The Short Report - November 1, 2023
November 1, 2023
The Department of Finance Canada announced the first investment by the new Canada Growth Fund – $90 million for Calgary-based geothermal energy company Eavor Technologies Inc. Eavor has developed the Eavor-Loop™, the world’s first scalable technology for closed-loop geothermal power and heat generation, which captures geothermal energy to produce steady and dependable heat and electricity without any emissions. The investment, in the form of $90 million of Series B preferred equity in Eavor, will enable the company to scale up its technology, ensure the company’s headquarters and majority of its workforce remain in Canada, and create new jobs at its Calgary headquarters. Eavour is currently building a $290-million commercial project near Munich, that’s expected to power about 20,000 homes in Germany. Finance Canada
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced a $29.77-million investment, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, to support Pharmascience Inc.’s $119.33-million project. The Government of Quebec is contributing $24.75 million to the same project. The funding will allow Pharmascience to update and expand its facility in Candiac, Quebec, increasing its capacity to produce sterile injectable drug products by 2.5 times. ISED
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced a $15-million investment over five years to create a Pan-Canadian Genome Library which will allow for easier sharing of genomic data across the country. Although Canada is a world leader in genomic research, there is no national database or strategy for how to capture, store, and access Canadian genomic data in an equitable, secure, and sustainable manner. The new Pan-Canadian Genome Library will be led by Dr. Guillame Bourque, Director of Bioinformatics at the McGill Genome Centre. The library was developed through a strategic partnership between CIHR, Genome Canada, the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, and CGEn, which is Canada’s national platform for genomic sequencing and analysis. It will be hosted at CGEn, which includes the McGill Genome Centre at McGill University in Montreal, The Centre for Applied Genomics at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, and the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer in Vancouver. CIHR
Natural Resources Canada announced $7.8 million for 10 projects through the Multi-Partner Research Initiative (MPRI), to help improve oil spill research and response tools and techniques. The MPRI is a five-year, $30.3 million initiative under the renewed and expanded Oceans Protection Plan. NRCan
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) and the Government of Quebec together invested more than $7.6-million in Numana, based in Longueuil, Quebec, for a quantum communication infrastructure project. Numana, a Quebec-based technology think-tank and non-profit, facilitates and enhances technology transfer within the information and communication technologies ecosystem. The funding will be used to help set up fibre-reinforced and overhead quantum communication testbeds in Montréal, Québec and Sherbrooke, three loops that will eventually be interconnected in a later phase of the project. Bell, TELUS and Ciena, are already deploying the physical infrastructure of the test bed, with the former two companies providing access to their fiber optic networks. CED
Natural Resources Canada announced a $2.5-million investment for the City of Lac-Mégantic to support capacity-building activities that will increase the knowledge and skills related to the city’s clean energy microgrid. Hydro-Québec also contributed $1.25 million to the project. With the funding, the city will bring together experts in construction, engineering, urban planning and municipal tax funding to produce a framework for the city’s energy transition. NRCan
The Canada Infrastructure Bank is providing a loan of up to $200 million for sustainable retrofits in Ontario, while Enbridge Sustain will contribute up to $100 million. The program will enable customers such as hospitals, universities and colleges to pursue their energy transition goals and will target a minimum 30-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Projects will be developed and executed through a partnership between Enbridge Sustain and Blackstone Energy Services. The partners will offer retrofit solutions such as the conversion of heating/cooling systems to geothermal, solar generation, electric vehicle infrastructure, heat recovery, smart building controls and backup power generation. Buildings are one of the largest sources of GHGs in Canada, accounting for around 18 per cent of total emissions. Canada Infrastructure Bank
The Government of British Columbia provided $2.5 million, through its B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, to support infrastructure for 16 research projects at five universities. The research projects encompass health care, enhancing cannabis safety, earthquake-resistant structures, entry-level electronics and computing skills for blind or low-vision people, and astronomy. Govt. of BC
The Government of Ontario provided a $2-million funding boost to the SNOLAB research facility in Sudbury. SNOLAB’s allocation from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities was increased to $14 million over two years, up from the previously announced $12 million. SNOLAB is the world’s largest, deepest and cleanest underground research facility. Located two kilometres underground, the facility at Vale’s Creighton Mine in Greater Sudbury uses the Canadian Shield to protect experiments from the cosmic rays that constantly bombard the Earth’s surface. CTV News
TECH NEWS, RESEARCH & COLLABORATIONS
The U.S. government designated 31 tech hubs across the region in the country, including in 32 states and Puerto Rico. The cohort that the Department of Commerce selected includes groups focused on critical minerals, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotech. It is the first phase of the new US$500-million Tech Hubs program, an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness. The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. U.S. Department of Commerce
The South Australian Government announced a consortium comprising ATCO Australia, an affiliate of Calgary-based ATCO, and U.K.-headquartered BOC, an industrial gases and engineering company, as the preferred partner to design the world’s biggest hydrogen production facility and a hydrogen power plant near Whyalla, South Australia. South Australia has committed AUD $593 million of state funding and will own the proposed facilities, which include a 250-megawatt hydrogen production facility and 200-megawatt hydrogen-fuelled electricity generation facility. The ATCO Australia and BOC consortium has committed to an Early Contractor Involvement agreement with the State Government, which will see the consortium undertake detailed project and engineering design, procurement of critical equipment, finalize contracting arrangements, and cost estimations. The project’s operations are scheduled to start in 2026. ATCO
Ottawa-based GaN Systems Inc. was officially acquired for US$830 million in an all-cash transaction by Infineon Technologies based in Germany. As part of the deal, Infineon has committed to retaining and growing GaN’s presence in Canada. GaN is a leader in gallium nitride power semiconductors, developing microchip components that are smaller, lighter, faster, and more energy efficient than silicon-only semiconductors. Infineon Technologies
Peloton Technologies, a fintech startup based in Victoria, B.C., acquired Nanaimo-based KIS Payments. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Peloton’s core product is a platform that uses technology to simplify complex payment processes and offers businesses transactional visibility. Peloton Technologies
Quebec City-based FLO, an EV charging network operator and smart charging solutions provider, announced it sold its 100,000th charging station. The 100,000th charger sold was a FLO Home X5 unit that will be installed in Toronto by Ridgeline Electric. FLO's 100,000 charging stations, deployed at public, private, and residential locations, enable more than 1.5 million charging events each month. FLO
Vortex Energy and the University of Alberta announced a collaborative research sponsorship to advance the Robinsons River Salt Project, a hydrogen storage project in Newfoundland and Labrador. Vortex has agreed to contribute $300,000 and substantial in-kind contributions over a two-year period, and to provide UAlberta with core samples from the project. In return, U of A will perform laboratory and mathematical analyzes with the aim of implementing the first field trial of hydrogen storage in a dormal salt cavern in Canada. Vortex Energy
University of Waterloo researcher Dr. Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens is part of an international team awarded US$1.35 million from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for their project focused on freezing of gait (FOG), a debilitating symptom of Parkinson's disease with no current treatment options or standardized assessment tools. Ehgoetz Martens and her colleagues aim to establish a clinical standard and unified definition of FOG to accelerate the development of reliable assessments for its severity. The funding will support the development of a consistent and standardized protocol for assessing FOG. Ehgoetz Martens runs the Neurocognition and Mobility Lab at the University of Waterloo and is the only Canadian researcher on the team. University of Waterloo
An international team that includes researchers at Simon Fraser University, Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C., The Gitanyow First Nation, and the Skeena Fisheries Commission in B.C. developed a new salmon population monitoring pilot tool that combines artificial intelligence with age-old fishing weir technology. The tool achieved average precision rates of 67.6 per cent in tracking 12 fish species passing through custom fish-counting boxes at two Indigenous-run fish counting weirs on the Kitwanga and Bear Rivers of B.C.’s Central Coast. Scores surpassed 90 and 80 per cent for coho and sockeye salmon. Currently, spawning salmon abundance is often monitored with in-river video or sonar cameras. However, reviewing video for estimates of salmon abundance from these programs requires thousands of hours of staff time, and data are typically not available until after the fishing season is completed. The research team developed, trained and tested deep learning models to perform object detection and multi-object tracking for automated video enumeration of salmon passing two First Nation-run weirs. The team also tested and deployed a prototype for a real-time monitoring system that can perform computer vision deep learning analyses on site. EurekAlert
Quebec-based Arianne Phosphate's joint research project with the CEGEP of Riviere-de-Loup's Environmental and Biotechnology Group (GREB) received a grant of $727,500 over three years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. GREB has completed a first round of work aimed at producing a new breed of fertilizers through a process, developed by GREB, of combining Arianne's high-purity phosphate concentrate with organic waste. The work would alter the traditional process of making fertilizer, removing the requirement of acid, and allow for the use of organic wastes that otherwise often end up in landfills. Arianne Phosphate
Vancouver-based D-Wave Quantum Inc. and QuantumBasel, Switzerland's first quantum hub for commercial use embedded in the uptownBasel innovation campus, announced a two-year extension to the companies' strategic collaboration, to further accelerate quantum and quantum-hybrid application development in Europe. As part of the agreement, D-Wave will open a European office on the QuantumBasl campus. In addition to QuantumBasel, D-Wave’s European customers include Koç Holding, Satispay, Poznan Superconducting and Network Center, Cineca, as well as several other Forbes Global 2000 companies. D-Wave Quantum
VC & PRIVATE INVESTMENT
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced an additional $50-million injection into its Seed Venture Fund for emerging Canadian startups. The fund will focus primarily on promising pre-seed and seed stage software companies within Enterprise SaaS and other software verticals, including Digital Health and FinTech, that are using artificial intelligence (AI) to redefine some sectors. The Fund's expanded mandate will include playing an anchor role for Canadian seed-stage businesses and devoting an increased focus on opportunities in regions which currently face limited access to seed funding. BDC
Arteria AI raised $30 million in a Series B financing round led by GGV Capital U.S., with participation from all existing major investors, including Illuminate Financial, Information Venture Partners, BDC Capital, and Citi. The round brings the company’s total funding to $50 million to date. The Arteria AI platform removes the need for legacy manual processes by structuring data at the onset of the documentation lifecycle. The platform then surfaces data and insights through intelligent workflow tools to speed up decision-making processes. Arteria
Toronto-based AI startup CentML raised US$27 million in a seed round. The round was led by Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund, with participation from Radical Ventures, NVIDIA, Deloitte Ventures, and Thomson Reuters Ventures. CentML said its software platform allows its clients to optimize and deploy machine learning models with ease. CentML
Montreal-based Kento Health secured $3 million in pre-seed funding in a round led by Boreal Ventures and N49P, with the participation of Broom Ventures and Graphite Ventures. The company specializes in cardiac rehabilitation and health technology, with a focus on cardiovascular care. The funding will be directed towards the company's expansion and launch in the U.S. , furthering their mission in the digital health sector. FinSMES
REPORTS & POLICIES
The Treasury Board of Canada announced a ban on the use of the Chinese-owned WeChat and Russian-owned Kaspersky suite of applications on government-issued mobile devices. due to privacy and security concerns. Effective October 30, 2023, the WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications will be removed from government-issued mobile devices. Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the applications in the future. The Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security. On a mobile device, the WeChat and Kaspersky applications data collection methods provide considerable access to the device’s contents. Treasury Board of Canada
Canada’s cleantech sector saw record investment of $1.2 billion in 2022, a 63-per-cent increase year-over-year and the highest recorded since 2018, according to Export Development Canada’s (EDC) latest annual cleantech report. Investments in energy and power, including nuclear fusion technologies and hydrogen, increased by 33 per cent. Cleantech investment has nearly quadrupled since 2018. But there are some challenges, including inadequate levels of private sector R&D spending, with Canada trailing its peers in total R&D investment per capita, the report said. Canada needs to address the gap in financial support between cleantech companies’ startup and their scale-up, with investments needed across value chains to support nascent technologies, according to the report. Canada has few at-scale cleantech demonstration projects or companies, according to EDC. EDC
More than 20 prominent international academics signed an open letter calling for a “reorientation” of the field to focus on artificial intelligence’s potential to worsen problems like inequality and crime, as well as potential risks like humans losing control over autonomous systems leading to extinction. “Combined with the ongoing growth and automation in AI R&D, we must take seriously the possibility that generalist AI systems will out-perform human abilities across many critical domains within this decade or the next,” they said. “Without sufficient caution, we may irreversibly lose control of autonomous AI systems, rendering human intervention ineffective. Large-scale cyber-crime, social manipulation, and other highlighted harms could then escalate rapidly. This unchecked AI advancement could culminate in a large-scale loss of life and the biosphere, and the marginalization or even extinction of humanity.” The signatories called on major tech companies and public funders to allocate at least a third of their AE R&D budgets to ensuring safety and ethical use. The letter also calls for national institutions and international governance to enforce standards, and for regulators to keep track of who’s using compute capacity to develop models, require their makers to register them, and give regulators access to their systems before development. Governments should license “exceptionally capable” systems, and make firms liable for any preventable harms their products cause, they said. Signatories include the University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Hinton and Gillian Hadfield; Mila-Quebec AI Institute’s Yoshua Bengio; Tegan Maharaj and Sheila McIlraith from the Vector Institute, the University of British Columbia’s Jeff Clune; and celebrity scholars Yuval Noah Harari from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Daniel Kahneman from Princeton University. Open Letter
China led the world in applying for AI patents in 2022, with some 29,900 AI patents, while U.S. filers sought 16,800 AI patents, according to World Intellectual Property Data. The Chinese count increased year after year, while the U.S count fell. In the past decade, China has filed 389,571 patents in the area of AI, accounting for 74.7 percent of the global total and ranking the first in the world. China also moved to 12th spot globally in the 2023 Global Innovation Index. Switzerland, Sweden and the U.S. ranked, respectively, No. 1, 2 and 3. Canada ranked No. 15, behind Israel and ahead of Estonia. Tokyo-Yokohama ranked No. 1 on S&T Clusters, with Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou and Seoul ranked respectively No. 2 and 3. Toronto ranked No. 52. For the first time, China is the economy with the most clusters (24), overtaking the U.S. with 21 clusters. WIPO
The Semiconductor Industry Leadership and Innovation Canada Action Network (SILICAN) is calling on Ottawa to set up a new federal office to coordinate semiconductor policy and programs across the government. In a policy report, SILICAN also urged the government to prioritize funding cost-effective manufacturing, making more capital available to companies in the sector wanting to scale and supporting development and retention of the semiconductor workforce, including with scholarships and training through co-ops and internships. SILICAN says the global semiconductor chips sector is forecast to reach $1.3 trillion in sales by 2030. SILICAN’s members include: Council of Canadian Innovators; CMC Microsystems; Deep Tech Canada; Canada’s Semiconductor Council; Alliance for Semiconductor Innovation Canada; Optonique; U15 Group of Research Universities; Canadian Innovation Network; and the Semiconductor Ecosystem and Centre for Talent and Research. SILICAN
Canada currently lags other jurisdictions in making effective use of digital health innovations and existing health data, which became apparent during the COVID19 pandemic. A Canadian Council of Academies(CCA) expert panel report, “Connecting the Dots,” commissioned by the Public Health Agency of Canada, examined the opportunities for maximizing the benefits of health data sharing. The 13-member panel was chaired by Chaim Bell, physician-in-chief at Sinai Health and professor of medicine and health policy, management and evaluation at the University of Toronto. The opportunities identified by the panel are:
- implementing a learning health system
- building on the experience of existing, smaller-scale health data sharing networks in Canada, as well as data-sharing initiatives in international jurisdictions
- investing in and implementing new data-exchange and interoperability standards through a collaborative, coordinated, and incremental approach, along with the careful deployment of incentives or mandates
- establishing an arm’s-length, independent organization mandated to coordinate data sharing across sectors, organizations, and actors
- relying on interpretive flexibility within existing legislative frameworks, rather than legal reform, to drive the shift toward a stewardship model of data governance.
No approach to health data governance and management can maximize the benefits of health data sharing in Canada without first maximizing the opportunities for exchange, the panel said. “Coordination among jurisdictions, regions, sectors, and individual actors is the critical first step toward enhancing pan-Canadian health data sharing.” With the provinces and territories set to seek opportunities to invest in their health data systems in accordance with the federal government’s conditions for top-up funding, now is the time to push for collaboration in health data governance, the panel said. CCA
U.S. President Joe Biden issued a sweeping executive order establishing new standards for artificial intelligence safety and security. The order requires:
- that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government.
- develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set rigorous standards and the Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board.
- protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standard as a condition of federal funding.
- protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content. The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content.
- establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software.
- order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security, to be developed by the National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff.
To promote innovation and competition, the executive order directs:
- catalyze AI research across the United States through a pilot of the National AI Research Resource—a tool that will provide AI researchers and students access to key AI resources and data—and expanded grants for AI research in vital areas like healthcare and climate change.
- promote a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem by providing small developers and entrepreneurs access to technical assistance and resources, helping small businesses commercialize AI breakthroughs, and encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to exercise its authorities.
- use existing authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study, stay, and work in the United States by modernizing and streamlining visa criteria, interviews, and reviews.
To protect Americans' privacy, Biden's executive order also:
- prioritizes support for accelerating development and use of privacy-preserving techniques
- strengthens privacy-preserving research and technologies by funding a Research Coordination Network to advance rapid breakthroughs and development
- evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information and strengthen privacy guidance for federal agencies to account for AI risks
- develop guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques, including those used in AI systems.
To advance equity and civil rights, the order requires:
- providing clear guidance to landlords, Federal benefits programs, and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination
- addressing algorithmic discrimination through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and Federal civil rights offices on best practices for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI
- ensuring fairness throughout the criminal justice system by developing best practices on the use of AI in sentencing, parole and probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments, surveillance, crime forecasting and predictive policing, and forensic analysis.
To better protect consumers while ensuring that AI can make Americans better off, the order directs:
- advance in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will also establish a safety program to receive reports of—and act to remedy – harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI
- shape AI’s potential to transform education by creating resources to support educators deploying AI-enabled educational tools, such as personalized tutoring in schools.
To support workers, the order directs:
- develop principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers by addressing job displacement, labor standards, workplace equity, health and safety, and data collection
- produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts, and study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions, including from AI.
To advance American leadership abroad, the order directs:
- expand bilateral, multilateral, and multi-stakeholder engagements to collaborate on AI.
- accelerate development and implementation of vital AI standards with international partners and in standards organizations, ensuring that the technology is safe, secure, trustworthy, and interoperable.
- promote the safe, responsible, and rights-affirming development and deployment of AI abroad to solve global challenges, such as advancing sustainable development and mitigating dangers to critical infrastructure.
To ensure responsible and effective government use of AI, the order directs:
- issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI, including clear standards to protect rights and safety, improve AI procurement, and strengthen AI deployment.
- help agencies acquire specified AI products and services faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
- accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals as part of a government-wide AI talent surge led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. The White House
Dr. José Belizán, a principal investigator at the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness in Argentina, received the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Award. Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, won the Canada Gairdner Momentum Award. Belizán’s pioneering health research has led to innovative, evidence-based and low-cost global interventions in maternal and child health during the perinatal period that improve well-being and care during pregnancy, reduce morbidity and mortality, and promote equity in vulnerable populations. Zadeh’s game-changing work has advanced our understanding of brain tumours, leading to better ways of discriminating, classifying and managing brain tumour subtypes to transform diagnosis and clinical management of brain tumours and give hope to individuals affected by brain cancer. Gairdner Foundation
Former Edmontonian Charity Weeden was appointed the associate administrator for NASA’s office of technology, policy and strategy. Weeden, who has always been interested in policy and space, once worked a stint as a page at the Alberta legislature. That work as a teenager helped pay her way to Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. Weeden served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, getting an engineering degree, training as an air navigator, and flying around the world for more than six years. In 2003, she earned her master’s degree in space science from the University of North Dakota and later attended the International Space University Summer Session Program. Her career has seen her working at North American Aerospace Defence Command in Colorado, the Canadian Space Agency as a flight support readiness manager, the Canadian Embassy as a staff officer for air and space operations, and in the private sector with Astroscale U.S. and the Satellite Industry Association. Edmonton Journal
Karsh Chauhan, a fourth-year MD student at the University of Alberta and John Mackey, a breast cancer medical oncologist and professor emeritus of oncology, have developed a new statistical tool to evaluate the results of clinical trials, with the aim of allowing smaller trials to ask more complex research questions and get effective treatments to patients more quickly. The UAlberta research team included postdoctoral fellow Kaiqiong Zhao, now an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at York University, and John Walker, head of medical oncology for northern Alberta at the Cross Cancer Institute. The Kaplan-Meier estimator, the standard tool since 1959, limits researchers because it can only assess binary questions, such as whether patients survived or died on a treatment. It can’t include other factors such as adverse drug reactions or quality-of-life measures like being able to walk or care for yourself. The new tool, called the Chauhan Weighted Trajectory Analysis, allows simultaneous evaluation and visualization of multiple outcomes in one graph. UAlberta
Shahed Khalili was hired as chief product officer for Toronto-based Boast, a platform for research and development tax credit intelligence. Khalili has over 20 years of experience designing and delivering SaaS products in the governance, risk, compliance and banking industries. Prior to joining Boast, he served as vice president of product at Galvanize (now Diligent). Boast
Sir Ron Kalifa was appointed vice-char and head of financial infrastructure investments at Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management. Kalifa's experience includes more than two decades of building and transforming businesses in the global payments space, and as a non-executive director of the Bank of England’s Court of Directors. Brookfield
Dan Reitzik was appointed interim CEO of Vancouver-based Bigg Digital Assets, which owns and operates Web3 and blockchain companies. Reitzik most recently served as CEO of TerraZero, a subsidiary of Bigg, and the founder and former CEO of DMG Blockchain Solutions. He will replace current Bigg CEO Mark Binns, who’ll continue as a consultant for six months. BIGG Digital Assets
Katherine Mayer was named new CEO of Web Summit, one of the world's largest technology conferences (including the Collision conference in Toronto), after previous CEO and company founder Paddy Cosgrave resigned and apologized amid the backlash triggered by his comments on the Israel-Hamas war. Maher is chair of the Signal messaging platform's board of directors and a former CEO Wikipedia parent Wikimedia Foundation Inc., along with roles she held at Unicef and the World Bank. Globe and Mail
John Chen is retiring as executive chair and CEO of BlackBerry effective November 4, 2003. Richard (Dick) Lynch will succeed Chen as board chair and will also serve as interim chief executive officer while BlackBerry completes its search for a permanent CEO. Lynch joined BlackBerry's board in 2013 and serves as a member of its compensation, nomination and governance committee. BlackBerry
The Royal Canadian Institute for Science awarded the 2023 Sandford Fleming Medal for Excellence in Science Communication to independent science writer Terry Collins, and the 2023 Sandford Fleming Medal for Excellence in Science Communication to the team behind CBC Radio's national weekly science program, Quirks & Quarks. The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of science communication who work behind the scenes to make science engaging and accessible. A public ceremony to celebrate the winners' contributions to science communication will be held November 29 in Toronto. RCIScience
Ground News, a startup from the University of Waterloo's Velocity incubator, launched an AI-powered tool to help readers gain a more comprehensive understanding of news stories from multiple perspectives. The tool doesn't produce news but rather collects articles from various sources and political leanings. Each user's news feed shows how different news outlets cover the same story, along with information about the publication's political leanings and reporting factuality, based on external fact-checking methods. The goal is to empower readers to spot media bias and have access to the same information, thereby making well-informed, balanced decisions. University of Waterloo