Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada , Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) , 1QB Information Technologies, Inc. , 7 Wing (Space), ABCO Industries, Accenture, Acorn Biolabs, Addington Centre for Measurement , Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence, Ag-West Bio Inc. , Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Airbus, AlayaCare, Alberta Innovates, Amazon Web Services, AngelQ, Asima Health, ATCO, AtkinsRéalis, Bank of Canada, BDC Capital, Bespoke Global Logistics & Strategies, Brain Canada Foundation, Business Development Bank of Canada, Caisse de dépôt, Canada Energy Regulator, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian CED Network , Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology , Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Kelp, Canadian Natural, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Canadian Union of Public Employees – Quebec, CGC Inc., Chexy, Clinical Trials Ontario , Co.Labs, Combine Settings, Compute Ontario, CQDM, Cultivator, Dalhousie University, Department of National Defence, DIGITAL, DuaWalla, Economic Club of Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Enverus, Environment and Climate Change Canada, European Commission, Everstream, Fields Institute, Flaura cuir Vegetal Inc., Fraser Institute, Gearbox Studio, Genome Quebec, Gestion Dryad Inc., Ginger Desk , Gotcare, Government of Alberta, Government of Ontario, Hydro-Québec, Innovation Saskatchewan, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Energy Agency, Justice Canada, Kanyr Pharma , Malahat Solutions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maxa, McGill University, McGill University Health Centre, MDA Space Ltd. , Memorial University of Newfoundland, Microsoft, Mikata Health Inc. , Mitsubishi Corporation , Mostar Labs, Mount Saint Vincent University, Natural Products Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, OceanSync, Office of the Privacy Commissioner , Ontario Genomics, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Opus, Pacific Economic Development Canada, Pembina Institute, People’s Liberation Army, Perimeter Institute, Photon Marine Canada, Photonic Inc., Quantum City, Quinte Health , Reach Alliance , Relay, Rimot, Rosborough Boats, Royal Canadian Air Force, RxPx, S&P Global Commodity Insights, Sanofi, Shannex Incorporated , Shopify, Simon Fraser University, Slack, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Startup Blink, Statistics Canada, Swift Medical, Symbiotic AI, Telesat, The Firehood, Transport Canada, U.S. Air Force , Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of New Brunswick, University of Ottawa, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, USG Corporation, veritree, VoltSafe, and Voyager Space


Canada's Ocean Supercluster projects, “Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies for the Canadian Labour Force" (report), addressing barriers that prevent using AI in health care, Arctic Observing Mission, AVENGER drug development platform, B.C. quantum computing companies, Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, building advanced manufacturing capacity in Canada, Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund, Canada's ranking in global startup ecosystems, Canada's venture capital investment in 2023, Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub, Canadian Commercial Integration Cell for space operations, Climate Science 2050: National Priorities for Climate Change Science and Knowledge Report, data automation and analytics platform, decline in per-person GDP in Canada, digital infrastructure under National Trade Corridors Fund , disseminating geointelligence at sea , early warning system to detect pathogens in wastewater and saliva, economic impact of federal cap on oil and gas emissions, European Commission AI Office, factors dampening investment levels in Canada's private sector, federal support for innovative projects in Northern Canada , federal support for social sciences-humanities research, Food Sustainability and Resilience Cluster, foreign direct investment withdrawals in Canada , Genome Quebec’s Genomics Applications Partnership Program , HI3 Hub, INSPIRE: Integrated Network for the Surveillance of Pathogens: Increasing Resilience and Capacity in Canada’s Pandemic Response, integrating AI into health care, Inventures 2024, Master’s degree in Psychedelics & Consciousness Studies, Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project , NAIT Advanced Skills Centre, national priorities for climate change science and knowledge, nuclear energy in Quebec, online business banking platform, Ontario government support for research institutes, personalized regenerative medicine, plant-based vegan leather, PROGENITER development pipeline for antibody therapies, protecting Canadian workforce from AI dangers, Quantum City Challenge, quantum entanglement between modules , quantum technology to address energy industry's challenges, Quebec support for genomics research, R&D projects on the brain, research on crop diversity, research on healthy aging, robotic dogs used by military, satellite-borne radar to monitor snow water equivalent, smart charging of electric vehicles, Social Sciences and Humanities Consortium, social sciences and humanities research, SSHRC's Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants, Starlab Space commercial space station, support for Opus startup incubator, Terrestrial Snow Mass Mission, treating oilsands tailings, UBC Advanced Therapeutics Manufacturing Facility , vaccine manufacturing in Canada, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, virtual medical office assistants, and Women + Entrepreneur Incubator program

The Short Report: June 5, 2024

Research Money
June 5, 2024


The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) announced more than $51 million to support 90 research partnerships across Canada. This investment, through the SSHRC’s Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants, provides researchers from different disciplines and postsecondary institutions the opportunity to work together on challenging topics and research questions in social sciences and humanities. These partnerships involve close collaboration with the public, private or not-for-profit sectors, as well as international researchers. They also provide unique training experiences in a partnership context, with opportunities for students to acquire new research and professional and workforce-ready skills. More than $37 million in Partnership Grants was awarded to 15 projects over seven years, while 75 projects will receive a total of over $14 million in Partnership Development Grants over three years. Funded projects will explore various topics, such as transparency in governance, adult education, histories of performance, attachment issues in children, homelessness and responsible procurement. SSHRC

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced a federal investment of nearly $38 million in 166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. Funded through the three federal granting councils – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the CIHR, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Vanier Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships help Canadian institutions attract and retain highly qualified trainees, establishing Canada as a global centre for research training and career support. The value of the fellowship is $70,000 per year for two years. The value of the scholarship is $50,000 per year for three years. Examples of the diverse research being supported include:

  • Zhenwei Ma, Banting Fellow, University of British Columbia, looks at new ways of treating and managing esophageal cancer.
  • Kristy Ferraro, Banting Fellow, Memorial University of Newfoundland, researches how conserving large mammals such as caribou, deer and elk acts as a nature-based solution to climate change.
  • Daniel Romm, Vanier Scholar, McGill University, assesses how sustainable transportation systems such as bike sharing can connect people in small population centres to major cities.
  • Camille Bédard, Vanier Scholar, Université Laval, studies how fungal pathogens are mutating to become resistant to the drugs we use to treat fungal infections. CIHR

The Government of Ontario is investing nearly $200 million over the next three years in advancing research and innovation at six research institutes. The institutes receiving this funding include the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research ($144 million), the Perimeter Institute ($36 million), Ontario Genomics ($5 million), Clinical Trials Ontario ($4 million), the Fields Institute ($4 million), and Compute Ontario ($3 million). In addition to supporting the institutes' research, this funding will be used for outreach efforts and the creation of experiential learning opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Govt. of Ontario

Transport Canada announced up to $51.2 million for 19 digital infrastructure projects under the National Trade Corridors Fund. By supporting the use of innovative technologies for stronger supply chains, the federal government said it is ensuring that goods move faster and cheaper, making life more affordable for Canadians. This commitment represents strong collaboration with stakeholders across the country on important digital projects to better address transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion, and enhance efficiency and reliability, for Canada’s ports, railway networks and airports. Transport Canada

The Government of Alberta is investing $43 million in planning funds for the new Advanced Skills Centre (ASC) at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). The government said the ASC will deliver the most comprehensive, leading-edge apprenticeship and technology-based education in the world, focused on training in four key sectors: construction, transportation, manufacturing and energy. Planning funds will help prepare for the facility's construction, which will start in 2025. The centre will add 640,000 square feet of new, state-of-the-art learning space to NAIT’s main campus and support the evolution and growth of programming over time, allowing NAIT to meet emerging needs to support Alberta’s diverse and competitive industries. Govt. of Alberta

Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) announced more than $11 million for three British Columbia-based organizations leading innovation in quantum computing. This includes:

  • Over $3.4 million to 1QB Information Technologies, Inc. to develop and commercialize their Topological Quantum Architecture Design (TopQAD™️).
  • $4.3 million to Simon Fraser University to establish the Quantum Fabrication Centre at the university’s 4D LABS facility.
  • Over $3.2 million to the University of British Columbia to increase their capacity to commercialize quantum technologies at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute.

The investments, anticipated to benefit 41 businesses, are the first three B.C.-based projects funded under the Regional Quantum Initiative. PacificCan

Vancouver-based DIGITAL, Canada’s global innovation cluster for digital technologies, is investing $10.5 million across four projects by Canadian startups working on integrating artificial intelligence into health care. Private sector partner investments bring the total value of the projects to approximately $26 million. The startups and projects are:

  • Toronto-based Swift Medical’s $9-million wound treatment project, half of which is supported by DIGITAL. The firm’s technology uses AI to identify wound types, determine if they are healing or deteriorating, and create a 3D model of the wound’s visible depth to eliminate the pain caused by manual measurements.
  • Vancouver-based RxPx's $10.5-million project, of which DIGITAL contributed $3.4 million. RxPx is looking to develop an integrated “AI Clinical Buddy System” to help clinical trials with patient recruitment, adherence, engagement and monitoring through personalized onboarding and engagement features.
  • Toronto’s Gotcare, which received $1.5 million from DIGITAL, connects patients with in-home and virtual care based on proximity, specialization, language and cultural understanding. Its $3.1-million project is looking to bring AI enhancements to its patient matching service and virtual support, as well as develop its concept for a predictive health monitoring product. Gotcare has partnered with Quinte Health and the Reach Alliance at the University of Toronto on the initiative.
  • Montreal’s AlayaCare, which received  $1.1 million from DIGITAL, will integrate AI into its health record platform, which the company said is currently used by over 700 home care service providers across North America and Australia. The $3.2-million project aims to include natural language summarization, conversational abilities, risk dashboards and decision support to clinical supervisors and caregivers. DIGITAL

Alberta Innovates announced $9.5 million to 10 university teams and two private companies to address barriers that prevent using artificial intelligence in health care. The Enabling Better Health Through Artificial Intelligence program was launched in the fall of 2023 with a total budget of $8 million. Due to the significant number of high-quality proposals submitted, Alberta Innovates reallocated an additional $1.5 million to ensure these innovations move forward in Alberta. Calgary-based Mikata Health Inc. is developing its Mika AI Scribe technology to automate and streamline manual paperwork and data entry performed by doctors and other clinicians. This will free up doctors to focus on patients, improving the patient experience while also reducing physician workloads and burnout. Mikata Health has been granted $800,000 to research and develop the technology, leading privacy, safety, and ethics for AI, and work closely with clinics and with health care teams to test and implement the technology. Other projects accepted in the program include:

  • Five research projects at the University of Alberta that include using artificial intelligence to improve Alberta 811 Health Link, better predict opioid overdoses and streamline diagnostic imaging.
  • Five research projects at the University of Calgary that include using artificial intelligence to better identify and treat stroke patients, help prevent hospital-transmitted infection outbreaks, and understand the social determinants of health.
  • Calgary-based Symbiotic AI, which is developing an AI-based decision support tool for patients with coronary artery disease. Alberta Innovates

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced more than $8.1 million to Ag-West Bio Inc. through the AgriScience Program - Clusters Component, to support research to increase crop diversity. Ag-West Bio will manage the Diverse Field Crops Cluster, a coordinated group of organizations representing small acreage crops, with the goal of building capacity and increasing the acreage seeded to diverse crops. Crop research is a key driver of innovation and advancement for producers, and it has the potential to generate long-term, sustainable economic growth for Canada’s agricultural sector. The Cluster 's research activities aim to:

  • Benchmark the greenhouse gas emissions produced by diverse crops and understand how those emissions are impacted by nitrogen fertilizer use.
  • Further develop new oilseed crops, such as camelina, that are more adapted to production on lower-quality land.
  • Improve genetic resiliency, yields and disease resistance in rotation crops such as mustard, flax and sunflower. AAFC

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) is investing nearly $5.7 million in three projects worth $14.2 million, with industry partners contributing the remainder. The projects are:

  • The Canadian Electric Propulsion Acceleration Coalition, the largest of the three projects with a planned cost of $7 million. Of that, $2.7 million is coming from OSC and the rest from a private sector group led by Photon Marine Canada, a Victoria, B.C.-based maker of electric motors for speedboats. Other project partners include Halifax’s BlueGrid, the product name for the company Rimot, which is developing technology to let boats act as energy storage on a grid. Other Nova Scotian partners are Rosborough Boats, also in Halifax, and ABCO Industries, the Lunenburg shipyard. Joining from British Columbia are Malahat SolutionsVoltSafe and Mostar Labs.
  • Verifying Ocean Climate Impacts Project is led by Vancouver-based veritree, which sells a platform for tree-planting organizations to document their work and analyze their environmental impacts. Collaborating with veritree is Canadian Kelp, a seaweed farm and packaged goods-maker on Vancouver Island. OSC is contributing $2.1 million of the $5-million projected project cost. The two companies aim to build a technology platform for kelp farms to better track their climate impacts, such as with the help of specialized cameras.
  • $2.2-million Optimizing Maritime Supply Chains project, led by OceanSync, a Halifax company commercializing a potential solution to a longstanding challenge for the marine industry: obtaining reliable weather data. The OceanSync sensor suite gathers meteorological data like wind speed and barometric pressure, which an edge computing device then pre-processes before uploading it to the cloud every 10 minutes via satellite internet. The other project partners are Everstream, which sells a supply chain analytics software suite called BlueNode, and Bespoke Global Logistics & Strategies. The companies will collaborate to develop software that will advise companies about how to optimize their supply chains for sustainability and climate resilience. OSC is contributing $875,000. OSC

The Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) announced a federal investment of up to $3.8 million for the new Food Sustainability and Resilience Cluster. The combined federal and industry investment in the initiative is $6.9 million over five years. The investment will support nine projects in partnership with public research institutions nationwide. The Food Sustainability and Resilience Cluster aims to foster collaboration in three critical priority areas: energy reduction and efficiency, innovative production technologies and sustainable practices. Each of the nine cluster research activities aligns with the AgriScience Program priority areas of Climate Change and Environment, Economic Growth and Development, and Sector Resilience and Societal Challenges. CIFST

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) announced a federal investment of more than $2.3 million in four unique projects that will help businesses and organizations across the territories diversify, innovate and grow. Project activities include: in the Northwest Territories, hydroponic gardening systems that support food security, and a renewable energy generation and storage unit; in Nunavat, a fish data collection system and training for local Inuit fishers in data collection and analysis; in the Yukon, research and strategic planning aimed at establishing a renewable insulation manufacturing sector. CanNor

Ontario-based NGen, Canada’s global innovation cluster for advanced manufacturing, launched a call for project proposals that will build advanced manufacturing capacity in Canada and enhance the commercialization of artificial and machine learning innovations across manufacturing sectors. Projects must focus on the commercialization of AI/ML solutions in manufacturing. They must also be business-led and collaborative. Projects must include at least two industry partners, one manufacturing company and one AI company. At least one of these companies needs to be an SME. Total project costs should be between $1.5 million and $6 million. Eligible projects will be reimbursed at a funding rate of 35 per cent of total eligible project costs. The Challenge will support AI-enabled advanced manufacturing technology development and commercialization such as: 

  • Systems optimization within manufacturing facilities and/or across supply chains. 
  • The development of new advanced manufacturing capabilities, for example new robotic or automation equipment. 
  • Enhanced manufacturing facility and process cybersecurity. 
  • Rapid prototyping and testing of materials, products, and processes.
  • The development of other disruptive AI-enabled manufacturing capabilities and services. 

Project application guides, videos and resources are available here. NGEN


 Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, and the University of New Brunswick received a combined $3.5-million donation from Halifax-based Shannex Incorporated toward healthy aging research. The funds will be used by the Atlantic universities to create new research chairs, establish dedicated research labs, and develop training programs focused on healthy aging. Shannex is a family organization that offers senior care services in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. The company is investing these areas:

  • Artificial intelligence and other technologies to inform decision-making and policy planning at every level of the healthcare continuum.
  • Improved support and care for individuals during transitions as they age.
  • Opportunities for specialized nurse and caregiver education.
  • Innovations for food and nutrition for seniors.
  • Strategies to improve overall wellness and quality of work life for long term care staff. Shannex Incorporated

A national research coalition led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) received a nearly $140-million federal investment. The funding supports four multidisciplinary research projects through Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub (CIEBH), a UBC-led alliance of more than 50 academic, industry, not-for-profit and health system partners that have come together to make Canada a leader in advanced immune-based therapeutics like RNA vaccines, antibody treatments and cell therapies. Collectively, the projects aim to establish an end-to-end drug development pipeline that will enable Canada to mount a rapid 100-day response to emerging pandemic threats and other health challenges. The funding was provided through the Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund. Last month, the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat announced nearly $574 million in funding for 10 projects at 14 research institutions across Canada. (See May 8 Short Report). The four CIEBH projects are:

  • Creating a new Advanced Therapeutics Manufacturing Facility on UBC’s Vancouver Campus – the first facility of its kind in Western Canada. Equipped with state-of-the-art bioreactors and quality control labs, the 25,000-square-foot facility will enable academic researchers and biotech startups to develop innovative cell- and gene-based therapies and bring them into clinical trials for Canadians.
  • AVENGER,an end-to-end drug development platform for RNA vaccines, based at UBC. The AVENGER team will create a library of vaccine formulations that can be custom designed and rapidly deployed against pandemic pathogens and other diseases.
  • PROGENITER, a development pipeline for antibody therapies, based at UBC. The PROGENITER team will leverage advanced cryo-electron microscopy and AI-enabled drug discovery to build a suite of ready-to-deploy antibody treatments for pathogens with high pandemic potential, such as H5N1 influenza (bird flu).
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Consortium, based at Simon Fraser University, brings together an interdisciplinary research team to better understand public perspectives around biomanufacturing and immune-based therapies, while developing strategies to build public trust and promote equitable access to new medicines. UBC

University of Waterloo scientists Dr. Trevor Charles and Dr. Andrew Doxey will receive $1.57 million from the Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund for work on an early warning system to detect pathogens in wastewater and saliva. As part of the HI3 Hub at the University of Toronto, Charles and Doxey are working on a project titled INSPIRE: Integrated Network for the Surveillance of Pathogens: Increasing Resilience and Capacity in Canada’s Pandemic Response, which brings together experts in this area from across Ontario. The goal of INSPIRE is to create a rapid and flexible early warning system that expands and integrates existing wastewater- and saliva-based pathogen surveillance capabilities at strategic land border crossings and airports to coordinate with health system data networks and supply networks. During the pandemic, analysis of wastewater was originally done using qRT-PCR methods (which detect and identify gene sequences) to analyze influent (incoming flows prior to treatment) samples from local, municipal wastewater treatment plants. While PCR-based methods are effective for detecting known viruses, the network team also wants to develop methods to detect all pathogens that might be present. Additionally, the ability to retroactively go back and trace the emergence of novel pathogens in the data isn’t something they had access to before. But by using high-throughput metagenomic sequencing, Charles and his team will be able to detect existing, new and emerging pathogens and antimicrobial resistance, building on the work done in UWaterloo research labs tracking SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, as well as with other viruses like influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial, a common respiratory virus). Doxey and the Applied Bioinformatics Lab have developed a computational platform, AlignDx, that lets researchers explore hundreds of potential pathogens of interest in sequencing data and monitoring their abundance over time. University of Waterloo

Brain Canada Foundation and CQDM are teaming up to support interprovincial collaborative biopharmaceutical research and development projects on the brain. This partnership creates a unique funding opportunity that brings together experts from academia and industry to support the development of platforms, tools and biopharmaceuticals that will pave the way for new advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Up to $4 million is available to support collaborative brain research projects. Deadline for full applications is August 15, 2024. CQDM

Innovation Saskatchewan is investing $210,000 over three years in Opus, the University of Saskatchewan’s startup incubator, as part of a new partnership. The funding will support Opus programming streams that target different timelines in the entrepreneurship lifecycle to drive startup development, including:

  • Idea2Explore (i2Explore) – provides year-round opportunities for anyone at USask to explore entrepreneurship through events and curated meetings with advisors.
  • Innovate2Build (i2Build) – runs annually over 10 months as successful program applicants participate in bi-monthly workshops as well as mentor and advisor meetings.
  • Impact2Market (i2Market) – runs long-term and offers targeted mentorships for i2Build graduates by requiring participants to meet business growth milestones.
  • Opus Student Ambassador Program – is a student-led initiative that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with business acumen and an entrepreneurial mindset through engaging campus activities.

Opus pre-accelerator programming focuses on commercializing deep tech innovations that are research-based, equipping founders with the necessary skills for startup development and facilitating their progression to other accelerators and incubators like Co.Labs and Cultivator. In its pilot year, Opus supported over 12 startups engaging with more than 88 stakeholders ranging from community and business leaders, entrepreneurs and ecosystem service providers. University of Saskatchewan

Vancouver-based quantum computing company Photonic Inc. announced a “significant milestone” on the path to commercially relevant quantum systems. While many existing quantum architectures achieve entanglement within modules, Photonic has demonstrated entanglement between modules. In this way, Photonic said, the company’s architecture, based on distributed quantum computing in silicon, provides a unique solution to one of the primary challenges on the road to large-scale quantum adoption – scalable entanglement distribution – and literally goes “outside the box” to open avenues for transformative applications in fields such as materials science and drug discovery. Three demonstrations by Photonic established and consumed distributed quantum entanglement – entanglement between qubits not adjacent to one another. The crucial role that entanglement distribution will play in unlocking the commercial promise of quantum computing cannot be overstated, said Dr. Stephanie Simmons, PhD, founder and chief quantum officer at Photonic. “Large-scale quantum algorithms running across multiple quantum computers require enormous amounts of distributed entanglement to work well. These demonstrations highlight the promise of our distinctive architectural approach to solve the challenge of scaling beyond single nodes," Simmons said. Krysta Svore, distinguished engineer and vice-president of advanced quantum development at Microsoft, said the work showcases “fundamental capability: entanglement distribution over long distances. With these advancements, we’re progressing toward the next stages of networked quantum computing.” Last November, Microsoft announced a strategic collaboration with Photonic to co-innovate on quantum technologies to accelerate scientific discovery. Click here for an explainer video on quantum entanglement, and here for an interview with Stephanie Simmons. Photonic, Microsoft

Brampton, Ont.-based MDA Space Ltd. has become a strategic partner and equity owner in Starlab Space, a joint venture between Voyager Space, Airbus, and Mitsubishi Corporation. The company joins the Starlab team to provide the full range of external robotics, robotics interfaces and robotic mission operations to the station, including its recently launched full suite of scalable and modular robotics solutions, MDA SKYMAKER, which can be tailored to support a diverse range of missions. Starlab is designing, building and will operate the Starlab commercial space station, due to launch around 2028. Starlab will serve a global customer base of space agencies, researchers and companies, ensuring a continued human presence in low-Earth orbit and a seamless transition of microgravity science and research from the International Space Station into the new commercial space station era. MDA Space

The Department of National Defence / Royal Canadian Air Force announced the establishment of the Canadian Commercial Integration Cell (CIC) at Ottawa-based 7 Wing (Space). The CIC is a new information-sharing structure focused on space operations established between the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and industry partners to enable discussions and data-sharing at the appropriate security level. This initiative will improve the ability of the CAF and industry to respond to critical events by enabling the flow of information between military and commercial partners, increasing space domain awareness and protecting Canadian interests and assets in the space domain. The cell will focus on space systems currently supporting CAF operations and potential threats against those space systems. Initially, the CIC will be comprised of subject matter experts from MDA Space and Telesat. These members will provide direct liaison between the Canadian Space Operations Centre at 7 Wing (Space) and their companies, enhancing real-time information sharing of indications and warnings of critical space incidents.. National Defence

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) issued a call for ideas for science and application opportunities for a satellite-borne dual-frequency Ku-band synthetic aperture radar concept. The initiative responds to a need identified by Environment and Climate Change Canada to increase Canada's capability to monitor snow water equivalent (SWE) over the Northern Hemisphere. The primary mission objective is to quantify the spatially and temporally dynamic amount of freshwater stored in seasonal terrestrial snow (the SWE). Through data assimilation, the aim is to improve the treatment of snow in operational environmental prediction systems and thereby enhance numerical weather prediction, hydrological forecasting and seasonal prediction. Any Canadian, Indigenous or International organization, industry, academic institution, government or non-government agency, or consortium, can submit a response to this call for ideas. All responses must be submitted to CSA before midnight (ET) July 14, 2024. CSA

Brampton, Ont.-based MDA Space unveiled a new vessel detection onboard processing system (VDOP) that the company said will revolutionize how geointelligence information is disseminated at sea. The new VDOP direct satellite-to-ship service will be a key feature of MDA CHORUS, offering defence and intelligence organizations around the world rapid access to the data and insights they need to support critical and time-sensitive maritime defence and security missions – including countering piracy, narcotics smuggling, illegal fishing and human trafficking. Traditionally, the processing of satellite radar data and vessel detection and analysis has been performed on the ground. With the new MDA CHORUS VDOP capability, raw signal data will be collected and processed onboard the satellite to better perform vessel detection and rapidly deliver geointelligence data and information direct to users at sea. MDA CHORUS, a collaborative multi-sensor constellation scheduled to launch in Q4 2025, will bring together diverse and unique imagery and data sources and provide a new level of near real-time insight and innovative Earth observation services, the company said. From an industry-leading 700-kilometre-wide imaging swath down to sub-metre high resolution, MDA CHORUS will be able to image day or night, regardless of weather conditions, with daily access of up to 95 per cent of the coverage area. MDA Space

The Government of Ontario joined Paris, France-based Sanofi at the grand opening of the company’s new $800-milliion vaccine-manufacturing facility at its Toronto campus. The new building, spanning approximately 200,000 square feet, will produce pediatric and adult vaccines for pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria and tetanus – significantly increasing the country’s production of life-saving vaccines for domestic and global markets. Sanofi’s new facility builds on the company’s expansive footprint in Ontario, which includes a full spectrum of R&D, manufacturing, clinical trials, regulatory, distribution and commercial operations. As part of Sanofi’s 2,000 employees in Canada, the facility will employ 200 people and is supported by federal, municipal and provincial governments, including a $50-million investment from the Province of Ontario. Sanofi is also building a second new facility at its Toronto campus to increase production of the Fluzone High-Dose Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine specifically formulated for people 65 years and older. Govt. of Ontario

CGC Inc., the Canadian division of USG Corporation, announced construction has started on its new manufacturing plant in Wheatland County in south-central Alberta. CGC is investing $210 million to build the facility, designed to be the most eco-friendly plant the company has ever constructed. The 220,000-square foot facility, situated on 214 acres of land northwest of the hamlet of Carseland, will feature state-of-the-art innovations that enable efficient production of the company’s Sheetrock® brand wallboard with minimal water usage, energy consumption, and physical waste. CGC is building a solar field onsite to generate clean electricity for the plant. CGI Inc.

Natural Products Canada (NPC) announced support for two Quebec-based companies through NPC’s Commercialization Programs. The recipients Flaura cuir Vegetal Inc., and Gestion Dryad Inc., both create plant-based vegan leather to help decarbonize the apparel industry using nature-based solutions. The investment in Flaura cuir Vegetal will help them scale the production of plant-based leathers made from apple waste to meet demand of the luxury textile market. NPC is investing $38,840, enabling a total budget of $97,100. The support for Gestion Dryad Inc. will help fund proof-of-concept activities to continue the development of sustainable plant-based alternatives to leather which match performance, including breathability. NPC will invest $36,738, enabling a total budget of $91,845NPC’s Commercialization Programs focus on addressing three gaps common to highly innovative companies: product validation, talent, and competitive strategy. Acting as “strategic angels,” NPC works with applicants before, during and after the official application process, providing in-depth advice, guidance and connections to resources from across the country. NPC

Nuclear energy must be looked at in a new light given that several jurisdictions, including Quebec, are facing electricity shortages, Charles Edmond, CEO of Caisse de dépôt, said after giving a talk to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Edmond said he was not commenting on the relevance of restarting, or not, nuclear energy production at the former Gentilly power plant in Bécancour. “I’m just saying that, generally, nuclear power is something that should not be completely excluded.” With a stake of nearly 20 per cent, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is the largest shareholder of AtkinsRealis, one of Canada’s leading nuclear players. In February, the Montreal-based engineering firm launched a major lobbying campaign in favour of nuclear power, which is co-chaired by former prime minister Jean Chrétien. Emond also said Caisse de dépôt was ready to invest in Hydro-Quebec’s action plan aimed at massively increasing its electricity production and strengthening its grids – which will require investments estimated at least $155 billion. Le Journal de Montréal

The European Commission unveiled its new AI Office, aimed at enabling the future development, deployment and use of AI in a way that fosters societal and economic benefits and innovation, while mitigating risks. The Office, which will employ more than 140 staff, will play a key role in the implementation of the AI Act, especially in relation to general-purpose AI models. It will also work to foster research and innovation in trustworthy AI and position the EU as a leader in international discussions. The AI Office is composed of: Regulation and Compliance Unit; Unit on AI safety; Excellence in AI and Robotics Unit; AI for Social Good Unit; and AI and Policy Coordination Unit. European Commission

During recent military drills with Cambodia, the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, showed off a robot dog with an automatic rifle mounted on its back, essentially turning man’s best (electronic) friend into a killing machine. The two-minute video made during the China-Cambodia “Golden Dragon 2024” exercise also shows the robot dog walking, hopping, lying down and moving backwards under the control of a remote operator. In one drill, the rifle-firing robot leads an infantry unit into a simulated building. The latter part of the video also shows an automatic rifle mounted under a six-rotor aerial drone, illustrating what the video says is China’s “variety of intelligent unmanned equipment.” In 2020, the U.S. Air Force demonstrated how it used robotic dogs as one link in its Advanced Battle Management System, which uses artificial intelligence and rapid data analytics to detect and counter threats to U.S. military assets. CTV News


Canada’s venture-capital investors remained cautious in 2023, with the number of VC-backed deals declining 13 per cent year-over-year, while dollars invested dropped 34 per cent, according to a report by BDC Capital, the Business Development Bank of Canada’s investment arm. Canadian VC 10-year internal rate of return decreased to 11.7 per cent last year, observing a similar downward trajectory as U.S. VC returns, but continuing to narrow the gap between the two countries’ long-term performance. Canadian VC nevertheless maintained higher total investment dollars than the five-year pre-pandemic average (2015-2019). Also, Canadian VC investment experienced a slower year-over-year decline in dollars invested compared with global VC investment. Forty-one VC-backed unicorns – companies with a value of more than $1billion – were created over the last five years across Canada. Canadian investors hold an estimated $10.4 billion, which could positively impact the ecosystem once the macroeconomic sentiment changes, the report says. There were 660 transactions in 2023 for a total of $6.9 billion invested, which is 0.36 per cent of Canada's GDP. For a second year in a row, more than 50 per cent of transactions included foreign participation, demonstrating the growing interest for the Canadian VC asset class and its opportunities. The information and communication technology sector continues to account for the lion’s share of VC investments. BDC

Higher federal government spending and volatility in U.S. trade relations is dampening investment levels in Canada’s private sector, said Stephen Poloz, former Bank of Canada governor. Poloz, in a talk on May 30 to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, said certain moves by Ottawa are contributing to lower business investment rates and productivity growth in the private sector. Baseline federal government spending has increased by about 2.5 percentage points of GDP since 2015. Also, Ottawa raising the capital gains tax inclusion rate is “not the best time in the context for investments,” Poloz said. Poloz was chosen in April by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to lead a working group with a mandate to “explore how to catalyze greater domestic investment opportunities for Canadian pension funds.” Bennett Jones advisor and former federal finance minister John Manley, who also spoke at the event, said productivity would improve with more investment, but that Canada is failing to help its companies reach a scale where they can be highly productive. CTV News

Foreign direct investors withdrew $6.2 billion of funds from Canada in the first quarter of 2024, the first divestment in 14 years, according to a report by Statistics Canada (StatsCan). The divestment was led by merger and acquisition activities (-$11.1 billion) and was mitigated by earnings reinvested by foreign parent companies in their Canadian affiliates (+$7.3 billion). Canadian direct investment abroad reached $29.8 billion in the first quarter, up from a $17.3-billion investment in the previous quarter. Merger and acquisition transactions (+$16.8 billion) and earnings reinvested in foreign affiliates by their Canadian parent companies (+$16.2 billion) contributed to the activity in the first quarter. Canadian investors acquired a record $37.2 billion of foreign bonds in the first quarter, more than they had acquired during the entire year of 2023. Acquisitions of government bonds accounted for the bulk of the activity. In addition, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign stocks by $14.1 billion in the first quarter of 2024, led by acquisitions of U.S. equity securities (+$19.8 billion), most of which were large capitalization technology shares. StatsCan

Toronto-based fintech Relay, which offers an online business banking and money management platform, raised $44 million in a Series B financing round, led by Bain Capital Ventures. The round includes previous Relay investors Better Tomorrow Ventures, Garage Capital, and Tapestry, with new participation from Industry Ventures.  Relay said the new financing accelerates its product development in spend management, smart credit products and a financial API (application programming interface) marketplace. It is the next step toward Relay’s overarching goal of delivering AI-powered predictive cash flow analytics to small and medium-sized businesses, the company said. Relay

Montreal-based Maxa raised $28.7 million in Series A funding to advance its data automation and analytics platform for enterprise resource planning (ERP). The all-equity round, co-led by Framework Venture Partners and BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, included contributions from returning investors AQC Capital and Graphite Ventures, as well as new investors Snowflake Ventures, Amiral Ventures, and NAventures. Maxa, founded in 2019 by brothers Alexis and Raphael Steinman, automates financial, ERP, and operational reporting and analysis for enterprises. The new funds will support product development, market expansion, and enhanced customer self-serve capabilities. Techplus Media

Toronto-based Acorn Biolabs, a personalized regenerative medicine company, raised US$8 million in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Merz Aesthetics – the world’s largest dedicated medical aesthetics business – with participation from TELUS Global Ventures, MDE Investments, Inc., The Leslie Group, Lee Li Holdings, as well as physicians specializing in medical aesthetics, orthopedics and longevity. Acorn Biolabs has developed the world’s first non-invasive, follicle-based cell cryopreservation service and has patented cell-based treatments made from a patient’s own hair follicle cells. The investment proceeds will be primarily directed towards developing Acorn’s portfolio of cosmetic products and expanding its commercial reach, paving the way for the launch of the company's first topical product within the next year. Fasken

Vancouver-based Ginger Desk raised $1.5 million in a seed equity round led by Disruption Ventures and including investments from Mosaic Accelerator founder Rochelle Grayson, Women’s Equity Lab, and Spring Capital. Ginger Desk offers a B2B tech-enabled platform for providing on-demand, experienced professional virtual medical office assistants to allied health practitioners. Dr. Julie Durnan, a longtime naturopathic doctor, launched Ginger Desk when she saw, during the early days of COVID-19, some of her colleagues in the health and wellness space struggle when they retreated from their brick-and-mortar operations and attempted to continue providing services remotely without front desk staff or a clinic. Ginger Desk

Four women-led startups in the second Women + Entrepreneur Incubator program cohort received a collective investment of $135,000 from The Firehood’s angel investors at the Uniting the Prairies event in Saskatoon. Toronto-based DuaWalla received the largest investment of $75,000, while Toronto’s Chexy received $25,000, Battleford, Sask.-based Combine Settings received $25,000, and Kitchener’s Asima Health received $10,000. DuaWalla offers the “first-ever digitally integrated prayer and meditation mat” which is marketed to busy Muslim travellers. Chexy is a “tenant-facing” payments platform, enabling tenants to make their monthly payments through their credit cards. Combine Settings is a peer-to-peer platform that allows farmers to connect with each other on a local or global level to share settings for combines specific to crop, combine type, equipment, geography and weather. Asima Health is developing a faster multi-cancer blood test. BetaKit


Canada on verge of steepest decline in per-person GDP in four decades: Fraser Institute study

If Canada’s per-capita GDP doesn’t recover this year, the decline since mid-2019 may be the longest and largest decline in per-person GDP over the last four decades, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute.

Real GDP per person is a broad measure of incomes – and consequently of living standards. Canada experienced nine periods of decline and recovery in real GDP per person over the period covered in the study (1985 to 2023).

Of these nine periods, the study said, three (Q2 1989 to Q3 1994; Q3 2008 to Q4 2011; and Q2 2019 to Q2 2022) were most severe when comparing the length and depth of the declines, along with number of quarters required for real GDP per person to recover.

However, the experience following Q2 2019 is unlike any decline and recovery since 1985 because, though per person GDP recovered for one quarter in Q2 2022, it immediately began declining again and by Q4 2023 remains below the level in Q2 2019, the study noted.

“This lack of meaningful recovery suggests that since mid-2019, Canada has experienced one of the longest and deepest declines in real GDP per person since 1985,” the study said.

The decline since mid-2019 is exceeded only by the decline and recovery from Q2 1989 to Q3 1994. However, the decline since mid-2019 may become the worst in four decades if Canada’s per-capita GDP doesn’t recover this year.

The study was co-authored by Grady Munro, policy analyst; John Clemens, executive vice-president, and Milagros Palacios, director, Addington Centre for Measurement – all at the Fraser Institute.

Statistics Canada, in its estimate of GDP for the first quarter of 2024, reported that the final value of all goods and services produced in the economy, and the most widely used measure of overall economic activity, grew by 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2024.

But at the same time, inflation-adjusted GDP per person – a broad measure of individual living standards – actually fell 0.2 per cent during the first quarter of 2024, down to $58,028.

“The reason the economy is growing while living standards are falling is because the rate of economic growth is not fast enough to account for all the new people in Canada (whether through birth or immigration),” the Fraser Institute authors noted. During the first three months of 2024, the economy grew by 0.4 per cent while the population grew by 0.6 per cent.

Their study found that from the middle of 2019 (well before COVID) to the end of 2023, per-person GDP fell from $59,905 to $58,134. This three-per-cent drop over 4 ½ years was the second-longest and third-deepest decline in living standards over the entire period – only exceeded in both length and depth by the more than five-year decline that began mid-1989 and lasted until living standards recovered in the third quarter of 1994, and which saw inflation-adjusted GDP per person fall by 5.3 per cent.

“If we factor in the new data for the beginning of 2024, we see that the current ongoing decline is worsening,” the authors said.

Inflation-adjusted per-person GDP now sits 3.1 per cent below the level it was in mid-2019, and the decline is approaching five-years in length. “In other words, Canada is approaching the milestone of experiencing the longest decline in individual living standards of the last 40 years.”

The severity of the decline in living standards should be a wake-up call for policymakers across Canada to immediately enact fundamental policy reforms to help spur economic growth and productivity, the authors said. Fraser Institute


Ensure Canadian workforce is protected from AI: House of Commons committee report

The federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner needs to conduct a review of how artificial intelligence is impacting the privacy of Canadian workers, and create and enforce “proper regulations” to ensure Canadians are protected from AI, a House of Commons committee report recommends.

Also, Employment and Social Development Canada, along with Justice Canada, should undertake a review of federal labour legislation to assess its capacity to protect diverse workers’ rights in the context of current and future implementation of AI, says a report by 12 members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

The report, “Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies for the Canadian Labour Force,” also recommends that Employment and Social Development Canada invest in skills training to increase the adaptability of the Canadian workforce to the use of AI.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) should deliver dedicated funding to support small businesses and non-profit organizations in all regions of the country, including rural Canada, in adopting AI technologies in an ethical manner, that supports Canadian productivity, has clear objectives, is transparent and accountable, and has clear measurement of results, the report says.

ISED also should ensure that the membership of the Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence encompasses a wide diversity of perspectives, such as labour, academia and/or civil society, and the private sector.

The Advisory Council should be asked to undertake work to examine mechanisms to protect workers and to identify existing data and research gaps, and ISED should report back to the committee on these matters within one year, the report says.

Employment and Social Development Canada should develop a framework, in collaboration with provinces, territories and labour representatives, to support the ethical adoption of AI technologies in workplaces, the report recommends.

The Canadian government, it says, should seek ways it can pragmatically increase efficiency, productivity and reduce red tape in its operations and workplace by utilizing AI.

The report also recommends that Statistics Canada develop a methodology to monitor labour market impacts of AI technologies over time, including by collecting data on job separations by reason for job separation and industry type, and by tracking unemployment risk by occupation.

During testimony from witnesses the committee heard that the estimated value of “the broad AI sector” is currently  around $200 billion. This will likely grow to around $2 trillion by 2030, and has potential to be an “era-defining” technology that could bolster Canada’s economy.

Danick Soucy, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees – Quebec, told the committee that protections for workers must be established “before companies undertake large-scale implementation, so that everything possible is done to avoid bringing in systems that cause problems for workers.”

Several witnesses said employers should be required to train or retrain employees affected by the adoption of AI or provide them with opportunities to move to other positions.

Witnesses described the potential of AI technologies to increase productivity, helping workers to focus on more strategic or “higher-level tasks that are better rewarded in the labour market,” and let “computer algorithms handle the more repetitive tasks.”

However, David Kiron, editorial director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Management Review, warned further that AI could “create work without jobs,” in that designing work around tasks or projects – as can be the case when AI is leveraged – could “increase reliance on contingent workers for whom fewer benefits are required,” which could also  lead to greater reliance on social benefits.

Witnesses unequivocally indicated that to date, implementing AI technologies has not resulted in job losses, with some arguing there will be net job gains as a result. Witnesses said AI is being used so far to “augment humans,” not replace them, and frees up workers’ time to perform different or more complex tasks. House of Commons


Canada ranks #4 globally in startup ecosystems with Toronto the highest-ranked city in Canada

Canada ranks #4 globally among countries with startup ecosystems, where it has been since 2020, but has fallen further behind the three top-ranked countries, according to Switzerland-headquartered Startup Blink’s Startup Ecosystem Report 2024.

The report assigns each startup ecosystem a score, which is the sum of three sub-scores measuring: the quantity (e.g. of startups, investors, accelerators and other indicators); quality (e.g. total accumulated private sector startup investment, total accumulated number of startup sector employees and other indicators); and business environment (e.g. diversity index, internet speed, R&D investment and other indicators).

The countries with the top three startup ecosystems globally are, in order, the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. The gap between Israel and Canada has grown to more than 30 per cent, compared with about 25 per cent last year. Singapore, now ranked No. 5, is close to bypassing Canada and taking fourth spot.

Canada has no city ranked in the top 20 startup ecosystems globally. The U.S. has seven cities in the top 20, while China and India each have three. San Francisco continues to lead the city global startup ecosystems.

The Toronto Area is Canada’s highest-ranked city, at # 22 globally. Montreal is #43, Ottawa #67, Kitchener #90, Calgary #107, Quebec City #144, Edmonton #148, Kingston #179, and Victoria #219.

Toronto is Canada’s leading startup ecosystem by far, with a score nearly double that of Vancouver, and the gap in total scores between Toronto and other Canadian cities is widening. Six of Ontario’s 26 startup ecosystems are in the top 20 in Canada.

Kingston, which ranks #9 in Canada, is the only city with a population of less than 500,000 to make it into the top 10 nationally.

Hamilton, which overtook Winnipeg as #14 in Canada, improved 40 spots globally – the highest among the top 15 Canadian cities. For the first time, Hamilton is in the global top 300.

Canada has 46 cities in the global top 1,000 this year, compared with 39 last year, “demonstrating that successful startup activity can be realized also outside the main startup hubs,” according to the report. All top-ranked Canadian ecosystems improved their ranking this year, with 22 cities experiencing positive momentum.

Canada is one of the few countries, together with the U.S., China and India, to have at least three cities ranked in the global top 50.

Canada’s startup ecosystems raised US$9.58 billion across 1,411 deals in 2023, compared with US$10.88 billion across 1,397 deals in 2022.

Canada’s business environment score rose to fourth globally from 14th in 2023, “signalling significant advancements in the nation’s startup-friendliness.”

Canada now ranks second in the world for the number of startups joining Y Combinator, the world’s top accelerator program.

Canada ranks third worldwide for the number of R&D branches, including 11 global tech brands such as Intel, IBM, and Oracle.

Canadian cities hold global top 25 positions in eight of the 11 ranked industries. The highest-ranked Canadian city in any industry is Toronto, especially excelling in Software & Data, where it ranks #13 globally.

The industries where Canada has two cities in the global top 25 are: Edtech (Kitchener at #24, and Toronto at #23); and Energy & Environment (Toronto at #15, and Vancouver at #22). Energy & Environment is the top-performing industry for seven of Canada’s top 10 cities. ­

Five Canadian cities rank in the top 30 of the world for the Cleantech industry: Kingston at #10, Vancouver #15, Toronto #17, Montreal #24, and Edmonton #30 worldwide.

Vancouver surpasses all other Canadian cities in the Blockchain industry, ranking #7 worldwide.

The report pointed to two company examples of Canada’s startup opportunities and challenges. The first is Slack, originally a Vancouver based startup and now headquartered in the U.S. where it undertook an IPO and was acquired by SalesForce.

The second is Shopify, an e-commerce platform behemoth founded in Ottawa and built by a German immigrant founder.

“The lesson here is that Canada should ensure its high performing entrepreneurs remain in the country while also working to attract high quality foreign talent,” the report says. StartupBlink


New federal report identifies national priorities for climate change science and knowledge

Canada is already experiencing costs – amounting to about five to six per cent of annual economic growth – as climate extremes and extreme weather events become more frequent, intense and long-lasting, says a new federal report.

The floods, storm surge, wildfires, and extreme heat, winds and droughts of the last two decades have translated to economic loss, financial liabilities and health impacts, according to the report, Climate Science 2050: National Priorities for Climate Change Science and Knowledge Report.

Canada is experiencing more extreme weather events and hazards and these can have catastrophic impacts on human health, the report says. For example, the unprecedented heat event that affected British Columbia in June 2021 led to 619 deaths and disastrous wildfires in a number of communities.

Climate change is increasing the risk of compounding or cascading events that can overwhelm health and social services’ capacity to respond, the report says. This can affect the availability or quality of health care, which can be particularly acute when such events occur at the same time as other societal shocks and stressors.

“Going forward, these effects are projected to become more severe,” the report says. However, some portion of these future economic losses and health impacts can be avoided through science-informed adaptation and mitigation, it says.

The report was developed under the leadership of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

It is a “what we heard” report, summarizing the results of two years of extensive engagement with more than 500 climate program leaders across federal departments and agencies and provincial and territorial governments, as well as academics and experts from the Canadian community of climate change science, and Indigenous organizations and scholars.

The report identifies the science priorities – across various disciplines, from carbon cycle and Earth system science to impacts on health, infrastructure, and biodiversity – to inform science investments needed now for science results over the next six years (to 2030), and to guide ongoing science coordination.

However, the report notes that science in Canada, and climate change science in particular, lacks national coordination. “The current fragmented system is difficult to navigate, creates roadblocks to collaboration, and fails to bridge science results with policy making.”

Science networks have been an effective way to enable transdisciplinary collaborative research in specific areas. Focused efforts to convene and encourage further collaborative research are required, the report says.

There are various models for science coordination. One model discussed during the engagement was a secretariat-type organization for Canadian climate change science. Such an organization would facilitate strategic planning and relationship-building, and advise on how to achieve policy outcomes.

Among its objectives, a coordination organization should include the following:

  • Science policy dialogue between experts and decision makers at all levels.
  • National, multidisciplinary climate change science priorities.
  • Interdisciplinary science networks and collaboration among governments, academia, non-government organizations, the private sector, Indigenous partners, communities and international partners.
  • Science assessments, knowledge products and science advice.

The coordination organization could fulfil the following functions:

  • Coordinate the national community to provide standards for measurements, data and modelling.
  • Convene networking opportunities, so that researchers can find partners within and across disciplines.
  • Identify grand science challenges that require interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Communicate authoritative science and knowledge on climate change; combat disinformation.
  • Enable collaboration through interdisciplinary, intersectional, and interjurisdictional research.

However, the report doesn’t explicitly recommend the creation of a coordination organization for Canadian climate change science.

The report says more research is needed on climate-related impacts and risks, vulnerabilities and costs to health systems and facilities from immediate hazards (e.g. flood) or longer-term events (such as droughts, infectious diseases, storm disruptions to transportation and critical services).

This research should assess impacts on health policies, programs, services, infrastructure, human resources and supply chains (e.g. drugs, medical equipment), especially for rural, remote, and Northern health systems and those serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. 

Research also is needed to improve prediction (in the near term) and projection (over the long term in response to greenhouse gas emissions) of climate extremes and extreme weather events, the report says.

One goal is to understand the impacts of climate change on health and health systems, to advance effective, equitable and feasible measures for health adaptation. There needs to be regular national, regional and local-scale assessments of climate change and health, the report says.

The report notes that temperatures in the Canadian Arctic are increasing at a rate of two to three times the global average, yet a significant gap still exists in atmospheric Arctic observations compared to the rest of the world.

There are only a small number of ground-based atmospheric measurement stations (that gather data on weather and climate variables as well as greenhouse gas emissions) in Canada’s northern regions, which limits the ability to track changes in vulnerable northern ecosystems and feedbacks due to the more rapid rate of warming in these regions.

As a result, studies to predict future climate conditions may not be accurate enough to inform adaptation efforts and to assess progress toward stabilizing global temperatures. Although planned satellites to monitor carbon dioxide and methane will increase global observational coverage, Canada’s northern latitudes will continue to be under-observed.

The federal government is proposing the Terrestrial Snow Mass Mission and the Arctic Observing Mission, which could observe the Arctic like never before.

These missions being developed in partnership between Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and Natural Resources Canada, working with domestic academic institutions and international scientific experts, would have unprecedented capabilities for observing climate change impacts, improving emergency preparedness to extreme weather events and supporting resilient adaptation in the North. 

The report also emphasizes that Indigenous science priorities and Indigenous leadership must be integrated into the entire spectrum of science practice, from hypothesis generation to policy development and implementation, to support Canada’s commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. 

This effort should include strengthening scoping and funding mechanisms to establish Indigenous science research capacity, the report says. This could include mechanisms to create research programs, hubs, or a fourth Indigenous-led research funding council/agency, at the national or regional level, to lead research and administration of science programs by Indigenous science organizations (e.g. Indigenous Centre of Excellence for Climate Change), as well as Indigenous science programs at the community level with dedicated Indigenous science liaison people.

The report suggests a national strategy for modelling net-zero pathways to inform transformational change in Canada, as wells as more science-policy dialogue and public awareness of climate change and the importance of research.

For example, the goal of the Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project is to advance global climate literacy and action by improving the quality and quantity of climate change education, training, and public awareness.

The MECCE Project, a Canadian-led academic international research partnership of more 80 leading scholars and agencies, is based at the University of Saskatchewan. MECCE is supporting transformation through intersecting areas of research and mobilization of action on climate change communication and education, in alignment with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Action for Climate Empowerment commitments. ECCC


Ottawa’s oil and gas industry emissions cap would cost billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, says report that critics say is “deeply flawed”

A stringent federal cap on the oil and gas industry’s emissions could cost Canada 51,000 jobs and $247 billion in GDP contributions by 2025, according to a report commissioned by the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

The report, by S&P Global Commodity Insights, shows that a scenario where a 40-per-cent emissions cap is applied from 2030 could lead to significant cuts in domestic conventional oil and natural gas production, reaching a one-million-barrel of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) reduction by 2030 – or 17 per cent lower than the reference case under current policy conditions.

A 40-per-cent emissions cap could result in $75 billion less investment spending by the industry, according to the report.

A mandated stringent 55-per-cent emission cap by 2035 would result in a reduction of two million boe/d in 2035 compared with the reference case – having even greater negative economic impact.

Conversely, the assessment shows that the conventional oil and gas industry could deliver $1.3 trillion in GDP contributions and support 383,000 Canadian jobs annually by 2035 with just an eight-per-cent increase in production, if it were permitted to add drilling and export infrastructure under current policy frameworks.

The report focused only on the impact of conventional oil and natural gas production and didn’t include oilsands production. The reference case forecasts that under current policy conditions, conventional oil and natural gas production could reach six million boe/d by 2030 and remain near that level to 2035.

“The proposed emission cap framework for the oil and natural gas sector is unnecessary and should not proceed,” said Lisa Baiton, president and CEO of CAPP.

“Under existing proven policy measures the conventional oil and natural gas sector is growing production while lowering emissions. Instead, Canada should give the policies in place time to work while collaborating with industry and provinces on pragmatic solutions to deliver emissions reductions in the short term while positioning Canada and our energy industry for long-term success.”

The Alberta government, in a statement by Premier Danielle Smith, provincial environment minister Rebecca Schulz, and provincial energy minister Brian Jean, said: “S&P Global's new analysis exposes the federal government's proposed oil and gas emissions cap as a reckless gamble that will devastate Canadian families and do nothing to reduce global emissions.”

“The Prime Minister's empty promises ring hollow in the face of 51,000 fewer jobs annually, $247 billion in lost GDP by 2035, and the forced shut in of more than 2 million barrels per day by 2035,” they said. “Alberta will bear the brunt of this production cut, but the pain will be felt across every province and territory.”

But the hypothetical scenarios in the CAPP-commissioned report do not use the same targets the federal government actually proposes in its draft emissions framework, released last December, according to a story by The Canadian Press.

Under the proposed framework, the oil and gas sector would have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent to 38 per cent from 2019 levels by 2030. The industry would also have the option of buying carbon offset credits or contributing to a decarbonization fund that would lower its required emissions cut to just 20 per cent to 23 per cent.

“CAPP has commissioned an analysis of a non-existent scenario. Everything in it flows from false assumptions that make it so deeply flawed, it amounts to disinformation,” said Oliver Anderson, spokesman for Steven Guilbeault, minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CP in an email.

The Pembina Institute, a Calgary-based energy research and policy think tank, said the CAPP report includes only conventional oil and gas drillers and leaves out oilsands production, which accounts for the vast majority of the industry’s emissions profile.

The report also notes that “economic impact assessment of oil & gas emissions and other environmental impact has not been completed as part of this analysis.”

The report “is another example of economic modelling that assumes the industry takes very little meaningful action in its current operations to reduce emissions and therefore has no choice but to limit production, which is misleading for Canadians,” said Marie-Christine (MC) Bouchard, Pembina’s program director, oil and gas.

“Oil and gas production now accounts for almost a third of Canada’s overall emissions, again underscoring the need for further regulation of emissions from this sector,” she said.

The CAPP-commissioned report contains no reference to independent scenarios produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Canada Energy Regulator that show significant declines in global oil and gas demand, with the IEA declaring the “beginning of the end for oil and gas” and projecting demand peaks for both commodities before 2030. Nor does it refer to urgent calls for immediate, drastic emission reductions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. CAPP, The Canadian Press

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Prof. Alejandro Adem was reappointed as the president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for a five-year term, effective October 1, 2024. Under his leadership since October 2019, NSERC has played a key role in supporting research related to the federal government’s priorities, including artificial intelligence, quantum innovation, research security, electric vehicles, critical minerals, Indigenous research and net-zero emissions targets. NSERC has experienced its highest-ever levels of research funding; implemented policies to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion across Canada’s research landscape; and overseen a significant expansion of international collaboration opportunities available to Canadian researchers and students. Adem is currently chair of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Austin, Texas-based Enverus announced the promotion of Manuj Nikhanj to the position of CEO, effective July 1, 2024. Nikhaj, who currently serves as Enversus’ president, will succeed Jeff Hughes, who’ll continue to support the company in the role of executive chairman. Enverus’ energy software uses data and AI to streamline operations at wind energy facilities, oil leases and a wide range of other energy-related infrastructure. Nikhanj co-founded the Calgary-based energy analytics firm RS Energy Group, which Enversus acquired in 2020. The Calgary company was reportedly valued at around US$1 billion at the time. Nikhanj will run Enversus from Caglary. Enverus

Michael Toye is leaving the Canadian CED Network after 16 years as executive director and more than 20 years of involvement in the organization. Under his leadership, CCEDNet has achieved significant milestones, and has become a respected source for community-led economic innovations, advocacy and solidarity, CCEDNet said. Toye will be working closely with the board and staff in the coming months to facilitate this transition process. A hiring process is underway and a posting is expected this summer. CCEDNet comprises organizations, networks and individuals who seek to increase public demand and political action for policies and programs that support community economic development. Canadian CED Network

Two McGill University research initiatives will receive more than $2.9 million in funding from Genome Quebec for their innovative use of genomic tools. In total, Genome Quebec’s Genomics Applications Partnership Program will invest more than $19 million in genomics in Quebec. The McGill University projects are:

  • Project 1 – Enhancing Cord Blood Natural Killer blood cells to fight cancer (budget: $5,845,337): The team of Michel Tremblay and Dr. David Langlais from McGill University, and Pierre Laneuville from the Cellular Therapy Laboratory, McGill University Health Centre – together with commercial partner Kanyr Pharma – is enhancing the cancer-fighting potential of so-called Cord Blood Natural Killer (CB-NK) cells. These cells, collected from the umbilical cord, have a strong potential for anti-tumor immunotherapy, which is boosted through the addition of a synthetic compound. Using omics-based selection processes, the team aims to identify the specific signatures that indicate the likelihood of treatment efficacy for a given set of CB-NK cells. The specific cancer the team will examine is acute myeloid leukemia, a form that is notoriously difficult to treat.
  • Project 2 – Crowdsourcing metagenomic analysis through video games (budget: $4,440,406): Computer science professor Jerome Waldisphül, in partnership with Gearbox Studio, is leveraging the potential of video games to engage a broad public in genomic research. By tagging metagenomic data and embedding it within a Massive Multiplayer Online Game, the team is able to dramatically accelerate data collection thanks to the high number of users (e.g. in the millions). They will work on adapting this technology to process metagenomics data sets from the Earth Microbiome Project and use it to relate specific types of microbes to diet, aging and various types of diseases. McGill University

The University of Ottawa is launching a one year Master’s degree in Psychedelics & Consciousness Studies to debut in September 2024 – the first program of its kind in Canada. The program, which can be completed on a part-time basis over two years, offers a comprehensive exploration of the therapeutic, spiritual, ritual and naturalistic uses of psychedelics across cultures and throughout human history. The innovative program, a collaboration between uOttawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Arts, aims to advance research in psychology, consciousness, comparative mysticism and psychedelic-assisted interventions. It also includes a specialized training component for mental health professionals and spiritual care providers. The MA in Psychedelics & Consciousness Studies is built on two existing graduate microprograms in psychedelics, one in the School of Psychology and one in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies. University of Ottawa

The Quantum City Challenge announced its champions at Alberta Innovates’ Inventures 2024 event, showcasing novel solutions that harness the power of quantum technology to address the energy industry’s challenges. The Quantum City Challenge was a worldwide competition launched in November 2023 by the University of Calgary’s Quantum City, Alberta’s global quantum solutions hub. The challenge was designed to connect the Alberta energy industry with leading quantum computing research teams in academia and industry, to work on real-world problems. Quantum City teamed up with ATCO’s SpaceLab and oilsands producer Canadian Natural and worked alongside Amazon Web Services to facilitate the competition. The Challenge attracted diverse participants from around the world, with more than 60 individuals and teams creating profiles for the Challenge. The winners are:

  • In the smart charging of electric vehicles track: The winning submission was from AngelQ, a Singapore-based quantum computing startup. The team adapted a qubit-efficient optimization algorithm to the proposed EV charge scheduling task, demonstrating it was possible to solve reasonably large-scale versions of this problem using limited quantum resources. This result helps to illustrate the ways in which quantum computers can be used to solve hard optimization problems, even in the near term.
  • In the oilsands tailings treatment track: A global team from Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Accenture secured the win. Together, the team proposed a hybrid quantum neural network to help find the best possible combination of flocculants and coagulants for tailings treatment. Their model showed similar performance to state-of-the-art classical machine learning approaches and suggested potential quantum advantages.

The winners’ ideas will be integrated into the expanding quantum ecosystem, with potential ongoing collaboration opportunities from industry partners. By providing access to funding, mentorship, resources and development opportunities, this collaboration aims to transform the teams' innovative concepts into practical applications. University of Calgary



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