Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT) , Maritime Launch Services , Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Electric System Operator, Alberta Innovates, Alto, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Armstrong Monitoring Corp. , Aroland First Nation, Ballard Power Systems, BDC Capital, Beacon Data Centres Inc. , Bennett Jones, BioPharma Services , BioTalent Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, C. Light Technologies, Calgary Radiopharmaceutical Centre, Canada Energy Regulator, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission., Canadian Space Agency, Capital Bioventures,, Cass AI, Cedar LNG , Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, Chexy, Cognixion, CoGuard, Concordia University, Conference Board of Canada, Credit App Technologies Inc., Deloitte Canada, Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute, ElectroKinetic Solutions Inc. , Enhanced Medical Nutrition, Enviro Integration Strategies Inc. , Environment and Climate Change Canada, Environmental Defence , eStruxture Data Centers , European Space Agency, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Fengate Asset Management , FirstHx, Fisher River Cree Nation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Foothills Medical Centre , FREDsense Technologies Corp. , Future Skills Centre, Genetics Advisor, Genome Quebec, Genvira Biosciences Inc, Ginoogaming First Nation , Glacies Technologies Inc. , Government of Alberta, Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Government of Estonia, Government of Nova Scotia, Government of Ontario, H2nanO Inc. , Haisla Nation, Hamilton Health Sciences, Healwell AI , Impact Assessment Agency , Innovation Saskatchewan, International Energy Agency, iRegained, Island Women in Science and Technology , James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, Larus Technologies Corp. , Linggo, Long Lake #58 First Nation, Long Plain First Nation, LoopX Innovation Inc. , McGill University, McMaster Entrepreneurship Academy, McMaster University, Minesense, Mining Innovation Commercial Accelerator (MICA) Network, Ministerial Working Group on Regulatory Efficiency for Clean Growth Projects, Molecular You, Momo Medical, Moneta, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, NASA, National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada, Net-Zero Advisory Body , New Times Energy Discovery Park , NovaResp, Ontario Science Centre, OpenAI, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, OraMedical , OraQ, Pathways Alliance, Pembina Institute, Pequis First Nation, PerceivAI, pH7 Technologies Inc., Platform Calgary, PragmaClin, Prairies Economic Development Canada, Privy Council Office, Propulso , Public Safety Canada, Quantum Algorithms Institute, Quantum Technology , QurCan Therapeutics, Ranovus Inc. , Raven Indigenous Outcomes Funds , Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton, Roga, S&P Global Commodity Insights, Statistics Canada, Stone Centre on Wealth and Income Inequality, Supreme Court of Canada, Swiftsure, Symboticware , TD Bank Group, TD Innovation Partners , Tersa Earth Innovations Inc., the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University, Think Research Corporation , ThinkRF Corp. , Tochtech, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto-Dominion Bank, True Angle, TryCycle Data Systems Inc. , TutorOcean Inc. , UBC's Vancouver School of Economics, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, VeroSource Solutions Inc. , Vertiv, Virica Biotech Inc., Virtual Hallway, Voxcell, VoxCell BioInnovation, Western University, Willful, and Xander Kardian


“Building Canada’s Clean Future" plan, 2024 Startup Pitch Competition at the Collision conference , addressing housing crisis and climate change impacts, adoption of AI by Canadian businesses, adoption of AI by various Canadian industrial sectors, AI and data science for preventative health care, Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, applied genomics, attracting data centres to Alberta, backup power applications for data centres and critical infrastructures, banking solutions for tech and innovation companies, Bill C-70, an Act respecting countering foreign interference, biomass/biofuel projects in Canada, British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, CABHI's Mentorship, Capital, and Continuation (MC2) Program , Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy , Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Matters (CRISM), cancer treatment, changes to Canada's Competition Act. , changes to federal Impact Assessment Act, closing of Ontario Science Centre, countering foreign interference in Canada , critical minerals development , cutting-edge health technologies, data intelligence and optimization, decarbonizing Canada's electricity system, decontaminating grain and boosting seed germination using cold plasma, economic and resource development opportunities in northern Ontario, economic impact of federal cap on oil and gas emissions, Estonia overhauling R&D and innovation legislation, ExoMars 2028 Rosalind Franklin rover mission, federal action plan for building clean growth projects faster, federal anti-greenwashing legislation, federal Clean Economy Investment Tax Credits, federal support for life sciences companies in Ottawa, federal support for tech and AI companies in Ottawa, fintech, gender pay gap in Canada's tech workforce, Genomics Integration Program - Agriculture and Bio-food, Forestry and Environment, green hydrogen production, HAWC (High-altitude Aerosol, Water vapor, and Cloud) satellite mission, hydro projects in Canada, hydrogen and battery storage projects in Canada , improving productivity growth in Canada , Indigenous loan guarantee program, industrial carbon pricing driving emissions reductions, largest-ever investment in Canadian data sector, LNG projects on the West Coast, mining innovation projects, mobilizing Canada's National Dementia Strategy , National Bank Investor Hub, national biomanufacturing skills and training study, Natural Resources Canada’s Regional Energy and Resource Tables, new cyclotron facility in Calgary, nutrition and wellness research, OpenAI’s Cybersecurity Grant Program, outcomes-based financing for Indigenous communities , proposed federal cap on oil and gas industry emissions, proposed federal Foreign Influence Transparency Registry, rent rewards and payment platform, research on the aging brain, research on wealth inequality, revitalizing traditional food systems, space science and technology, Spaceport Nova Scotia, support for women studying STEM subjects on Vancouver Island, supporting Indigenous and Black-led businesses, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023, understanding how clays formed on Mars, unlocking capital for underrepresented startup founders, and wind and solar projects in Canada

The Short Report: June 26, 2024

Research Money
June 26, 2024


The Government of Alberta has committed $48.4 million over three years toward a total investment of $70 million to develop and build a cyclotron facility in Calgary. Cyclotrons produce radiopharmaceutical drugs, or radioactive isotopes, used to diagnose and treat many diseases such as cancer, bone disease, stroke, dementia and epilepsy. There is increasing demand for the use of radiopharmaceutical drugs as a diagnostic tool. This new facility in Calgary at the Foothills Medical Centre will support faster transportation of the drugs, increasing the capacity of diagnostic testing and treatments available for patients in southern Alberta, the government said. The cyclotron at the new Calgary Radiopharmaceutical Centre will be used to develop Fluorine-18, Carbon-11, and Gallium-68, which are isotopes needed for diagnostic imaging scans used to diagnose various diseases. Construction of the cyclotron is anticipated to begin in 2025, with substantial completion expected in 2027. Alberta currently has two cyclotrons, located at the University of Alberta’s South Campus (photo at top right) and at the Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute. Govt. of Alberta

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced the passing into law of the first four federal Clean Economy Investment Tax Credits:

  • Clean Technology ITC
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) ITC
  • Clean Technology Manufacturing ITC
  • Clean Hydrogen ITC.

With the Royal Assent of Bill C-59, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023, eligible businesses can now apply for and claim the Clean Technology and CCUS ITCs. The Clean Technology ITC and CCUS ITC are anticipated to provide eligible companies with approximately $11.4 billion in support through 2027-28. Eligible businesses should be able to apply for tax credits this fall for clean technology manufacturing and clean hydrogen projects. Examples of eligible clean technologies include clean electricity generation equipment such as wind turbines and solar panels, stationary electrical energy storage, low-carbon heating systems such as ground and air source heat pumps, and non-road zero-emission vehicles. The CCUS ITC will provide support to taxable Canadian corporations that incur eligible expenditures for qualified CCUS projects.

[Editor’s note: It is this CCUS ITC that the Pathways Alliance group of six major Alberta oilsands companies said it was awaiting certainty on before deciding whether to proceed with a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage network in the oilsands region].

The Clean Technology Manufacturing ITC will provide support to Canadian companies that are manufacturing or processing clean technologies and their precursors, providing support for 30 per cent of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment used to manufacture or process key clean technologies, and extract, process or recycle key critical minerals. The Clean Hydrogen ITC will provide a 15-per- cent to 40-per-cent refundable tax credit for investments in projects that produce hydrogen, with the projects that produce the cleanest hydrogen receiving the highest levels of support. Equipment needed to convert hydrogen into ammonia, in order to transport hydrogen, may also be eligible. NRCan

Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a $39.4 million investment by the federal and British Columbia governments in 15 projects receiving funding under the second phase of the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). Five of the 15 projects directly address the effects of climate change events such as droughts, flooding and wildfires on Pacific Salmon. The projects are jointly funded through Canada’s Pacific Salmon Strategy and the Government of British Columbia. BCSRIF is a 70-per-cent federal, 30-per-cent provincial cost-shared program. Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is providing a repayable investment of more than $10 million in six growing tech and AI companies in Ottawa. The recipients and their funding amounts are:

  • Armstrong Monitoring Corp. ($700,000) – The company is modernizing its facility to fully transform its products into its next-generation gas detection platform.
  • Larus Technologies Corp. ($1.5 million) – The company is developing and commercializing advanced Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, for retailers and businesses that specialize in e-commerce, complex supply chains and consumer brands to improve and optimize their business planning, price forecasting, consumer research and create jobs.
  • Ranovus Inc. ($4.8 million) – The company is scaling to commercial in-house production, at its Kanata location, of its Odin 8 chip to approximately 100,000 units annually. This will enhance Canadian-made semiconductor manufacturing and create skilled jobs.
  • ThinkRF Corp. ($2 million) – The company is scaling its automated wireless monitoring solutions, including its Spectrum Experience products, to address the growing economic and public safety dependency on wireless networks.
  • TryCycle Data Systems Inc. ($1 million) – The company is scaling and strengthening its mental health tech platforms, TetherAll and Talking Stick, and its workforce to reach new markets across Canada, the U.S. and abroad.
  • TutorOcean Inc. ($1 million) – The company is introducing new AI functionalities to its personalized Student Success learning platform, allowing it to expand its customer base and reach new international markets in Europe and Asia, as well as create skilled jobs in the Ottawa region.

The Ottawa region is home to 1,800 tech companies and more than 8,000 tech workers. FedDev Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is providing a total of $8.75 million to three Ottawa-based life sciences companies. The funding includes $1.5 million investment to Virica Biotech Inc., to support and scale new advanced manufacturing of its viral sensitizers at its expanded facility at Carleton University. Virica Biotech pioneered a new viral sensitizer that boosts the efficacy of using viruses to help treat cancer, removing the barriers to manufacturing effective viral medicines at scale. FedDev Ontario also is providing $1.75 million to Genvira Biosciences Inc., which builds innovative biotherapeutics, examining how human cells change and mutate to help create vaccines, supporting advancements in gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy. The funding will help the company enhance its biomaterials manufacturing capabilities, to better serve clinicians as they undertake clinical trials. FedDev Ontario’s third investment is $5.5 million in Capital Bioventures, a not-for-profit wet-lab accelerator that provides Canadian biotech companies with early-stage funding and access to dedicated drug and corporate development biotech professionals, and access to high-quality equipment and lab space. The organization is addressing the critical need for wet lab space in the region, by establishing and launching an Ottawa-based wet-lab accelerator program that will allow SMEs to utilize wet lab space in locations across the city. FedDev Ontario

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy are providing $6 million to expand and increase the impact of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Matters (CRISM). This new funding includes $4 million to create a Network Coordinating Centre, and $2 million to develop an Indigenous Engagement Platform that will work collaboratively across the research network. Dr. David Hodgins at the University of Calgary will lead the CRISM Network Coordinating Centre. Hodgins and his team will establish four core platforms, including one to co-create knowledge mobilization products as well as a training and capacity building platform that includes research placements and scholarships for early career researchers and Indigenous scholars. The Network Coordinating Centre will also facilitate clinical trials, research studies and data sharing. Dr. Robert Henry at the University of Saskatchewan will lead the development of the CRISM Indigenous Engagement Platform. The platform will include training of Indigenous students and Indigenous research priorities designed with Indigenous community partners. CRISM’s network includes more than 1,000 service providers, researchers, policy makers, patients, and people who use substances who  work together to develop impactful, evidence-informed approaches to prevent and treat substance-related harms. CIHR

Génome Québec and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies sector announced 15 research projects selected as part of the third cycle of the Genomics Integration Program - Agriculture and Bio-food, Forestry and Environment. The total investment, including that of public and private partners, represents nearly $3.6 million. The research projects were selected as part of the funding round launched at the end of last summer and will promote the use of genomics to help industry and public agencies address various issues related to biodiversity, animal health, water quality and ecosystem health, as well as pathogen detection. pests and invasive species. The program provides funding for projects ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, covering half of the funding for partnerships between academic researchers and user partners who can implement and commercialize research results. Génome Québec

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced funding totalling $1.52 million, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, for 26 projects aimed at revitalizing traditional food systems, increasing food security, training and resource development, and expanding Indigenous participation in Manitoba’s growing agriculture and agri-food sectors. As one example of the projects, Long Plain First Nation’s Community Wellness’s Hunting and Gathering, Foraging and Processing project will enhance current community food systems through the development of new food harvesting and preservation processes to ensure that food is properly preserved and available for consumption throughout the year. AAFC

Innovation Saskatchewan is investing $600,000 over three years through the Innovation and Science Fund (ISF) for a project supporting the HAWC (High-altitude Aerosol, Water vapor, and Cloud) satellite mission. HAWC is the Canadian Space Agency's contribution to the Atmosphere Observing System mission led by NASA scheduled to launch in 2031. ISF matches federal innovation funding dollars for projects from Saskatchewan universities, colleges and research institutes. The program funding will help HAWC advance Canadian space science through the development of advanced technological space instruments. Co-led by a team of University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers, HAWC will deliver critical measurements to support extreme weather prediction, climate modelling and disaster monitoring. The HAWC science team is a Canada-wide group of researchers comprising USask as the lead institution of a 14-university consortium, along with the Canadian Space Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the National Research Council . The HAWC mission consists of three cutting-edge climate science satellite instruments, of which two are designed by USask: ALI (Aerosol Limb Imager), a satellite imager for aerosol profiling, and SHOW (Spatial Heterodyne Observations of Water), a satellite imager for water vapor.  Govt. of Saskatchewan

The Government of Ontario signed agreements to support renewed partnerships with First Nations to unlock economic and resource development opportunities in northern Ontario, including future critical minerals projects. Agreements were signed with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation. “Together with First Nations partners, we’re improving and upgrading northern roads to better connect First Nations communities to the province’s highway network and to support future critical mineral and resource development opportunities. These are all-season roads that will support First Nations communities, built by First Nations workers,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said. The agreements include:

  • Building and improving highway infrastructure that will help connect more First Nations communities to the province’s highway network. This work includes maintenance and upgrades to Highway 584 and Highway 11, with work starting this construction season.
  • $1.9 million from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for the Indigenous Workforce Development Program through the province’s Skills Development Fund. The program will provide training and support to secure jobs related to mineral development in the region.
  • $2 million to fund the construction and maintenance of the Migizi Plaza Rest Stop, which will serve the needs of First Nation members, tourists and residents, create jobs and drive revenue for the First Nations and Municipality of Greenstone.
  • The province will work to relocate the Greenstone Ontario Provincial Police detachment, with support for the relocation costs from Greenstone Gold Mine, about 300 km northeast of Thunder Bay. Relocating the station will ensure that people have access to police services, close to home, following the displacement of the station during the mine’s construction. Govt. of Ontario


The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) at Baycrest academic health sciences centre in North York, Ont., is providing companies with a total of $9.5 million through its Mentorship, Capital, and Continuation (MC2) Program to mobilize innovation and advance the goals of Canada’s National Dementia Strategy. With a focus on early-stage health tech and fintech companies, CABHI’s MC2 Program helps businesses achieve validation and business milestones as they progress through commercialization, growth and scaling. In addition to funding, the program provides acceleration services such as access to end-user validation, business and research expertise, CABHI’s Innovation and Investment Networks, and more. Several of the companies receiving support are working to address key points within the National Dementia Strategy, such as improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Additionally, for the first time in the MC2 Program’s seven funding rounds, select companies, like QurCan Therapeutics, are in the biotechnology field and are working towards developing treatments for cognitive and age-related disorders. The funded companies include:

  • Alto
  • Enhanced Medical Nutrition
  • Genetics Advisor
  • PragmaClin
  • NovaResp
  • Tochtech
  • True Angle
  • Swiftsure
  • Voxcell
  • iRegained
  • FirstHx
  • Willful
  • Light Technologies
  • Cass AI
  • Cognixion
  • Linggo
  • Molecular You
  • Momo Medical
  • QurCan
  • Roga
  • Virtual Hallway
  • Xander Kardian
  • PerceivAI
  • Moneta
  • OraQ
  • OraMedical

In May, CABHI received $39.2 million  from the federal government’s Strategic Science Fund to continue its work in accelerating the development of products and services that support aging and brain health. Canadian Healthcare Technology

McMaster University chancellor emerita and alumna (1967) Suzanne Labarge is giving $7.5 million to the university to accelerate research focused on the aging brain. Labarge, a former vice-chair of the Royal Bank of Canada, has been a long-standing catalyst for aging research at the university and within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA). Over the years, Labarge has given more than $42 million to enhance the lives of older adults in Canada and around the world. MIRA aims to optimize the longevity of Canada’s aging population through research, education and collaboration. Interdisciplinary teams work alongside older adults and key stakeholders to help Canadians spend more years living well. Initiatives include: research investigating the relationship between the brain, gut health and optimal aging; studies exploring how mobility, physical activity, diet and loneliness influence brain health; and examining how intergenerational family dynamics intersect with mobility and the aging brain. Labarge’s latest investment of $7.5 million will help MIRA leverage existing research programs and develop new programs to better understand how the aging brain controls our body functions as we age. McMaster University

The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Vancouver School of Economics will be home to Canada’s first Stone Centre on Wealth and Income Inequality, one of 11 such centres around the world focused on research, teaching and knowledge mobilization around wealth inequality. The creation and operation of the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Centre on Wealth and Income Inequality at UBC is made possible thanks to a generous $5.4 million gift from the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation. Under the leadership of labour economists Dr. Thomas Lemieux, Dr. Nicole Fortin, and Dr. David Green, the Stone Centre at UBC will provide funding to advance cutting-edge research through multiple avenues such as fellowships and grants, host speakers and prominent experts in the field, and develop new datasets in collaboration with Statistics Canada to study patterns of wealth and income inequality across the country. The Stone Foundation has made significant investments worldwide in the study and mitigation of wealth inequality, with emphasis on the causes and consequences of wealth accumulating at the top. This latest investment places UBC among a cohort of leading global institutions, including Harvard University, Brown University, and University of California, Berkeley. UBC

Concordia University alumnus (BSc 1972) Christine Lengvari, a long-standing donor and volunteer, is donating $5 million in support of the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now, a major contribution that will benefit nutrition and wellness research at the university’s School of Health. Located on Loyola Campus, the School of Health takes a multidisciplinary and hands-on approach to health-related research, education, student training and community engagement. Lengvari, the president and CEO of Lengvari Financial, seven years ago made an initial planned gift of $1 million to Concordia. Lengvari is also chair of Concordia’s Women Who LEAD initiative, which empowers women alumni to enhance leadership skills and make a positive impact on society. Concordia University

Canso, N.S.-based Maritime Launch Services announced it received approval from the Government of Nova Scotia for the development of a satellite processing facility, as an eligible project for reimbursement under the Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC) Program. Maritime Launch received approval for an initial qualification of up to $7.5 million in reimbursements under the CITC for the facility project. Reimbursement is eligible to begin at the start of the construction of the satellite processing facility, planned for late 2024, and follows approval of a separate application, for an initial qualification of $13.2 million, in September 2023 for the development of Spaceport Nova Scotia's launch vehicle integration facility on site.  The new satellite processing facility, to be located adjacent to Spaceport Nova Scotia, will offer launch service support including logistics excellence, frequency assignment assistance, integration expertise, and rigorous testing and verification procedures. Maritime Launch Services

Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems and Ohio-based Vertiv have entered into a strategic technology partnership with a focus on backup power applications for data centres and critical infrastructures, scalable from 200 kilowatts to multiple megawatts. Collaborating to demonstrate the technical feasibility and customer benefits of hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions, Vertiv has integrated two Ballard PowerGen 200-kilowatt fuel cell power modules with Vertiv™ Liebert® EXL S1 uninterruptible power system within a successfully demonstrated proof-of-concept at Vertiv’s facility in Ohio. “Ballard and Vertiv’s strategic partnership enables both parties to leverage our respective strengths to offer cost-effective, zero greenhouse gas emission fuel cell back-up power solutions that are scalable to meet data centres growing power demands,” Nicolas Pocard, vice-president marketing and strategic partnerships at Ballard, said in a statement. Ballard Power Systems

The Government of Alberta has established a working group of government ministries to attract high-tech data centres to the province. The Alberta Electric System Operator said it has at least six proposed applications for data centres – still in the early stages of development – to let them connect to the province’s electricity grid. Together, they would consume about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. They include three large AI hubs proposed by Connecticut-headquartered Beacon Data Centres Inc. that would each require up to 400 MW and require billions of dollars of investment. Nate Glubish, Alberta’s technology minister, told the Calgary Herald: “I see a huge opportunity for Alberta to be the data centre capital of Canada, if not North America.” More than 80,000 data centres now operate around the world, about one-third based in the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Data centres, generative AI and cryptocurrencies consumed about 460 terawatt-hours of electricity worldwide in 2022 and that amount could double toward the end of 2026, the IEA estimated. Calgary Herald

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation announced 10 projects that will share $2.4 million in funding from the Mining Innovation Commercial Accelerator (MICA) Network. These projects, collectively valued at $24 million, aim to enhance the productivity and sustainability of the mining sector while bolstering the Canadian economy. The funded projects span four key technical themes: increasing mine production capacity at a lower cost; reducing mining energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; implementing smart autonomous mining systems; and reducing environmental risk and long-term liabilities. The selected projects are:

  • Glacies Technologies Inc. (Quebec) – $250,000 to demonstrate a 10-per-cent scale heating reactor designed to prevent underground icing using eco-friendly methods.
  • MineSense (British Columbia) – $250,000 to trial its ShovelSense technology, which differentiates ore and waste in real-time during underground mining operations.
  • H2nanO Inc. (Ontario) – $250,000 to advance its SolarPass and Oasis technologies for mine water treatment and tailings management.
  • Enviro Integration Strategies Inc. (Saskatchewan) – $234,010 to develop an all-in-one risk governance platform for mine waste infrastructure.
  • pH7 Technologies Inc. (British Columbia) – $250,000 to implement a sustainable heap-leaching process for extracting copper from low-grade ores.
  • FREDsense Technologies Corp. (Alberta) – $187,000 to commercialize a portable sensor for selenium analysis in mining water.
  • LoopX Innovation Inc. (Ontario) – $250,000 to develop an AI-powered tag-less collision avoidance system for underground mining vehicles.
  • ElectroKinetic Solutions Inc. (Ontario) – $250,000 to demonstrate the dewatering performance of its EKS-DT Technology in tailings storage.
  • Symboticware (Ontario) – $250,000 to enhance its SymBot IIoT platform with satellite-to-cellular technology, improving connectivity for mining fleets.
  • Tersa Earth Innovations Inc. (British Columbia) – $250,000 to advance its TersaClean technology for microbial fuel cell-based tailings treatment. Mining Innovation Commercial Accelerator

Squamish, B.C.-based hydrogen company Quantum Technology announced an agreement with Campbell River, B.C.-based New Times Energy (NTE) Discovery Park to develop a green hydrogen production plant within the Vancouver Island community. The companies plan to build the plant, which will produce about 15 tonnes per day of green hydrogen gas and liquid – enough to fill up 3,000 cars per day – in the first pilot phase. The hydrogen, processed using renewable electricity, is intended to provide fuel for ferries, buses, trucks, trains and cars on Vancouver Island, Powell River and for the Vancouver market. By replacing their current modes of fuel with hydrogen, these modes of transportation will be able to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions, thus mitigating the effects of climate change. The plant will be in Discovery Park, an industrial site owned by NTE and located in that community. The Squamish Chief

The Charlottetown, P.E.I.-based Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) and the Future Skills Centre launched a national biomanufacturing skills and training study to gather critical labour market information and future training priorities specific to Canadian biomanufacturing. Delivered in partnership with BioTalent Canada, the project, “Knowledge and Insights for Future Proofing Biomanufacturing Training,” will include a national survey of the Canadian biomanufacturing industry. This six-month project provides $249,500 in federal funding and will allow CASTL to conduct a national biomanufacturing skills and training study working with Canadian companies to identify workforce trends, emerging priorities around training and skills development, and the introduction of new technologies and related competencies. Research outcomes will inform future training curriculums, opportunities for new partnerships, and enhanced delivery models for CASTL and other industry stakeholders. In addition to the skills and training study, the project will also feature a case study that examines best practices for upskilling for new technologies in biologics manufacturing. Building on data gathered from the national study, the case study will demonstrate best practices and the return on investment for customized employer-sponsored training as well as CASTL’s techniques for training a select group of workers to transition into new process streams for facility expansion. CASTL

Dozens of people attended a rally in Toronto on June 23 urging Premier Doug Ford's government to reverse its decision to abruptly close the Ontario Science Centre. The Ontario government announced on June 21 it was closing the popular landmark and attraction in Toronto's Don Mills neighbourhood that same day, citing safety concerns with the building's roof contained in an engineering report it had commissioned. The report from engineering firm Rimkus Consulting Group found structural issues with some roof panels, some of which require replacement or reinforcement by Oct. 31, 2024, to avoid a potential collapse under a significant buildup of snow. However, the report stopped short of recommending a closure of the building. While the issues could be fixed at a cost of between $22 million and $40 million, the government said it chose to shutter the location indefinitely to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff. The Ford government already planned to move the science centre from its current location to a redeveloped Ontario Place site in Toronto’s waterfront. Under those plans, the new science centre building – about half the size of the current one – won't open until 2028. CBC News

Gender pay gap in Canada’s tech workforce has tripled since 2016: study by the Dais

The gender pay gap in Canada’s tech workforce has almost tripled since 2016, according to a study by the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University.

The study, “Canada’s Got Talent: Diversity of Canada’s Tech Workers,” found there are now nearly one million tech workers in Canada.

However, according to the latest Census data, while seven per cent of men working in Canada are engaged in tech work, only 2.1 per cent of women working in Canada are in tech jobs.

Men in the Canadian tech sector earned $20,000 on average more than women annually. The gender pay gap has grown since 2016, when men earned $7,200 more than women, the study says.

Visible minorities in Canada are over-represented within tech occupations. While only 31 per cent of all Canadian workers are members of a visible minority, they make up 44 per cent of tech workers.

Overall, 6.6 per cent of workers in Canada with a visible-minority identity work in tech, compared with 3.8 per cent of non-visible minorities.

However visible minorities holding tech jobs are underpaid compared with non-visible minorities. Those with visible-minority identities earn an average of $78,800 a year, compared with $93,000 for non-visible minorities.

Canada’s efforts to attract foreign tech workers have worked – tech workers are disproportionately either immigrants or non-permanent-residents. But they are paid less than their counterparts.

Eight percent of immigrants participate in a tech occupation and nine percent of non-permanent residents do the same. This is significantly higher than the rate of three per cent for other workers.

However, non-permanent-resident tech workers earn only $52,800 a year compared with immigrant and non-immigrant tech workers, who make $88,000 and $89,800 respectively.

Indigenous Peoples in Canada earn on average $14,000 less than non-Indigenous tech workers annually.  Indigenous Peoples are also 70 per cent less likely than others in Canada to work in tech. Only 1.4 per cent of employed Indigenous Peoples are currently working in tech occupations, compared with 4.8 per cent of non-Indigenous workers. 

For Indigenous Peoples living on-reserve, there are unique challenges in entering tech occupations, the study notes. These communities are often under-served by broadband providers, meaning that access to the internet is a challenge.

For the same reason, access to both digital devices and digital literacy education is harder to access in rural communities. These factors create structural barriers for Indigenous peoples to enter into tech occupations. 

On average, Canadian tech workers earn $40,000 more per year than workers employed in other fields, according to the study.

 The salary gap with non-tech work has narrowed since 2016. Canada’s tech workers, however, are still underpaid compared with the same occupations in the United States. According to the Dais’s previous research, tech workers in Canada earn 46 per cent less than tech workers in the U.S.

The findings in the Dais’s study about gender disparity in the makeup of Canada’s workforce, as well as gender-based pay disparity, are similar to that in a new report, “The Canadian Quantum Ecosystem Report 2024,” by the Quantum Algorithms Institute (QAI).

The QAI’s report found the number of women in the commercial quantum workforce grew from 186 in 2017 to 306 in 2020. However, the proportion of women in the workforce barely changed, moving from 20.9 per cent in 2017 to 22 per cent in 2021.

Women’s salaries were between 29.6 per cent and 35.5 per cent lower than men’s salaries during this period – a significant disparity which cannot be satisfactorily explained without more granular information about the roles held by women and men in Canada’s quantum companies, the QAI’s report said.

In terms of the tech workforce’s education, the Dais’s study found that given tech occupations are highly skilled jobs, Canada’s tech workforce is significantly more likely to have a university education. Two-thirds of tech workers (66 per cent) have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with only 29 per cent of workers employed in other fields.

The most common field of study for tech workers is Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services along with Engineering. These fields of study alone produce more than half of all tech workers in Canada. About half as many workers with a background in business, management, and marketing also work in tech, before another sharp drop-off to other educational backgrounds. The Dais


The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has created a dedicated Inclusive Entrepreneurship team, launched a $50-million financing and training program, and is investing $200 million in Indigenous and Black-led businesses. BDC said its new Inclusive Entrepreneurship Team leads with an inclusion mindset and puts that intention at the centre of every client experience. They have increased accountability with measurable targets around business development entrepreneur training, and are already testing regional programs with business centres to better serve entrepreneurs where they are. Recognizing the barriers are highest, and trust is lowest, among the smallest and earliest-stage businesses, the team’s first act was creating a new $50-million program that provides loans, plus training, for businesses that are majority-owned by women, Indigenous and Black entrepreneurs and have revenues under $3 million. BDC Capital, BDC’s investment arm, is creating two new $100-million platforms to support Indigenous and Black-led businesses. This will complement the $500-million Thrive Platform for Women (launched in 2022) which includes Indigenous and Black women entrepreneurs. The team is currently working to hire key roles from the Black and Indigenous communities and collaborating with them to design and set objectives for the platforms. BDC

TD Bank Group announced the launch of TD Innovation Partners (TDIP), a division of the Toronto-Dominion Bank. TDIP is a new full-service team providing bespoke, high-touch banking and financing solutions in support of technology and innovation companies at all stages. TDIP offers a broad suite of services to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by technology entrepreneurs, from banking and lending products to principal investments and private banking solutions. TD Innovation Partners, led by Shez Samji, features a highly specialized team with extensive experience working with companies in the innovation economy. The team offers a collaborative approach that is industry agnostic, tailored to help innovation companies navigate the complexities of growth across their lifecycles. TD Bank Group

Oakville, Ont.-based Fengate Asset Management announced a $1.8-billion investment to take a majority equity stake in Montreal-based eStruxture Data Centers – the largest-ever investment in the Canadian data sector. The transaction includes buying the equity held by Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Fengate is a North American alternative investment manager focused on infrastructure, private equity and real estate strategies. The investment includes newly raised capital from private equity firms Partners Group of Switzerland and Pantheon of the U.K. The investment will enable the expansion of eStruxture’s portfolio of 15 data centres in Canada to meet the demand for data centre capacity. Fengate Asset Management

Raven Indigenous Outcomes Funds (RIOF) announced the first close of its initial outcomes fund at $20.4 million. Investors from both Canada and the U.S. participated, including Boann Social Impact, Trottier Family Foundation, Lawson Foundation, Christensen Fund and the Sorenson Impact Fund, among others. RIOF is a member of the Raven Fund Group dedicated to empowering Indigenous communities to address their most pressing issues through outcomes-based finance. The Raven Indigenous Outcomes Fund I offers investors the opportunity to support meaningful, evidence-based climate and health initiatives to improve outcomes for Indigenous peoples. Outcomes-based financing has already proven its effectiveness through the successful Fisher River Cree Nation and Peguis First Nation Climate Community Driven Outcomes Contract (CDOC), which installed 124 geothermal exchange units and provided on-reserve housing retrofits, training and employment opportunities. Also underway is the Minoayawin CDOC, focused on reducing the burden of type-2 diabetes in the Island Lake Anisininew Nation in Manitoba. Raven Indigenous Outcomes Funds

Toronto-based Chexy, a rent rewards and payments platform, raised $4.1 million in a seed funding round. The round was led by Venrex, with participation from Crossbeam Ventures, Groundbreak Ventures, Antler Global, and strategic angel investors in real estate, fintech and banking. Chexy is the first Canadian platform that enables over 15 million renters across the country to use their preferred credit card for rent, earning them points and cashback, and allowing them to automatically self-report payments to Equifax to help them build credit. Chexy said the funding round will enable the company to build infrastructure to pay through Chexy, no matter their landlord’s preferred payment method. Chexy

Calgary-based fintech company Credit App Technologies Inc. secured $2.7 million in a funding round led by Inovia Capital and supported by existing investors including CEO Marcos Lopez (former CEO of Calgary-based fintech unicorn Solium Capital), chairman Mike Broadfoot, founder Evan Ferguson and Polar Venture Partners. CreditApp said the funding will drive the commercialization of its indirect lending platform that integrates fraud and income verification tools, enabling lenders to access new lending markets and leverage AI-driven analytics tools in their back offices. With this new capital, CreditApp aims to accelerate the market expansion of its products, broaden its reach within the automotive, mortgage, and consumer lending sectors, and continue to enhance its technology platform. CreditApp

Magog, Que.-based data intelligence and optimization company Propulso announced it raised $2.6 million in its most recent round of funding. The round included three major investors, Investissement Québec, Anges Québec and AQC Capital, aided by partnerships with Alliance du tourisme du Québec and Trans Canada Trail. Propulso said the financial support has allowed the company to double its workforce in just a matter of months, attracting top-level Quebec talent across a range of sectors. With these additional resources, Propulso said it expects to continue hiring at the same rate into 2025 and expand its services into the U.S. Propulso

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund will provide up to $400,000 over 28 months to Platform Calgary for the National Bank Investor Hub to unlock capital for under-represented Calgary-based founders. The National Bank Investor Hub helps broaden the city’s investor pool and creates more opportunities for Calgarians to build their companies. The federal government, through Prairies Economic Development Canada, is also investing $450,000 to attract new investors for Calgary’s technology companies and facilitate new connections between tech entrepreneurs and investors in the community. Located at the Platform Calgary Innovation Centre in downtown Calgary, the National Investor Hub will engage investors through education and connection opportunities, including pitch and networking events, educational programming, coaching and more. Over the next three years, the investor hub is expected to help support about 100 small and medium-sized technology companies. Calgary Economic Development


Kitchener-Waterloo-based cybersecurity and artificial intelligence startup CoGuard was named among the recipients of OpenAI’s Cybersecurity Grant Program. Launched in June 2023, the grant program was created to support cybersecurity projects that use AI to defend against cyberattacks, as well as to quantify the cybersecurity capabilities of AI models. According to the program’s website, OpenAI provides grants in US$10,000 increments from a fund totalling US$1 million. In the eight funding recipients, CoGuard was named alongside New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College’s Breuer Lab, Boston University’s Security Lab, and MIT’s Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, among others. CoGuard uses AI to automate the detection of software misconfigurations, which occur when configuration settings in a piece of software or platform is either missing or incorrectly implemented, which could allow unauthorized access to sensitive data. BetaKit

Victoria, B.C.-based VoxCell BioInnovation won the 2024 Startup Pitch Competition at the Collision conference in Toronto. The company is developing human-like cancer tissue models as drug-screening platforms. The tissue models are created by VoxCell Bioinnovation’s proprietary technology – Canada’s first high-resolution bioprinter, the company's vascularization software, University Bioink™, and a custom perfusion device. Voxcell’s tissues evaluate the impact of drug candidates using models that reproduce the complexity of the tumor micro-environment, integrating a customized vascular network that mimics capillary-scale vessels. T-Net  

Toronto-based health care technology company Healwell AI announced an agreement to acquire Toronto-based BioPharma Services for $11.9 million in cash and shares, plus a three-year performance earnout of up to $2.5 million, from Think Research Corporation in Toronto. Healwell is focused on AI and data science for preventative care. BioPharma Services is a full service contract research organization specializing in early clinical trials. Healwell also separately announced an agreement to acquire Fredericton, N.B.-based VeroSource Solutions Inc. – in a deal expected to be valued at $24.5 million – and VeroSource's end-to-end, customizable, cloud-based platform that enables patients, care providers and administrators to seamlessly access and interact with health care data. Healwell AI


Public Safety Canada announced that Bill C-70, An Act respecting countering foreign interference, received Royal Assent on June 20, 2024. Bill C-70 bolsters Canada’s ability to detect, disrupt and counter foreign interference threats to all people in Canada, including members of diaspora communities, through a series of new measures and legislative amendments to national security and criminal laws, the government said. The legislation brings the most significant update to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Act since the Act was first brought into force in 1984. The Bill also modernizes foreign interference offences in the Security of Information Act and the sabotage offence in the Criminal Code. Bill C-70 also made changes to the Canada Evidence Act to establish a standardized regime for handling sensitive information in administrative proceedings. The Bill sets out the framework for a new Foreign Influence Transparency Registry, which will be administered by an independent Foreign Influence Transparency Commissioner. The coming into force date of the Foreign Influence Transparency and Accountability Act, which creates the Foreign Influence Transparency Registry, will be set by the Governor-in-Council in the coming months, the government said. The changes to the CSIS Act come into force immediately. Changes to the Security of Information Act, the modernization of the sabotage offence in the Criminal Code, and amendments to the Canada Evidence Act will come into force 60 days after Royal Assent, on August 19, 2024. Public Safety Canada

See also: Proposed federal legislation countering foreign influence raises concerns about academic freedom, international research collaboration (story under “Research, Tech News & Collaborations” section in June 19 Short Report).


Canada’s overriding economic policy goal must be stronger growth in productivity: Bennett Jones report

The overriding goal of economic policy for Canada must be stronger growth in productivity, according to an economic outlook report by Bennett Jones.

“It is by giving productivity enhancing investment absolute priority that Canadians may continue in the future to have the income – and governments the revenue – to buy desired private and public goods and services, and to advance other critical pursuits,” the report says.

Raising the share of GDP allocated to saving and investment today and in the medium term implies that a reduced share is available for current consumption, the report says.

“For households, this means increasing saving in some form as a share of current income. For businesses, it entails the reinvestment in productive capital of a greater share of earnings. For governments, it means allocating proportionately more resources to public investment that can generate a future stream of income, rather than enhancing current transfers.”

Since 2006, the year before the onset of the Global Financial Crisis, real GDP per capita in Canada has grown at an average annual rate of 0.4 per cent, well below the average of 1.6 per cent of the prior years, according to the report.

Cumulatively, since 2006, our real income has grown by a disappointing 5.4 per cent. On the trend of the prior 30 years, it would have risen by 35 per cent.

Canada is not alone in having experienced a slowdown of growth; the phenomenon is worldwide, the report notes. However, other developed economies performed substantially better.

From 2006 to 2023, real GDP per capita rose by 10.4 per cent in Japan, 11.8 per cent in the euro area, 19.6 per cent in Australia, and 21.4 per cent in the U.S.. The U.K., at 7.9 per cent, is closest to Canada’s 5.4 per cent.

In addition to demographic and labour market changes, the major factor explaining the slowdown in GDP-per-capita growth is weaker productivity growth, Bennett Jones' report says.

GDP per hour worked in the business sector in Canada in Q1 2024 was 10.9 per cent greater than in 2006. Based on the earlier trend, it would have been 28.9 per cent greater.

The slower productivity growth in the economy, in turn, is explained by lesser capital deepening – that is, lesser increases of capital (such as structures, and machinery and equipment per unit of labour), the report says.

Importantly, both before and after the Global Financial Crisis, there was little contribution to productivity growth from better use of capital and labour – what economists call multifactor productivity, a rough proxy for innovation.

Per worker, Canada invests more in non-residential structures – for example, energy infrastructure – than most other developed economies, although substantially less than Australia.

In contrast, Canada’s economy invests materially less per worker in machinery and equipment and intellectual property products than most peer economies, and far less than the U.S.

 For example – unlike in the U.S. – Canada’s businesses, in aggregate, did not ramp up investment in information and communications technology (including software) through the period of recovery from COVID.

“To restore stronger growth in GDP per capita and to improve standards of living, our economy needs to invest more per worker and to innovate faster in the use of capital, technology and labour.”

Globally, and in Canada, the policy signals affecting the energy transition and the digital transformation of our economies, two critical drivers of new investment, are uncertain, the report says.

On energy and climate, while the direction is clear, policy is running ahead of markets: private investment is not matching what would be required to meet policy goals and commitments. By contrast, as regards digital technology and AI, policy is trying to catch up to markets.

A Canadian strategy that is laser-focused on productivity growth must have a medium-term horizon, the report says. It must give direction, predictability, consistency and coherence to the actions of government, and thus provide clear signals to investors.

“Investments in energy and resource infrastructure, as well as in research and development and innovation, require a consistent policy framework that extends well beyond any political cycle.”

Details of that framework will evolve, in particular to respond to global developments, but there must be solid medium-term policy principles and anchors, according to the report.

“There is a role for every level of government in establishing the policy framework to raise Canada’s productivity growth, and there should be both collaboration and accountability.”

The federal government has powerful levers, and it can exert national leadership. Yet, provinces, territories and local governments, and in some cases Indigenous governments, are on the front lines of policy development and especially delivery in key domains, and there must be some alignment of strategy, plans and actions, the report says.

It notes there are two domains where provinces have the lead and where decisive action could accelerate the building of a clean, productive economy. These domains are:

  • Expansion and decarbonization of the electricity grid. Under most estimates, a clean economy by 2050 requires doubling or more the capacity of Canada's electricity system, including clean generation and transmission. Given long lead times to plan and execute investments, and the massive scale of the enterprise, the signals to public and private investors must be very clear. The federal government has introduced some policy instruments to support the effort. “Provinces must drive planning and execution as a matter of priority.”
  • Industrial carbon pricing. It is the part of the carbon-pricing system that is expected to make the largest contribution to emissions reductions. Yet, the provincial systems are disconnected, even where the federal backstop applies. It is entirely within the authority of provinces to collaborate toward a harmonized and integrated system that would facilitate compliance, allow the trading of credits across the country, incentivize investment, and help achieve emissions reductions at the lowest cost.

Moving the needle will take time, and it will require a coherent and complementary set of actions by federal and provincial governments working together with businesses, the report says.

“Overall, both business strategy and government policy must converge toward raising output per worker and GDP per capita. If, alternatively, this goal is subsidiary to all other important pursuits, then we will be dividing a static or shrinking pie and likely falling further behind other nations.” Bennett Jones


Ottawa releases new “action plan” aimed at building clean growth projects faster

The Government of Canada will establish a “federal permitting coordinator” and a “Crown consultation coordinator” working with Indigenous peoples under a new action plan aimed at getting clean growth projects built faster.

The plan, “Building Canada’s Clean Future,” released by the Privy Council Office, was developed by the Liberal government’s nine-member Ministerial Working Group on Regulatory Efficiency for Clean Growth Projects, chaired by Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Seniors.

“We need a regulatory system that is efficient and effective to support projects that will create opportunities and build up regional economies in all parts of the country, without compromising the integrity of our environmental protections or our duty to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights,” the plan says.

The Working Group heard during its consultations that actions must be guided by transparency, coordination, clarity and predictability and that these processes must continue to protect Canadians and their environment.

Indigenous Peoples must be actively involved from the very beginning, so they can reap the full benefits of clean growth projects. The plan includes Advancing Indigenous participation in major projects through an Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program, to provide Indigenous peoples with more opportunities to benefit from these projects directly

Above all, the Working Group prioritized solutions for how the federal government can drive timely decisions and faster accomplishments, without cutting corners, the Privy Council Office said.

As such, the action plan “proposes concrete steps to make current processes more efficient by clarifying and reducing timelines, mitigating inefficiencies, reducing duplication and improving engagement.” Key actions guiding the plan include:

  • Assessment and permitting targets of five years for federally designated projects under the Impact Assessment Act, two years or less for non-federally designated projects, and three years for nuclear projects.
  • Establishing a Crown Consultation Coordinator to ensure meaningful Crown consultation with Indigenous Peoples on the issuance of federal authorizations.
  • Establishing a Federal Permitting Coordinator on clean growth projects within the Privy Council Office’s Clean Growth Office and issuing a cabinet directive that clearly outlines roles and responsibilities for all relevant federal departments. “The Directive will support a culture shift across departments issuing federal assessment and regulatory decisions for clean growth projects within and across departments with the objective of getting clean growth projects built in a timely and predictable manner.”
  • Using Natural Resources Canada’s Regional Energy and Resource Tables, which are currently established in 11 out of 13 jurisdictions, to test permitting efficiencies and find better ways to coordinate with provinces and territories.
  • Amending the Impact Assessment Act.
  • Creating a new Federal Permitting Dashboard that will provide a public snapshot of the status of clean growth projects which require federal assessment and permitting decisions, to improve predictability and transparency from start to finish.

Budget 2023 committed to improving the efficiency of assessment and permitting processes for clean growth projects, with the goal of heightening investor confidence and advancing the net-zero economy.

Budget 2024 announced new measures for regulatory efficiency, including an additional $9 million over three years to the Privy Council Office’s Clean Growth Office to oversee federal coordination of major clean growth projects, including implementation of the Action Plan on Regulatory Efficiency for Clean Growth Projects.

As of 2023, there were 233 energy and forestry clean technology projects planned or under construction in Canada, representing $159 billion in potential investment, according to Natural Resources Canada’s major projects inventory. Of these projects:

  • One in three are hydro projects, accounting for one-quarter of the potential capital value of clean growth projects (78 projects valued at $38.9 billion).
  • The remaining projects are primarily biomass/biofuel projects (42 projects valued at $13.8 billion), wind projects (31 projects valued at $12.3 billion), solar projects (31 projects valued at $6.2 billion), and 28 projects classified as “other” worth $22.6 billion (e.g., hydrogen projects and battery storage projects).

There are also 63 mining projects planned or under construction that will process or extract some form of critical minerals. These represent an additional $60.9 billion in potential investment.

The federal action plan pointed to the impact assessment of the Cedar LNG project in Kitimat, B.C., as an example of what can be achieved when Indigenous, provincial and federal actors cooperate and “take a problem-solving attitude to get projects done.”

Cedar LNG, a proposed floating liquid natural gas facility within the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation, is the world’s first Indigenous majority-owned LNG project. The federal minister of Environment and Climate Change, and British Columbia, agreed to one impact assessment – the provincial process – to get the project moving forward. Because of this, the project was assessed and approved in just 3 ½ years.

The Ministerial Working Group has identified five priority areas to modernize Canada’s regulatory system:

  1.  Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
  2.  Reducing duplication with provinces and territories
  3.  Increasing impact assessment and permitting efficiency for clean growth proponents
  4.  Improving Regulatory Efficiency North of 60
  5.  Clean Growth Leadership by Federal Lifecycle Regulators

The federal government said it will amend the Impact Assessment Act through the Budget Implementation Act No. 1, 2024, in response to the October 2023 Supreme Court of Canada opinion that found that elements of the Act are unconstitutional, “to restore certainty for proponents, Indigenous Peoples and the public.”

Ottawa said the amended Act will:

  • include increased flexibility in substitution of assessments to allow for greater collaboration and avoid interjurisdictional duplication.
  • clarify the ability for provinces to participate in integrated panels with the Impact Assessment Agency and the Canada Energy Regulator, or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
  • allow for earlier federal impact agency screening decisions on the requirement for a full impact assessment after consideration of other processes to address the effects of the project, including provincial processes.

The action plan includes putting in place new Ministerial Co-operation Agreements to facilitate substitution, joint review panels or other cooperative approaches to ensure a single harmonized assessment process between all orders of government.

Federal-provincial-territorial collaboration is critical to the success of Canada’s regulatory approach to major projects, the plan says.

 “We need to work together to advance cooperation on assessments, including a harmonized approach that would rely on provincial and territorial processes to the extent possible and ensure that federal impact assessments are focused squarely on the prevention of adverse effects in areas of federal jurisdiction.” The Privy Council’s Office


Adoption of AI remains low among Canadian businesses: StatsCan report

Adoption of artificial intelligence technology by businesses in Canada remains low with 6.1 per cent of all businesses using AI in producing goods and delivering services over the last year, according to a report by Statistics Canada (StatsCan).

 AI uptake varies by industry, says the report, based on responses to a StatsCan survey from a total of 10,173 businesses or organizations.

The industries in which businesses were most likely to have used AI in producing goods or delivering services were: information and cultural industries (20.9 per cent); professional, scientific and technical services (13.7 per cent); and finance and insurance (10.9 per cent).

Conversely, businesses least likely to be using AI for this purpose were in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (0.7 per cent); accommodation and food services (0.9 per cent); and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (1.6 per cent).

Among the 6.1 per cent of businesses that reported using AI in producing goods or delivering services, the most common application of AI used was natural language processing, reported by over one-quarter (28.9 per cent) of businesses, followed by text analytics using AI (27 per cent), virtual agents or chatbots (26.5 per cent), data analytics using AI (25 per cent), large language models (21.9 per cent), and image and pattern recognition (21.8 per cent).

As with AI use, the specific applications used by businesses differ by industry, according to the report.

For instance, among the 20.9 per cent of businesses using AI in information and cultural industries, over two-fifths (41.3 per cent) reported using natural language processing, followed by over one-third (35.2 per cent) using large language models, and over one-quarter (28.6 per cent) using speech or voice recognition using AI.

Meanwhile, among the 13.7 per cent of businesses in professional, scientific and technical services using AI, the most common use was image or pattern recognition, reported by almost half (47.1 per cent) of these businesses, followed by machine learning (39 per cent).

Of the 10.9 per cent of businesses in finance and insurance using AI, two-thirds (66.8 per cent) reported using virtual agents or chatbots, followed by 34.2 per cent using data analytics using AI.

When it comes to employment, the vast majority of businesses (84.9 per cent) reported no change in their employment levels after implementing AI in producing goods or delivering services.

Of the 6.1 per cent of businesses that reported using AI, only 6.3 per cent of these businesses in Canada reported their total employment decreased after AI introduction.

Similarly, among the industries leading in AI use, the majority of businesses reported no change to their employment after implementing AI. This was reported by 91.2 per cent of businesses in finance and insurance, followed by 89.8 per cent of businesses in professional, scientific, and technical services, and 79.2 per cent of businesses in information and cultural industries.

Meanwhile, 17.6 per cent of businesses in information and cultural industries reported an increase in employment after implementing AI in producing goods or delivering services, followed by 10 per cent in professional, scientific and technical services, and 1.8 per cent in finance and insurance.

Businesses that reported using AI in producing goods or delivering services were asked to what extent AI reduced tasks previously performed by employees. Overall, nearly half (44.1 per cent) of these businesses found the use of AI reduced tasks previously performed by employees by a small extent, while 39.2 per cent reported tasks were reduced either by a moderate or large extent.

Nearly half of businesses in finance and insurance (48.3 per cent) and professional, scientific and technical services (47.2 per cent) reported tasks previously performed by employees were reduced by a small extent.

Similarly, 42.5 per cent of businesses in information and cultural industries reported AI reduced tasks previously performed by employees by a small extent with almost one-quarter (21.4 per cent) reporting tasks were reduced by no extent.

Businesses that reported the use of AI in producing goods or delivering services were asked about the changes made to the business when AI was implemented. Most commonly, 38.5 per cent of businesses trained current staff to use AI.

Furthermore, 35.2 per cent of businesses developed new workflows after implementing AI, while 20.9 per cent changed data collection or data management practices.

Conversely, hiring staff trained in AI was the least common change reported by businesses when using AI to produce goods or deliver services, with 8.2 per cent reporting this change.

Newer businesses are more likely to have plans to adopt AI software over the next 12 months than older businesses. Businesses aged 10 years or less (31 per cent) were more likely to report plans to adopt software using AI than businesses aged 11 years or more (18.7 per cent).

Close to one in 10 businesses aged 10 years or less (9.8 per cent) and aged 11 years or more (8.9 per cent) planned to adopt hardware using AI within the upcoming year.

Businesses more likely to have plans to adopt AI software over the next 12 months were: professional, scientific and technical services (26.6 per cent); information and cultural industries (24.3 per cent); and finance and insurance (12.9 per cent).

Businesses more likely to plan to adopt AI hardware over the next 12 months were: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (10.8 per cent); professional, scientific and technical services (10 per cent); and transportation and warehousing (9.9 per cent). These results refer to the future plans of all businesses, irrespective of whether they are already using AI or have previously used AI technologies. StatsCan

See also: Canada could boost productivity and GDP using generative artificial intelligence: report

Canadian businesses lagging in adopting and using generative artificial intelligence


Federal cap on oil and gas industry’s emissions likely to trigger production cuts, reducing GDP and jobs: report

Oil and gas companies will most likely cut production if Ottawa implements a cap on the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, rather than invest in costly carbon capture and storage,  according to a report by Deloitte Canada.

The cap is expected to impose a 20-million-tonne emissions reduction on oil and gas producers by 2030, which will need to be achieved by investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology or curtailing production, the report says.

“Curtailing production would be a more cost-effective option compared to investing in CCS. Hence, the most likely outcome is that producers would opt to curtail production if confronted with the proposed cap in 2030.”

Once implemented, the investment in CCS is irreversible,” the report notes. "However, production curtailment can be reversed. Considering these factors, we do not foresee any oilsands (which account for 50 per cent of the sector’s emissions) CCS investments being implemented.”

Lower oil and gas production due to the federal cap “results in a significant decline in GDP in Alberta and the rest of Canada,” says the report, which was commissioned by the Government of Alberta.

In 2040, Alberta’s GDP is estimated to be lower by 4.5 per cent and Canada’s GDP by one per cent compared with the baseline, the report says. Cumulatively, over the 2023 to 2040 period, real GDP in Alberta is an estimated $191 billion lower and real GDP in the rest of Canada is $91 billion lower compared with the baseline scenario (2017 dollars).

The level of employment also is lower, by two per cent in Alberta and 0.5 per cent in the rest of Canada in 2040 compared with the baseline. Alberta is estimated to lose on average 55,000 jobs and the rest of Canada 35,000 jobs between 2030 and 2040.

“As a result of lower employment opportunities, 2,400 individuals are estimated to move from Alberta to other provinces annually, or 25,880 in total over the 2030-2040 period,” the report says.

Another important consequence of the production decline in the oil and gas sector is a reduction in the rate of return on investments, the report says. “As a result, investments, including international investments, decrease in the economy. This decrease in investment has a ripple effect on various sectors and industries, contributing to the slowdown in economic growth.”

Deloitte’s report estimates that the proposed federal cap could cut Canada’s oil production by more than 626,000 barrels per day and 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, the Alberta government said in a release.

This drop in production will cost Canadians $282 million in lost GDP over 10 years, including $191 billion reduced from Alberta alone, the provincial government said.

Government tax revenues, which fund the many services and programs Canadians rely on, would be reduced by 5.8 per cent in Alberta and 1.3 per cent in Canada overall in 2040.

This is the third report released this year finding that a federal cap will require deep production cuts, lead to billions in lost GDP and damage the Canadian economy, the Alberta government said.

“There can no longer be any debate – the federal cap will lead to production cuts, lost jobs, reduced income, weakened investment and less funding for essential services – devastating families and businesses from coast to coast. Let’s scrap the cap and reduce emissions without hurting Canadians,” said Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Protected Areas.

Deloitte’s analysis estimated that the federal oil and gas emissions cap could lead to a 10- per-cent reduction in oil production and a 16-per-cent reduction in conventional gas production in Alberta in 2030, the Alberta government said. “Similar production cuts are estimated in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.”

But federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told reporters in Ottawa that the report’s scenarios and its findings are “baffling” given the federal government hasn’t even published draft emission cap regulations yet.

In May, a study by S&P Global Commodity Insights – commissioned by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers – found that a 40-per-cent emissions cap could lead to a reduction in oil and natural gas production of one million barrels per day by 2030 and a 2.1-million-barrel reduction by 2035.

In addition, such a cap would reduce more than 51,000 jobs. It also found that the cap would result in $75 billion less in upstream investments by 2035 and $247 billion less GDP between 2024 and 2035.

However, Oliver Anderson, a spokesman for Guilbeault, said the report involved an analysis of a “non-existent scenario,” was full of false assumptions, and so deeply flawed it amounted to disinformation. (See story under “Reports & Policies” in June 5 Short Report).

In January, a report by the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) – commissioned by the Alberta government – found that that the proposed federal cap would require production cuts, lead to between 80,000 and 150,000 jobs lost by 2030, and reduce Canada’s nominal GDP by $600 billion or more between 2030 and 2040.

However, the CBoC’s report pointed out that production cuts would be necessary only if the industry’s methane emissions abatement targets aren’t met and sector efficiency gains and non-methane emissions abatement technology are lower than federal government targets. Deloitte Canada, R$


Federal anti-greenwashing legislation prompts removal of oilsands consortium’s website and social media content

The Pathways Alliance, a group of Canada's biggest six oil sands producers, removed all content about environmental goals from its website and social media pages, citing “significant uncertainty” over the federal government’s anti-greenwashing legislation.

Bill C-59, which only needs royal assent to become law after the Parliament gave approval on June 19, would force companies in any industry to show proof of their environmental claims.

Pathways is proposing a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage network to cut carbon emissions from the oil sands, but has yet to make a final investment decision. The group has faced criticism from environmentalists for slow progress and seeking more government financial support.

The day after Parliament approved Bill C-59, the content on Pathways' website had been replaced with a post about its concerns with omnibus Bill C-59, which will implement the Liberal government's mid-year budget proposals and change Canada's Competition Act. The bill was amended earlier this year to add anti-greenwashing rules.

"Imminent amendments to the Competition Act will create significant uncertainty for Canadian companies that want to communicate publicly about the work they are doing to improve their environmental performance," Pathways’ website said.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, provincial energy minister Brian Jean, and environment and protected areas minister Rebecca Schulz said in a statement: “The federal Liberal and NDP coalition has passed draconian legislation that will irreparably harm Canadian’s ability to hear the truth about the energy industry and Alberta’s successes in reducing global emissions.”

Bill C-59, when it receives royal assent, will prevent private entities from sharing “truthful and evidence-based information” that happens to oppose the extreme and untruthful oil and gas narrative of the federal NDP and Liberals, they maintained. “This is being done to intentionally intimidate boards and shareholders, silence debate, and amplify the voices of those who oppose Canada’s world leading energy industry.”

“Indeed, it would appear to be part of an agenda to create chaos and uncertainty for energy investors for the purpose of phasing out the energy industry altogether,” Smith, Jean and Schulz said.

“Ironically, this kind of absurd authoritarian censorship will only work to stifle many billions in investments in emissions reducing technologies – the very technologies the world needs to reduce emissions while avoiding energy poverty for billions around the world,” they said.

The Alberta government said it’s exploring the use of every legal option, including a constitutional challenge or the use of its Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, “to protect the free speech rights of all Alberta workers, leaders and companies in our world-class energy sector.”

The Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) also said it has “chosen to reduce the amount of information available on its website and other digital platforms.”

“CAPP is extremely disappointed with, and opposed to, the Competition Act’s amendments related to environmental representations with respect to the benefits of a business or business activity included in Bill C-59,” Lisa Baiton, CAPP’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Parliament’s approach with this legislation and its threat of very significant penalties will curtail the ability of many Canadians to participate in debates around climate and environmental policy, Baiton said. “The effect of this legislation is to silence the energy industry and those that support it in an effort to clear the field of debate and to promote the voices of those most opposed to Canada’s energy industry.”

The amendments also empower private parties to compel companies to appear before the Competition Tribunal to defend themselves, Baiton said. “This radical shift from current practice, where only the Competition Bureau enforces misleading advertising laws, opens the floodgates for frivolous, resource-draining complaints."

Bill C-59 contains a truth-in-advertising amendment that would require corporations to provide evidence to support their environmental claims. The bill is not fossil fuel-specific, but applies to all businesses and economic sectors.

The bill’s wording says businesses must not make claims to the public about what they are doing to protect the environment or mitigate the effects of climate change unless those claims are based on “adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology.”

Climate advocacy group Environmental Defence said Pathways' decision to take down content shows "they don't have evidence to support the story they're selling."

The Calgary-based Pembina Institute, a clean energy research and policy think tank. said there were significant gaps between the emissions reduction promises Pathways Alliance first made in 2021 and its actions. Reuters, R$


Estonia overhauling outdated legislation to create stronger links between R&D and innovation

Estonia is to introduce a new act on research, development and innovation, overhauling legislation dating from 1997 that the government says is “no longer efficient or effective enough in today's circumstances.”

The key goals are to create stronger links between R&D and innovation, to have better coordination between ministries, introduce a new funding system for private and public institutions and – for the first time – enshrine the regulation of ethics in the law.

The government is currently consulting stakeholders on the draft law. It expects the legislation to be adopted by the end of the year and to come into force at the beginning of 2025.

Canada also is taking steps to “modernize” the federal research system, including with a new capstone research funding organization to provide better coordination across the federally funded research system and a new science advisory group.

One of the aims in Canada is to better support internationally collaborative, multidisciplinary and mission-driven research. (See story under “Reports & Policies” in June 19 Short Report).

In Estonia, “Although the [1997] law has been constantly updated – it has been amended more than 20 times – the focus of the law has become scattered,” Mariann Saaliste, chief expert at the R&D department of the Ministry of Education and Research, told Science|Business.   

“As a result of many changes, the law is difficult to follow and therefore needs to be organized as a whole,” Saaliste said.

A major aim is to create a better flow from research through to translation and to innovation. Until recently, the Estonian government had two separate strategies for research and entrepreneurship, managed by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, respectively.

In 2021, the country adopted an R&D and innovation strategy for 2021-2035 formulated with the cooperation of the two ministries, with the intention of covering the whole value chain.

The new RDI act, which is being drafted to achieve this same objective, involves merging the Research Policy Committee and the Innovation Policy Committee, to form a single committee, with the hope of generating more consistent advice.

At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Research will be given more say over R&D activities that are carried out by other ministries, in fields including energy, housing and agriculture.

There will be different criteria for deciding on the funding of private and public R&D institutes, over and above the baseline budget. As one example of the difference this will make in practice, universities that are centred on learning and knowledge will not be evaluated in the same way as private institutions, so that performance-based funding is distributed appropriately.

“We want the knowledge created in research institutions to serve society more and for universities and universities of applied sciences to contribute more to society and the economy,” said Estonia’s minister of education and research, Kristina Kallas.

“If the state supports private research and development institutions, it should create a wider public good that can also be used by other companies, research institutions and society as a whole,” she said.

Estonia largely punches above its weight in research, development and innovation. While the EU classifies it as a “moderate innovator,” the third category of four, Estonia's performance is only just under the EU average and the country is very close to being promoted to a strong innovator on the EU’s Innovation Scoreboard. One of the country’s main weaknesses is government support for business R&D, a shortcoming the new act aims to address. Science|Business

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Dr. Sylvain Charbonneau was appointed the sixth President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), effective October 1, 2024. He succeeds Dr. Roseann O'Reilly Runte, who has served as the CFI's President and CEO since August 2017. Charbonneau comes to the CFI from the University of Ottawa where he has held the role of Vice-President, Research and Innovation, since 2017. During his tenure at uOttawa, he promoted interdisciplinary research across Canada and helped create a dynamic environment that attracted outstanding researchers and partners from the academic, public, hospital and private sectors. Before joining uOttawa in 2013 as Associate Vice-President, Research, Charbonneau worked at the Institute for Microstructural Sciences at the National Research Council for more than 20 years. The CFI Board made the appointment after an extensive search assisted by an independent consulting firm. CFI 

Laura Kilcrease is no longer with Alberta Innovates. "Effective immediately, CEO Laura Kilcrease is no longer with Alberta Innovates," Board Chair Tony Williams said in a statement. "The Board of Directors for Alberta Innovates is embarking on a significant leadership transition as it looks to a bold new strategic direction that will advance our role as Alberta's innovation engine," Williams said.  A new interim CEO will be announced in the coming days. Until then, Lyn Brown, vice-president of marketing and communications, will assume the role of acting CEO.  Kilcrease has been CEO of Alberta Innovates since 2017. Her  departure follows an overhaul of the government-funded agency's board since Williams was named chair in March. Five of the eight board directors are new appointees. Kilcrease, a venture capitalist, joined Alberta Innovates after a career in Austin, Texas, helping the city diversify its economy beyond oil and gas. In early June, Kilcrease was honoured as an inaugural member of the Austin Tech Hall of Fame in recognition of her past leadership in the American tech city.  Alberta Innovates had a budget of more than $250 million last year for services like funding businesses, coaching entrepreneurs and providing research and testing facilities. Kilcrease's departure comes two weeks after Alberta Innovates' Inventures 2024, which saw a record of nearly 4,000 people from 33 countries attend the-three day conference.  Alberta Innovates 

Alex Mihailidis was appointed to a second five-year term as Associate Vice-President, International Partnerships, at the University of Toronto, effective July 1, 2025 following his 10-month administrative leave, David Wolfe, Professor Emeritus (as of the end June) in Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at U of T, was appointed as Acting Associate Vice-President in International Partnerships until Mihailidis returns. Wolfe is the editor or co-editor of 10 books and more than 50 scholarly articles. U of T

Victoria, B.C.-based Island Women in Science and Technology (iWIST) launched its inaugural scholarship. The 2004 scholarship of $3,000 is supported by the Women’s Equity Lab, an organization committed to advancing women’s equity through women-directed early-stage investing. The iWIST scholarship is designed for women studying STEM subjects on Vancouver Island. Eligibility criteria include residency on Vancouver Island, demonstrated perseverance and dedication in a field where women are underrepresented, and a clear commitment to a future career in STEM. The scholarship aims not only to provide financial assistance but also to recognize and celebrate the resilience of women navigating traditionally male-dominated fields. Applications for the 2024 iWIST Scholarship are now open. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the iWIST website for more information and to apply. iWIST

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate change, announced two new co-chairs of the federal government’s Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB). They are Simon Donner, climate scientist and professor at the University of British Columbia, and Sara Houde, CEO at Milebox. They are two of the 14 original NZAB members, appointed in February 2021 when the government launched the advisory board. Previous co-chairs were Dan Wicklum, president and CEO of the Transition Accelerator, and Linda Coady, president and CEO of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries. NZAB is mandated under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act to provide independent advice to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on how Canada can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The advisory body also develops advice for nearer-term emissions reduction targets (including for 2035) and climate plans. The federal government is recruiting new members for NZAB and is encouraging all qualified Canadians to apply. Environment and Climate Change Canada

Eight multidisciplinary research teams pitched their cutting-edge health technologies as part of McMaster University’s Innovation Matchmaking program. Launched this year, the program connects researchers from McMaster and its affiliated hospitals to work together to develop and commercialize a technology solution that tackles a pressing health challenge. Teams competed in a pitch-style competition for $75,000 in prep-funding that can be used to build investable ventures based on their technologies. The program is hosted by the McMaster Entrepreneurship Academy, in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences and the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton, with funding support from McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering. Here are the four winning projects:

  • A high-precision robotic surgical technology: Onaizah Onaizah, Computing & Software; Sarah Khalife, Surgery; Benjamin van der Woerd, Surgery.
  • An ink technology for printing tissues that would be used for drug testing: Jose Moran-Mirabal, Chemistry & Chemical Biology; and Jeremy Hirota, Medicine.
  • Rapid diagnostic technologies for colorectal cancer: Carlos Filipe, Chemical Engineering; Yingfu Li, Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences; Rahul Chaudari, Chemical Engineering; Letizia Dondi, Biomedical Engineering.
  • Screening technologies that leverage AI and machine learning to detect diseases like lung cancer: Waël C. Hanna, Surgery and Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact; and Mike Noseworthy, Electrical and Computer Engineering. McMaster University

McGill University professor Daniele Malomo recently received a $1.7-million award from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for a proposed solution that addresses the housing crisis and climate change impacts. An assistant professor of structural engineering, Malomo’s target is to retrofit low-rise unreinforced masonry structures using modularly designed timber panels that will not only add insulating benefits but will also improve their structural capacity. During preliminary experiments conducted in summer 2023, thermal testing showed that the retrofit can improve the insulating performance of these buildings by 400 per cent – a major improvement that can promote significant reduction in the carbon footprint. Structural testing of the proposed retrofit revealed an increase in after-cracking lateral displacement of 100 times; this will contribute to save lives in case of earthquakes or other natural hazards, contributing also to making existing buildings compliant with current codes. In addition to its performance improvements, using timber as a base retrofit material is more affordable than steel, concrete or textile. It is also easier to install and remove and can be done while occupants remain in residence. McGill University

Western University planetary geologists Livio Tornabene and Gordon Osinski are leading an international team to better understand how clays formed on Mars. Supported by a three-year Canadian Space Agency Flights and Fieldwork for the Advancement of Science and Technology grant, the researchers will provide important contributions to the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2028 Rosalind Franklin rover mission. Tornabene and Osinski are co-investigators on the PanCam camera for the Rosalind Franklin rover and on a brand-new instrument, the Enfys spectrometer, named for the Welsh word for “rainbow.” Enfys is one of many instruments that will be attached to the Rosalind Franklin rover, headed to Mars in 2028, to help identify and determine the origin of the materials found on the planet’s surface. PanCam is a panoramic camera suite that sits about two metres atop the rover. Enfys and PanCam will work in synergy: PanCam is used to obtain colour and visual information of what lies around the rover, while Enfys’ job is to inform scientists of what minerals are present. “The goal of this project is to better ascertain the exact role that water has played in the formation of clay minerals on Mars,” said Tornabene, an Earth Sciences adjunct professor and research scientist. The Western research team will help test the Enfys spectrometer for mission readiness, determining how to best use its data combined with PanCam images through a series of analogue, or simulated, Mars missions. The simulated mission will be executed at three unique clay-bearing field sites on Earth over three years: a meteorite impact site, a volcanic site and a surface sedimentary weathering site – all providing very different conditions for clay formation. Using the knowledge built through tests on Earth, the outcomes of the project will feed forward into rover operations and science, as part of the 2028 mission, by informing the science team on how to best use these two instruments and their data to determine the origin of the clay found on Mars. Western University

University of Alberta (U of A) researchers have found an effective way to decontaminate grain tainted by mould, and also boost seed germination. By treating wheat and barley grains with atmospheric cold plasma – a relatively low-temperature version of the typically superheated matter – researchers were able to lower the levels of harmful toxins caused by fungi that grow in warm, humid conditions and commonly infect grain. The discovery “can provide the food processing and livestock feed industries with more effective, efficient ways to process grains that are safe for consumption,” said Ehsan Feizollahi, who led the research to earn a PhD in food science and technology from the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. Known as mycotoxins, the harmful secondary metabolites infect more than 25 per cent of globally produced grains each year, including barley, wheat and oat grains in Western Canada, resulting in lower-quality crops and financial losses to farmers. Mycotoxins also pose threats to human and livestock health, including cancer, lung disease, brain and kidney damage, or even death. Because mycotoxins resist high temperatures, there is no effective method currently available for reducing them on grain, Feizollahi said. Atmospheric cold plasma, made from air and electricity, contains highly reactive components that deactivate or reduce the toxins on the surface of the grains. Feizollahi created two forms of the plasma – one as an ionized gas and one as liquid – and then used them to treat barley and wheat grains infected with two mycotoxins that are particularly troublesome in Canada, called zearalenone and deoxynivalenol. Using the plasma to decontaminate the grains lowered the levels of the two toxins by 54 per cent. “With optimization for the conditions, figuring in factors such as the type of plasma, treatment conditionals and treatment time, we could achieve much more reduction than 54 per cent,” said Dr. M. S. Roopesh, PhD, associate professor of Food Safety & Sustainability Engineering, who supervised Feizollahi’s work. The researchers also developed a plasma steeping technology that could help the barley malting industry. They steeped barley in plasma-activated water rather than regular water, which lowered levels of deoxynivalenol in the grain and improved seed germination by 10 per cent to 13 per cent. The technology, now going through the patent process, is open to licensing through the U of A. U of A



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