its current foreign policy course, Canada must unleash its trading potential, meet its NATO spending commitment, and strengthen its relationship with the U.S., Beatty recommended. “As the international community looks to lessen its risk points for essential goods, Canada can and should be prepared to meet the demand by fully leveraging our unique and strategic advantages in energy, critical minerals, fertilizers and agriculture. We must also prioritize trade-enabling infrastructure, including LNG facilities that will be integral for supplying Canadian energy to the Indo-Pacific and Europe.”

On defence and security, Canada needs to meet its key commitments to avoid being viewed as an unreliable partner, Beatty said. Particularly in the current security climate, Canada must prioritize meeting the NATO target of allocating at least two per cent of GDP to defence spending to help ensure the Alliance's military readiness and to assume greater responsibility for maintaining Canada’s security and sovereignty, he said. When it comes to Canada’s relationship with the U.S., in recent years Washington has increasingly come to see its bilateral relationship as not strategic, but transactional, Beatty said. “This shift, particularly when our most important trading partner is entering an election year in which its politicians may be competing to demonstrate which of them is more protectionist, has serious implications for Canada.” Canada should launch a coordinated outreach campaign now by all levels of government and the private sector to show America’s citizens why a health relationship with Canada is important to them, and to ensure that the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement on free trade is preserved, Beatty said. Canadian Chamber of Commerce

A Federal Court of Canada judge ruled that a Chinese engineering student cannot enter Canada to study at the University of Waterloo. In his ruling, Chief Justice Paul Crampton agreed with a Canadian government visa officer who rejected the student, Yuekang Li, as inadmissible, because the visa officer concluded that Li might be coerced into spying for the Chinese government. The ruling broadens the definition of espionage and could have implications for foreign researchers. Li, who had been accepted into UWaterloo’s PhD program, planned to study under Carolyn Ren, Canada Research Chair in Microfluidic Technologies at the university. Li said he wanted to take what he learned back to China to improve its public health system. But Chief Justice Crampton said Li’s plan fit the definition of “non-traditional” espionage – even without evidence Li ever engaged in or had been trained in spying, or that his research has military uses. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has publicly warned that Beijing is threatening Canada’s national security and intellectual property in sensitive areas, including biopharmaceuticals. The Canadian government visa officer had rejected Li as inadmissible on the grounds of espionage, saying that China could target or coerce him to provide information contrary to Canada’s interests. Li went to court for a judicial review, arguing it was speculation to say he might be coerced into spying. But Chief Justice Crampton said there were “objective” grounds for his ruling, including that: Li had done his undergraduate studies at a Beijing university with a strong relationship to China’s defence industry; his field of study, microfluidics, is useful to China’s biopharma industry; and China is reported to target scientists and students for the transfer of sensitive commercial and military information. The Globe and Mail

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Dr. Evan McDonough, PhD, a theoretical physicist and assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Winnipeg, was awarded a New Investigator Operating Grant valued at $50,000 from Research Manitoba. It is the first time this grant has been awarded to a theoretical physicist. McDonough, director of the Winnipeg Institute for Theoretical Physics, applies cutting-edge theoretical physics, such as quantum fields and extra dimensions, to problems in cosmology and astrophysics. With a background in string theory, his current research is focused on dark matter. The Research Manitoba grant will be used to fund a graduate student on this topic, working under McDonough’s supervision. University of Winnipeg

Toronto-based Enthusiast Gaming, a gaming media and entertainment company, appointed Adrian Montgomery, current chairman of the board who was previously the CEO, as the company’s interim CEO. The move came after Nick Brien resigned as CEO. The board said it will start a search to select a new CEO. The company reported a $78.3-million loss for the first nine months of 2023. It also delisted from the Nasdaq in November after falling below the index’s minimum bid price requirement. Ethusiast Gaming

Toronto-based Untether AI, which is focused on energy-centric AI acceleration technology, announced the appointment of Chris Walker as the company’s CEO. Walker previously was president of the company. Walker joined Untether as president from Intel Corporation, where he was corporate vice-president and general manager. Joining Untether AI’s board of directors and as a senior technical advisor to the company is Dr. Amir Salek, PhD, currently senior managing director at Cerebus Capital Management. Salek started and led multiple lines of products that today are part of the de facto infrastructure behind Google Services. Outgoing CEO Arun Iyengar will continue to support Untether AI during the transition. HPCwire

U.S. bank Barclays appointed Ryan Voegeli as head of investment banking for Canada, to be based in Toronto. He joins Barclays from CIBC Capital Markets, where he was head of global diversified investment banking. In this role, Voegeli led a team spanning Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Chicago and San Franscisco. Barclays

The Ottawa-based Institute of Governance announced three new board members. Cassidy Caron, a Métis woman and entrepreneur with roots in the historic Métis communities of Batoche and St. Louis, Saskatchewan is the first elected woman to hold the office of president of the Métis National Council. Salam Azam is vice-president of corporate services and public relations at Legal Aid BC. Prior to joining Legal Aid BC, he held several assistant deputy minister positions in the B.C. government. Janice Fischer is a Fortune 500-trained freelance interim executive, board director and chair. Institute of Governance


The University of Calgary’s AuroraMAX observatory is planned to launch on January 8 for the new season. The ground camera in Yellowknife, N.W.T. offers people from around the world a live view of the northern sky – including the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. If the sky is clear, the Northern Lights can be seen through the camera’s live feed. Yellowknife is within the auroral oval – a belt around the magnetic North Pole. AuroraMAX is led by UCalgary and supported by the Canadian Space Agency, Astronomy North and the City of Yellowknife. The program started in 2009 and was originally planned to extend for five years. Due to its popularity, it’s still growing. AuroraMAX has more than 38,000 followers on (previously Twitter), where active aurora alerts are shared as well as stunning video replays from the camera in Yellowknife. Space physicists are particularly excited about the upcoming aurora season. The solar maximum happens every 11 years, with the next one taking place in 2025. Around this peak there will be an increased frequency of solar storms which makes for powerful Northern Lights and their intensity increasing in southern latitudes. UCalgary

Nobel Prize winner Christopher Pissarides, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, cautioned younger generations against rushing to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. He said “empathetic” and creative skills may thrive in a world dominated by artificial intelligence. Workers in certain IT jobs risk sowing their “own seeds of self-destruction” by advancing AI that will eventually take the same jobs in the future, Pissarides said. Despite rapid growth in the current demand for STEM skills, jobs requiring more traditional face-to-face skills, such as in hospitality and heath care, will still dominate the market, he said. BNN Bloomberg

Harvard University’s president Claudine Gay resigned amid accusations of plagiarism and what critics called her insufficient response to antisemitism on campus after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on October 7. Gay, who was Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to lead the university, had the shortest stint in office of any Harvard president since its founding in 1636. Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office. Gay will remain a tenured professor of government and African American studies. M. Elizabeth Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned four days after she and the presidents of Harvard University and M.I.T appeared at a December 5 congressional hearing. At the hearing, the three university presidents declined to give a definitive “yes” or “no” answer to a question by U.S. Republican Representative Elise Stefanik on whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate their universities’ codes of conduct regarding bullying and harassment – saying they had to balance it against free speech protections. Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T’s president, has also faced calls for her resignation. New York Times, Reuters



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