The Short Report, January 22, 2020: Ontario scholarship for Flight 752 victims; automation threat in Manitoba; superclusters unveil new projects

Mark Mann
January 22, 2020

The government of Ontario has created a scholarship fund to honour the 57 Canadians who died on Flight 752. The new fund will disburse scholarships of $10,000 to 57 students, one in memory of each victim. "Many of the victims were students and professors with bright futures, studying and teaching at Ontario universities and colleges, and contributing to the advancement of research in many life-changing fields. We will honour their memories through these scholarships to recognize their incredible contributions to our communities," said Premier Doug Ford. -

A new report called Horizon Manitoba says the province needs more work placement programs for students. Produced by Manitoba's post-secondary institutions, in partnership with the Business Council of Manitoba, the report warns that the province's future job market is vulnerable to disruption and automation and that failure to adapt may have serious economic and social consequences. - CBC

Rogers Communications rolled out its 5G network in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver. The technology provides a pathway for greater deployment of autonomous vehicles and smart city applications. Rogers partnered with supplier Ericsson to build the networks. - Ottawa Business Journal

A Toronto employment survey focused on the city's technology sector found that access to highly skilled labour is a dominant issue. The report suggests shifting the discussion from what attracts

establishments to locate where they do, to what attracts the labour force to locate where they do. - Toronto

The publicly-traded company Ackroo has moved its headquarters from Ottawa to Hamilton, due to the tight labour market in the nation's capital. Seventy per cent of respondents to the 2019 Ottawa Business Growth Survey said attracting and retaining skilled workers is one of the top five issues facing their companies. Ackroo received a $500,000 loan from the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) to make the move. - Ottawa Business Journal

Montreal-based artificial intelligence startup Element AI will lead a human rights impact assessment of the proposed Sidewalk Labs smart city development in Toronto. The $200,000 contract also includes human rights experts with ITN Solicitors, the Thinking Forward Network and Fair/Square Research. The company also partnered with Amnesty International in 2018 to use AI to study online abuse. - Financial Post

With a $9.5-million investment from the Protein Industries Canada supercluster, Merit Functional Foods will open a canola and pea protein-processing facility near Winnipeg in 2020. According to Merit, it will be the world’s first commercial-scale canola protein-producing facility. - Protein Industries Canada

Kraken Robotics finalized the contract for its three-year, $18.8-million OceanVision™ project with the Ocean Supercluster and industry partners, focused on the development of new marine technologies and products to enable an underwater robotics data acquisition and data analytics as a service business. With the new funding, Kraken and its partners deploy sensors and unmanned underwater platforms to provide high-resolution seafloor imaging and mapping over more than 5,000 square kilometres around Atlantic Canada. - Kraken

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains announced six new technology projects approved by the Digital Technology Supercluster. The projects will involve 34 partner organizations, including 14 SMEs. The minister also launched a set of eight capacity-building projects from the supercluster that will promote skills development, diversity and inclusion in the technology sector and will help attract students to careers in digital technology. - BetaKit

The Scale AI Supercluster announced 10 new projects worth a total of $74.7 million. The projects bring together 60 partner organizations seeking to modernize processes and enhance productivity with AI. -

The city of Brampton and Ryerson University have signed an agreement to establish a new Ryerson Innovation Zone. The Ryerson-led Brampton Innovation Zone focuses on developing scalable businesses and building and supporting high-potential entrepreneurial teams. - Brampton

The Manitoba government has signalled that it wants to join Alberta and Ontario in implementing performance-based funding requirements for colleges and universities. In a mandate letter sent to post-secondary institutions, Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler said that "post-secondary institutions will work together, in partnership with the province, to further define student successes and continue to build data capacity to enable measurement of outcomes over time." The idea for performance-based funding was first mentioned briefly in the government’s throne speech last November. - Ottawa Citizen

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