The Short Report - June 22, 2022: A big investment in CCRM's OmniaBio, feds seek to advance digital charter, forging a new oil sands alliance, launching a climate impact accelerator, and more.

Cindy Graham
June 22, 2022


The Government of Canada is investing more than $175 million through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support research partnerships and knowledge mobilization on hundreds of projects across Canada. The funding will be allocated through Partnership Grants ($52 million for 21 projects over four to seven years); Partnership Development Grants ($16 million for 85 projects over three years); Insight Grants ($96.5 million for 560 projects over five years), and Aid to Scholarly Journals grants ($10.5 million supporting 143 publications over three years). Among the projects supported, topics will explore inclusive policing, the transition to a sustainable economy, First Nations self-determination, and achieving Canada's net-zero emissions target GOC

Kitchener-Waterloo-based evolutionQ has raised $7 million in Series A funding from a group of international venture capital (VC) partners including Paris-based VC fund Quantonation, who led the investment, with participation from Toronto-based The Group Ventures. evolutionQ develops quantum-safe cybersecurity products; it plans to use the funding to advance its product development, expand its service offerings, and grow sales across Europe and North America. evolutionQ

The Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance, launched in 2021, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), created in 2012, and the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA), created in 2013, are joining under one banner called the Pathways Alliance "to advance responsible oil sands development and help make Canadian oil the most preferred barrel in the world." Kendall Dilling, previous vice-president, Environment & Regulatory at Cenovus Energy and seconded earlier this year to serve as interim director of the original Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance, has been appointed president of the alliance. Pathways Alliance

Metaspectral, a computer vision company based in Vancouver, has won funding from the Canadian Space Agency to develop a new greenhouse gas monitoring method. CSA is providing $150,000 to Metaspectral through the smartEarth initiative to quantify CO2 levels on Earth. The company says the hyperspectral images and data captured by its orbiting satellites will provide insights for public and private sectors to adjust their environmental and climate change policies and plans, as well as reap the potential economic benefits of carbon credits. Metaspectral Business in Vancouver

KPMG Canada and MaRS Discovery District have launched the Climate Impact Accelerator program to match clients looking for technology-driven climate solutions with cleantech startups that are ready to scale up. The program's goal is to implement climate innovation solutions on a large scale quickly by building stronger networks between startups and corporations and governments. KPMG Canada

The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) has received $5 million from the federal government to develop rock-crushing technology that uses microwave energy, and which can yield energy savings of up to 70 per cent, compared to more conventional crushing systems. CMIC received the funds as the winner of Impact Canada's Crush-It! Challenge, which was launched in 2018 to encourage breakthroughs in mining technology. IMPACT CANADA International Mining

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) is contributing $1 million to Cycle Momentum, a Montreal-based startup accelerator focused on the clean technology sector, supporting its ability to launch innovation challenges with industrial partners to reduce their operational footprints. The funding is through the Jobs and Growth Fund, a $700-million federal program to support regional job creation. CED


Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti have introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, which is meant to strengthen Canada's private sector privacy law, create new rules for the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence (AI), and advance the implementation of Canada's Digital Charter. The law provides the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with the power to order companies to stop collecting data or using personal information, and establishes fines of up to 5 per cent of global revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious offences. GOC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has launched a guide to help researchers apply a critical equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lens to their work by providing guiding questions and examples relevant to their field of research. It includes two main sections: guidance on embedding EDI considerations at each stage of the research process, and EDI considerations in building research teams, recruitment and retention, and the roles of team members throughout the course of a research project. NSERC

Survey results from Export Development Canada (EDC) shows confidence among Canadian exporters across all regions and business sizes, and from nearly every sector, has dropped below the historical average. This is the second consecutive decline in EDC’s Trade Confidence Index (TCI). While the survey highlights concerns about inflation, supply chain issues, deteriorating financing conditions and the war in Ukraine, the largest dip in confidence was among SMEs, with “hiring skilled workers" the third-most identified problem. EDC


FedDev Ontario is delivering more than $23 million over six years to help businesses advance and commercialize quantum technologies for domestic and global markets as a next step in Canada's National Quantum Strategy. Applications are being accepted until September 20 for projects that focus on adopting quantum technologies, bringing new technology to market, or business development, capacity building or commercialization. These projects are eligible for a repayable contribution of up to $5 million. GOC

RELATED: As the federal government launches a quantum strategy, researchers say nurturing a long-term, cohesive ecosystem is key

Natural Resources Canada has launched a call for proposals for clean fuels awareness projects and will provide 50-75 per cent of total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding up to $300,000 per project. Projects should increase awareness and reduce knowledge gaps among Canadians and industry on clean fuel types and clean fuel technologies, which may include activities such as developing curriculum and training materials for a target audience, implementing a clean fuels mentorship or ambassador program, or offering in-person professional training, industry-led skills training and centres of expertise. The call closes September 13. NRCan

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra has launched a request for proposals to support the development of devices that would reduce underwater noise generated by propellers to support protection and recovery of Canada's endangered whale species. Projects will be funded through Transport Canada's Quiet Vessel Initiative, which is testing the most promising technologies, vessel designs, retrofits, and operational practices to make vessels quieter. The deadline for bid submissions is July 28, 2022, and all projects are to be completed by March 31, 2024. GOC


OmniaBio, a subsidiary of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) based at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, has sold a 39.6% stake for $30 million to South Korean stem cell therapeutics provider MediPost. Medipost plans to invest an additional $60 million in the project, contributing to an overall project worth of $580 million for the real estate construction and operation of OmniaBio. OmniaBio will be Canada’s largest contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for the manufacture of cell and gene therapies. OmniaBio Korea Economic Daily

A first-in-Canada clinical trial that manufactured supercharged immune cells (CART-T therapy) to treat specific kinds of leukemia or lymphoma will pave the way for more clinical trials across the country. The Canadian-Led Immunotherapies in Cancer-01 (CLIC-01) clinical trial was launched in 2019 at The Ottawa Hospital and BC Cancer and has the potential to open the door to less expensive and more equitable treatment. The Ottawa Hospital

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) has made a repayable contribution of $2.3 million to MedXL (Pointe Claire, QC), which will allow the medical devices company to acquire the digital production equipment needed to increase its production capacity of pre-filled syringes. CED


The Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process (ReMAP), the Toronto-based technology accelerator, has announced the untimely passing of its president and CEO Irene Sterian, who passed away May 8th. Sterian was called a "big picture visionary capable of driving incredible change". She was considered one of the Canadian technology and advanced manufacturing sector's greatest champions. She "mentored countless engineers...and was a role model for hundreds of women in STEM." ReMAP

Dr. Nancy Tout has been hired as the first chief scientific officer at The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), effective July 18, 2022. Tout is joining GIFS from Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), a Government of Alberta initiative, where she has been responsible for developing, administering and delivering research funding programs. For more than 21 years, she was at Syngenta Canada, where she led R&D in the discovery, development and registration of agricultural innovation projects. USask

Dr. Tom Landecker has been awarded the W.G. Schneider Medal, the highest expression of recognition for achievement at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The award "recognizes an employee who has made an outstanding contribution to the NRC above and beyond the expectations of their job duties and who exemplifies the NRC's values." As an engineer, Landecker is regarded as a force in Canadian astronomy. He "pushed technological improvement in the service of science, working with academic partners to develop novel telescopes at the NRC's Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) which have enabled science, including some of the world's foremost research on fast radio bursts (FRBs) in Canada." NRC

Dr. Barry Sanders has received the city of Calgary’s Award for International Achievement, which recognizes an exceptional Calgarian whose volunteer and/or professional activities have gained international acclaim or brought recognition to the city. Sanders is a professor and quantum scientist at the University of Calgary, as well as director of UCalgary’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, lead investigator of the Alberta Major Innovation Fund Project on Quantum Technologies, and scientific director of Quantum City. He is known for seminal contributions to theories in quantum-limited measurement, highly nonclassical light, practical quantum cryptography, and optical implementations of quantum information tasks. University of Calgary

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) inducted new laureates for contributions to improvements in human health at the 2022 induction ceremony presented by the Canadian Medical Association. This year's laureates include Sir John Bell (Oxford, United Kingdom; pioneering advances in translation research and bringing laboratory discoveries to practical medicine); the late Thomas A. Dignan (Thunder Bay, Ontario; improved the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, creating safe spaces for systemic change and mentorship); Daniel Drucker (Toronto; revealed the potential for gut hormones to achieve dramatic clinical outcomes in the treatment of life-limiting and life-threatening metabolic and intestinal disorders); David J.A. Jenkins (Toronto; invented the glycemic index to classify carbohydrates and their effects on blood glucose levels, associated with the incidence of diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease mortality); Jonathan L. Meakins (Montreal; advanced safe and effective surgical technologies and demonstrated the relationship between weakened immune responses and poor surgical outcomes leading to significant improvements in clinical assessment and nutritional support for surgical patients worldwide) and Noralou P. Roos (Winnipeg; unlocked the potential of big data systems analysis to clarify the social determinants of health helping inform effective policies in support of universal health care.) Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

UBC Medicine professor Dr. Pieter Cullis has been awarded the 2022 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science for his work developing the lipid nanoparticle technology that enabled mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. A pioneer in lipid chemistry and the formation of lipid nanoparticles, Cullis was also recently named a 2022 Canada Gairdner International Award laureate. UBC

Conservative Party of Canada MP Jeremy Patzer has introduced a bill calling for modernization of Canada's Copyright Act. According to Patzer Bill C-294, the Unlocking Innovation Act, would provide a clear, limited exemption for consumers and innovators "to enjoy the benefits of interoperability," thereby allowing industry to meet modern technological demands. Conservative Party of Canada

Bilal Khan, CEO of scaleup innovation hub OneEleven, will lead the Canadian engineering team at cloud computing company Snowflake's new Toronto headquarters. The Montana-based company announced Toronto as its Canadian headquarters at a user conference in Las Vegas. The company is planning to build out its enterprise platform to support its in-house marketplace and will hire hundreds of engineers over the next few years. Tech Talent Canada Globe and Mail

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