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The Short Report - March 23, 2022: Ottawa set to issue green bond, Ontario's first-ever critical minerals strategy, $66 million for on-farm climate action projects, and more

Cindy Graham
March 23, 2022

GOVERNMENT FUNDING NEWS

The Government of Canada is planning to issue its first Canadian-dollar-denominated green bond this week, subject to market conditions and following the release of Canada’s Green Bond Framework March 3rd. The move is meant to speed up environmental projects aligned with those of other issuers including France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, and the U.K. and will provide expenditures in the following areas: clean transportation, natural resources and land use, terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, sustainable water and waste management, circular economy adapted products, and pollution prevention and control. GOC

The Ontario government has released its first-ever critical minerals strategy to support its made-in-Ontario electric vehicle supply chain. The strategy comes with a $24-million investment over three years in Ontario’s Junior Exploration Program, which includes $12 million for a critical minerals funding stream. Ontario will also invest $5 million over two years in critical minerals innovation to support research for extraction and processing in the North. Government of Ontario

The Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada are supporting Honda of Canada's $1.4 billion investment in retooling its Alliston, Ontario hybrid vehicle manufacturing plants with more than $131 million each in grant supports to accelerate the upgrade of vehicle assembly lines from gas-engine based to hybrid models, as outlined by Ontario's 10-year vision for its automotive sector. Ontario Government

The Manitoba Association of Watersheds will receive up to $40 million to help farmers adopt climate solutions across Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the areas of rotational grazing, nitrogen management and cover cropping, and the Canola Council of Canada will receive up to $22 million to work with Prairie farmers to increase canola yields while reducing nitrous oxide emissions. The projects are funded through the federal government's On-Farm Climate Action Fund announced in Budget 2021 to help farmers tackle climate change; adopting these practices is expected to reduce GHG emissions by up to 2 million tonnes by 2024 while improving the health and resiliency of soil. Meanwhile, the federal government's Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program will contribute up to $4.4 million for 10 projects approved to help farmers boost competitiveness while cutting emissions in three priority areas: green energy and energy efficiency, precision agriculture and the bioeconomy. GOC

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne has announced more than $27 million in funding to Westinghouse Electric Canada to support the licensing of its next-generation small modular reactor (SMR), a $57-million project, so it can be successfully licensed in Canada. SMR technology has the potential to provide a more accessible and transportable source of low-carbon energy for communities that rely on diesel fuel. The federal contribution is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative and is the third SIF initiative in SMR technologies, with the government also supporting projects at Terrestrial Energy and Moltex Energy, with a combined project value of more than $220 million. GOC

The Ontario government is investing up to $25 million over two years to build the province’s food processing capacity under its new Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund Program, which was announced in the 2021 Fall Economic Statement, to strengthen its food security and position the agri-food sector for economic growth. The program launches April 1, 2022. Government of Ontario

Meanwhile, Ottawa has issued a call to action for industry to help Canada meet its climate goals with projects that support the decarbonization of key sectors of Canada’s economy. Industry partners are encouraged to engage with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to explore possibilities through one of two strategic investment paths: High-emitting sectors—proposals offering significant, short-term emission reductions within the next decade, or the "transformational ideas" pathway for proposals that may be in earlier stages of development but have long-term potential to set high-emitting sectors on a path to net zero by 2050 or sooner. Potential applicants can attend an information session on April 5, 2022. GOC

Health minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced more than $16 million in funding and in-kind contributions from the Government of Canada and the provincial governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to support the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit, a patient-oriented research hub. The funding will ensure patients have more say in setting research priorities, are involved in more aspects of the research process, and ensure research knowledge is applied to improve health care and patient outcomes. GOC

The Protein Industries Canada supercluster will contribute nearly $6 million towards creating a more functional plant protein that has a higher protein percent level. More Than Protein Ingredients (Bowden, Alta), Quantum Mechanical Technology (Prince Albert, Sask.) and Hamman Ag Research (Lethbridge) will be contributing the remaining funds of the $29- million project, which will include construction of a new processing facility near Bowden, Alta. GOC

A number of Calgary-based technology companies are recipients of more than $22 million in interest-free, repayable funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada (Prairies Can), allowing them to scale up goods, services and technologies to meet global demand in agriculture, clean energy, and digital technologies. The companies include Nanalysis Corp. (receiving nearly $5 million to expand manufacturing operations and global markets for nuclear magnetic resonance products); Organics Express (operating as SPUD.ca; receiving more than $4 million to expand its Alberta distribution centre and implement a technology platform to reduce food waste) and MyHEAT (receiving $1.65 million to accelerate the growth of its energy efficiency platform, and use remote sensing and artificial intelligence to reveal invisible wasted energy from every building across the globe). Prairies Can is also contributing $2 million through its Regional Innovation Ecosystem program to support interior design and construction of downtown Calgary's Platform Innovation Centre, a one-stop program, networking and mentoring hub for Calgary's business accelerators. GOC

Meanwhile, Prairies Can is contributing $3.5 million to help Alberta cleantech and drone companies prepare new innovations for market: The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary will receive nearly $1.5 million to work on testing and demonstrating clean energy applications from battery, hydrogen, and water technologies (Alberta Innovates is also providing $325,000 for this initiative); SAIT's Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems will receive $860,000 to train small- and medium-sided businesses in demonstrating next generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the village of Foremost, Alta., will receive more than $1.25 million to establish an innovation centre at its UAS test range and develop a training program for companies. GOC

The Government of Alberta is investing $13 million to support 22 projects through Alberta Innovates, thirteen of which will receive more than $3 million in funding through the Digital Innovation in Clean Energy (DICE) program and nine of which will receive nearly $10 million through the Clean Resources business unit. The DICE projects will develop technology that contributes to environmental innovation in water and land management while projects funded through Alberta Innovates’ Clean Resources business unit will fall under one of five streams: clean technologies, digital clean energy, environmental technologies, partial upgrading and recovery technology. Government of Alberta

Calgary-based commodity management energy platform Validere has raised $55 million in its Series B financing round led by Mercuria Energy. Select funds and accounts were managed by BlackRock with participation from Nova Fleet, Pioneer Fund and NGIF Cleantech Ventures. Validere

The federal government has announced a call for proposals for the research and monitoring of contaminants originating in other parts of the world and transported through air and sea currents to Canada’s North and Arctic. As part of the Northern Contaminants Program, the Government of Canada is providing $475,000 for 2022 to 2023 for new projects related to human health biomonitoring and research, as well as community-based monitoring and research. Applicants have until April 26 to submit proposals. Projects selected for funding will be announced in summer 2022. GOC

COLLABORATIONS, START UP & VC FUNDING

Nova Scotia-based carbon removal startup Planetary Technologies has raised nearly $8 million in funding, including $4.2 million in closed pre-seed and seed funding rounds and $3.6 million through grant funding. Major investors include Innovacorp and Apollo Projects. Planetary will use the funding to build pilot facilities to deploy its proprietary carbon transition technology, which speeds up the earth’s natural process of removing carbon from the air and safely storing it in the ocean, the largest natural carbon sink on earth’s surface. Planetary

New Ventures BC has opened applications for its 21st annual tech startup competition, sponsored by Innovate BC. The competition is open to early-stage British Columbia-based tech startups that can enter for the chance to win $250,000 in cash and prizes. Participants have the opportunity to earn non-dilutive cash prizes, connect with mentors, network with founders, and raise their company’s profile. Applications close on April 12 at 10 p.m. PST. InnovateBC

Western University has launched Ontario’s first interdisciplinary graduate field dedicated to machine learning in health and medicine. The new specialization will draw together as many as 30 master’s and doctoral students who have degrees in computer science, health, engineering or medicine and allow them to become conversant in each other’s professional languages. The program is the only specialization of its kind in Ontario to be recognized by the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the federally funded non-profit group intended to grow a stronger AI sector across Canada. Western

THE GRAPEVINE

Dr. Tristan Glatard and Dr. Fenwick McKelvey are the inaugural co-directors of Concordia University's Applied AI Institute. Glatard holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) on Big Data Infrastructures for Neuroinformatics and co-founded the Applied AI Institute along with Gina Cody School professors Kash Khorasani from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Nizar Bouguila from the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering. McKelvey is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science. Concordia

Dr. Peter Jüni has announced he is stepping down as scientific director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Jüni has accepted a tenured professorship at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford that begins on July 1. CBC

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