The Short Report – Dec. 9, 2020: New funding for pandemic preparedness in LTC homes; a first-of-its-kind biofuel plant for Quebec, and more

Cindy Graham
December 9, 2020


The Governments of Canada and Quebec are investing more than $230 million in the design and construction of a cellulosic biofuel plant as part of the Varennes Carbon Recycling project. Quebec will invest more than $160 million while Ottawa will add $70 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Canada Economic Development is granting $4 million. The project will also see investments of more than $379 million from Varennes Cellulosic Ethanol, which is supported by Shell Canada, Suncor Energy, Proman and Enerkem. – GoC


The federal government is spending more than $1.8 million to strengthen pandemic preparedness in long-term care and retirement homes. Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will lead 14 implementation science teams across Canada who will study how to keep staff, residents, families and caregivers safe during pandemics. Funding support comes from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. – GoC

The Canadian Government has awarded $23.2 million to Colleges and Institutes Canada to train 4,000 new personal support worker interns. The program is free for trainees and includes six weeks of online training followed by a four-month paid work-integrated learning placement with an employer in long-term care or home care. – CICan

Montreal’s Aifred Health raised $4 million in seed funding to test new artificial intelligence technology in the treatment of clinical depression. The raise was co-led by MEDTEQ+ and BDC Capital, with additional support from Desjardins Group, Highline Beta and other private and institutional investors. – Cision


The Canadian Space Agency awarded a $22.8-million contract to Brampton-based MDA for the Phase A contract of the Canadarm3 program, the third generation Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based robotic system being developed for the lunar-orbiting international space station "Gateway." with options for the follow-on phases. – MDA

The Governments of Canada and France launched the inaugural meeting of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), part of the GPAI – Montréal Summit 2020 organized by the International Centre of Expertise in Montréal for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (ICEMAI). AI experts and ministerial representatives from nine countries discussed how to achieve responsible AI innovation and growth in the context of human rights, inclusion and diversity. – GoC

British-based Hg Capital will assume majority control of Calgary-based corporate responsibility software company Benevity, following a $1.1-billion deal that will close in January. – Calgary Herald

Avena Foods (Regina), Big Mountain Foods and Daiya Foods (Vancouver), Bakenology (Northampton, UK) and The Village Bakery (North Wales) are partnering as part of an initiative to test and develop new applications for pulse flours, after receiving $6.3 million from Protein Industries Canada. – Protein Industries Canada

The Innovation Asset Collective, a non-profit that will help small and medium-sized clean tech businesses generate patents and protect themselves from intellectual property litigation, began operations this week after it was selected as part of Ottawa’s $30-million, four-year pilot Intellectual Property Strategy program. – IAC


Canada's top 50 research universities posted a combined research income of $8 billion in fiscal 2019, a gain of 5.7% over fiscal 2018, according to Research Infosource. University of Toronto ($1.1 billion, down 2.2%) is the medical university leader; University of Waterloo ($240.7 million, up 13.2%) was the comprehensive university leader, and Laurentian University ($39.4 million, down 10.5%) retained first place among its undergraduate university peers. – Research Infosource

A newly released Statistics Canada analysis finds that over four-fifths of businesses that received support from Ottawa’s Business Innovation and Growth Support stream in 2018 were small enterprises, while over two-fifths of support went to large companies. Manufacturing received the largest share (29%) of the total value of support in 2018, while professional, scientific and technical services accounted for the largest share of businesses (28%) that received support. – StatsCan

A report on business trends from Statistics Canada finds that R&D is continuing its shift from manufacturing to service industries, with the greatest expenditures in information and cultural industries and computer systems design and related services. – StatsCan

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program winners have been announced, with Waterloo’s Intellijoint Surgical taking top spot as Canada’s fastest-growing tech company. Meanwhile, Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis’ Scoring Canadian Tech Talent report shows Waterloo is the fastest-growing major technology market in Canada. The top five tech markets overall are Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Waterloo Region and Montreal. – Deloitte and CBRE


The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) announced its Impact Award winners for 2020. Francine Saillant took the Gold Medal, SSHRC’s highest research award, for work in medical anthropology, human rights and social justice. Robyn Maynard won the Talent Award for research on marginalization faced by Black migrants. Myriam Denov received the Insight Award for research on families and children affected by war. Jackie Dawson won the Connection Award for contributions in exploring the human dimensions on environmental change, and John Loxley received the Partnership Award posthumously for his collaborative work advancing community-based solutions to poverty in Indigenous and inner-city communities. – GoC

Michael Sabia, director of Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and board chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will become federal deputy minister of Finance on December 14. Paul Rochon, the current DM of Finance, moves to the Privy Council Office as senior official, effective December 14, 2020. – GoC


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