4D LABS, ABB, AGT Food and Ingedients, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, Bruce Power, Bubble Technology Industries Inc, Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence, Canada Research Coordinating Committee, Canadensys Aerospace Corp., Canadian Glycomics Network, Canadian Nuclear Association, Canadian Space Agency, Carleton University, Cementation Americas, Cementation Canada Inc., Colleges and Institutes Canada, Cortex, Coutts Agro, CQDM, Department of National Defence, Economic Development and Official Languages, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ericsson, FedDev Ontario, George Washington University, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Health Canada, INDENTOS, Innovation Science and Industry, Innovative Solutions Canada, Lucent BioSciences, Magellan Aerospace, MDA Vision Systems and Sensors, ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, Mission Control Space Services Inc. MDA Vision Systems and Sensors, Mitacs, Natural Resources Canada, NB Power, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp, nventive, Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network, Ontario Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Systems, Ontario Power Generation, Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, Protein Industries Supercluster, Provision Analytics, Royal Bank of Canada, SaskPower, Simon Fraser University, Skymatics, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Statistics Canada, TerraSense Analytics, U.S.Air Force Office of Scientific Research, University of British Columbia, and Verge Technologies



The Short Report, March 4, 2019: Kirsty Duncan moves for a standing committee on science and research; Alberta cuts post-secondary education funding; Canadian miners make an action plan

Mark Lowey
March 4, 2020

Kirsty Duncan, the federal government’s Deputy House Leader and former minister of science, introduced a private members’ notice of motion in Parliament to create a new 10-member House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research. Ducan tweeted: “Should it pass, Canada’s research community will have a permanent place to raise their issues in Ottawa.” Duncan’s motion calls on the House to recognize that science and research are of critical importance to all Canadians; recognize that science and research are more important than ever; and affirm its commitment to science, research and evidence-informed decision-making. The new committee’s mandate would include reviewing and reporting on all matters relating to science and research, including any reports of the government’s Chief Science Advisor. There already is an existing Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology whose mandate includes studying and reporting on scientific research and development. – Kirsty Duncan

Ottawa announced a new collaborative project supported by Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster aimed at helping organic growers and processers turn waste byproducts from the pulse processing industry into plant fertilizer. The project will take Vancouver-based Lucent BioSciences’ proprietary technology for “micronutrient fertilizers” to the manufacturing stage with partners AGT Food and Ingredients, headquartered in Regina, and 4D Labs, a research facility at Simon Fraser University. The total investment is up to $3 million, including up to $1.3 million from the federal Innovation Superclusters Initiative and $1.7 million from industry and academia. In a separate announcement, Protein Industries Canada and an industry consortium are together investing $9.25 million in a first-of-its kind project to help improve on-farm logistics and food traceability, while reducing input costs and environmental impacts, through an integrated data platform. - Protein Industries Canada

The Government of Alberta’s 2020 budget cut funding for universities and colleges by 6.3 %. Total operating expenses for the Advanced Education department went from $5.5 billion to $5.1 billion. In 2018-19, post-secondary schools funded 43% of operating expenses and government funded 58%. By 2022-23, 48% will come from post-secondary institutions and 52% from government funding. Jobs cuts that began in 2019-20 with 300 positions eliminated across the province’s post-secondary institutions will continue, with another 398 job cuts estimated for 2020-21. Last year’s budget saw provincial grants to both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary cut by 6.9%. The cuts, which averaged 5.1% across 26 institutions in Alberta, totalled $117.6 million in 2019. – Edmonton Journal

The Government of Ontario is increasing funding by $1.8 million to Indigenous-governed institutes in the province, to help them provide high-quality education that responds to community and local labour market needs. Ontario supports nine Indigenous institutes with operating funding to provide postsecondary education and training for more than 1,200 Indigenous learners. – Government of Ontario

The first “action plan” under the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP) aims to bolster the competitiveness of Canada’s mining sector and includes specific measures to establish Canada as “the leading mining nation in the 21st century,” says Seamus O’Regan, federal Minister of Natural Resources. Action Plan 2020 was introduced at the 2020 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention in Toronto. Canada’s ministers responsible for mining agreed to pan-Canadian initiatives under each of six strategic directions identified in the CMMP. – CISION

The Ontario government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) awarded Cementation Canada Inc. $88,355 to further develop a patented system that uses a pump-driven pipeline loop to transport ore and waste rock from underground mines to the surface. Called  “Injection Hoisting,” the technology provides an alternative to trucking or traditional hoisting ore and waste rock to the surface. It's designed to reduce a mine’s operating and ventilation costs as well as greenhouse gases associated with trucking. – Bay Today

Colleges and Institutes Canada and not-for-profit Mitacs signed an agreement to create up to 1,000 work-integrated learning Mitacs research internships for students from CICan member institutions across Canada over the next five years. The partnership, which includes research supported by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, leverages both the extensive footprint and the longstanding relationships colleges and institutes have with community partners and local industry across the country, including rural and northern communities. Since Mitacs first launched a pilot project with college and institute students last year, 53 internships have begun from 18 institutions in nine provinces. – Colleges and Institutes Canada

The Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program awarded TerraSense Analytics in Kelowna, B.C. a $977,439 contract that will fund the next phase of the company’s “Multimodal Surveillance & Tracking” (MIST) product, an advanced airborne surveillance system that uses artificial intelligence. Designed with input from airborne sensor operators in the Canadian Armed Forces and around the world, MIST uses deep learning to improve operator situational awareness and enable analysts on the ground to search and recall precise moments from thousands of hours of footage in an instant. TerraSense Analytics’ team will spend the year working with engineering researcher Zheng Liu at the University of British Columbia and Erik Blasch of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to develop and test a working prototype of MIST, using real aircraft, onboard sensors and targets. – CISION

The total number of research and development personnel in Canada remained essentially unchanged in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to Statistics Canada. There were 235,350 full-time equivalents, a marginal decline of 100 FTEs compared with 2016. However, there was a larger decline in the business enterprise sector, which was offset by growth in the higher education, federal government and private non-profit sectors. While the business enterprise sector experienced a decline in R&D personnel for the second consecutive year (down 1.6% to 144,570 FTEs), the federal government sector had its first year-over-year growth (6.8% to 12,610 FTEs) since 2009. The increase was the result of more R&D researchers across several departments and agencies, including Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Statistics Canada, and the Department of National Defence. The largest growth in R&D personnel in 2017 came from higher education, which increased by 1,140 FTEs to 74,350 FTEs. –The Daily, Statistics Canada

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded seven contracts worth a total of $4.36 million to five companies and one university to advance concepts for nano- and micro-sized rovers, as well as autonomous science instruments, as first steps toward landing and conducting Canadian science on the Moon’s surface. Companies receiving contracts: ABB (Quebec); Bubble Technology Industries Inc. (Ontario); Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Ontario); Magellan Aerospace (Manitoba); and Mission Control Space Services Inc. (Ontario). Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) will receive $690,123 to develop an Integrated Vision System that will be used to identify the geology of the lunar surface and for rover navigation. Western Space is collaborating with MDA Vision Systems and Sensors to develop the technology. CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program has earmarked $150 million over five years to help Canadian SMEs develop new technologies that could be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface. – Canadian Space Agency

Innovative Solutions Canada awarded a contract to INDENTOS in Toronto to test the company’s mobile security platform with Health Canada for patient digital access, with testing to be done at North York General Hospital. Currently, patients across Canada aren’t able to access digital data or leverage mobile health applications, partly due to lack of consent and security infrastructure to support compliance. INDENTOS says its technical solution enables patient authorization and consent, with data encryption that supports a connected and scalable digital health program to hospitals. The contract will enable INDENTOS to evaluate its platform for national scale and ensure it addresses the digital access needs for Canadian healthcare. – CISION

 Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), based in Sarnia-Lambton, ON, opened a new regional office in Brockville, ON. BIC, with a recent $15-million contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency in Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has developed the Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network. The network will continue to support the growth of the Hybrid Chemistry Cluster in Sarnia-Lambton and enable the launch of a new Sustainable Chemistry Cluster in Eastern Ontario’s St. Lawrence Corridor region centred around Brockville and Maitland. – Canadian Biomass

Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, affirmed the government’s commitment to developing small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology. His comments came after meetings with officials and nuclear industry leaders at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s annual conference. In December 2019, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed an agreement to collaborate on developing and deploying SMRs. Rickford said Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power will continue working with SaskPower and NB Power to develop a feasibility report and business case for SMR development and deployment in three provinces. The work will include identifying viable technologies for near-term and longer-term SMR deployment and providing full market analysis for these technologies. Nuclear energy provides more than 60% of Ontario’s power. – NetNewsLedger

Montréal-based nventive, a mobile and web app development studio, acquired Cortex, a digital innovation studio in Québec City, to create one of Canada’s leading independent innovation companies, with nearly 200 employees, and campuses in Montréal and Québec City. nventive provides support and guidance to enterprises in their digital transformation, with more than 1,000 cloud integration, mobile and web applications. – CISION

Networking and telecommunications company Ericsson and Carleton University announced a new multi-year partnership to advance research and industry-ready expertise in 5G wireless networks. The Ericsson-Carleton University Partnership for Research and Leadership in Wireless Networks will fund research projects, graduate student internships, an Ericsson fellowship program, and experiential learning opportunities for computer science and engineering students. The partnership also will establish a new centre of excellence and associated laboratories for 5G wireless networks research in Carleton’s new ARISE building. – Carleton University

CQDM, a biopharma-based research consortium based in Montreal, and the Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) formed a strategic partnership to identify and co-finance biopharmaceutical research projects in glycoscience across Canada. The partnership aims to support development of novel technologies in drug discovery, accelerate scientific talents across Canada, and advance Canada’s position as an international leader in healthcare innovation. CQDM includes several leading pharmaceutical companies, the Quebec government’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, and the federally supported Business Led-Networks of Centres of Excellence program. – EurekAlert


Sid Paquette, former senior Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Systems (OMERS) venture-capital investor, joined Royal Bank of Canada to lead a new technology and innovation banking group. RBC declined to share specifics on the strategy for Paquette’s group or amount of capital he’ll oversee. The group “will focus on a more holistic approach to supporting our clients by complementing our financing offerings with industry-tailored business advice and solutions that go behind traditional banking to support their broader growth aspirations,” said Greg Rice, RBC’s executive vice-president, business and financial services. Paquette, a managing partner and founding team member of OMERS Ventures in 2011, left OMERS on Dec. 31, 2019 — one of a string of recent personnel changes within OMERS’ private capital investing operations, including last month’s exit of global private equity head Mark Redman. – The Globe and Mail

Alison M. Macfarlane will become the new director of University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs in the Faculty of Arts, for a five-year term starting July 1, 2020. She comes to UBC from George Washington University, where she’s professor of science policy and international affairs, director of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy, and director of the International Science and Technology Policy Master’s program at the U.S. university’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Macfarlane takes over as director of UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs from acting director Maxwell Cameron, a professor of political science. – University of British Columbia

The Government of Canada has launched an open selection process to fill the position of president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The current president is Ted Hewitt, who was appointed in March 2015. SSHRC’s president is the chief executive officer, reports to Parliament through the minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and works closely with the SSHRC Governing Council. The president also plays an important role as a member of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, and builds and maintains effective collaborations with university, college, industrial, and government partners. Online applications, to the Governor in Council and ministerial appointments webpage, are encouraged by March 22, 2020. – Government of Canada


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