The Short Report, August 7, 2019: Intelligent communities, advanced wood, cyber security

Montreal came in first for innovation on a ranking of intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). ICF ranks communities by their ability “to generate innovation in business and government for economic but also social and cultural growth.” Their metrics cover innovation programs available in the community; online services provided by local government or public agencies; collaboration among businesses, government and institutions; and projects that seek to develop a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem. Montreal was recognized for its ICT, aerospace, life sciences, health technologies and clean tech clusters, which together contain more than 6,250 companies employing about 10% of the workforce. – ICF

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced a new funding program to assess the impact of patient oriented research, or research that engages patients as partners and that focusses on patient-identified priorities. The Patient-Oriented Research Impact Assessment Grants are sponsored by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners dedicated to the integration of research into care. The total amount available for these grants is $1 million, enough to fund approximately 20 grants. The maximum amount per grant is $50,000 per year for up to one year. – ResearchNet

The government of Canada has announced a $2.5-million investment in the Canadian Wood Council’s Advanced Wood Education Roadmap to promote the benefits and opportunities associated with wood construction. This project will design and implement new Canadian post-secondary learning curricula, resources and tools, as well as work placements. Funding for the project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood program. The program aims to position Canada as a world leader in tall wood construction technologies and the low-carbon economy. Plans for wooden skyscrapers are proliferating in Canadian cities, such as the proposal by Sidewalk Labs in Toronto to construct all the buildings from Canadian timber. – Newswire

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) has announced a new challenge to small businesses, led by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA is looking for a solution that will allow audio and video recordings requested under the the Access to Information Act to be edited automatically so that no individual other than the requestor can be identified on the footage released. – Newswire

The Government of Canada released its National Cyber Security Action Plan for the next five years and relaunched the Cyber Security Cooperation Program with $10.3 million available over five years to support initiatives in the area of cyber security in Canada. The call for proposals will be open from August 7, 2019 to August 28, 2019; proposals will be evaluated by a panel of Government of Canada cyber security experts. – Newswire

Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, announced an investment of over $1.5 million to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning at McGill University, for a project that will test and validate a better approach to fragmenting underground rock deposits using specialized chemicals that expand and break apart rocks without blasting. This project is funded through Natural Resources Canada‘s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forestry sectors. – Newswire

Premier Jason Kenney‘s UCP government has stopped processing applications to an Alberta investor tax credit program that supports investments in sectors like IT, cleantech and healthtech, among others. Justin Brattinga, press secretary for Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir, said the future is uncertain for this and other business tax credits introduced by the NDP government, and indicated that the provincial government has already taken steps to improve competitiveness by cutting the corporate tax rate. – Calgary Herald


Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has appointed its first Departmental Science Advisor, Dr. Shawn J. Marshall from the University of Calgary. Marshall is a professor in the Geography Department and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, with a focus on glacier-climate processes and glacier response to climate change. Reporting to the Deputy Minister, Marshall’s mandate is to provide specialized advice on fostering a culture of scientific excellence, harnessing opportunities for collaboration, and leveraging external science perspectives on science priorities. He will also participate in senior level interdepartmental discussions on government science, while collaborating with the Chief Science Advisor and other science advisors from other departments and agencies. – R$ Exclusive

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Quebec’s largest pension fund, is seeking a Montreal-based portfolio manager to construct and manage a new $1-2B portfolio of securities dedicated to disruptive business models. The successful candidate will be tasked with a three-part mandate: to invest in disruptive companies, evaluate disruption risks in new investments across CDPQ’s portfolio, and monitor portfolio exposure to risks relating to disruptive technologies. – The Logic (Subscriber), CDPQ

Canada’s chief information officer Alex Benay is leaving his post to become chief client officer at the Ottawa-based firm Mindbridge Analytics Inc., which seeks to transform the auditing industry using AI. In June, the company announced that it had raised $15.1 million in VC financing and secured a federal government funding commitment of $14.5 million to be paid over seven years. “This opportunity was not part of the plan but it’s hard to pass up. The product is maturing, the impact on people is amazing, the team is growing and the money is there,” Benay told the Globe and Mail. During his tenure in government, Benay led the adoption of a “cloud first” strategy, spearheaded the process to find a replacement for the failed Phoenix payroll system, and co-founded the CIO Strategy Council, alongside former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie. – The Globe and Mail