The Short Report, Sept 11, 2019: Genome lab, industrial IoT, ecommerce

Mark Mann
September 11, 2019

The federal government and the province of Quebec are teaming up to fund the creation and operation of a Montreal-based international centre of expertise for the advancement of artificial intelligence, focused on the responsible and ethical development of AI technologies, as part of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). Ottawa is committing $10 million over five years to the project, while Quebec awarded a $5 million grant to Montréal International to either create the organization or draw one from abroad. The centre will seek to expand commercialization and adoption of AI-enabled tech in Canada. - BetaKit

Canadore College officially opened the first functional genome lab at an Ontario college, featuring leading-edge genome sequencing technology. The lab was created through a collaboration between the college and The DNA Company. Canadore has been approved for a post-graduate certification in applied genomics program – the first graduate program in the area in the field – beginning in 2020. Separately, a committee of North Bay city council recommended rezoning a vacant lot to allow for the development of a research park led by the college. The proposed "innovation park" could create more than 370 jobs. Five companies with a connection to the college have expressed interest in the project. - North Bay Nugget

A new program called Scale Without Borders (SWB) aims to support newcomer tech entrepreneurs through networking opportunities, showcases and classes. The program is spearheaded by Nouhaila Chelkhaoui, the lead for Ryerson DMZ’s accelerator and women founders programs. - BetaKit

Suncor will replace coke-fired boilers with two emission-reducing cogeneration units at its Oil Sands Base Plant. The units, which provide energy-efficient steam generation for bitumen extraction, will be in service by 2023 at an estimated project cost of $1.4 billion. The units are also capable of generating 800 megawatts (MW) of power that will be transmitted to Alberta's energy grid, equivalent to approximately 8% of Alberta’s current electricity demand. - Suncor

Toronto venture capital firm McRock Capital raised $80 million from energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC for a fund focused on “industrial internet of things” (IIOT). This is the second time McRock Capital has created an IIOT-focused fund: the first, in 2015, raised $70-million and saw the successful backing of Miovision Technologies of Kitchener, Ont., and Calgary-based Decisive Farming; now the firm is aiming for $100 million. - Globe and Mail

ISED announced more than $40 million in investments for innovation projects: $27 million for projects across Edmonton and surrounding areas through the Business Scale-up and Productivity program, the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, and the the Western Diversification Program; $13 million investment for three Niagara, Ont.-based projects through FedDev Ontario; and $453,000 for two projects led by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC). - BetaKit

Ottawa-based ecommerce giant Shopify has acquired warehouse automation and management technology developer 6 River Systems for $450 million. The acquisition gives the company access to the same robotics experts from Kiva Systems who helped develop Amazon’s robotics business. The deal is part of Shopify's $1-billion plan announced in June to launch a network of fulfilment warehouses and shipping logistics capabilities in the United States. - TechCrunch

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is pushing into private credit to make up for dwindling yields elsewhere. CPIB increased its private debt investments from $5.1 billion in 2011 to $32.7 billion at the end of March. The pension fund is now reporting more than $400 billion in assets. - BNN Bloomberg

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has issued seven recommendations aimed at supporting economic growth, competitiveness and the fight against climate change by investing in skills and innovation. The recommendations include expanding SME participation in the R&D ecosystem by investing in business innovation engagement services based in colleges, institutes and polytechnics; investing in social innovation research; and supporting  the development of a national framework to promote the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation into postsecondary education. - CiCan

FedDev Ontario is investing $5 million in Brock University through its Community Economic Development and Diversification stream to create a facility aimed at making Niagara a research and innovation leader in bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors. - BrockU


Norquest College president and CEO Jodi Abbott has announced she's stepping down and will leave her post in January. Her resignation is the latest in a series of executive departures at post-secondary institutions in Alberta, following new rules introduced by the NDP government in 2018 that limits base pay at universities to $447,000, whereas the president at Norquest is in the second lowest tier and would have a maximum base salary of $267,500. Abbott earned $485,371.84 in salary and benefits in 2018. Under Abbott’s leadership, the college’s enrolment more than doubled to 18,381 students, and she raised $170 million to open the Singhmar Centre for Learning in 2017. - Edmonton Journal

Sun Life Financial appointed Léo Grépin the new president of Sun Life Asia, replacing Claude Accum when he retires at the end of the year. Grépin will be responsible for life, health and wealth-management businesses in the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and India, a region that constitutes a fifth of Sun Life’s annual profits. Grépin's appointment comes at a time when some companies are redirecting their manufacturing from China to Southeast Asia. - Globe and Mail (PAYWALL)

Encana Corporation made changes to its executive team with the promotion of Michael McAllister to president, Brendan McCracken to executive vice president of corporate development and external relations and Greg Givens to chief operating officer. McAllister joined Encana nearly twenty years ago and previously served as Encana's executive vice president and chief operating officer. He will continue to report to CEO Doug Suttles and will assume leadership responsibilities for operations, exploration and land, marketing and midstream and corporate services. - Encana


Other News

Events For Leaders in
Science, Tech, Innovation, and Policy

Discuss and learn from those in the know at our virtual and in-person events.

See Upcoming Events

Don't miss out - start your free trial today.

Start your FREE trial    Already a member? Log in


By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.