Government of Alberta , 3M, Active Impact Investments , Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Air Liquide , Air Products, AppDirect, Arca, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Aurora College, AVL Fuel Cell Canada, Avmax AirCraft , B.C. Libraries Cooperative , BioNeutra, Boeing, BSA / The Software Alliance, Builtfirst, Calgary District Heating , Canada Infrastructure Bank, Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Energy and Resource Table , Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Federation for Independent Business, Canadian Federation of Municipalities, Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance, Canadian Food Innovation Network, Canadian Forest Products , Canadian Franchise Association, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canadian Pacific Kansas City , Canadian Space Agency, Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, Cascade Institute, Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship , Centre for Canadian Innovation and Competitiveness , Certified B Corp. , City of Edmonton, City of Montreal, CleanBC, Climate Institute of Canada, Cohere, Communitech, Concordia University, Coop Carbone, CoverTree, Dalhousie University, De Havilland, Deep Sky, Department of National Defence, DiveThru, Ecoation Innovation Solutions Inc., École de technologie supérieure, Emissions Reduction Alberta, Énergir, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ernst & Young, FedDev Ontario, Fondation DRG, Founders Pledge’s Climate Change Fund, Fraunhofer Institutes, Glencore Canada Corporation , Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Government of Nova Scotia, Government of Saskatchewan, Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Hockeyology , Hydro-Québec, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, InnovateUK, Invest Ottawa, Investissement Quebec, IVADO, Jetson, Knead Technologies , KPMG Canada, Local Line , London Drugs , Lumo, Maia Farms, Manufacturing USA Institutes, MaRS, McMaster University, MEG Energy, Mitacs, Montreal Climate Partnership, National Space Council , Natural Resources Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, OligomicsTx Inc. , Open North, PacifiCan, Pathways Alliance, Planetary, Plant Up, Prairie Fava, PrairiesCan, Protein Industries Canada, Québec Net Positif, Queen’s University, Red Deer Polytechnic, Rethink Charity Foundation’s RC Forward Climate Change Fund, Roquette, Royal Roads University, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, SaskPower, Simon Fraser University BC Centre for Agritech Innovation, Skygauge Robotics, Skyrenu, Suncor Energy Foundation, Sustainability in the Digital Age, Swift Charge , The Growcer Inc. , ThinkLabs AI, ThisFish, TIESS, Transition en commun, UK High Value Manufacturing Catapults , Universal Hydrogen, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, VINNOVA, Western University, Wood Mackenzie, Xatoms, Zero Point Cryogenics, ZeroAvia, and ZS2 Technologies



The Short Report: May 15, 2024

Research Money
May 15, 2024


The Government of Alberta, through Emissions Reduction Alberta, is making $50 million available to help industries, big and small, develop and commercialize the innovations needed to reduce emissions, diversify the economy and create high-paying jobs. The Industrial Transformation Challenge focuses on scale-up, pilot, demonstration and first-of-their-kind commercial projects for use in the agriculture, forestry, industrial manufacturing, energy and other natural resource sectors. This is the second round of the Industrial Transformation Challenge. Last year, the government and Emissions Reduction Alberta funded 14 projects with the potential to reduce 700,000 tonnes of emissions by 2030. This included funding to help Calgary District Heating demonstrate new heating and thermal energy storage technologies, and Canadian Pacific Kansas City convert diesel-electric locomotives to hydrogen. It also included funding for ZS2 Technologies to transform how cement is made and used, and for Canadian Forest Products to develop new technologies using geothermal energy in forestry operations, among other projects. Successful applicants are eligible for up to $10 million per project, with a minimum request of $500,000. The deadline to apply is June 21. Applicants are invited to visit Emissions Reduction Alberta’s website for more information. Govt. of Alberta

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia together announced funding totalling nearly $254 million to make heat pumps and home energy efficiency upgrades more affordable for British Columbians. The federal government is contributing up to $103.7 million from Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability program. The B.C. government is investing up to $151 million in the initiative. Funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada will be used to provide grants to enable B.C. residents to switch their home heating systems from oil, propane, or natural gas to cleaner heating and cooling options. Funding will also enable building upgrades for low- and middle-income homeowners and tenants through the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, which aims to support low- and middle-income households installing heat pumps and reducing their energy bills. The funding announced today could help low- and middle-income applicants receive a total of up to $24,000 to cover the costs of a heat pump installation, including electrical upgrades. In addition to these increased rebates, successful Oil to Heat Pump Affordability applicants who make the switch from oil heating to an electric heat pump will also receive an upfront, one-time payment of $250 from the federal government. The CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program also provides funding for home upgrades, such as the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors, insulation and ventilation. Environment and Climate Change Canada

The Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan announced funding, through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s Strategic Research Program, of $25 million over five years to support 15 strategic research chairs at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. Funding is focused on supporting crop genetic improvement, livestock development, food and bioproducts development and soils and environment. The chairs are responsible for attracting project funding from programs offered by public and private sectors to support their respective research programs. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Alberta is investing $12.9 million to expand the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) at Red Deer Polytechnic. CIM-TAC is an applied research and innovation centre that gives companies access to state-of-the-art prototyping and manufacturing equipment, along with a multi-disciplinary team with the expertise to turn brilliant ideas into market-ready products. Construction will begin in early 2025 and will increase the centre’s applied research, education and training capacity. The expansion of CIM-TAC, to 25,000 sq ft from 15,000 sq ft, will support a variety of sectors through advanced manufacturing capabilities, including energy innovation, transportation, aviation and agriculture. The centre will also support Red Deer Polytechnic's future expansion into more medical device manufacturing and health care innovations to support both patients and providers. The expanded CIM-TAC will grow to provide work-integrated learning opportunities for an estimated 450 post-secondary students and training through workshops and events to an additional 2,000 students annually by 2030. Additionally, more than 500 junior and senior high school students will take part in dual credit programs at the CIM-TAC. Govt. of Alberta

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced funding of up to $11 million from industrial pollution proceeds for Glencore Canada Corporation to replace diesel-powered machinery with battery electric-powered equipment at the Craig Mine Onaping Depth Project in Ontario. Through the Decarbonization Incentive Program, the government returns a portion of the proceeds collected from the federal pollution price on large industrial emitters to support clean technology projects. Glencore Canada’s fully implemented project will result in a reduction of over 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030. When using diesel-powered machinery in a mine, fresh air must be provided to the workplace by a ventilation system to ensure pollutants from diesel combustion do not build up to harmful levels, and to cool the workplace. This project will reduce GHG emissions and heat generation caused by the diesel-powered equipment, providing workers and surrounding communities with a safer, cleaner and healthier environment. ECCC

The Regina-based Protein Industries Canada global innovation cluster is investing $10.7 million in a $24.5-million project to improve efficiencies, develop new food ingredients and products, and explore new markets for co-products. Industry partners are investing $13.7 million. The partners are Roquette, Prairie Fava, BioNeutra and Plant Up. The companies will work together to address some of the most pressing challenges facing their industry, including increased global competition, and demands from consumer packed goods companies and consumers for taste and ingredient functionality. The consortium will build on their past success with both pea and fava to explore new fava-based ingredients and food products, while creating applications for pea starch and fibre. Roquette, the project lead, will focus on improving the efficiency of pea processing while further exploring the development of new ingredients at their facility in Portage la Prairie, Man. Prairie Fava will work with growers to increase fava bean acres, while working to optimize dehulling technology development for current and new fava varieties. These activities will ensure Prairie Fava is able to supply increasing volumes of dehulled fava splits to Roquette. From the Prairie Fava splits, Roquette will further process the dehulled fava to achieve high-performing fava protein isolates and co-products, diversifying from pea protein isolates and offering new ingredients to the global market. Plant Up will test the fava protein and co-products in their products and will provide Roquette with critical feedback on ingredient functionality and performance in finished food products. Plant Up will also work towards the development of a pea and fava-based alternative chicken whole cut product. This would be the first North American whole cut plant-based chicken offering. Food in Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced more than $5.7 million for the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to promote more diverse crop rotations on farms. The Cropping Systems Cluster, led by CFCRA, will develop the characteristics and practices to encourage diverse crop rotations for soybean, corn and oat. The research aims to reduce business risk for farmers by developing crops that are resilient to climate change and weather stresses, protect against losses caused by diseases and insects, and are profitable for producers overall. This will be achieved by developing oat varieties with improved traits for Eastern and Western Canada, as well as improving soybean varieties for short-season production environments in Canada. Research activities will also explore how diverse crop rotations can play a central role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and how better genetics, land management, and fertilizer use can improve nitrogen use efficiency to protect the environment. AAFC


The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded $5 million in grants over three years to support 13 post-secondary institutions in the development of Earth observation applications that will address climate change, a priority for Canada. Awarded through the CSA’s smartEarth funding initiative, these grants allow academia to be equipped with resources, to collaborate with national and international partners, and to train new highly qualified personnel. A total of 17 projects were selected, involving 144 highly qualified personnel and expected to include 69 students. Examples of projects include: using satellite data to enhance wildfire plume monitoring in Canada; developing a comprehensive mapping and predictive approach for Canada’s kelp beds; and making use of satellite data to advance our understanding of ocean biological carbon pumps of the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. CSA

The City of Edmonton is giving $5 million to 17 organizations in a new program called the Edmonton Edge Fund, aimed at supporting tech and innovation and diversifying the local economy. Grants range from $100,000 to $750,000 in two streams: “Scale and grow” for larger projects and the “Start"” stream for smaller amounts. Zero Point Cryogenics, established in 2017 with expertise from the University of Alberta, is receiving $723,020 to scale up production of dilution refrigerators, used in quantum computing applications. DiveThru, a mental health therapy agency that started as an app, is receiving $750,000 to open two more brick and mortar locations in Edmonton. Several companies are receiving $100,000 in the Start stream, including OligomicsTx Inc. to develop and test a drug delivery technology that treats facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a rare muscle-wasting condition. Swift Charge received $100,000 to manufacture and test the company's electric vehicle fast-charger commercial prototype. Hockeyology received $100,000 to upgrade the company's digital infrastructure as a hockey development and training centre. It's also a sport, rehabilitation and wellness centre for athletes, opening in July at West Edmonton Mall. CBC News

The Government of Nova Scotia is providing $650,000 for Dalhousie University’s Emera ideaHUB. The funds will enable Dalhousie to add a spring cohort to its ideaBUILD program, doubling the number of advanced technology startups for the next three years. Half of the new enrolments will be focused on technologies to advance product development for biomedical engineering. The ideaBUILD program is a rigorous, 10-month program that helps founders take their physical product idea from design to prototype and prepare for manufacturing and scale. It includes workshops and one-on-one sessions focused on designing and building hardware and on business fundamentals for startups. The program provides up to $10,000 to founders to purchase materials and services to build their prototypes. Govt. of Nova Scotia

Canadian universities receive funding for research on small modular nuclear reactors

 The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced $12.7 million in funding over four years to support 15 research projects on small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

These new projects, co-funded by NRCan and NSERC through NSERC’s Alliance grants program, are the result of a partnership between NSERC and NRCan in support of Canada’s Small Modular Reactor Action Plan.

 Researchers at McMaster University received a total of nearly $2.6 million. Joey Kish, a professor in the department of materials science and engineering, and Clara Wren, adjunct assistant professor in the department of engineering physics, were awarded $1.4 million over four years to develop an environmentally friendly laser-based waste management solution for SMRs.

Engineering physics professor Dave Novog received $1.2 million over four years to lead a study focused on evaluating SMR fuel performance and safety. Novog’s research will focus on TRISO fuels, which can withstand extreme high temperatures and provide multiple layers of added protection compared to traditional nuclear reactor fuels.

Queen’s University researcher Laurent Karim Béland (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) was awarded $1.2 million to explore a joint experimental and computational approach to the accelerated qualification of nuclear materials for SMRs.

The overall goal of the project is to develop safer and more efficient SMRs through providing valuable insights into material performance under extreme conditions and a more enhanced scientific understanding of those underlying processes, potentially accelerating the deployment of SMRs by several years.

The NSERC-NRCan partnership also provided $900,000 in funding to Dr. Jerzy Szpunar, PhD, a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Engineering specializing in advanced nuclear materials. He and his team of researchers will use advanced simulations and experiments to evaluate the performance of uranium-based fuels adopted for Canadian SMR technology.

Szpunar’s research will delve into the fuels used to power SMRs, with particular focus on the GE-Hitachi design selected by SaskPower as a potential Saskatchewan SMR and the ARC-100 Clean Energy reactor proposed in New Brunswick.

This research project will allow Szpunar and his team to analyze the performance of fuels and propose modifications of current fuels for both SMR reactors and also explore different fuel options for SMRs in Canada and beyond. NSERC, McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of Saskatchewan


Major business groups want Ottawa to scrap proposed capital gains tax inclusion increase

The federal government’s Budget 2024 proposed increase to the capital gains tax inclusion rate is shortsighted and “sows division at a time when we need a Team Canada approach to economic growth,” say several major business groups.

In an open letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the groups call on the government to commit to scrapping the “ill-advised inclusion rate increase.”

Signatories to the letter included chief executives at: Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Canadian Federation for Independent Business; Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters; Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association; Canadian Franchise Association; and the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

Given Canada’s growing productivity crisis which extends across the economy, supports for businesses like those announced in Budget 2024 [like increasing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to $1.25 million] should be extended equally across sectors and should not be contingent on tax increases, the groups argued.

Under successive governments, our tax system has become a complicated web of carve-outs and caveats, they said. “Our country must end its reliance on tax-and-spend politics, which is undermining innovation and growth to the detriment of both today’s Canadians and future generations.”

Budget 2024 includes measures to increase the taxable portion of capital gains to two-thirds from one-half for corporations and trusts. The change also affects individuals, but only on capital gains earnings more than $250,000. The new rules are set to come into effect June 25.

One in five Canadian companies are likely to be directly impacted over the next 10 years and the effects of this tax hike will be borne by all Canadians, directly or indirectly, according to the business groups.

 “Whether through diminishing the creation of new companies and jobs, reducing the availability of medical practitioners, eroding hard-earned pension returns, altering the delicate risk-reward balance of countless investments, or threatening the retirement plans of millions of Canadians who pinned their plans on the proceeds of selling a family cottage or a small business grown over a lifetime, the effects will ripple from coast to coast to coast,” they said.

If enacted, this change will have significant knock-on impacts, the groups said, including making it harder for Canadians to access medical practitioners, limiting employment opportunities, and making the prospect of starting, growing or succession planning a business more difficult especially for multi-generational businesses such as farms, fisheries and small businesses.

“Put simply, this measure will limit opportunities for all generations and make Canada a less competitive, and less innovative nation. At a time when we are already urgently struggling to reignite our nation’s lagging productivity, increasing taxes on productive investments and throttling Canadian potential will have profound, long-lasting and potentially irreversible repercussions.”

The Liberal government said these added taxes will raise $19.4 billion in revenue over five years to fund spending commitments in housing, health care, defence and scientific research. 

Communitech, along with MaRS and Invest Ottawa, conducted a business founders survey and heard from more than 130 respondents.

The majority (80 per cent) of respondents believe proposed changes to the capital gains tax overshadow any potential benefits of other budget measures, Chris Albinson, president and CEO of Communitech, said in a statement.

While 10 per cent find it fair to align capital gains tax with salary tax rates, and 26 per cent don’t plan to change their strategies, sentiment remains less optimistic, he said. Over half (58 per cent) view the increase as a barrier to innovation and investment, with 23 per cent concerned about its impact on job creation and talent recruitment.

“The current tax change will definitely suck the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Canada dry and push more talent to the United States,” one respondent wrote.

Half of respondents (50 per cent) identified non-business related support, such as housing affordability, as critical to innovation. Nearly 47 per cent called for stronger tax incentives for commercialization and 40 per cent would like to see the government stimulate demand through government procurement.

Only about six per cent of respondents consider Canada the best place to grow a tech company. Founders pointed out some of the advantages of working in the US, such as access to a larger customer base, smart capital with deep pockets, and experienced executives with experience in scaling operations.

Communitech, MaRS and Invest Ottawa said they strongly encourage the government to make a targeted adjustment of the Canadian Entrepreneur Incentive proposed in Budget 2024 and immediately harmonize it with the U.S. Qualified Small Business Stock approach.

“We propose implementing tax credits or refunds for investments in Canadian innovation, alongside increased capital allocation through agencies like EDC and BDC to support early-stage ventures.”

The three innovation hubs also recommended extending preferential capital gains tax rates to all employees holding stock options, with a consideration for grandfathering existing stock option grants under previous capital gains regulations.

Albinson said this targeted adjustment would:

  • allow Canada to remain competitive on talent attraction.
  • ensure Canada remains competitive on risk capital investment.
  • allow for recycling of risk capital.
  • is accretive to company formation, employment growth and tax revenues.
  • maintains Canadian Controlled Private Corporations as the cornerstone of Canadian-owned and retained economic growth and productivity gains. Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Communitech


Mitacs on May 2 laid off 27 full-time employees – about 7.5 per cent of its workforce – in a restructuring of the organization that included realignment across all departments. “This decision was not made lightly. It reflects the need to work within our current funding reality, prepare our organization for the future, and ensure we continue to support our valued business and academic partners in achieving their goals,” Jaqueline Mason, director of communications at Mitacs, said in an email to Research Money. Mitacs – like most if not all 24 organizations – received less funding than in the past in the Strategic Science Fund’s (SSF) first allocation of funding. “The SSF decision wasn’t the catalyst for our restructuring but certainly less funding impacts all aspects of our decision-making as we plan for the future success of our organization,” Mason said. “We remain grateful for the support we received from the SSF and the Government of Canada to continue our work.” She said the restructuring changes will allow Mitacs to enhance the experience of working with the organization – driving efficiency, simplifying processes, and offering partners an exceptional client experience from start to finish. “We believe Mitacs has a bright future ahead and look forward to continuing to provide access to research talent and to playing an important role driving productivity and innovation in Canada.” Mitacs is a nonprofit national research organization that, in partnerships with Canadian academia, private industry and government, operates research and training programs in fields related to industrial and social innovation. R$

University of Alberta (U of A) graduates contribute $250 billion to the global economy every year – roughly the equivalent of the GDP of New Zealand, according to a survey on alumni impact by Ernst & Young. U of A alumni have founded more than 75,000 companies and employ 922,000 people worldwide, the survey found. Together, they have invested $8.7 billion in 59,000 startups and $12.1 billion in 122,000 established businesses varying from health care to arts and entertainment. Seventy-one per cent of graduates work for Alberta-based organizations, according to the survey. Of those, about 922,000 people are employed worldwide by alumni-founded companies, with roughly 560,000 of them in Alberta – more than 22 per cent of the province’s workforce. Graduates employ 220,000 people in the rest of Canada and 141,000 around the rest of the globe. The alumni impact survey shows that every year U of A alumni-founded companies contribute $136.4 billion to the Alberta economy – equal to 41 per cent of Alberta’s GDP. For comparison, Alberta’s top three industries combined – oil and gas, real estate and manufacturing – make up 41.3 per cent of the province’s total GDP. Alumni-founded companies contribute $64.6 billion to the rest of Canada and $48.8 billion to the rest of the world. The alumni impact survey findings follow the U of A economic impact report released in April 2023, which showed that the U of A itself generates $19.4 billion a year for the province’s economy. Combined with the impact of alumni-founded companies in Alberta, the total economic impact of the institution and its grads to the provincial economy is $155.8 billion every year. U of A

The Saskatoon-based Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) and Boeing announced a $17-million investment from the company to advance Indigenous aerospace training and education in Saskatchewan. The funds will support SIIT’s programs, services and operations focusing on the expansion of the Saskatoon Aviation Learning Centre (SALC), including building an avionics lab, to increase training of aircraft maintenance engineers in the province. Boeing’s support for SIIT’s initial creation of the SALC laid the foundation for what has become a long-standing partnership, now further strengthened by this new $17-million investment, SIIT said. Boeing’s new investment in SIIT comes as a result of the Industrial and Technological Benefits stemming from the federal government’s selection of the P-8A Poseidon as part of the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft project. SIIT

The University of Toronto (U of T) is joining forces with France-based Sciences Po, the University of British Columbia and the University of Guelph under the Climate Adaptation, Resilience and Empowerment (CARE) Program to drive cross-cultural graduate student training and faculty exchanges on the urgent issue of climate change. The program is made possible with a five-year, $10.44-million grant from Fondation DRG, which supports meaningful opportunities for cultural exchange between Canada and France. Leveraging the diverse and complementary strengths of the four universities, the CARE Program will prepare and energize the next generation of global environmental leaders and citizens by providing them with the knowledge, skills and experience to generate hands-on solutions addressing the challenges of environmental degradation. Spearheaded by Sciences Po and its Paris School of International Affairs, the program is the first of its kind designed to speed up action on the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution through in-depth academic, policy and leadership training – while remaining carbon neutral. CARE features four components: a multi-campus climate leadership course; interdisciplinary courses run in collaboration between the universities; applied learning, including research projects and policy case competitions both on campus and in the field; and advocacy and communications to maximize impact and to disseminate good practices. Scholarships will support master-level studies in related fields while fellowships will enable student and faculty exchanges. U of T

The Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University received donations over $3 million from three philanthropic founders to establish a first-of-its-kind-in-Canada ultradeep geothermal (UDG) research program. The donors are the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Founders Pledge’s Climate Change Fund, and Rethink Charity Foundation’s RC Forward Climate Change Fund. The research program focuses on deep geothermal systems in hot, dry rock five to 10 kilometers below Earth’s surface. The Cascade Institute will bring together a consortium to develop the test site model; identify and seek out financial resources for the project; provide research and analysis to guide tech companies, investors and the public sector in ultradeep geothermal development; and where appropriate, secure intellectual property rights to promote stakeholder collaboration. The Cascade Institute is a research centre at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., where researchers study high-leverage interventions with the potential to rapidly shift humanity’s course. “There’s enough energy beneath us to power the entire world thousands of times over, indefinitely into the future – enabling any kind of society humanity may want to build,” said Thomas Homer-Dixon, the Cascade Institute’s executive director. Royal Roads University

Aurora College in the Northwest Territories received $602,500 from Suncor Energy Foundation to support the Aurora Research Institute’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (ARI STEM) outreach team for the next four years. The STEM programming includes exposure to traditional sciences such as chemistry and physics, workshops designed to enhance coding and digital literacy, and coding camps. The financial support will help meet the growing demand for STEM education across the Northwest Territories. Programming will focus on youth in small communities, providing educational opportunities that promote the importance of STEM education. Since 2016, the ARI STEM outreach team has delivered hands-on STEM outreach programs and education across 21 communities for youth and adults, primarily operating out of Aurora College’s research centres in Inuvik, Fort Smith and Yellowknife. Auroa College

The Canadian Space Agency provided more details of the new National Space Council announced in Budget 2024. The National Space Council is a multi-level governance structure of ministers and senior government officials (assistant deputy ministers/vice presidents and deputy heads), comprised of members from over 20 departments and agencies across the federal government whose area of responsibility supports and/or benefits from Canada's space capabilities and broad space ecosystem. The National Space Council includes an Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Committee, co-chaired by the CSA and the Department of National Defence, which will report to a deputy heads’ table, culminating with an annual meeting of ministers. The CSA will act as the secretariat for the National Space Council. Existing mandates and authorities of participating departments and agencies will remain unchanged by the establishment of the National Space Council. Stakeholders from across the space sector will be invited to participate in select meetings of the National Space Council at the assistant deputy minister/vice president, deputy head and ministerial level to strategically engage with senior government officials, as well as share their perspectives on opportunities and challenges related to the space ecosystem in Canada. CSA

Concordia University launched a Climate Data Hub for Greater Montreal. The Climate Data Hub will provide a single federated point of access to emissions-related data held by a range of government offices, private companies and academic researchers. Access to comprehensive and granular data is vital to developing effective climate policies and regulations, advocacy campaigns, business decisions, models and scenarios. The Montreal Climate Partnership, which is the Climate Data Hub’s project sponsor, announced the launch of the hub at the 2024 Montreal Climate Summit. Climate Data Hub partners include the City of Montreal, Hydro-Québec, Énergir, Coop Carbone, Open North, École de Technologie Supérieure, Climate Institute of Canada, IVADO, KPMG Canada, Québec Net Positif, Sustainability in the Digital Age, TIESS and Transition en commun. Work on the Climate Data Hub is being led out of the Next-Generation Cities Institute as part of Concordia’s UNIVER/CITY 2030 initiative, created to help Montreal meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Climate Data Hub effort is being led by Jean-Noé Landry, former executive director of Open North and Obama Scholar. The first step in the launch process will be to collect use cases from data holders and data users to determine where shared data can be of the most use in terms of advancing decarbonization efforts in Montreal. “We don’t just want to pool data for the sake of it,” Landry said. “We want purposeful data sharing that enables us to take decisions and spur actions that we haven’t been able or willing to take previously.” Concordia University

Montreal-based carbon capture startup Deep Sky will build its first direct air capture project in Alberta, to capture carbon dioxide directly from ambient air for permanent storage underground. Seismic mapping has already been done in Alberta, which also has legislative protocols established to regulate the permanent underground storage of CO2, Frédéric Lalonde, co-founder and chair of Deep Sky’s board of directors, told La Presse. The pilot site in Alberta is scheduled to launch this year, Lalonde said. Investissement Québec – the financial arm of the Quebec government – contributed $25 million to the $75-million round completed by Deep Sky last fall. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s minister of economy, innovation and energy, said in a statement that Quebec is working on a “regulatory framework to be able to ensure that it benefits from federal tax credits on carbon capture,” and that the subsequent phases of the Deep Sky project will be deployed in Quebec. LaPresse

Three Canadian-headquartered companies are among 20 finalists from more than 1,300 teams selected to compete in the last stage of the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. The four-year global competition is designed to combat climate change by rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle, offering $100 million to innovators who can create and demonstrate solutions that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere or the oceans and sequester it durably and sustainably. The Canadian finalists are Sherbrooke, Quebec-based Skyrenu, Vancouver-based Arca, and Darmouth, N.S.-based Planetary. Skyrenu combines a direct air capture system with a rock carbonation process to treat asbestos mine tailings in order to lock away carbon forever. Arca, which plans to build its demonstration project in Australia, has patented technology that accelerates carbon mineralization in mine tailings and waste rock, creating an industrial-scale carbon dioxide removal solution by activating magnesium silicate minerals to transform ultramafic (igneous rock with extremely low silica composition) mine waste into a massive carbon sink. Planetary, which plans to build its demonstration project in Canada, leverages ocean alkalinity enhancement to enhance the ocean's natural carbon removal capabilities, developing global projects in collaboration with stakeholders and utilizing the ocean carbon platform to qualify alkalinity sources, automate operations, ensure ocean safety, and measure and monetize carbon removal. The 20 finalists, competing for up to $50 million, were selected based upon their performance in three key areas: operations, sustainability, and cost. The finalists demonstrated their ability to execute a substantial demonstration that approaches the competition's goal of removing 1,000 net tonnes of CO2 in the final year of the competition, and a viable pathway to reaching megatonne-scale in the coming years and eventually gigatonne-scale with an understanding of their environmental and social impacts. XPRIZE Foundation

The Government of British Columbia was hit by “sophisticated cybersecurity incidents” involving government networks, Premier David Eby said. “The government is working closely with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and other agencies to determine the extent of the incidents and implement additional measures to safeguard data and information systems. We have also informed the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner,” Eby said in a statement. There is no evidence at this time that sensitive information has been compromised, he said. “However, the investigation is ongoing and we have more work to do to determine what information may have been accessed.” As the investigation proceeds, the government will provide British Columbians with updates and information, Eby said. In other incidents in recent weeks, hackers targeting the B.C. Libraries Cooperative tried to extort payment not to release information about users, while B.C.-based retailer London Drugs was forced to shut its stores for more than a week to deal with a cybersecurity breach. Govt. of B.C.

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) awarded $386,078 to four food technology projects through the CFIN’s Booster Program. Industry will match these funds to create projects valued at $772,154. Funding recipients are:

  • Project Lead: ThisFish (British Columbia)
    Project Title: TallyVision: Automating Seafood Inspection with Computer Vision Technology
    Funding: $99,256

TallyVision is a new product by ThisFish that uses smart cameras and computer vision to automatically inspect seafood in processing plants. The Innovation Booster project aims to integrate TallyVision into sorting and grading equipment and to develop new computer vision models to estimate fish or fillet weights from images, classify salmon fillet colours, and identify new species. The end goal is to use advanced computer vision to improve inspection accuracy and consistency, while automating sorting to reduce labour costs in seafood factories.

  • Project Lead: Knead Technologies (Alberta)
    Project Title: Scaling & Quantifying Food Rescue
    Funding: $96,628

Knead Technologies will launch six-month pilots with nine food sustainability agencies to validate and test their food rescue life-cycle management platform. They aim to refine the product based on pilot feedback, optimize its performance, and build a scalable infrastructure that can handle the demands of the commercial market. The goal is to transform the platform from a promising idea into a community-focused impact driver that can be commercialized worldwide.

  • Project Lead: Skygauge Robotics (Ontario)
    Project Title: Drones for Large Food Processing Tank Inspections
    Funding: $95,237

Skygauge Robotics is using drone technology for ultrasonic inspection of food processing assets. Food processors regularly inspect assets like storage tanks and process piping for integrity. Skygauge’s drones replace the need for manual inspections done by teams on ropes, cranes or scaffolding, which will significantly reduce time, carbon emissions and costs by up to 90 per cent. The funding will help develop a 360-degree inspection capability based on direct customer feedback from early adopters in the food processing industry.

  • Project Lead: Local Line (Ontario)
    Project Title: Local Food Sourcing Network (The Network)
    Funding: $94,957

The Local Food Sourcing Network is a platform that connects national wholesale buyers to local food vendors to enhance the agility and adaptability of the food supply chain. The platform integrates digital procurement solutions for seamless coordination of wholesale sourcing, purchasing, verification, invoicing, payment, monitoring and reporting from various local suppliers. These innovations enable wholesale buyers to scale their local sourcing, diversify suppliers, validate environmental, social and governance commitments and meet growing consumer demand for locally sourced food. By addressing the logistical challenges faced by large businesses like Chipotle and Roche Bros, who are beta users of the platform, the technology can be adapted for different procurement volumes, increasing the availability of local food in Canada and beyond. Food in Canada


Detroit-based insurance technology company CoverTree, which provides services to owners of manufactured homes, raised US$13 million in a Series A round led by Toronto’s Portage, with participation from AV8, Distributed Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, Ludlow Ventures, Annox Capital and more. The funding will enable CoverTree to invest in product development, scale its operations, and attract top talent to continue its mission of reimagining home insurance. The round also marks a pivotal moment for the company, allowing it to expand its product offerings and strengthen its market presence within a historically overlooked market. Insurtech Insights

Vancouver-based climate tech venture capital firm Active Impact Investments and Certified B Corp. announced $7.5 million in seed funding for three startups out of Active Impact’s third $120-million fund. The companies include Lumo, a California-based smart irrigation tech company that helps growers conserve resources, and ThinkLabs AI, a New York-based development and deployment company using AI to optimize electrical grid operations. Both are founded by Canadian CEOs with previous successful exits. The third startup is based in Vancouver, but its name has yet to be disclosed as it’s still in “stealth” mode. However, Active Impact’s website, under its “Fund III” section, lists Vancouver-based Jetson, which offers “a vertically integrated electric heat pump implementation service that removes the exiting barriers of choosing cleaner home heating.” Vancouver Tech Journal

Ottawa-based The Growcer Inc. raised $3 million in a Series A all-equity round led by strategic investors Modern Niagara, Jeff Westeinde, and former Farm Boy co-CEO Jeff York. The company enables anyone to grow food year-round with its modular vertical farms. Growcer said it will leverage this capital injection to accelerate its growth trajectory, expand its market reach into more regions such as the northeast U.S., and enhance its product offerings beyond leafy greens and modular structures. The company said that to date, there are over 80 Growcer farms across the country growing more than 10 million servings annually of local, nutritious greens from coast to coast to coast. Customers include retailers, entrepreneurs, and schools, as well as rural, remote and Indigenous communities. The Growcer

Vancouver-based food-tech company Maia Farms secured over $2 million in a pre-seed round of private capital and matching grant funding. Private financing was led by Joyful Ventures in California, PIC Group from Saskatchewan, and Koan Capital out of Alberta, alongside investments from angels within the Creative Destruction Lab ecosystem. In April, Maia’s CanPro technology, a sustainable protein ingredient made with mushroom and mycelium-based protein ingredients, was the co-winner (with Ecoation Innovation Solutions Inc.) of the Deep Space Food Challenge, hosted by the Canadian Space Agency. Maia Farms has also received grant funding from five institutions: the Canadian Food Innovation Network, the National Research Council of Canada, The Simon Fraser University BC Centre for Agritech Innovation, MITACS, and the Canadian Space Agency. Maia plans to accelerate research and development activities, scale up operations, and further its reach for its CanPro product line. Techcouver

Canadian-founded B2B commerce platform AppDirect is acquiring fellow San Francisco-based marketplace-building platform Builtfirst for an undisclosed amount. AppDirect said adding the Builtfirst platform into AppDirect’s suite of solutions further expands the company’s ability to help companies of all sizes with their marketplace needs, becoming the single source destination for marketplaces. AppDirect, which has offices in Montreal and Calgary, provides software designed to simplify how companies buy, sell, and manage recurring tech services. AppDirect


Canada needs a productivity commission – but not like Australia’s, think-tank says

Canada should establish a productivity commission to address the country’s lagging productivity. But it shouldn’t emulate Australia’s model as some – including former finance minister Bill Morneau – have suggested, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C.-based policy think tank.

Australia’s productivity commission model is driven by an “orthodox neoclassical economics doctrine” that largely ignores the real drivers of national productivity: firm structure, behavior and technology, Robert Atkinson, president of ITIF), wrote in a commentary.

Mainstream neoclassical economists, especially in Anglosphere economies, study the overall economy, markets, and prices, “but by and large ignore the processes by which entrepreneurs, firms and industries boost productivity,” he said.

Any Canadian productivity commission should be staffed and governed not by economists, but by “productionists,” Atkinson argued.

Productionists have a deep understanding of firm, industry and technology dynamics. Some countries, such as Finland, Israel, Korea, Singapore, Sweden and Taiwan, rely more on productionists for productivity and innovation policy guidance, he said.

“Canada needs to the do the same.” Economists will still need to still play the lead role in overall macroeconomic policy, but solving Canada’s productivity crisis requires productionists to lead the conversation and bring new disciplines to the table, Atkinson said.

In response in part to lagging productivity, the Australian government formed its productivity commission in 1998. While it has done considerable analysis of the state of Australian productivity, it has done surprisingly little work to understand how to actually get organizations to boost productivity, Atkinson said.

Instead, the commission’s focus has been on related but tangential issues like tariffs, income inequality, public transport pricing, SME growth, education, retirement policy, rental housing availability, tourism policy, and increasingly social policy and redistribution issues.

In large part, this is because most of the commission’s leadership and staff have a background in traditional economics, which largely ignores enterprise issues and increasingly focuses on redistribution and fairness rather than growth, Atkinson said.

He maintained that economists largely leave questions of productivity to the market and provide little usable advice to policymakers in search of an effective productivity strategy, other than to support broad inputs into firms (e.g., more years of schooling) or ensure proper framework conditions (smart regulation, lower taxes, etc.).

Atkinson cited Canadian economist Don Drummond, the Stauffer-Dunning Fellow in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, who argues that a “research agenda with a focus on firm behavior from a micro approach is needed to obtain a deeper understanding of Canada’s terrible productivity record and to develop actions to boost productivity growth.”

Atkinson also quotes Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps, who wrote that “standard economics offers no inkling of what policy initiatives might solve the stagnation of productivity and wages . . . Their models were conceived to show how short-term fiscal interventions could shave off peaks and troughs of a short cycle around a rising trend path – not to address a sea change in dynamism bringing stagnation.”

A productionist approach is grounded in understanding that productivity is less about markets and more about organizations and systems – in particular, about how organizations develop and utilize technology and work organization to drive productivity. 

Productionists hail from a variety of disciplines, including business administration, urban and regional planning, engineering, public policy and even economics. The key is less about what their degree is in, and more about their theories, methods, and knowledge, Atkinson said.

“By establishing a productionist-focused productivity commission, Canada could be a global policy leader, while also taking a key first step to revive its lagging productivity growth,” he said.

Roy Green,  emeritus professor and special innovation advisor at the University of Technology Sydney, in another commentary for the ITIF’s recently launched Ottawa-based Centre for Canadian Innovation and Competitiveness, pointed out that both Canada's and Australia’s share of advanced industry output, compared with the advanced industry output of the global economy, has declined, based on the ITIF’s Hamilton Index.

R&D spending is relatively low in both countries, at around 1.7 per cent of GDP, compared with an OECD average of 2.8 per cent and with R&D leaders like Korea, Israel and Switzerland approaching five per cent.

“And the hollowing-out of manufacturing capability, which drives the research and skills ecosystems of most developed economies, has worsened an already poor record for converting ideas into new products and processes," Green said.

On the Australian Productivity Commission’s watch, “productivity growth in Australia over the last two decades is at its lowest for years, with accompanying real wage stagnation,” he noted. 

Nor is the Commission averse to subsidies, provided they suit its version of comparative advantage, which privileges the export of unprocessed raw materials over more complex, value-adding activities, he said.

 For example, Australia’s diesel fuel tax rebate, which is accessed predominantly by a handful of international mining companies, costs the taxpayer $7.9 billion a year – more than half the entire Commonwealth spend on research and innovation, Green said.

Australia’s federal government is led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the Australian Labour Party.

Green said the Albanese government’s Future Made in Australia initiative is the first step in a coordinated “whole of government” approach to enabling competitive advantage in a new, higher value adding growth market for entrepreneurial Australian firms.

The initiative will require close collaboration by industry with research and education institutions, which can and do play a major part in lifting innovation and enterprise capability, Green said. “This approach also calls for a central institutional focus in the design and implementation of a mission-led industrial strategy, with national missions validated by regular technology foresighting.”

Examples of such a focus include Vinnova in Sweden and InnovateUK, whose impact may be enhanced by a tripartite structure involving both industry and unions.

There is also scope in both Canada and Australia for a more ambitious approach to public procurement, skills upgrading and the development of place-based innovation ecosystems, Green said. The design of these ecosystems can draw upon international experience, in particular the German Fraunhofer Institutes, UK High Value Manufacturing Catapults and the Manufacturing USA Institutes.

Said Green: “There is now broad recognition around the world that government must play an active role in building a more competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy, particularly with increasingly interconnected productivity and climate challenges.” ITIF


Canada making good progress on Hydrogen Strategy: report

Approximately 80 low-carbon hydrogen production projects have been announced, are under construction or under development across Canada, according to a progress report on the federal government’s 2020 Hydrogen Strategy.

This represents an expression of interest of more than $100 billion in investment, and amounts to a potential production capacity of more than five megatonnes of hydrogen per year, says the report from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

Eight hydrogen hubs have been formed or are forming, such as in Edmonton, Vancouver and Southern Ontario, to match low-carbon hydrogen supply with demand. There are now six provincial hydrogen strategies.

“In the few years since the strategy was released, there has been a surge in hydrogen research, project announcements, policies and international agreements,” the report says.

About 8,000 people from around the world attended the third annual Canadian Hydrogen Convention, held April 29 to May 1 in Edmonton. To kick off the convention, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced $57 million for 28 projects in the hydrogen industry in the province.

According to NRCan’s report, Canada has signed 12 international agreements on hydrogen and 23 export projects have been announced. Thirteen hydrogen project partnerships include Indigenous participation.

Seven truck and bus projects using hydrogen are underway across Canada, as are four train projects. Eight hydrogen refuelling stations are operating and 21 have been announced.

In Ontario, 3,600 households are currently serviced by hydrogen-natural gas blends, as are 2,100 customers in Alberta, the report says.

Revenues of Canadian hydrogen sector companies totalled $527 million in 2021.

The federal government has committed a total of $17.7 billion in investment tax credits across numerous programs to produce clean hydrogen, including the federal Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit announced in the 2022 Fall Economic Statement.

Ottawa said it’s targeting to introduce the legislation for the tax credit in Parliament in early 2024. However, the House of Commons is scheduled to stop sitting for the summer on June 21.

The federal Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit or the Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit offers a credit of up to 30 per cent on electricity-generation systems, such as wind or solar, that could be used to produce “green” hydrogen through electrolysis of water.

The federal Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit offers a credit of up to 30 per cent for new machinery to manufacture technologies, including electrolysers for clean hydrogen production.

In addition, the Investment Tax Credit for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage offers a 37.5-per-cent to 60-per-cent credit on the equipment necessary to capture, transport and store carbon emissions, benefitting facilities producing hydrogen from natural gas.

Under the federal Clean Fuels Fund, the government as of October 2023 had selected about 10 hydrogen projects that will receive support totalling more than $300 million.

The Strategic Innovation Fund has announced funding for two hydrogen projects: $300 million for the Air Products Net-Zero Hydrogen Energy Complex in Edmonton; and $15 million for AVL Fuel Cell Canada’s global hydrogen fuel cell R&D facility in Burnaby, B.C.

The Canada Growth Fund, announced in the Fall 2022 Economic Statement, is a $15-billion fund designed to offset some of the risks that may deter private capital from flowing into clean energy and technology. One of the fund’s strategic objectives is to accelerate the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) launched a $500-million Charging and Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure Initiative to help remove barriers to the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. The CIB will provide $277 million in financing to the Varennes, Quebec biorefinery and hydrogen electrolysis project.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) provides $680 million in funding to owners/operators of zero-emission infrastructure, delivery organizations, and Indigenous organizations to deploy electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen refuelling stations in Canada. ZEVIP targets the deployment of 30 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2029.

In addition to that funding and those incentives, the federal government provides a suite of programs to accelerate zero-emission transportation, providing funding for the deployment of hydrogen solutions. These programs include:

  • The Zero Emission Transit Fund provides $2.75 billion in funding to public transit and school bus operators in Canada to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses.
  • The $550-million Incentives for Medium and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicles provides up to $200,000 per vehicle for businesses and communities across the country that make the switch to medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles.
  • The Zero-Emission Trucking Program will use $75 million in funding to accelerate the safe deployment of medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles.
  • The Canadian Federation of Municipalities’ $1-billion Green Municipal Fund can fund grants of up to $500,000 to municipalities for zero-emission vehicles and alternative fuel fleet conversion pilot projects.

Funding is also available from Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, including PacifiCan, PrairiesCan, FedDev Ontario and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Canada’s regional development agencies have provided over $30 million to date for various hydrogen opportunities, including hub development plans and electrolyser manufacturing facilities.

The federal Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR), released in mid-2022, has established a credit market for regulated producers and importers. Credits are proportional to the carbon intensity of the hydrogen used. These uses can create CFR credits:

  • Hydrogen used as a fuel or feedstock in the production of liquid fossil fuels.
  • Hydrogen used as a fuel or feedstock at a low-carbon-intensity fuel production facility.
  • Hydrogen used as a fuel in stationary applications (for example, hydrogen injected in natural gas pipelines).
  • This use of hydrogen creates gaseous credits, which can only be used by regulated parties to satisfy up to 10% of their annual obligation.
  • Hydrogen supplied for use in transportation (for example, refuelling hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles).

On the international front, Canada has hydrogen agreements with several countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, U.S., South Korea, Japan and the European Union. “Third party analysis by consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, verifies that Canada has already established itself as a leading market for low-carbon hydrogen exports, backed by one of the most advanced states of hydrogen policy readiness,” according to the progress report.

There are now 13 low-carbon hydrogen production facilities in operation in Canada, comprising six electrolytic facilities and seven projects that have adopted carbon capture to lower the emissions of traditionally carbon-intensive hydrogen production.

The Air Liquide 20-megawatt electrolyser in Bécancour, Quebec began operating in 2021, and was the largest electrolyser plant in the world at that time.

Hydrogen refuelling networks are developing in British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, which will enable more widespread fuel cell electric vehicle adoption, including in commercial applications.

In aviation, De Havilland and ZeroAvia signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 to collaborate on a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Dash 8 aircraft. Calgary-based Avmax AirCraft ordered 20 turboprop regional hydrogen aircraft and fuel from Universal Hydrogen.

As for the new codes and standards required for hydrogen, the federal government committed $50 million from 2021 to 2026 to support enabling the research and development of new codes and standards. The Hydrogen Strategy includes a Codes and Standards Working Group that will complete a Codes and Standards Road Map in 2024.

According to the progress report, Canada is on target for 13 of the 32 recommendations in the Hydrogen Strategy, is progressing on 16, and progress on three recommendations has been limited. “Progress on awareness recommendations and actions, such as awareness campaigns or development of tools and resources to help quantitatively evaluate hydrogen as an option, was limited.”

The results of six different modelling systems and their projected scenarios of low-carbon hydrogen’s role in net-zero by 2050 show:

  • Overall, up to 18 per cent of Canada’s total energy use could be provided by low-carbon hydrogen by 2050. Most projections fall in the range of 3 per cent to 12 per cent.
  • Most scenarios project low-carbon hydrogen to be a viable and economical decarbonization option in hard-to-abate sectors such as medium and heavy-duty transportation (trucks, buses) or heavy industry (refining, petrochemicals, steel). Hydrogen used in transport could range from 12 per cent to 35 per cent of the sector’s energy use in 2050, and up to 18 per cent of energy consumption in industry.
  • The majority of scenarios project total low-carbon hydrogen production to range from 6 to 20 million tonnes per year, but the models vary in projecting whether this production would generally come from electrolysis, natural gas with carbon capture. or biomass with carbon capture.
  • Exports of hydrogen could play a large role in spurring sector growth, with the scenarios focused on estimating potential exports projecting the highest levels of potential jobs and economic benefits.
  • Few of the modelling initiatives were expressly designed to estimate emissions reductions from low-carbon hydrogen uptake. The overall range of emission reduction results in 2050 was from 17 Mt to 69 Mt in domestic reductions (or up to 109 Mt in global reductions when considering exports).

The progress report identified several strategic priorities to guide collective actions during the Hydrogen Strategy’s next reporting period (2024 to 2026), including:

  • De-risk high-impact production projects of low-carbon hydrogen.
  • Achieve scalable hydrogen hubs and strategic corridors, targeting end-uses with greatest potential. In 2024, Canada will begin developing a hubs and corridors strategy that will analyze the most promising areas and regions for investment in hydrogen hubs and corridors.
  • Continue to develop codes and standards.
  • Increase public awareness of the potential of hydrogen, and improve market data, expertise, projections, analysis and knowledge of low-carbon hydrogen.

“Governments, academia and industry need to actively raise awareness to facilitate public acceptance of low-carbon hydrogen, especially in the areas identified as strategic priorities such as de-risking production, end use and hubs projects,” the report says.

A new Statistics Canada survey will report on low-carbon hydrogen and be available by 2025.

The report suggests establishing a “regular virtual hydrogen energy forum” bringing together hydrogen stakeholders, where recent strategic priorities established in the progress report could be discussed and working groups could report progress or key findings from studies. Natural Resources Canada


Inclusion of Indigenous observations, knowledge systems and lived experiences is crucial to address climate change impacts

Indigenous Peoples have unique strengths for responding to environmental and climate changes, even though climate change is one of many crises that First Nations, Inuit and Métis face, according to a report by Indigenous scholars and community leaders. Contributors to the report include Indigenous academics, students, women, men, harvesters and youth from across the country.

To effectively address the impacts of climate change, it’s crucial to include Indigenous observations, knowledge systems and diverse lived experiences, especially those of gender-diverse individuals, women and youth, in all aspects of climate change research, strategies and decision-making processes, the report says.

Titled “For Our Future: Indigenous Resilience Report,” the report is the first stand-alone report that discusses climate change impacts, experiences and approaches to climate change from the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis “living in what is currently known as Canada.”

Food sovereignty is at the heart of First Nation, Inuit and Métis cultures, and the nexus of food, water and energy sovereignty is a key priority for First Nations, Inuit and Métis, the report says. “The revitalization of meaningful Indigenous economies based on relationships with the Land, Water and Ice are central to this redistribution and to Indigenous-led climate action.”

Self-determination and governance are key rights and aspirations for First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the face of climate change, the report notes. “We must recognize and address how the impacts of climate change affect our ability to determine our own futures, govern ourselves and adapt our governance structures to the impacts of climate change.”

Climate change must be seen as “intimately connected to the ideologies, systems and practices of colonialism” and the dynamics of “intensified forms of patriarchy, western scientific imperialism and aggressive neo-liberalism that marginalize Indigenous Knowledge and practices as relevant only to the Indigenous Peoples who hold them,” according to the report.

Without analyzing historical and ongoing colonialism, we risk perpetuating approaches that continue to fail, the report says. “Most mainstream assessments of climate change and the natural environment overlook colonialism in their analyses.”

When it comes to specific problems related to climate change, drinking water systems in First Nations are often already in poor condition, heightening their risk of failure in the face of climate change. A national assessment of First Nations water and wastewater systems conducted in 2011 found that of the 807 water systems serving 560 First Nations, 314 (39 per cent) were categorized as having high overall risk, 278 (34 per cent) as having medium overall risk and only 215 (27 per cent) as having low overall risk.

 “A number of Government of Canada commitments to ending drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities have failed to reach their targets for more than three decades,” the report says.

 In energy, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities are increasingly taking a leadership role in clean energy initiatives, currently leading a total of 204 projects greater than one megawatt across Canada. Since 2017, the number of medium and large Indigenous clean energy projects (over one megawatt) has grown by 29.6 per cent.

 The report makes several suggestions about future Indigenous-led climate-related work, including:

  • Stronger consideration of gender, especially the knowledge, perspectives and experiences of Indigenous women, non-binary and 2SLGBTQQIA+ in climate research, assessments and actions, including projects led by Indigenous governments.
  • Support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations to lead their own climate change assessments and strategies in order to develop their own evidence-base for making climate-informed decisions. This includes respect for Indigenous data sovereignty in line with their respective policies and protocols.
  • A commitment to uplift Indigenous worldviews that respect all our relations in all aspects of climate-related research.
  • Indigenous-led analysis on emerging concepts and discussions within climate discourse, such as net-zero, nature-based approaches and carbon offsets, in order to position First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations as leaders, as well as to avoid the misinterpretation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems.
  • Indigenous-led research on the development and exploration of new funding models that are available directly to First Nations, Inuit and Métis at all levels to develop and lead Indigenous-led research.
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis developed theories around the necessity of access to healthy Land, Waters and Ice, especially for youth. We must articulate the ways that this is essential for fundamental health and wellness.
  • Exploration of the required steps to decolonize climate research, assessments and actions to open space for First Nations, Inuit and Métis to advance our own climate governance and policy.
  • Additional research on the intersections between Indigenous law, governance and climate change. Natural Resources Canada


Federal and Newfoundland governments release framework to collaborate on the path to net zero

The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, alongside Indigenous groups and industry partners, released a framework for collaboration on the path to net zero.

The Collaborative Framework was produced by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Energy and Resource Table (NL Regional Table), one of nine regional tables the federal government has established to date with provinces and territories.

The framework identifies four areas of economic opportunity to prioritize in a net-zero future: critical minerals; wind and hydrogen development; electrification; and carbon capture, utilization and storage.

According to one study, the development of a hydrogen-producing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador could lead to a sector valued at $11 billion per year by 2050, although further work is needed to confirm the economic potential.

The framework is supported with federal investments totalling over $2.5 million to make progress toward the two governments' shared commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

In addition, the framework proposes to significantly expand and deepen provincewide engagement on climate action through the NL Regional Table.

Central to the Collaboration Framework is an acknowledgment that the integration of Indigenous perspectives is critical to realizing a low-carbon economy that is grounded in respect, recognition and reconciliation. This approach also aligns with Canada's adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Key goals agreed upon by Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador include:

  • Advancing opportunities for self-determination and Indigenous economic inclusion in the emerging clean energy and resource sectors.
  • Maximizing Newfoundland and Labrador’s renewable energy resources, including wind for traditional and emerging domestic and export markets (e.g., hydrogen and other clean fuels) and services, and contributing to the global energy transition.
  • Sustainably developing the province’s renewable energy and mineral resources to attract investment and expertise, create employment and maximize value throughout the supply chain development.
  • Positioning Newfoundland and Labrador as a leader in the transition to a net-zero future to attract investments and expertise, while being mindful of environmental impacts.
  • Leveraging Newfoundland and Labrador's existing skilled workforce to help transform existing industries and advance new ones. Natural Resources Canada

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities         

Western University engineering professor Martha Dagnew is one of three women scientists across the country  named to the 3M 25 Women in Science Program, the first time it has recognized recipients in Canada. Dagnew, a civil and environmental engineer who leads the Biofilm Engineering and Wastewater Resource Recovery Laboratory at Western, joins a cohort of global scientists whose innovative work is transforming the landscape of environmental sustainability. 3M has honoured women scientists in Latin America for the last three years, with 2024 marking the inaugural year in Canada. Dagnew looks at a few specific substances impacting water quality, including nutrient overloads that encourage the growth of algae and a group of what’s called “emerging contaminants,” such as microplastics and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which are long-lasting chemicals that break down very slowly. Her groundbreaking research helps to protect water sources in the face of some of their gravest threats, such as climate change, growing urban populations and emerging contaminants from industrialization. Western University

Derek Evans, former president and CEO of oilsands producer MEG Energy, was appointed executive chair of Pathways Alliance, the consortium of six oilsands companies proposing a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage network in northern Alberta. Evans takes this role following his tenure as president and CEO of MEG Energy, where he was closely involved in Pathways Alliance, serving on the steering committee and at the CEO table. As executive chair, his main responsibilities are: to provide strategic leadership to the executive team and steering committee; lead high-level external stakeholder engagement, including collaborations with the federal and provincial governments; and support the strategic execution of the Pathways members’ plan to reach net-zero emissions (scopes 1 and 2 emissions) from their oilsands operations by 2050. Pathways Alliance

The Government of Alberta has established the Oil Sands Mine Water Steering Committee, aimed at speeding up the reclamation of oilsands tailings ponds. The expert committee will study potential policies and measures for and suggest options that would best allow for reclamation to occur as quickly and safely as possible. The provincial government will use the committee’s work to create an accelerated plan to reclaim the water in oilsands tailing ponds and eventually return the land for use by future generations. The steering committee is expected to evaluate a wide range of options for addressing oilsands mine water and reclaiming tailings ponds in an accelerated timeframe. The committee will review all relevant research and engage with communities, industry and governments to ensure that many perspectives and potential solutions are considered. More information will be shared in the coming months on how the public can submit technical information. The members of the committee are:

  • Chief Jim Boucher, president, Saa Dene Group of Companies, former chief of Fort McKay First Nation.
  • Mohamed Gamal El-Din, PhD, engineering research chair and director of the Water Research Centre at the University of Alberta.
  • Andrea Larson, researcher and retired Alberta Energy Regulator employee with experience in oilsands mining.
  • Alan Reid, retired oil and gas executive with experience with the Pathways Alliance, Cenovus Energy and others.
  • Lorne Taylor, PhD, former chair of Alberta Water Research Institute, former chair of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency, and former provincial minister of Science, Research and Information Technology; Innovation and Science; and Environment.
  • Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. of Alberta

Toronto-based AI startup Cohere has joined BSA / The Software Alliance, with Kosta Starostin, Cohere’s director of legal, joining BSA’s board of directors. The Washington, D.C.-based BASA / The Software Alliance is the leading global trade association representating the enterprise software industry and other business-facing digital services before governments and in the international marketplace. BSA / The Software Alliance

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) launched its new student entrepreneurship hub at an official grand opening event. Named in honour of UPEI’s former chancellor, the Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship was made possible through a $2.25 million gift from the River Philip Foundation, a contribution of $372,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, a further $372,000 from Innovation PEI, and a $100,000 donation from the Credit Unions of PEI. The Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship will build upon and coordinate existing activities in individual faculties and coordinate and make entrepreneurship more broadly accessible and visible to students across all faculties and disciplines at UPEI. The Centre, in partnership with the UPEI Experiential Education department, will also create new entrepreneurial-oriented experiential learning opportunities. Amy Andrews, who joined the university last year as the new manager of entrepreneurship,  will oversee the Centre. UPEI

University of Toronto (U of T) entrepreneur Diana Virgovicova, who studied computer engineering at U of T, has founded Xatoms,  a startup using quantum computing and AI to discover water-purifying molecules in an effort to solve a long-standing global health problem. Most existing photocatalytic substances require ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but the structure that Virgovicova modelled works when exposed to simple visible light. “What I did was to remove this necessity of having an expensive UV reactor by modelling structures which would work when exposed to radiation from the sun,” she said. In March, Xatoms took home the top prizes for early-stage startups at the Desjardins Startup Prize and Pitch With a Twist competitions at U of T’s annual Entrepreneurship Week. A few days later, the company was selected for the inaugural Compute for Climate Fellowship awarded by the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence, an organization backed by Amazon Web Services and UNESCO. Virgovicova’s growing list of accolades also includes being selected for the NEXT 36 entrepreneurship program, the 776 Climate Fellowship, and a Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Xatoms now comprises a three-person team that includes co-founder and chief technology officer Kerem Topal Ismail Oglou, a computer engineering student at U of T, and chief operations officer Shirley Zhong, a Western University student. The goal is to create two product lines: an industrial water-treatment powder that can eliminate viruses, pesticides and bacteria, and a portable water filter for consumer use. To that end, the company is collaborating with Alexandra Tavasoli, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia, to synthesize photocatalytic molecules in the lab – a process that Virgovicova estimates will take several months. Xatoms is also pursuing partnerships with water treatment organizations in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and India, and working with foundations in the U.K. and the Netherlands. U of T

Dr. Charlene Elliott, PhD, a professor with the University of Calgary’s (UCalgary) Faculty of Arts, and a UCalgary alumnus, is leading a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded project to uncover how food marketers are trying to appeal to teen audiences. Elliott and her research team have developed an app titled GrabFM! (Grab Food Marketing) that allows teenagers to capture examples of teen-targeted food marketing they come across. Teens aged 13 to 17 participating in the study use the app for a week, uploading all examples of teen-targeted food advertising they encounter, including the product advertised, the platform it was on and what was appealing within the ad. “By engaging teenagers in the research process, we get unique insight into the food marketing they see and what teens find persuasive within the specific ads that target them,” Elliott said. Food marketing to teens is elusive due to distinctly curated social media algorithms and their age range. The direct collection of data by teenagers gives an accurate depiction of what advertisements are being marketed to their age group, and what ads are registering with the teens. The research is in its third round of data collection with teenagers, and each round provides a snapshot of what teens in Canada are seeing, and how it’s changing over time. So far, the study has found that coffee and fast-food brands consistently are the top ads captured by teenagers, while Instagram is the top platform when it comes to teen-targeted marketing. In the last round of data collection, participating teenagers uploaded more than 400 unique food brands and food-related services. UCalgary




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