The Short Report – November 23, 2022: $1.2 billion for Oceans Protection Plan projects; Ontario’s AI sector growing; Attabotics raises US$71 million; feds failing on cybersecurity risks; and more
November 23, 2022
The Government of Canada announced more than $1 billion in investments (including $127 million to upgrade biocontainment facilities) to support scientists, researchers and students across Canada. The funding, announced by François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Canada (ISED) at the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Toronto, includes:
- The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) together invested $275 million to provide nearly 6,000 scholarships. Examples of research topics being tackled by this cohort of students and new scholars include climate change, the future of global food security, Indigenous language revitalization, family resilience during COVID-19, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injuries, the ethics of artificial intelligence, water quality, and manufacturing technologies.
- The three federal granting agencies committed $40.9 million over five years to support Canada’s Black students and postdoctoral researchers, and $9.7 million ongoing to increase the number of awards available to highly qualified Black scholars.
- More than $35 million to support 585 early-stage social sciences and humanities research projects through SSHRC’s Insight Development Grants.
- The Canada Research Chairs Program (CRC) is providing more than $130 million to support 176 new and renewed CRCs across 46 institutions in Canada.
- The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) committed more than $6 million, through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund, to support the research infrastructure needs of 29 CRCs at 22 institutions.
- More than $427 million in funding, through the federal Research Support Fund and its Incremental Project Grants, to help 142 institutions enrich and advance their research environments
- $17.4 million to help the Canadian Research Data Centre Network continue to provide access to sensitive, relevant, timely and well-documented statistical data, and build a virtual research data centre. ISED
The Government of Canada is investing, through CFI, more than $127 million to support research and upgrades at eight biocontainment facilities across the country, including:
- Expanding a laboratory at Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats at McMaster University;
- Enlarging the containment level 3 facility at the University of Calgary;
- Expanding Western University’s Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation containment level 3 facility and establishing a new Pathogen Research Centre;
- Expanding the capacity of the Toronto High Containment Facility, part of the Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium at the University of Toronto;
- Supporting ongoing research at McGill University on emerging pathogens;
- Upgrading the capability of the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization;
- Modernizing one of the containment level 3 labs at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control;
- Creating a centre for discovery and translational research at the University of Alberta’s Alberta High Containment Research Infrastructure facility.
This is the first investment made through a new CFI funding program — the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund — launched in September 2021. It responds to urgent and essential needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals by supporting containment facilities capable of working with pathogens. CFI
Transport Canada announced more than $1.2 billion for 29 initiatives as part of the next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan — the largest-ever investment to protect Canada’s oceans and keep coastlines clean. The funding includes $890.3 million for 19 initiatives to strengthen Canada’s marine safety and prevention response. Funding of $337.3 million will be provided for 10 initiatives to support measures that build partnerships between the Government of Canada and Indigenous and coastal communities to better protect our waters. Project areas include:
- developing a coordinated national pollution response system regardless of location or type of good spilled;
- purchasing new pollution response vessels, communications tools, and equipment – especially for the Arctic;
- developing a national network of trained emergency responders that includes multiple levels of government, Indigenous Peoples, and coastal communities to strengthen marine emergency response — especially in remote communities;
- enhancing science to protect the environment during the cleanup and recovery of a spill.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), through its Healthy Cities Research Initiative, and the Public Health Agency of Canada are together investing more than $27 million to support six research teams studying how to make Canada’s cities healthier, more equitable places to live. The six teams will implement and then evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies to see what works best to improve the wellbeing of people who live in cities, including strategies to help more vulnerable populations. CIHR
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) also announced an investment of more than $4.7 million in the Health System Impact Fellowship program, which provides talented PhD trainees and postdoctoral researchers a unique opportunity to work directly within health organizations to tackle real-world health system challenges. The funding will support 18 PhD students and 25 postdoctoral fellows embedded in 30 health organizations and connected to 16 universities. Their research spans a wide range of health care priorities, from improving transitions in care and supporting the well-being of our health workforce, to improving health care in rural areas and innovating long-term care. CIHR
Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) invested more than $22.7 million for 16 projects in Manitoba as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Funding for the projects is supported through the Business Scale-up and Productivity program, the Jobs and Growth Fund, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, and the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative. One project is a first-of-its-kind virtual media production-training studio in the Prairies. Others support businesses across a number of sectors. ComIT, a charity organization, will expand digital skills programming on the Prairies, with a focus on underrepresented groups in the digital sector. Two of the projects are at the University of Manitoba — one to construct a controlled facility to test unmanned aerial vehicles, and another to develop the advancement of technologies supporting the protein research cluster. PrairiesCan
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) announced a non-repayable contribution of $5.2 million for the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec. The funding will enable the INRS and its Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory to acquire specialized equipment to boost their clean-tech industrial platform and help businesses using bioprocesses. The INRS is an academic institution dedicated to post‑graduate interdisciplinary research and training. Its Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, located in the Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre in Quebec City, provides the scientific community and industry with multi-disciplinary expertise and state‑of-the‑art equipment to develop production processes for value‑added bioproducts such as bioplastics, biopesticides, and biofuels. CED
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) also announced two non-repayable contributions totalling more than $2.2 million for the Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre (CQIB). The funding will cover the CQIB’s operating costs between 2021 and 2024, enable state-of-the-art technological services, and the purchase of highly specialized equipment, to help businesses in the pre‑start‑up and start‑up phases in life sciences and health technologies. Founded in 1995 by the Institut national de la recherche scientifique and the Ville de Laval, the CQIB is the only incubator specializing in biotechnology in Quebec and the first life sciences incubator in Canada. (CED)
The Montreal-based SCALE AI global innovation cluster invested $9.3 million to support six AI projects, with a total project value of $25 million, in key areas of Canada’s supply chains. The rest of the funding comes from industry partners. The projects encompass developing supply chain intelligence platforms for SMEs, optimizing continuity of care, making workforce decisions, and supporting planning. Partners grouped by project and amount of SCALE AI funding are: Plusgrade, Air Canada ($2.3 million in SCALE AI funding); Day & Ross, Deloitte, MoovAI, Gardewine Group, Freightcom Inc. ($1.9 million); Saint Elizabeth Health, Markitech, Plotly, Manifold Data Mining ($1.8 million); Maritime Employers Association, Polytechnique of Montreal, HEC Montreal ($1.5 million); FreshBooks, MISCAN Lab at McMaster University, Oligomaster, BeneComm Inc. ($1 million); and Larus Technologies, Unilever Federated Co-op, Theory+Practice, and SOSCIP (Smart Computing for Innovation) ($800,000) SCALE AI
The Regina-based Protein Industries Canada global innovation cluster invested $5.5 million in a $15.3-million project to develop a new line of plant-based seafood alternative products. Project partners Konscious Foods in Vancouver, Merit Functional Foods in Winnipeg, and Canadian Pacifico Seaweeds in Vancouver contributed the remaining $9.8 million. The project aims to develop more than 20 plant-based seafood alternative products, to be available in grocery store freezer aisles. Protein Industries Canada
The Vancouver-based Digital Supercluster global innovation cluster is investing $4 million in a partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business for the Digital Innovation and Leadership (DIAL) initiative. In collaboration with the project partners that have invested more than $18 million to date, DIAL will retrain more than 1,100 workers in digital skills over the next two years. DIAL’s network includes more than 40 industry, government, and not-for-profit partners across Canada, including Salesforce, Instructure, Magnet, RADIUS SFU, and the First Nations Technology Council. SFU
The Government of Canada announced more than $7.2 million, through Infrastructure Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North program, to support construction of a new community wellness hub in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The non-profit Inuusirvik Community Wellness Centre will be a place where Nunavummiut can access a wide range of services and resources, including early learning language and cultural programs, childrearing and parenting support programs, land-based programs for youth, counselling, literacy programs, drop-in public health and health promotion programs, as well as community-led post-secondary and life-long learning initiatives. Infrastructure Canada
Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), in opening new PacifiCan offices in Kelowna and Cranbrook, announced an investment of more than $6.4 million, through the Business Scale-up and Productivity program and Jobs and Growth Fund, for four projects located throughout B.C.’s Southern Interior. Recipients are:
- Pela in Kelowna, to receive more than $3.6 million to expand international sales and improve local manufacturing capacity for biodegradable consumer products;
- Fenix Advanced Materials Inc. in Trail, $1 million to increase production of ultra-high purity cadmium and tellurium, used in developing medical imaging and nuclear security technology.
- Valid Manufacturing Ltd. in Nelson, more than $1.6 million to establish wiring harness manufacturing in the Kootenay region, to support the electrification and production of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles.
- Great West Equipment Ltd. in Vernon, $190,000 to adopt specialized training software to enhance productivity and increase performance. PacifiCan
Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) also announced $1.04 million in funding to the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) to help local businesses implement cutting-edge circular economy practices. UBCO will connect local businesses with the engineering expertise needed to save industrial materials from landfill, while designing new green products from fully bio-sourced materials. UBCO will also buy new equipment and expand its advanced materials and manufacturing testing capabilities so that more companies can access this support. Technical knowledge developed through these projects will be saved in a digital repository to help current and future companies embrace the circular economy. PacifiCan
The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) invested $4.4 million to support two Ottawa-based tech companies, BluWave-ai Inc. and Tehama Inc. A 7.1-million repayable contribution to BluWave-ai will help it build and commercialize software products to manage electric fleet operations while reducing energy consumption and carbon-emitting vehicles. A $2.7-million repayable contribution to Tehama will help it integrate new technologies into its cybersecure platform to support global expansion efforts of its Carrier for Work™ solution. FedDev Ontario
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is providing up to $855,000 to ensure that not-for-profit environmental groups and Indigenous partners can fully participate in the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal from December 7 to 9. More than 50 groups will receive the funding, being coordinated by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, to support their participation in the lead-up to the Nature COP and facilitate many events that will be accessible to the general public. ECCC
Natural Resources Canada announced an investment, through its Energy Innovation Program, of $500,000 in a project by Toronto-based Opus One Solutions from GE Digital, which also contributed $645,000 to the project. While the project is now complete, the investments helped enhance Opus One DERMS® software, which delivers real-time monitoring and optimal dispatch integration of distributed energy resources connecting to the electricity grid, ensuring the grid is reliable, affordable and sustainable, and securing market revenues and value streams. NRCan
RESEARCH, TECH NEWS & COLLABORATIONS
The Ludmer Family Foundation provided a gift of $15.3 million to McGill University and three hospital research partners to establish the Ludmer Centre Single-Cell Genomics Brain Initiative. The donation will primarily be used to fund nine new scientific research positions, aimed at advancing brain research by investigating the brain one cell at a time — a process that will require large-scale cell technologies and data processing. Three positions will be created at each of the Ludmer Centre’s three hospital partners: the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, which will focus on psychiatric disorders; the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, which will specialize in the development of analytical strategies of single-cell data; and The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), which will focus on neuroinformatics and neurological disorders. McGill
More than 22,000 jobs in artificial intelligence were created in Ontario during the last year, a 210 percent increase from the previous year, according to a report by the Toronto-based Vector Institute, prepared by Deloitte. Almost 60,000 AI jobs were retained during the same period — April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Among the report’s findings:
- An estimated $2.86 billion in venture capital investment flowed into Ontario’s AI ecosystem during the same period, a 206 percent increase over the previous year’s $936 million;
- 273 unique corporate investors made direct investments into Ontario-based AI companies — a 29 percent increase over the previous year.
- 50 companies relocated their offices or operations into Ontario’s AI ecosystem last year, compared with 13 in the previous year.
- 56 percent of C-suite executives and senior leaders from Ontario surveyed for the ecosystem report say their companies have commercialized AI products or services, or use AI to sell core products or services. Vector Institute
RBC Capital Markets and Toronto-based Borealis AI announced the launch of Aiden® Arrival, the second algorithm on RBC’s AI-based electronic trading platform. The algorithm uses trading and market data to help the bank’s Canadian and U.S. equity-trading clients minimize the difference between the price when an order is placed and when it is executed. Borealis AI, led by award-winning inventor and entrepreneur Foteini Agrafioti, is a machine learning and artificial intelligence research and development centre created by RBC. Borealis AI
Nobul, a Toronto-based open digital marketplace connecting home buyers and sellers to real estate agents, ranked No. 1 on Deloitte Canada’s 25th annual ranking of the country’s fastest-growing tech companies. Certn, a Victoria, B.C.-based software-as-a-service provider for background screenings, ranked No. 2, and Kitchener, Ont.-headquartered Bloom Care Solutions, which combines digital and in-home health services, rounded out the top three of the “Fast 50” list. Overall in the Fast 50 category, average revenue growth among companies was 3,093 per cent. In the “Enterprise Fast 15” category, Montreal-based Hopper, a mobile-first travel marketplace, ranked No. 1. Toronto-based Flashfood, whose mobile platform connects people with price-discounted grocery items approaching their best-by-date, took the top spot in the “Clean Technology” category. Calgary-based startup Thrive Health, which offers an interactive patient engagement platform, ranked first in the “Companies-to-Watch” category. Deloitte, BetaKit
Polar Knowledge Canada opened a call for proposals to support Yukon-based projects that will advance knowledge on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in the Yukon. The regional call, whose entire funding envelope is $650,000 per year for three years, emphasizes self-determination in research that centres on Yukon First Nation priorities and community-led initiatives that aim to create sustainable solutions and futures for all Yukon communities. Polar Knowledge Canada
Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., established a new research collaboration with Toronto-based Trouvé Victory Inc., an emerging electric vehicle manufacturing company, to advance clean technology innovations and their applications in sustainable transportation. Research on biomaterials for use in electric vehicles is just one of the projects being explored between scientists at Trent and collaborators at Trouvé Victory. The company has launched several environmentally friendly EV designs and has ambitious plans to engage in research and design to bring new Canadian electric vehicles to market. Trent University
Reconciliation Energy Transition Inc., a Calgary-based Indigenous group, and the Siksika Nation, located about 80 kilometres east of Calgary, plan to build a $600-million sustainable aviation fuel refinery to supply Calgary International Airport. The refinery would produce 6,500 barrels a day of fuel from canola on a million acres of land, much of it Indigenous-owned. The partnership would own at least 60 percent of the refinery and is in discussion with outside companies — mostly agricultural — to sell most of the remaining stake. A final investment decision is expected within eight months. Reconciliation Energy Transition, Houston-based ENGlobal Corporation, and Rangeland Engineering Canada Corp. in Calgary also announced their partnership, Green Energy Transformation Inc., to develop sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel biofuel projects in Canada. Bloomberg, Reconciliation Energy Transition
VC & PRIVATE INVESTMENT
Calgary-based Attabotics, a 3D warehouse robotics company, raised US$71.1 million in Series C-1 funding, led by Export Development Canada with participation from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan through Teachers’ Venture Growth. Attabotics said it has now raised total funding of US$165 million to date (the federal Strategic Innovation Fund provided $34 million in 2020), and this latest funding will be used to scale up the business. The company’s patented AI-enabled 3D robotics warehouse automation system sorts goods within a single, vertical storage structure, saving floor space and labour costs. Inside the structure, robotic shuttles known as Attabots move in three-dimensional space to pick up goods that are presented to workers at the workstation on the outside perimeter. Attabotics
Calgary-based software-as-a-service company Symend announced it raised more than US$40 million to further accelerate the company’s growth and global market expansion. The funding round was led by Inovia Capital, along with a consortium of investors including: Impression Ventures, Mistral Venture Partners, Business Development Bank of Canada’s Growth Venture Co-Investment Fund, Business Development Bank Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, Plaza Ventures, and Export Development Canada. Symend’s Behavioral Engagement PlatformTM delivers digital experiences that are hyper-personalized based on the science behind consumer behavior. Symend
CDPQ announced an additional $40 million investment in Fonds québécois d’amorçage Teralys, a Quebec startup fund created at CDPQ’s initiative and managed by Teralys Capital, a Montreal-based private fund manager. Launched at the end of 2019 with $50 million in financing from CDPQ, Fonds québécois d’amorçage Teralys has invested in Quebec funds that support companies at the start-up stage in promising areas including information technology, the energy transition, diversity and health care. CDPQ
Montreal-based Alvéole urban beekeeping company closed an $8.1-million Series A investment from Toronto-based Round13 Capital’s EarthTech Fund. Alvéole said the investment will go toward developing MyHive, the company’s digital platform which enables users to monitor their bees and assess their social and environmental impacts. Alvéole has grown to 40 cities in six countries over the past decade. Alvéole
Montreal-based BoostSecurity, which provides a cybersecurity platform for the software supply chain, raised $12 million in seed funding. The all-equity round was led by Sorenson Capital, with additional support from Hoxton Ventures, Golden Ventures, Firebolt Ventures and Transform VC. Sorenson Capital will be joining BoostSecurity’s board. Co-founded by CEO Zaid Al Hamami and CRO Rajiv Sinha, BoostSecurity wants to bring the automation that hyperscale companies have developed internally to all and secure the software supply chain. BoostSecurity
Air Canada announced an equity investment/loan of $6.75 million for Carbon Engineering (CE), based in Squamish, B.C. Airbus also made a significant investment in CE, but did not disclose the amount. The investments support CE’s direct air capture technology, which pulls carbon dioxide directly out of the air at large, industrial scale. The captured CO2 can be used to reduce aviation emissions by producing sustainable aviation fuels. The funding from Air Canada comes from the company’s $50-million investment fund to support new technologies aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Under the fund, Air Canada made a previous US$5-million investment in Heart Aerospace, a Swedish company developing electric hybrid aircraft. Air Canada, CE
Toronto-based Cyclica Inc. received a $2.4-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a multi-targeted drug discovery program to advance non-hormonal contraceptive medicines. The funding enables Cyclica to apply its validated, AI-enabled drug discovery platform toward the discovery of expanded contraceptive options that can give women and girls the ability to better plan their families and their future, the company said. Hormone-based contraceptives are known to cause wide-ranging side effects that reduce their appeal and use. Cyclica
BMO Investments Inc. launched three mutual funds managed by U.S. fund manager Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management, along with three exchange-traded funds, to be collectively known as the BMO ARK Funds. Portfolio companies are focused on technology-enabled innovation in areas such as genomics, targeted therapeutics, agricultural biology, fintech innovation, industrial innovation, the internet of things, and big data. The three new funds are: BMO ARK Genomic Revolution Fund; BMO ARK Innovation Fund; and BMO ARK Next Generation Internet Fund. ARK Investment Management had US$23.1 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30, 2022.BMO
The Mining Innovation Commercial Accelerator (MICA) Network announced more than $11.5 million of investment in 16 projects, with a total project value of more than $39 million, as part of MICA’s program to accelerate development and commercialization of green innovations in Canada’s mining sector. The projects span the four technical themes of MICA:
- Increase Mine Production Capacity, at Lower Cost
- Reduce Mining Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions
- Implement Smart, Autonomous Mining Systems
- Reduce Environmental Risk and Long-Term Liabilities
MICA also announced the upcoming launch of the second call for proposals, which will see an additional $18 million invested. MICA was created in July 2021 with a $40-million investment from the federal Strategic Innovation Fund. MICA
RELATED: “Mining feels public love, and the market pressure”
The U.S. Department of Defense said it’s willing to help fund feasibility studies for mining companies with promising projects across North America, including Ontario’s Ring of Fire critical minerals region. The initiative is under the auspices of the Defense Production Act, which U.S. President Joe Biden invoked earlier this year to spur much-needed investment in critical minerals that are in short supply, such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and battery-grade nickel — all essential components in electric car batteries. About 20 mining companies tied to Canadian mining projects have held talks with the U.S. government in recent weeks about funding for critical minerals projects. The Globe and Mail
Toronto-based Brookfield Renewable (the flagship renewable power company of Brookfield Asset Management) is investing up to $700 million in New York City-based Closed Loop Partners to form Circular Services, a merger of five companies in the Closed Loop portfolio. Circular Services owns or operates 12 recycling facilities in the U.S., using advanced technology to sort, process, recycle and reuse valuable commodities in domestic supply chains. Circular Services will manage recycling for seven U.S. states. Brookfield, with more than $750 billion of assets under management, has invested an initial $200 million in Circular Services, with an additional $500 million committed to pursue growth opportunities. The investment is through Brookfield’s Global Transition Fund, co-led by former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Closed Loop Partners
REPORTS & POLICY
The requirements the federal government put in place to reduce the security risks of storing information in the cloud were not always clear and the departments did not effectively implement them, according to a report by Auditor General Karen Hogan. The audit found that four years after the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat first directed departments to consider moving information to the cloud, it had still not provided a long‑term funding plan for cloud adoption. It had also not given departments the tools they need to calculate the costs of moving to cloud applications or operating and securing the information stored in it. Without these tools or a funding plan, there’s an increased risk of security breaches, says the report. Auditor General of Canada
The federal government has not addressed long-standing issues affecting its surveillance of Canada’s Arctic waters, according to a report by Auditor General Karen Hogan. According to the report, the federal organizations responsible for safety and security in the Arctic region do not have a full picture of traffic in the area and are not ready to respond to the need for increased surveillance as waters become more accessible due to a warming climate. The unaddressed issues include incomplete surveillance, insufficient data about vessel traffic, a lack of effective means of sharing information on maritime traffic, and outdated fleets and equipment, such as Transport Canada’s and the Canadian Coast Guard’s aging icebreakers and patrol aircraft. Auditor General of Canada
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) launched a review of the Competition Act. The objective is to ensure that Canada’s competition law remains fit for purpose in a modern economy that continues to evolve quickly, said Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The review will look at: the scope of the Act; the role and powers of the Competition Bureau; enforcement methods and corrective measures set out in the Act; and improving reinforcement of competition of policy in increasingly digital and data-driven markets. Along with a series of roundtables with stakeholders, Canadians can make written submissions online and have until February 17, 2003 to do so. ISED
A cap on greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector will be ready by the end of next year, Steven Guilbeault, minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada said in an interview at COP27. The final regulations are now expected to come at least two years after the Liberals first promised the cap in the 2021 election campaign platform. The government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, published in March this year, set a tentative emissions target for the oil and gas industry of 110 million tonnes in 2030. That’s a 46-per-cent cut from 2019 levels, and a 32 percent decrease compared with 2005. Emissions from oil and gas production account for about one-quarter of Canada’s total GHG emissions and the sector’s emissions are 83 percent higher than they were 30 years ago. CP
Canada is proposing the Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia to host the North American Regional Office of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). DIANA is a new NATO body that will create a network of innovation sites in North America and Europe, coordinated through one regional office in North America (Canada) and one in Europe, which is co-hosted in London, U.K. by the United Kingdom and Estonia. The objective of NATO DIANA is to facilitate cooperation between military operators and the Alliance’s best and brightest start-ups, scientific researchers and technology companies to solve critical Allied defence and security problems. DIANA will focus on emerging and disruptive technologies that NATO has identified as priorities, including artificial intelligence, big-data processing, quantum-enabled technologies, autonomy, biotechnology, novel materials, and space. National Defence
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has asked Nate Glubish, the province’s newly appointed technology and innovation minister, to develop a policy for providing digital media tax credits. The tax policy will “ensure Alberta is competitive with Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia in attracting new investment and jobs, and increasing Alberta’s market share of this fast-growing, multi-billion dollar industry,” Smith said in her mandate letter to Glubish. His mandate also includes developing technology to expand broadband access and implement a government-wide digital strategy. Govt. of Alberta
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce called in a new report for more investment in infrastructure in city’s downtown, including working with post-secondary institutions to establish residences and teaching spaces in the downtown core. The report highlights the investments needed to ensure Calgary attracts and retains talent, and addresses the labour shortage. Among its recommendations are: create a “Continuous Learning” tax incentive for businesses that support professional development for employees; provide grants and bursaries to research organizations that support labour force adaptability; commit to multi-year funding for Alberta educational institutions that deliver micro-credential courses; and create a “Business-to-Government” secondment program that offers work experience in both industry and government. Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Sangita Sharma, PhD, professor in Indigenous and global health research at the University of Alberta, was appointed Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Population Health, backed by $1.4 million in funding over seven years. Sharma leads the Indigenous and Global Health Research Group, which is partnering with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in the Northwest Territories on a number of research projects. The funding for the national chair will afford the projects a broader scope and depth than was originally anticipated. U of A
Dr. Mario Tenuta, PhD, professor of applied soil ecology and Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship, at the University of Manitoba has been appointed by Toronto-based FuelPositive Corporation as agricultural gas mitigation advisor. Tenuta will lead FuelPositive’s research program, which includes a project, using nitrification inhibitors, aimed at reducing nitrous oxide emissions associated with the use of all nitrogen fertilizers. The project is being conducted on the farm of Tracy and Curtis Hiebert, near Sperling, Man. FuelPositive
Howard Migdal was appointed CEO of Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes. Migdal has been chief operating officer at the company for nearly two years and held several senior roles before that. He is replacing Kevin Edwards as CEO, who is now retiring. Migdal told The Globe and Mail that he hopes to invest in new business niches at SkipTheDishes, such as the delivery of alcohol in provinces where that is permitted. SkipTheDishes operates in nearly 250 cities and small towns across Canada. The Globe and Mail
Dr. Monica Gattinger, PhD, professor of political studies and director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, and Emily Whetung, former chief of Curve Lake Nation, were appointed to Ontario’s Electrification and Energy Transition Panel. They join panel chair David Collie, a faculty member and energy executive-in-residence at the Directors College of Canada, and former senator Howard Weston, a senior fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute. The panel will advise the Ontario government on the highest value short-, medium-, and long-term opportunities for the energy sector to help the province’s economy prepare for electrification and the energy transition. Govt. of Ontario