Advantage Energy, Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, Aerotec Engines Limited, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Energy Regulator, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Ax-C, Azure Sustainable Fuels Corp., Berenson Acquisition Corp., BMO Financial Group, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canada Development Investment Corporation, Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Black Scientists Network, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Centech, CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, City of Temiskaming Shores , Clean Investment Monitor , Climate Change Institute, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Custom Health, Daseke, École de technologie supérieure, Entropy Inc., Environment and Climate Change Canada, ESL Technology Inc, European Union, Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, Finance Canada, Financial Stability Oversight Council, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé, Friendlier, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, GeoJump, Geological Survey of Canada, Glenrose Hospital Foundation , Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, Government of Manitoba, Government of Nova Scotia, Government of Quebec, Health Canada, I.M.P. Group Limited, Incubateur Civique, Maison de L’innovation Sociale, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Inverted AI , Investissement Quebec, Le Consortium québécois des incubateurs High-Tech and FounderFuel , Leav, MaRS Discovery District, McGill University, Memorial University, Modest Tree Media Inc., Momentum, MTL New Tech, National Angel Capital Organization, National Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NFI Group , Nikola, Northern RNA, NorthWind Land Resources, Notman House, Obruta Space Solutions , Ora Medical, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OSMO Foundation, Pembina Institute, People's Republic of China, Polar Knowledge Canada, Prairies Economic Development Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Real Ventures, Royal Canadian Air Force, Safesight Exploration Inc. , Saskatchewan Research Council, Science & Policy Exchange, Shenghe Resources , SmartICE, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Spiri Holdings Inc., Standing Committee on Science and Research, Support Our Science, Technology Alberta , Terminal Technologies, TFI International , Trinity College , Tulip, U.S. government, United Kingdom Supreme Court, UniUni, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Calgary, University of New Brunswick, University of Ottawa, University of Regina, University of Toronto Scarborough, Vital Metals, Westport Fuel Systems In, Woveo, and Wyvern


"brain drain" of young talented researchers in Canada , aerospace and defence companies in Atlantic region, AI in financial services in the U.S. , angel funding in Canada , Canada Growth Fund, Canada's climate targets, Canadian CubeSat Project, Canadian winners of NASA Space Apps Challenge, carbon capture, storage and utilization, carbon contracts for difference, China's dominance of rare earths and associated products, Clean Electricity Regulations, Clean Fuel Regulations, climate change adaptation tools, court ruling that AI can't be an inventor, digital community wallet, earthquake caused by oil and gas industry, Electric vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, federal contracts for military technology, federal Electric Vehicle Availability Standard, federal Lab to Market grants, federal progress on reducing GHG emissions, Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy, green loan for sustainable building , health care for Moon and deep space missions, Hydrogen Strategy for Canada , industry applications for human mobility and home health technologies, investment in clean technologies in the U.S., lack of inclusion in entrepreneurship, last-mile delivery logistics, Lawson Centre for Sustainability , lipids biomanufacturing facility, McGill TRaCE study , mining supply and service businesses, mobile self-checkout industry, Montreal startup hub, need to increase graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, next-generation fuel systems, Northern Contaminants Program, Northern Food Innovation Challenge, Nova Scotia's Green Hydrogen Action Plan, oil and gas emissions cap, open banking in Canada , Quebec's Startup Community Awards, reusable packaging, satellite Earth observation, Seismological Research Letters journal, space software , sustainable aviation fuel plant, Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, trucking telematics integration, university students' financial hardship, vehicle safety simulation technology, and youth learning supports and skills development

The Short Report: January 3, 2024

Research Money
January 3, 2024


Public Services and Procurement Canada announced four contracts valued at about $1.68 billion for General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, to provide modern technology for the Canadian Army’s Land Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (LC4ISR) system. The Canadian Army requires modern LC4ISR technology to enable commanders to make real-time operational decisions, both at home and abroad, the government said. LC4ISR is a fully integrated tactical network comprised of computers, sensors, telecommunications equipment, hardware, firmware and software elements. LC4ISR capability also enables communication, networking and combat information management for subsystems that are part of Canadian Armed Forces vehicles, platform-based weapon systems and individual integrated soldier system equipment. In a separate announcement, the federal government said it will buy a $2.49-billion fleet of 11 large remotely piloted drones for the Royal Canadian Air Force (CAF) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The investment also includes six ground control stations, a new ground control centre in Ottawa, two new aircraft hangers, initial weapons, sustainment services, a training program, supporting information management and technology, and associated work and equipment. The drones, to be stationed at Comox, B.C., will enable the CAF to monitor Canada’s large territory and coastline – and engage targets when necessary – and to support civilian aid operations such as responding to forest fires and floods. Both General Dynamics and General Atomics will have to subcontract to Canadian suppliers, the government said. Public Services and Procurement Canada

Finance Canada announced a $200-million investment, through the Canada Growth Fund (the second investment for the $15-billion fund), in Calgary-based Entropy Inc., a privately owned carbon capture and sequestration company. In addition to the direct investment, the federal government is providing Canada’s first carbon “contract for difference” to Entropy. The company, in partnership with the University of Regina, has developed a first-of-its-kind modular carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology to reduce emissions in hard-to-abate industries. The Growth Fund investment will enable Entropy, a subsidiary of Advantage Energy Ltd., to scale up its technology to reduce emissions at Advantage Energy’s Glacier Phase 2 natural gas processing plant in northwestern Alberta’s Peace Country by approximately 2.8 million tonnes over 15 years, as well as commercialize Entropy’s proprietary technology for implementation in future projects in Canada and around the world. To provide Entropy with the certainty needed to make its investment decision in Glacier Phase 2, the Growth Fund will – in addition to the $200-million direct investment – purchase up to 185,000 tonnes per year of carbon credits for 15 years at what Ottawa calls “an attractive, precedent-setting” initial price of $86.50 per tonne. (For comparison, Canada’s current carbon price is $65 per tonne). Carbon credit offtake agreements – a form of contracts for difference – de-risk emissions-reducing investments by guaranteeing the purchase of carbon credits for abated emissions at a fixed price. Beyond Glacier Phase 2, the federal investment provides Entropy with a precedent-setting large-scale, long-term, fixed-price carbon credit offtake framework of up to 1 million tonnes per year. This offtake commitment will support Entropy’s pipeline of future CCUS projects in Canada, which could reduce emissions by up to 9 million tonnes over 15 years, Ottawa said. Finance Canada

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) announced a $100-million commitment in launching the “Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy.” As part of the funding, PrairiesCan is providing $10 million to Winnipeg-based NFI Group to build new zero-emissions transit buses and motorcoaches and modernize its motorcoach manufacturing facility to increase production capacity. The new Framework is a principles-based approach to collaboration with local and regional organizations and partners that respects provincial jurisdiction and supports economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. It commits to long-term measures to enhance coordination between federal departments to drive strategic investments in the region, encouraging closer linkages with provincial governments and other stakeholders to improve access to federal programs that better meet their needs. PrairiesCan’s consultations identified five areas for collaborative action:

  • growing key regional sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, and manufacturing
  • effective movement of goods, people and information
  • expanding and capitalizing on clean electricity
  • community economic development
  • economic reconciliation and inclusive growth. PrairiesCan

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) announced a contribution of $15 million, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, to support Calgary-based Northern RNA’s $50-million biomanufacturing project. The proposed three-year project aims to expand Northern RNA’s biomanufacturing capacity, including by establishing a facility compliant with good manufacturing practice to produce lipids that are a critical component for mRNA vaccines and therapies. The project aligns with Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and aims to make Canada’s vaccine supply chain more resilient by securing domestic lipid production. ISED

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is investing more than $8.8 million in 11 organizations in Alberta, including through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program (RIE). The funding is enabling inclusive youth learning supports and skills development for underrepresented groups such as Indigenous entrepreneurs, newcomers and women. The investment includes $4.5 million for RIE, which helps create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support what business needs to innovate from start to finish. Technology Alberta will receive nearly $2.4 million to develop and implement Phase II of the First Industry Research, Science, Technology job placement program. The Momentum organization will receive nearly $1.4 million to expand existing startup business development programs, including those related to social enterprises, and increase access to these programs for underrepresented groups in the Calgary area. PrairiesCan

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced total repayable investments of more than $4.1 million to support five aerospace and defence companies in the Atlantic Region. Recipients are:

  • ESL Technology Inc., nearly $2.6 million for two projects to acquire new equipment and expand its testing capabilities.
  • Aerotec Engines Limited, $500,000 to re-design and expand its facility, and to acquire advanced manufacturing equipment.
  • M.P Group Limited, $478,557 to purchase equipment and software that will help automate and digitize its manufacturing and repair processes.
  • Modest Tree Media Inc., $334,500 to engage business development, marketing and human resource expertise to help grow the company efficiently. This will also help the company meet client demand for its 3D training simulations, and for its digital solutions for maintenance and operations of complex equipment.
  • Spiri Holdings Inc., $250,000 to acquire additional engineering, research and computer science expertise. This will help the company meet growing demand for its unmanned drones and mobile drone bases, which are designed primarily for security, data collection and analysis. ACOA

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) announced an investment of nearly $3 million in additional funding to support four projects during Phase 2 of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge. The objective of the Challenge is to support innovative, community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada’s territories. Participants in Phase 2 will use the additional funding to scale up their projects, and continue building on the progress made in Phase 1. The organizations participating in Phase 2 of the Challenge are: Clyde River’s Ilisaqsivik Society and Iqaluit’s Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Nunavut; the Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation in the Northwest Territories; and the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate. CanNor

The Government of Manitoba signed a contribution agreement, through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to provide $2.9 million toward a $1.9-billion sustainable aviation fuel plant to be built in Portage la Prairie. The province agreed to provide the funding over two years for the Calgary-based Azure Sustainable Fuels Corp.’s Front End Engineering Design study for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Azure plans to use Canadian feedstock products such as canola and soybean oils to produce as much as an estimated one billion litres of SAF per year. The aim is to provide a made-in-Canada solution to source certified low-carbon fuels to meet the aviation industry’s emissions-reduction targets. Azure has estimated that SAF could contribute up to 65 per cent of the reduction of emissions needed by the aviation industry to reach net-zero by 2050. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) announced more than $2.1 million for the Glenrose Hospital Foundation in Edmonton to accelerate industry applications for human mobility and home health technologies. The funding is for the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s Research & Innovation program, which focuses on commercial applications of clinical research and in assisting industry with product design, validation and access to clinical facilities. The investment will help enable the hospital to acquire equipment and develop a testing centre to support health firms across Alberta working to refine prototypes and devices such as wheelchairs, adaptive bikes, remote monitoring systems and wearable technologies. The hospital also will establish a province-wide network of companies, post-secondary institutions and other organizations to bolster collaboration in advancing new technologies to market. Prairies Can

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor) announced $1.32 million to help mining supply and service businesses innovate, expand, increase sales and exports, and create jobs in northern Ontario. Most of the investment – $728,000 – will enable  the City of Temiskaming Shores to establish the 13,200-sq-ft Northern Ontario Mining Showcase pavilion at the 2024 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention. Safesight Exploration Inc. received a repayable contribution of $350,000 to help the company scale up and commercialize innovative technologies for the mining sector, along with $245,000 to help SafeSight develop and commercialize its fully automated shaft-measurement technology. FedNor

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, announced the upcoming launch of the Lab to Market grants. These grants are a new Tri-agency initiative designed to support Canadian post-secondary institutions and their affiliated networks in creating and sustaining networks to foster the development of entrepreneurship skills and commercialization within the academic community. The Lab to Market initiative stems from the federal government’s commitment in the 2022 Federal Budget of $47.8 million over five years, and $20.1 million ongoing, to launch a new national program to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market. The new initiative will provide stable, long-term funding and be open to all disciplines within the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and health. The call for proposals launch is scheduled for January 2024. NSERC

See also: Pilot program for young entrepreneurial academic researchers expands across Canada

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada announced the launch of the annual call for proposals for research and monitoring projects of contaminants originating from other parts of the world and transported through air and sea currents to the North and Arctic. As part of the federal department’s Northern Contaminants Program, beginning in 2024-2025, just over $1 million will be available for projects for three consecutive years. This investment will support new projects related to human health, environmental and community-based monitoring and research, and associated public outreach initiatives. Applicants have until February 13, 2024, to submit their proposals. Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada


Ottawa-based Obruta Space Solutions will be testing its software for autonomous rendezvous, proximity operation and docking (RPOD) early in 2024 on the International Space Station (ISS). In partnership with space technology developer GeoJump, the International Space Station National Laboratory awarded Obruta’s teams three missions of flight time using the Astrobee platforms onboard the ISS. Astrobees are small robots that fly inside the ISS using thrusters and cameras, and provide assistance to astronauts to make work on the station more efficient. Through these three missions Obruta will be validating core components of the company’s guidance, navigation, control and RPOD software which will contribute in-space services, extending satellite lifespans and making spaceflight safer. Orbruta

Three miniature “cube satellites” built by students at three Canadian universities are scheduled to be launched on the SpaceX CRS-30 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in early March 2024. Once at the ISS, the satellites will be deployed using the space station’s Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer. The satellites are the fourth and final batch built for the Canadian CubeSat Project, a national initiative providing professors in post-secondary institutions opportunities to engage their students in a real space mission. The three cubesats are:

  • Killick-1, built by Memorial University in Newfoundland, has a scientific payload for measuring GNSS Reflectometry signals – a new means of remote-sensing the ocean including sea ice detection and sea ice concentration estimation.
  • QMSat, built by Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, aims to demonstrate a new type of device, using a quantum sensor, to measure magnetic fields in space.
  • Violet, built at the University of New Brunswick, will gather telemetry data in Earth’s upper atmosphere to study how the ionosphere changes from place to place over time as well as how it responds to space weather, which can interfere with satellite communications systems and electrical grids. Voyager Space

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake sequence that occurred in the Peace River region in northwest Alberta was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing or injected water wells associated with oil and gas recovery, according to researchers at the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Calgary. Their study, published in Seismological Research Letters, involved using questionnaires to determine whether a particular earthquake is natural or induced by human activity. The Peace River earthquake sequence, which began in November 2022, was originally called a natural earthquake event by the Alberta Energy Regulator. But four months later, a new study came to the opposite conclusion – that the earthquake was induced. There was a water-disposal well less than one kilometre from the earthquake’s main shock – one of the largest seismic events ever recorded in Alberta. The team whose study was published in Seismological Research Letters completed their work before the release of the study suggesting the Peace River sequence was induced. Rebecca Salvage, lead author of the Geological Survey-UCalgary study, said if the earthquake was indeed induced, it has implications for regulations on oil and gas recovery using hydraulic fracturing. EurekAlert

Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems Inc., which supplies advanced alternative fuel systems and components to the global transportation industry, was awarded a development program estimated to be worth US$33 million by a global heavy truck manufacturer (which wasn’t identified). The program is to adapt Westport’s Next Generation LNG HPDI™ fuel system to meet the Euro 7 emissions requirements for heavy-duty vehicle applications. Westport said its fuel system enables long-haul tricks to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions while fully meeting a fleet’s demands for payload, performance, durability, and stringent Euro 7 emissions regulations. Westport Fuel Systems

Notman House, the Montreal startup hub run within a 187-year-old heritage building and a cornerstone of the city’s startup system, will likely be put up for sale as government creditors claim years of unpaid debt. The OSMO Foundation, which owns and operates Notman House, owes $323,000 in unpaid mortgage fees to the Business Development Bank of Canada and Investissement Québec. Since its founding by Real Ventures and the OSMO Foundation in 2011, Notman House has served as a nexus of the emerging tech industry within the city – currently the only such hub in Montreal. According to the creditor’s claim, BDC and Investissement Québec lent Osmo a total of $6,853,630 since 2012, of which they now are claiming about $323,000 in unpaid mortgage fees. They are demanding that Notman House be sold under the control of the court at a minimum of 75 per cent of the market value per a recent evaluation, which has not been made public. A new accelerator, Ax-C, which is set to open in Montreal at an undisclosed location in December 2024, has garnered nearly $40 million in government support. Like Notman House, Ax-C also aims to provide a hub for tech startups to collaborate and entrepreneurs to innovate. However, Ax-C is part of the province’s 2022-2027 Québec strategy to support research and investment in innovation and is being developed by the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) – an institutional tie that does not exist at Notman. BetaKit

Edmonton-based Earth observation company Wyvern has partnered with NorthWind Land Resources, an environmental consulting firm in Edmonton, to provide reclamation services to Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Wyvern’s satellites capture data in in more than 30 narrow bands, leading to the identification of unique chemical and physical properties of the Earth’s surface. These rich datasets enable new applications in environmental monitoring, invasive species detection and reclamation efforts. NorthWind Land Resources, which is keen to harness the power of Wyvern’s data, focuses on finding practical and innovative solutions to complex challenges affecting upstream reclamation and remediation programs. Wyvern

Montreal-based trucking and logistics company TFI International is buying Texas-based trucking firm Daseke for $1.1 billion in an all-cash transaction. Daseke operates 4,900 large trucks and 11,000 flatbed and specialized trailers. TFI said it will consider splitting into two publicly traded companies following the purchase of Daseke – one dedicated to long-haul trucking and another with all its other trucking assets. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024. TFI International

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled that an artificial intelligence system can’t be registered on a patent as an inventor – only a “natural person” can. U.S. computer scientist Stephen Thaler wanted to register two patents in the U.K. he said were devised by his “creativity machine,” a neural network called DABUS. His attempt to register the patents – for a food container and a flashing light – under the name DABUS was refused by the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office on the grounds that the inventor must be a human or a company, rather than a machine. Thaler appealed to the U.K.’s Supreme Court, which unanimously rejected his appeal because under U.K. patent law “an inventor must be a natural person.” Judge David Kitchin said in the court’s written ruling that the case was “not concerned with the broader question whether technical advances generated by machines acting autonomously and powered by AI should be patentable.” Thaler’s lawyers said in a statement that the ruling “establishes that U.K. patent law is currently wholly unsuitable for protecting inventions generated autonomously by AI machines and as a consequence wholly inadequate in supporting any industry that relies on AI in the development of new technologies.” Reuters


UniUni, a Richmond, B.C.-headquartered last-mile delivery logistics company, raised US$20 million in a  B2 Round of financing, led by Celtic House Asia Partners and including Vision Plus Capital, Fosun RZ Capital, Celtic House Venture Partners and Lanchi Ventures. UniUni offers an automated and digitized logistics platform optimized for e-commerce, and a variable-cost model for driver recruitment, dispatch and routing – dispatching to on-call drivers using their own vehicles. Founded in 2019, the company delivers tens of millions of parcels annually from coast to coast in Canada, and now has more than 50 distribution centres in North America, including in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Chicago. Just one year into its U.S. expansion, UniUni now reaches 20 per cent of the American population, the company said. UniUni

Inverted AI in Vancouver secured more than $5.3 million in seed funding for vehicle safety simulation technology. The financing was led by Yaletown Partners and included strategic investors such as Blue Titan Ventures, Dasein Capital, Inovia Capital, Defined, and WUTIF. Inverted AI provides generative AI human behavioral models, accelerating safe commercial deployment of autonomous solutions including advanced driver assist systems, autonomous vehicles and robots, and a full range of realistic, simulation-based systems. Inverted AI

Friendlier, a Guelph, Ontario-based reusable packaging company, closed a $5-million seed funding extension round, led by Relay Ventures and Garage Capital, with support from experienced founders and operators. Founded in 2019 by two chemical engineers, Friendlier offers returnable, multiple-use plastic containers at the same cost as single-use containers. Similar to a deposit fee on pop cans, customers pay a deposit which is returned when containers are returned. The containers are then sanitized and recirculated for use. Friendlier aims to build a robust reverse supply chain, supporting reusable packaging at scale as businesses increasingly move away from single-use plastics. Friendlier

Terminal Technologies, a Toronto-based trucking telematics integrations startup, closed a $4.2-million seed round, after participating in the Y Combinator startup accelerator’s Summer 2023 cohort. Led by Golden Ventures, the round also saw participation from Y Combinator, Wayfinder Ventures, Northside Ventures, McVestCo VC, and a group of angel investors including Loop co-founder and CEO Matt McKinney. Terminal provides an application programming interface that allows insurance products and fleet software to access GPS data, speeding data and other digitized vehicle stats from electronic logging devices in one place. The platform addresses the challenge faced by companies building products for transportation, logistics and fleet management. The SaaS News

Leav, a Montreal-based startup in the mobile self-checkout industry, raised $2.3 million in seed funding. led by venture capital fund The company’s technology allows customers to scan and pay for items using their mobile devices, eliminating checkout lines. The funding will be used to accelerate market penetration, make a success of existing customer relationships, accelerate partnerships and enhance products to ensure value is delivered across the full composable commerce ecosystem. Retail Technology Innovation Hub

Woveo, a Calgary-based Fintech startup, raised $2.3 million in seed financing as the company looks to expand the reach of its “community wallet” platform. The funding round was led by BKR Capital with participation from Relay Ventures and Northpine Foundation, among others. Woveo’s digital community wallet is designed to help groups of people who may not have easy access to formal banking services improve their financial well-being through group rotating savings, credit building and short-term credit access. Canadian Lenders Association

Custom Health, a Toronto-based digital health startup, and Berenson Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition corporation in New York, announced they’re combining businesses with the aim of Custom Health becoming a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. The deal implies a $185-million  equity value for Custom Health. The company provides a comprehensive technology-enabled medication management and managed care solution, resulting in 98-per-cent medication adherence for its patients across the U.S. and Canada, the partners said. Custom Health is focused on serving patients taking multiple medications for chronic conditions – representing an estimated market of 78 million adults in North America. The company’s proprietary software creates personalized care plans for patients by orchestrating: fully-automated owned and network pharmacies; at-home medication management solutions; real-time clinical oversight by 200-plus pharmacist-lead clinicians; and the collection of real-time, real-world data and insights. Berenson Acquisition Corp.

Demand for angel funding in Canada was higher in 2022 than in each of the previous three years, according to the 2023 Report on Angel Investing in Canada by the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO). The 37 angel organizations that provided information on their investment activity in 2022 made 654 investments, investing a total of $166.2 million. The number of investments increased by three per cent and is the highest ever reported, the report said. However, the amount invested through angel organizations in 2022 dropped sharply, declining by 37 per cent compared with 2021 – but last year is still the second-highest on record. Seven per cent of the businesses that approached angel organizations were successful in raising finance, the highest proportion in the past four years. There was a big drop in the rating of the investment climate (in early 2023), with a median rating of 5 compared with 6 in previous years and a mean rating of 5.2 compared with 6 and 7 in previous years (on a scale from 1-10). Angel investments continue to be concentrated in Central Canada (Ontario and Quebec), accounting for 78 per cent of the amount invested – the highest on a per capita basis – and representing 59 per cent of investments. Southern Ontario accounted for 47.8 per cent of the total amount invested in 2022. British Columbia, which accounted for 15.6 per cent of the total amount invested, saw the largest increase in proportion of amount invested in 2022 and is now in second position for regions across Canada. Women now account for 37 per cent of members of angel organizations, more than doubling since 2019. NACO

See also: Angel investing needs a boost: report

Investment in clean technologies continues at record levels in the United States, according to a report by the Clean Investment Monitor (CIM). Actual clean energy and transportation investment in the U.S. reached a record US$64 billion in Q3 2023 – an eight-per-cent increase from the previous quarter and a 42-per-cent increase relative to the same period last year. Clean investment accounted for 4.9 per cent of total U.S. private investment in structures, equipment and durable consumer goods nationwide in Q3, up from 3.4 per cent at the same time last year. Across the CIM’s three investment segments – clean manufacturing, energy & industry production, and retail – clean manufacturing continued to post the most rapid growth, up 171 per cent year-on-year to US$14 billion in Q3. The electric vehicle supply chain continued to account for the majority of this investment, but solar manufacturing investment is growing quickly, with a six-fold increase relative to Q3 of last year. Investment in clean energy production and industrial decarbonization grew by 31 per cent year-on-year, to US$19 billion in Q3. Within those categories, investment in emerging climate technologies like clean hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels and carbon management posted the fastest growth – up ten-fold relative to the same period last year. Retail purchases and installations of clean technologies grew by 22 per cent year-on-year, to US$31 billion in Q3, driven by 37-per-cent year-on-year growth in electric vehicle purchases by households and businesses. Clean Investment Monitor


The federal government needs to increase the value of Tri-Agency graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships or risk a “brain drain” of talented young researchers, according to a report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Research. Most federal graduate scholarships haven’t increased in value since they were created, some as far back as 2003, the report said. Witnesses testifying before the committee said many students face severe financial hardships, with some of them relying on food banks. Many are forced to find additional sources of income by working part-time jobs, increasing the risk of failure in their studies. Students’ financial hardship is also taking a toll on their mental health. Hilary Hennessey, campaign coordinator for the Canadian Federation of Students, told the committee that 71 per cent of graduate students live below the poverty line, and one in three grad students lives on less than $1,250 a month. Figures provided by McGill University to the committee show that 67.9 per cent of Master’s students and 72.7 per cent of PhD students said that financial pressures were an obstacle to their academic progress.

Canada’s current academic system is a massive filter that’s “filtering out people as a function of their finances, not as a function of their excellence,” Maydianne Andrade, co-founder and inaugural president of the Canadian Black Scientists Network and professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told the committee. “We are filtering out people who can’t take the mental load of living in poverty, those who don’t have credit ratings that allow them to take out loans, and those who are unable to manage incredibly challenging research agendas while holding down several jobs,” she said. Marc Johnson, chair of the board of Support Our Science, estimated that – based on the findings of the McGill TRaCE study, which tracks career outcomes for all McGill PhD graduates – each year 3,700 recent PhDs are leaving Canada to pursue careers abroad.

The standing committee made several recommendations to government, including:

  • Increase the value of Tri-Agency graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships by 50 per cent, and index them to inflation moving forward.
  • Increase the number of Tri-Agency graduate student scholarships by 50 per cent.
  • Increase the number of Tri-Agency postdoctoral fellowships by 100 per cent.
  • Increase the Tri-Agency research grant budget provided to faculty by at least 10 per cent per year for the next five years, to allow for increased graduate student and postdoctoral pay.
  • Extend the length of graduate scholarships administered by the three granting councils from 12 to 24 months for master’s programs and from 36 to 48 months for doctoral programs.
  • Expand the eligibility for Canada Graduate Scholarships (master’s and doctoral) to international students enrolled in Canadian institutions.
  • Review the criteria for awarding graduate scholarships and consider creating specific supports for under-represented groups at the graduate level.

The standing committee’s recommendations echo those made in the July, 2023, report by the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System (known as the “Bouchard report”). The federal government so far hasn’t acted on the Bouchard report’s recommendations. House of Commons

Steven Guilbeault, minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced the federal government has finalized its new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard, with regulations aimed at achieving a national target of 100-per-cent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. The regulations include interim targets for automakers and importers of at least 20 per cent of all sales by 2026, and at least 60 per cent of all sales by 2030. Automakers will be allowed to purchase carbon credits if they fail to hit their targets, while companies that hit their targets sooner will earn credits for sale as early as 2024. Companies also can earn one credit – which can be banked or traded – for every $20,000 invested in a fast-charging infrastructure project. Demand for EVs has increased year over year, ECCC said. In the last quarter alone, one out of every eight new cars sold across Canada was a zero-emission vehicle. In B.C. and Quebec, which already have similar standards in place, new electric vehicles now account for one in five sales in those provinces. The federal government offers EV purchase incentives of up to $5,000, along with incentives from provincial and territorial governments (up to $7,000 in Quebec, for example). The federal government also is investing $1.2 billion to build 84,500 chargers across the country by 2029, in addition to efforts by businesses and other governments to further expand the charging infrastructure.

ECCC noted that Health Canada analysis indicates overall emissions from all on-road vehicles contribute to an estimated 1,200 premature deaths and millions of cases of non-fatal health outcomes every year, at a total estimated economic cost of $9.5 billion annually. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith called the federal standard unconstitutional and she said her UCP government “will do everything within its legal jurisdiction to thwart implementation” of the regulations. “Our electric grids are not equipped to handle the massive demand surge that a forced, full-scale transition to EVs would need to accommodate the delusional timelines in Ottawa’s regulations, and the federal government has not provided remotely enough financial assistance to assist provincial grids to meet this mandated electricity demand,” Smith said in a statement. The Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank, welcomed the federal EV standard, but said that Canada needs a coherent plan to build out its charging infrastructure. ECCC

The federal government has made big strides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but more and faster progress is needed to put Canada on track to meet its 2030 emissions-reduction target, according to a report by the Ottawa-based Climate Change Institute. The Institute, in an independent assessment of the federal 2023 Emissions Reduction Plan progress report, said Canada is on track to achieve between 85 and 90 per cent of its 2030 emissions target. The Institute’s assessment includes modelling that shows emissions would be seven per cent higher today, and 41 per cent higher by 2030, without climate actions taken to date by all levels of government since 2015. Canada is also making substantial progress in implementing policy, the Institute’s report said. Since the release of the national climate plan in March 2022, several major policies have either been put into law or moved closer to implementation, including the Clean Fuel Regulations, updated carbon pricing, draft Clean Electricity Regulations, and the proposed oil and gas industry emissions cap. However, given the number of key policies still under development, implementation remains a major risk, the report noted. “Failure to follow through on announced and developing policies would result in a 109 MtCO2e (109 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of GHG emissions) gap to the 2030 target.”

Even after the implementation and tightening of current and proposed policies, emissions are still expected to be 34 to 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, short of the national target of at least 40 per cent by that time, according to the report. To close the gap, the Climate Change Institute recommended that all orders of government, including provinces and territories, quickly implement remaining policies, strengthen existing ones and introduce new actions. Top priorities requiring quick action include strengthening the large emitter credit-trading systems, implementing the proposed Clean Electricity Regulations with some improvements, finalizing a strong oil and gas emissions cap, and accelerating nature-based climate solutions. In addition, quick action on the federal government’s forthcoming Green Buildings Strategy can help address rising emissions from the building sector, the Institute said. Canadian Climate Institute

The Government of Nova Scotia released its Green Hydrogen Action Plan, aimed at growing the province’s green hydrogen industry and advancing the transition to clean energy. Green hydrogen is made through electrolysis, using clean electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The plan includes seven goals and 23 actions. The actions include:

  • Position Nova Scotia as a compelling regional HUB candidate by continuing to align sector development efforts with the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada.
  • Pursue the development of green hydrogen clusters to optimize the use of natural resources, existing trade infrastructure, and co-located industries that could enhance the development of value-added export products.
  • Coordinate with industry, skills training institutions and workforce experts to map the skills needed to develop a green hydrogen sector.
  • Explore opportunities to support innovation projects that demonstrate domestic opportunities for green hydrogen.

Nova Scotia plans to export hydrogen to Europe. Wind energy developers intend to scale up projects, both onshore and offshore, to produce the clean electricity required for hydrogen production. Govt. of Nova Scotia

There would be 34.1 million more entrepreneurs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 38-member countries, and 7.4 million more in the European Union, if everyone was as active in business creation as 30- to 49-year-old men, according to an OECD report on the lack of inclusion in entrepreneurship. The “missing entrepreneurs” represent about one-third of actual entrepreneurs. Of these, nearly three-quarters are women and 10 per cent are youth (under 30 years old). The inclusion gap is even greater for employer businesses, growth-oriented businesses, and knowledge-intensive businesses. For example, only 11 per cent of women entrepreneurs in the OECD countries reported that they expect their business to create at least 19 jobs over the next five years. For men, that figure rises to 16 per cent. There are similar gaps in other sections of the population, including seniors, immigrants and people with disabilities. More equal opportunities in entrepreneurship could release enormous benefits. According to the federal government, studies show that GDP growth would be six per cent higher in Canada – adding up to $150 billion in GDP – over the 2017-2026 period if the gender gap in entrepreneurship were closed. OECD

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, which reviews financial markets and describes potential emerging threats to and vulnerabilities in the financial stability of the U.S., has for the first time identified the use of artificial intelligence in financial services as a vulnerability in the financial system. In its 2023 annual report, the Council recommended monitoring the rapid developments in AI to ensure that oversight structures account for emerging risks to the financial system while also facilitating efficiency and innovation. Without proper design, testing and controls of AI systems and generative AI models, “AI could lead to disparate outcomes, which may cause direct consumer harm and/or raise consumer compliance risks,” the report said. The Council recommended that financial institutions, market participants, and regulatory and supervisory authorities deepen expertise and capacity to monitor AI innovation and usage and identify emerging risks. The Council also noted that cybersecurity risk is pervasive throughout the economy, “and reducing cyber vulnerability is particularly critical within the financial system.” The Council flagged that a quantum computer capable of cracking public-key cryptography may be developed within 10 years. The Council’s report recommended that financial firms:

  • Make an inventory of their and their service providers’ critical data and internal and external data movements, including the timeline during which information should be protected.
  • Identify and make an inventory of all internal and external standards and cryptographic technologies incorporated into their and their service providers’ algorithms, systems, and tools, especially instances of public-key algorithms used in their network.
  • Prioritize internal systems and external systems for replacement.
  • Develop a strategic plan for migration to a system protected from quantum computer hacking. U.S. Department of the Treasury

China’s commerce department banned the export of technology to make rare earth magnets, adding to an existing ban on exporting technology to extract and separate critical minerals including rare earth metals. Rare earths are a group of 17 metals used to make magnets that turn power into motion for use in electric vehicles, wind turbines, electronics, medical devices and fighter jets. The new ban includes technology to make rare-earth calcium oxyborate and production technology for rare earth metals, adding to a previous ban on exporting technology for producing rare earth alloy materials. China, which has mastered the solvent extraction process to refine the strategic minerals, is trying to maintain its global market dominance in rare earths and rare earth magnets as the U.S. and Europe try to wean themselves off of rare earths from China. In Canada, the Saskatchewan Research Council is building a $70-million commercial rare earths processing plant in Saskatoon – the first of its kind in Canada. The facility is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2024. In December, Chinese company Shenghe Resources became a “cornerstone investor” – buying a 9.9 per cent stake – in the Nechalacho  rare earth mining project, owned by Australian-based Vital Metals, in the Northwest Territories. Industry observers said the deal strengthens China’s supply chain in rare earths. Reuters, CBC

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Mitch Davies was appointed president of the National Research Council for a five-year term effective January 3, 2024, following the retirement of current NRC president Iain Stewart. Davies has held various leadership positions in Canada’s public service, notably as interim president of the NRC when Stewart moved in fall 2020 to run the Public Health Agency of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Davies’s 32 years of experience in the public service includes more16 years with Industry Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), where he shaped science, innovation and industrial policy and delivered key programs. He held several senior assistant deputy minister roles at ISED, leading the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) and Innovation Canada. Davies also served in executive roles at the Privy Council Office and Employment and Social Development Canada. Recently promoted assistant deputy minister Stephanie Tanton will take over the SIF.  ISED

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland announced four new appointments to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council. They are:

  • Mélanie Caron, associate director, drug and technology evaluation for reimbursement purposes, National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services.
  • Annie Descôteaux works in recruitment and integration, training and support for the patients partners of the Bureau du patient partenaire in the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine.
  • Michal Juhas is a digital health expert and independent consultant and sub-contractor in the fields of health policy, economics and outcomes research.
  • Cathy Kline is the assistant director, patient and community engagement at the University of British Columbia. Health Canada

Bicha Ngo, Investissement Québec’s senior executive vice-president private equity, was named the company’s new CEO, succeeding Guy LeBlanc whose term expired in April. Ngo has been responsible for private placements at Investissement Québec since October 2019. She also managed the natural resources and energy sector within the state-owned company. During her career, she also worked at Domtar, HSBC and CIBC World Markets. Montreal Gazette

Dr. Ariane Marelli was appointed the next scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, for a four-year term effective April 1, 2024. Marelli is a professor of medicine at McGill University, associate member of the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, and a senior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She’s also founding director of the McGill Adult Unit for Congenital Heart Disease Excellence and a clinical research scholar of the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé. Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Alicia Damley and Charles Malone were appointed to the Canada Development Investment Corporation’s (CDEV) board of directors for four-year terms. Sandra Rosch was reappointed for a three-year term. Damley, a chartered financial analyst and a chartered professional accountant, has more than 25 years of professional experience that includes defining board governance, corporate oversight and renewal, leading and implementing risk and assurance best practices, and generating investment returns. Malone has three decades of experience in major capital project delivery, governance and assurance, health safety and environment, enterprise risk management, business improvement, organizational change and corporate strategy in the energy sector and value chain. Rosch, a director of CDEV since 2015, is currently chair of the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation. Finance Canada

Alison Nankivell was named CEO of Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District, effective March 2024. She is currently senior-vice president, fund investments and global scaling, at BDC Capital where she oversaw the Venture Capital Action Plan to seed new venture funds. Nankivell  has worked in senior investment roles at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Export Development Canada, and is fluent in Mandarin. She will succeed current MaRS chief executive Yung Wu, who departed at the end of the year. Krista Jones, currently the chief delivery officer at MaRS, will serve as the interim CEO until Nankivell’s arrival in March. MaRS

Canadian science policy expert Paul Dufour, principal at Paulicyworks and a senior fellow at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, was interviewed by Cissy Suen, a volunteer with Science & Policy Exchange (SPE), about Dufour’s blog piece on a 1973 Senate committee report on science policy in Canada and how it relates to Canadian science policy today. Click here to hear the interview. SPE

Dr. Trevor Bell, PhD, and SmartICE received the 2023 Northern Science Award and Centenary Medal, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, from Polar Knowledge Canada. Bell is an honorary research professor in geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the founding director of SmartICE. SmartICE is a community-based organization offering climate change adaptation tools designed to incorporate sea-ice monitoring data with Indigenous knowledge – helping community members make more informed decisions before they travel on ice. The award recognizes Bell and SmartICE for their achievements and substantial contributions to the North and its peoples. Polar Knowledge Canada

Abraham Tachjian ended his term as the Finance Canada’s open banking lead at the end of the year. Tachjian was first appointed in March 2022 by Finance Canada, accepting the role alongside his director of digital banking position with PwC Canada. Finance Canada said in a statement in June that the department planned to present a “read-only model of open banking” by the end of 2023 (which didn’t happen), following on recommendations going back to 2021. In the fall economic statement, the government committed to introducing legislation in Budget 2024 and fully implementing a consumer-driven open banking framework by 2025. Investment Executive

Ali Asaria, who has led the Kitchener-Waterloo-based retail startup Tulip since its founding 10 years ago, is stepping down as CEO. Asaria announced in a LinkedIn post he’ll be leaving the role, and that Ian Rowlins, Tulip’s chief operating officer and president, will become CEO. Asaria is a serial entrepreneur who was previously an engineer for BlackBerry, where he contributed to the development of the Brick Breaker game. He went on to found and lead another e-commerce startup,, which was acquired by McKesson Canada in 2017. Founded in 2013, Tulip has developed a retail experience platform aimed at helping brands increase sales and conversion while improving efficiency. BetaKit

Bryce Bogie was named a graduate fellow at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. He is a fifth-year MD-PhD candidate in the Faculty of Medicine and is currently completing his PhD in neuroscience in the Cognitive Remediation and Neuroimaging Lab under the supervision of Dr. Synthia Guimond. Bogie is also the elected graduate student representative for the Faculty of Medicine on uOttawa’s Senate, and the co-editor-in-chief of the University of Ottawa Journal of Medicine. uOttawa

Trevor Milton, 41, the convicted founder of electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker Nikola, was sentenced to four years in prison after a jury last year found him guilty of one count of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud, including lying to investors about the company’s technology. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Milton misled investors by stating that Nikola had built a pickup from the “ground up,” that it had developed its own batteries even though he knew the company was buying them, and that it had early success creating a “Nikola One” semi-truck that he knew did not work. U.S. District Judge Edgar Ramos allowed Milton to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction. Reuters

Quebec’s tech ecosystem recognized 15 local startups, stakeholders and leaders at the fifth iteration of the Startup Community Awards, hosted by MTL New Tech. A total of 475 nominees were vetted by a panel of 13 judges representing various parts of the innovation ecosystem, resulting in 105 finalists. The winners were:

  • Pitch Prodigy of the Year – Ora Medical
  • Collaboration of the Year – Le Consortium québécois des incubateurs High-Tech and Founder Fuel  
  • Community Builder of the Decade – Real Ventures
  • Social Impact Champion of the Year– Incubateur Civique, Maison de L’innovation Sociale
  • Venture Builder Program of the Year – Centech
  • IP Innovation Ally of the Year– Jean-Nicolas Delage
  • Public Sector Ally of the Year – Geneviève Drolet
  • Community Builder of the Decade John Stokes
  • Diversity Champion of the Year– Roxanne Leduc
  • International Champion of the Year– Stéphane Beaudry
  • Rising Star of the Year– Théo Corboliou
  • Investor Community Builder of the Year– Geneviève Tanguay
  • Mentor of the Year – Christian Beaubien, Frederic Bastien BetaKit

The Canadian Space Agency announced the Canadian winners of the 12th annual NASA Space Apps Challenge, which saw a record number of more than 1,300 students participate from 12 Canadian cities. Participants were invited to create innovative applications and solutions to different challenges using satellite data from 13 international space agency partners. The winners of the CSA’s Space Apps Stargazer regular challenge were:

  • First place – The Science Professor (Inuvik): Narek Hambardzumyan. Narek tackled the “Curiosity Collective” challenge to explain why the CASSIOPE satellite is important for studying space weather.
  • Second place – The Space Place (Inuvik): Davit Hambardzumyan, who also tackled the Curiosity Collective challenge. His project goes into detail about the importance of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission and why we need it as Canadians.
  • Third place – GeoSpace Explorers (Calgary): Nicole Tan and Ante Rakotoarison. For the “Too Long, Didn’t Read: What’s up in Space?” challenge, this team designed an interactive educational app for students in grades 5 to 7. The objective is to enhance their understanding of space-related topics and satellite launches.

The winners of CSA’s Space Apps Moonwalker advanced challenge were:

  • First place – Space Ninjas (Toronto): Mishal Vellani, Farees Ahmed, Hajer Al Obeidli, Giuliano De Francesco, and Kyle Truong. This team created the Blaze Alert app, which aims to improve emergency declarations and enable direct communication for all Canadian communities.
  • Second place – FireLink (Halifax): Aniq Elahi, Jasper Grant, Aishik Sanyal, Christian Simoneau, and Paras Nath Seth. This team created a software map with real-time updatable satellite and aerial photography maps that allows for up-to-the-second information about fires and other natural disasters.
  • Third place – Error418 (Toronto): Sterling Huang, Sebastian Arellano-Rubach, Soham Chakraborty, Lucas Craiu, Tony Yuan, and Jarmin Weng. This team created a Web application that gives everyone the possibility of admiring the beauty of space through a specialized algorithm to generate music that captures the hidden secrets of space.

McGill University’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning recently hosted the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Health Beyond Initiative focused on health care for astronauts on long missions and those dwelling for extended periods on the Moon. Under the leadership of Dr. Dan Deckelbaum, the Steinberg Centre won a competitive bid to be the centre for evaluating proposed technologies to support health care in deep space. The next phase of the CSA’s Deep Space Healthcare Challenge will be five finalist vendors designing containers like those hauled by freighter ships. Each container will showcase integrated technology that would serve as the medical care hub on the moon. The Steinberg Centre will provide feedback to the vendors, set criteria for their assessment, and establish plans to test the container modules in remote areas of Canada that are traditionally underserved. McGill University

BMO Financial Group announced that Trinity College is the first post-secondary institution in North America to secure a labelled Green Loan for its new residence and academic building – the Lawson Centre for Sustainability. Arranged by BMO, the Green Loan will be used to finance construction of Trinity College’s ambitious new mass timber, zero-carbon, LEED platinum multi-use building. The mass timber building will use geothermal heating and cooling as well as rooftop photovoltaics, triple-glazed windows, an underground cistern for rainwater collection and reuse, and locally sourced materials, including limestone and bricks. Currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2025, the multi-use facility will add 14,450 square metres of residential (increasing from 450 to 800 beds) academic, social and dining spaces for the community. BMO



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