Eavor Technologies , Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT) , Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada , Advantage Energy Ltd., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, AI Partnerships Corporation , Alberta Ecotrust, Alberta Energy Regulator, Algoma University, alterBiota Inc. , Arctic Buying Company (Kivalliq), Askiy Hemp Limited Partnership , Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Atlantic First Nations Water Authority , Aux Labs , Axelys, BioIntelligence Technologies Inc. , BIOQuébec, Bowhead Corporation, Calgary Foundation, Calgary Health Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), Canadian Archeological Association Working Group on Unmarked Graves, Canadian Climate Institute, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Canadian Space Agency, Capital Power, CDW Canada, City of Calgary, CQDM, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Dalhousie University, Denendeh Exploration and Mining Company Ltd. , Edmonton Unlimited, Entropy Inc, Environment and Climate Change Canada, erthos, European Investment Bank, Frog Lake First Nations , Genesis, Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, GIT Coatings, GoodLeaf Farms, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Government of Quebec, Government of Saskatchewan, Green Economy Calgary, Harbour Air, Hoffman-La Roche Limited, IDC Canada, Indigenous Cloud Network, Infrastructure Canada, Inneo, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Jewish General Hospital Foundation , lobal Water Futures Observatories (GWFO) Network, Logistik Unicorp, magniX, Manitoba Métis Federation – Government of the Red River Métis, Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, McGill University, McMaster University, Médicament Québec, Memorial University, Metaspectral, Natural Products Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Neptune Nanotechnologies, Netskrt Systems Inc. , Ontario Genomics, Ottawa Hospital, Pembina Institute, Photonic Inc., Pinegrove Capital Partners, Potential Motors Inc. , Prairies Economic Development Canada, Profound Impact Corporation , Public Services and Procurement Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery, RBC, Research Canada, Rideau Hall Foundation, RNA Québec, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Save da Sea , Simon Fraser University, SpectraCan, Springboard Atlantic, State of Florida , SVB Capital, SVB Financial Group, TD Bank Group, Teralys Capital, Toronto Metropolitan University, TransAlta Corp. , Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat , Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick, University of Ottawa, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, Upside Foods, Visual Capitalist, Wayve Technologies Ltd. , Wilfrid Laurier University, and XPRIZE foundation


AI-powered researcher-to-funding matching platform, Alberta funding to address women's health concerns, autonomous driving technology, Canada National Inventory Report on emissions, Canada-wide monitoring of freshwater systems, Canadian companies IT budgets and cybersecurity, cleaning contaminated sites in Canada, electric-powered passenger aircraft, emerging fintechs and cybersecurity startups , federal funding for biomedical and biosciences research and infrastructure, federal purchasing power not used to "green" construction materials, federal support for industries in Atlantic Canada , federal support for IP awareness in Indigenous organizations and universities , funding approval delays in federal agriculture climate programs, geothermal technology, Green Economy Calgary hub, impact of wind power projects on land footprint, improving bioreactors' performance, Indigenous-led drinking water treatment, Indigenous-led mining development, industrial hemp processing, industrial vertical farming , laboratory-grown meat (cultivated meat), large CCS project cancelled in Alberta, management problems with Net Zero Accelerator, new project in Quebec in RNA-based therapies, new therapies for diabetic kidney disease, ninth annual Governor General’s Innovation Awards, Ontario's Summer Company program for student entrepreneurs, passenger rail service in Alberta, plant-based seafood, provincial cooperation on developing new nuclear power, reducing carbon footprint of concrete, Research Canada Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award, space industry leasing David Florida Laboratory, support for natural products, technology to improve streaming video quality, terrain perception technology for vehicles, top global electricity-consuming data centre markets, uOttawa Advanced Medical Research Centre, wildfire space-based detection and intelligence, and wind power farm cancelled in Alberta

The Short Report: May 8, 2024

Research Money
May 8, 2024


The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat announced nearly $574 million in funding for 19 projects at 14 research institutions across Canada, through Stage 2 of the integrated Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) competition. Through these investments in research, talent and infrastructure projects, Canadians will have access to made-in-Canada vaccines, therapeutics and other life-saving medicines and innovations. This will help strengthen the resilience of Canada’s life sciences sector by supporting leading Canadian research in innovative technologies that keep us safe and boost our economy, the federal government said. Each of the 19 projects is endorsed by one of the five research hubs that were established in Stage 1 of the CBRF-BRIF competition. These hubs  are located at Université de Montréal,  University of Toronto, University of Ottawa (co-led by McMaster University), University of Alberta, and University of British Columbia. The hubs combine the strengths of Canada’s postsecondary institutions and research hospitals, industry and the not-for-profit sector to jointly improve health emergency preparedness and the overall health and well-being of Canadians. In addition, the hubs will help accelerate the translation of promising research into commercially viable products and processes. Projects receiving funding aim to:

  • enhance antibody discovery and therapeutics production.
  • develop and optimize self-amplifying RNA vaccines.
  • establish better rapid diagnostic tools that can identify emerging pathogens.
  • leverage artificial intelligence and other technologies to study how bacteria react to chemicals, with the goal of developing new antibiotics.
  • establish a leading, national maternal-child health resource for disease surveillance and pandemic preparedness.

The funding is from $2.2 billion previously committed under Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) said in a statement that the funding includes more than $360 million in funding, through the CFI’s Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund, for 14 infrastructure projects. Projects receiving funding under BRIF will contribute to:

  • building Canada’s capacity to identify and monitor pathogens through new technologies and improved processes.
  • identifying and addressing bottlenecks and gaps to ensure the country’s biomanufacturing processes are reliable, scalable and adaptable.
  • strengthening our collaborative biomanufacturing ecosystem while providing hands-on training across a range of career trajectories and stages.
  • researching and developing new vaccines, antibiotics and immune-based therapeutics.
  • improving diagnostic testing, including working with marginalized communities to address diagnostic gaps.
  • preparing policy and practice to increase public trust in, and access to, safe and effective vaccines and other bioscience innovations.

The funding also includes $59 million for the Ottawa Hospital, including $49 million to support construction of a world-class biomanufacturing facility at the hospital. The remaining funding will be used to enable harmonization and cooperation across six biomanufacturing facilities. The hospital's funding is part of a $115 million investment from the Government of Canada in the Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H), co-led by the University of Ottawa and McMaster University, in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital.  By strengthening research capacity and leveraging collaborations across the entire biomanufacturing ecosystem, Canada will be better prepared to face future pandemics, the government said. Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat

The Government of Quebec announced $20.3 million in financial assistance to the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), a biopharmaceutical research consortium. The funding, granted as part of the 2022-2025 Québec Life Sciences Strategy, aims to support implementation of a mobilizing project that will develop a new industrial sector in the field of ribonucleic acid (RNA)-based therapies. Valued at nearly $37.9 million, this project will strengthen Québec's life sciences ecosystem and stimulate innovation by deploying new services, improving current industrial capacities and attracting innovative companies in the RNA sector, the Quebec government said. The project also aims to train people from a variety of professions in the particularities of this sector and to accelerate the development of RNA innovations from Quebec public research through transfer to industry and entrepreneurship. CQDM will coordinate the initiative and ensure it takes advantage of existing expertise by creating front-line networks and developing collaborations between businesses, universities, research centres and institutions in the health and social services network. Partners mobilized include Axelys, BIOQuébec, RNA Québec, CASTL, the Fonds de recherche du Québec, Médicament Québec, Génome Québec and Teralys Capital. Govt. of Quebec

 The Government of Alberta is investing $26 million to support two organizations conducting  research aimed at addressing long-standing gaps in understanding and addressing women’s health concerns. The funding includes $10 million over two years to create the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation Legacy Grant to support research on cervical cancer, heart disease and other common women’s health conditions. Additionally, funding will help recruit top researchers to the province and support advocacy and awareness efforts. The Calgary Health Foundation, which has been serving the larger Calgary community for more than 25 years, will receive matching funds of $10 million over the next two years for programs that fund cancer research, along with initiatives such as the development of a rapid access clinic and pelvic floor health projects in Calgary. The government also is enhancing the Alberta Newborn Screening Program by investing $6 million to include four additional conditions, bringing the total to 26. The four new conditions are: congenital cytomegalovirus, argininosuccinic aciduria, guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency and mucopolysaccharidosis type 1. This expansion will make the program one of the most comprehensive in Canada and establish Alberta as the first province to screen for these four conditions, leading to improved infant survival rates, the government said. Govt. of Alberta

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced just over $9.8 million for Springboard Atlantic, to help the organization continue to bolster key industries across Atlantic Canada. The funding is provided through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. This investment will help Springboard Atlantic deliver support, over a three-year period (2023-2026), to more than 40 industry engagement professionals, who work with post-secondary institutions across Atlantic Canada to help with commercializing research and develop marketable products and services. The investment will also support Springboard Atlantic’s Innovation Mobilization Program which helps startups accelerate the development of new technologies, obtain early-stage investment, navigate the patent process, and conduct market research. Some initiatives that have benefited from Springboard’s work include:

  • Dartmouth, N.S.-based GIT Coatings, which is developing sustainable graphene-based hull and propeller coatings. Springboard Atlantic helped GIT tap into the Mitacs Accelerate internship program through Dalhousie University’s Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement, and used this support to hire 10 additional graduate students to advance their research.
  • Michael Katz, working with Memorial University’s Research Innovation Office, used funding from Springboard’s Innovation Mobilization program to patent a technology to separate environmental pollutants in the offshore oil and gas and shipping industries. Katz and his team also took part in the Lab2Market program which helped validate the concept, analyze their business model, and create strategic partnerships with key players in the sector.
  • Yulin Hu, an assistant professor of engineering at the University of Prince Edward Island who is conducting research on using green technologies to produce hydrogen fuel from local waste (e.g., potato waste) or water. Springboard connected Hu with AKA Energy Systems to hone this research, which is already delivering results.
  • A partnership between the University of New Brunswick(UNB) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is strengthening collaboration on research and training between UNB’s Centre for Nuclear Energy Research. Springboard played a key role in building this partnership through its support for UNB’s industry engagement professionals, and has supported CNER more broadly in developing and protecting its technologies, including, patent, legal and market support considerations. ACOA

The Government of Quebec, Hoffman-La Roche Limited, the Jewish General Hospital Foundation and other sources together are contributing $9.4 million to fund a collaborative research project to identify biomarkers and therapeutic solutions for diabetic kidney disease (DKD), one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Quebec is contributing a $1.5-million grant through CQDM. Hoffman-La Roche is contributing $2.4 million, the Jewish General Hospital Foundation $2.8 million, and other sources are contributing nearly $2.7 million. The project will collect and analyze genomic, proteomic and clinical data from thousands of diabetic patients from diverse backgrounds, to identify how genes and proteins influence the risk and progression of DKD. Using a combined genomics and proteomics approach, the results of this project have the potential to enable the identification of predictive biomarkers and innovative treatments for DKD, the partners said. A unique, multi-purpose biobank for diabetes and DKD research will be established at the Jewish General Hospital. By enabling open access to data, the project will benefit not only Hoffman-La Roche, but also the entire research and healthcare ecosystem in Quebec and beyond. CDQM

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) provided $5 million in funding to Denendeh Exploration and Mining Company Ltd. (DEMCo) in the Northwest Territories, through the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) Program. DEMCo is a 100-per-cent Dene (First Nation)-owned mineral exploration and mining company. DEMCo identified the Camsell River mineral property in the N.W.T. as a promising site for iron-oxide-copper-gold and potential critical minerals. To promote the development of the former silver mine site, the funding will be utilized for initial project data collection, as well as planning and engagement efforts among Indigenous communities. This will help gather more information for the creation of a technical report to attract investors and partnerships. Additionally, the funding will help to build business capacity within DEMCo and local Indigenous groups by contributing to the growth of a skilled local workforce. NRCan

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) announced $5 million for the Askiy Hemp Limited Partnership (Askiy) to construct a state-of-the-art industrial hemp processing plant in Elk Point, Alberta. The funding is provided through the Community Economic Development and Diversification Fund. When complete, the plant will process 40,000 tons of hemp stalk annually for use in a variety of products, initially textiles but eventually also building materials, fertilizer and paper. Increasing demand for hemp will provide a new revenue stream for farmers and diversify Alberta’s agricultural sector. Askiy is a partnership between Frog Lake First Nations and Logistik Unicorp. As part of the agreement, industry experts and Indigenous communities will work collaboratively to build on Alberta’s existing agricultural strengths. Frog Lake First Nations will engage surrounding communities, organizations and residents to build awareness of new business opportunities and share information that maximizes economic and community benefits for east-central Alberta. The Askiy hemp processing plant is expected to be operational in summer of 2025 and is one component of a multi-million-dollar development that Askiy will lead in the Elk Point area. PrairiesCan

The Government of Ontario is providing an additional investment of $1.5 million to bolster its Summer Company program, helping an additional 250 young people start and grow a business. The investment will increase total funding for the program to more than $4.7 million over the next two years. The Summer Company program provides students between the ages of 15 and 29 with at least 12 hours of business training, one‐on‐one mentoring and grants up to $3,000 to start a full-time business. Over the past five years, the program, delivered through Small Business Enterprise Centres, has helped launch over 1,700 businesses across Ontario. Govt. of Ontario 

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) announced a total of nearly $500,000 for four Indigenous organizations and five universities to foster intellectual property awareness and education, supporting access to advice and strategic resources, and modernizing legislation.  A total of $144,60 7 in funding through the federal Indigenous Intellectual Property Program grant will go to:

  • Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council
  • Indigenous Cloud Network
  • Manitoba Métis Federation – Government of the Red River Métis
  • Arctic Buying Company (Kivalliq)

This Intellectual Property Clinics Program provides Canadian university law and business schools with funding to open or scale up clinics that provide free or low-cost IP advisory services to a variety of clients, including startups and small and medium-sized businesses. At the same time, the program fosters the development of future IP experts by increasing university students’ exposure to IP issues. A total of $350,000 under this program will to go:

  • Algoma University, Faculty of Business and Economics
  • University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business
  • Wilfrid Laurier University, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics
  • University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law
  • Université de Sherbrooke, Faculté de droit
  • Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law ISED


Wind power projects impact much less land than a lot of people – including policymakers – believe, according to research led by McGill University. Decision-makers have been reluctant to invest in wind energy due to a perception that wind farms require a lot of land compared to electric power plants driven by fossil fuels. When calculations are made, the entire wind farm area is usually considered as land given over to wind development. But McGill researchers found that the wind power infrastructure (such as the turbines and roads) typically only uses five per cent of the entire farmland – the rest is often used for other purposes, such as agriculture. The research also shows that if wind turbines are sited in areas with existing roads and infrastructure, such as on agricultural land, they can be approximately seven times more efficient, in terms of energy produced per square metre of land directly impacted by the infrastructure, than projects developed from scratch. The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. By quantifying the land area used by nearly 16,000 wind turbines in the western U.S., “we found that gas-fired generation offers no real benefits in terms of lesser land use when the infrastructures, including all the wells, pipelines, and roads associated with the natural gas supply chain, are considered,” said the study’s senior author Sara Jordaan, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at McGill.

[Editor’s Note: The study’s findings are revealing given that the Alberta government imposed limits on the ability of wind power producers to build projects on irrigatable lands and imposed buffer zones of 35 kilometres around what the government deems “protected areas and other pristine viewscapes." The oil and gas industry is not subject to such restrictions]. McGill University

Calgary-based TransAlta Corp. has scrapped a wind power farm it had planned for southwestern Alberta and put three other projects on hold, blaming restrictions that Alberta’s United Conservative Party government has imposed on renewable energy and uncertainty over coming market changes. TransAlta said it has cancelled development of its 300 megawatt Riplinger wind farm, which had been planned for Cardston County near the Rocky Mountain foothills. The project, which would have comprised 47 turbines, is located in a newly restricted 35-kilometre exclusion zone near a protected area, chief executive officer John Kousinioris said. “So that is a project that we will not be proceeding with,” he told a conference call to discuss the company’s first-quarter results. The Riplinger wind farm had been scheduled to start up in 2027. TransAlta also is putting three other projects on hold until it has more clarity on the future of Alberta’s electricity market redesign. They include the 180-megawatt Watercharger battery-storage project west of Calgary, 100-MW Tempest wind farm south of Lethbridge, and a 44 MW gas-fired plant called Pinnacle west of Edmonton. The Globe and Mail

The University of Saskatchewan-led Global Water Futures Observatories (GWFO) Network, a partnership with eight other Canadian universities, was launched. GWFO consists of 64 instrumented basins, lakes, rivers and wetlands, 15 deployable measurement systems and 18 state-of-the-art water laboratories which collectively serve as a national scientific freshwater observation network for Canada’s critical freshwater systems. These monitoring stations will support Canadians in finding solutions for water issues regarding climate change, sustainable management of water resources, freshwater for communities, energy and agriculture, ecosystem conservation and much more. The other university partners are: University of Windsor, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University, University of Toronto, Trent University, Western University and Carleton University. The GWFO initiative received more than $15 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiative in 2022. The observatory network will have the infrastructure to develop and provide consistent open access water data that will help provide a water early warning system and inform models and policy decisions surrounding water security and sustainability. The GWFO monitoring sites are scattered across both remote and populous locations in Canada, from within the Great Lakes to atop glaciers and mountaintops. The network is already providing cutting-edge data to researchers and has helped inform water prediction models used by the United Nations. University of Saskatchewan

A new $4.3-million NSERC Alliance-Mitacs Grant will support a new partnership between the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA) and Dalhousie University to help the AFNWA in its mission to deliver world-class drinking water and treatment guided by Indigenous knowledge and values. The partnership will support the AFNWA in improving the quality and sustainability of community infrastructure, strengthening safety and risk management, and engaging community members to ensure they are informed and empowered. Underpinning the priorities of the partnership is a plan to train a new generation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous engineers and other professionals to ensure the water authority’s long-term success. This will include 20 graduate and postdoctoral research trainees, 15 undergraduate interns, and 35 First Nations high school students in Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqey communities. AFNWA made history in 2018 by incorporating as the first Indigenous-owned and -led water utility in Canada. Since late 2022, 12 of the 34 First Nations communities in Atlantic Canada joined the AFNWA, with two more expected to join this year. Water Canada

Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Toronto Metropolitan University and RBC launched the RBC FinSec Incubator – a powerful new program that will help emerging fintech and cybersecurity startups meet the complex needs of the financial sector. The program helps early-stage companies transform the financial ecosystem by enhancing product security and resilience to achieve product-market fit. The RBC FinSec Incubator will also allow startups to demonstrate their technologies to industry experts and potential investors, establish connections within the finance sector, and understand industry procurement requirements through the program – bolstered by RBC's robust support. Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA), in collaboration with Public Services and Procurement Canada, launched a Request for Information to gauge the interest of industry in potentially leasing the David Florida Laboratory (DFL), located on the Shirleys Bay Campus in the Ottawa area. The aim is to preserve unique testing services within Canada and supporting Canada's thriving space sector. The DFL is an assembly, integration and testing laboratory for the space industry. In March 2024, the CSA announced its plans to close the DFL following a strategic review of its operations as part of the Refocusing Government Spending exercise. A careful review of alternative business models was undertaken to explore how best to address the ongoing assembly and testing needs of the Canadian space sector. The termination of the federal government's operations of the DFL creates a potential opportunity for industry to maintain its operations and manage the continued use of this world-class testing facility. Detailed information with respect to the DFL's current mandate and activities, as well as the facility's technical characteristics, are available on the CSA website. The RFI seeks to determine whether there is industry interest in leasing the DFL, commencing on or about April 1, 2025. Interested parties are to respond to this RFI prior to 4 p.m. ET on May 28, 2024. CSA

Vancouver-based SpectraCan is the only Canadian team among 20 international teams selected to advance to the next round of the XPRIZE Wildfire Space-Based Detection & Intelligence track in the global competition. The cohort of interdisciplinary, innovative teams will equally share a prize of $750,000. Teams will have one minute to accurately detect all fires across a landscape larger than entire states or countries, and 10 minutes to precisely characterize and report data with the least false positives to fire managers on the ground. SpectraCan currently consists of 15 members from the AI spectral analysis company Metaspectral. SpectraCan proposes real-time fire detection using existing geostationary and orbital satellites for continuous coverage in high-risk areas. An algorithm will track coverage for available satellites and pull data for specific regions of interest as it becomes available. Sub-60-second detection will be achieved through the team’s capability to apply deep learning to spectral data in real-time. This allows detection even with coarse spatial resolutions, and accommodates slow downlink speeds. The four-year global XPRIZE competition in wildfire detection and response was launched in April 2023. XPRIZE

Toronto and Montreal rank among the top 50 electricity-consuming data centre markets in the world, according to an article published by Visual Capitalist. Toronto is ranked No. 22, with a power consumption capacity of 267 megawatts. Montreal is No. 31, with a capacity of 127 MW. Northern Virginia is No. 1, at 2,552 MW, followed by Beijing (1,799 MW) and London (1,053 MW). Northern Virgina has nearly 300 data centres, with enough capacity to handle more than one-third of global online traffic. The amount of data created each year has skyrocketed from two zetta bytes in 2010 to 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) in 2020. It’s estimated that there are now more than 8,000 data centres in the world. With increasing digital demands, the amount of energy needed to power these centers also grows. This has increasingly put the spotlight not just on companies and data center markets, but on the energy they’re using. With massive power consumption requirements, efficiency and sustainability become increasingly important. Visual Capitalist

Edmonton-based Capital Power is shelving a planned $2.4-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at its natural gas-fired Genesee power plant because the project isn’t economically viable. “After a detailed review of the project, we have concluded that the economics for CCS at the Genesee site do not meet our targeted risk-return thresholds,” Capital Power CEO Avik Dey told a meeting of analysts. However, the company said it does view CCS technology as being viable. Dey said several factors led to the company’s decision, including uncertainty over how much Capital Power could earn from the carbon credits the project would generate, the amount of carbon price it would avoid, and the cost per tonne of the captured carbon. The blame for the project’s cancellation “lies entirely at the Prime Minister’s feet,” said Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister of environment and protected areas. “Ottawa has broken its promise to provide key CCUS (carbon capture, storage and utilization) investment tax credits and its promise to provide credits to help spur hydrogen, electricity and even more clean technology projects,” she said. “They’ve also broken their promise to expand the Canada Growth Fund’s range of Carbon Contracts for Difference. For other provinces, the federal government can, and has, moved quickly to support emissions reduction projects. However, when it comes to Alberta, we get only lip service, delays and bad policy creating massive investment uncertainty," Schulz said. But Chris Severson-Baker, executive director at the Pembina Institute, said: “Alberta really deserves most of the blame for killing this project.” The amount of uncertainty the province has shown in terms of carbon policy [such as opposing the federal carbon tax], carbon pricing and restructuring the electricity sector created a lot of uncertainty for companies like Capital Power, Severson-Baker said. The federal government has committed to covering up to 50 per cent of capital costs of new CCS projects through a new investment tax credit, but has yet to put this measure into law. The Alberta government has committed to grants covering 12 per cent of the upfront investments. The federal Canada Growth Fund, which has allocated up to $7 billion to provide contracts for difference on CCS, has so far negotiated only one deal, a $1-billion agreement with Entropy Inc., a carbon capture subsidiary of Advantage Energy Ltd., to back a CCS project in Alberta. Contracts for difference essentially guarantee a floor price for the value of carbon credits, with government taking on the risks if credits don’t trade for that amount. CBC News, Govt. of Alberta

The Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Alberta signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the development of nuclear power generation in support of both provinces’ need for affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity grids by 2050. The MOU will support collaboration and information sharing on key areas of nuclear power generation, including nuclear supply chains and workforce development, the security of supply of fuels, and the development and regulation of nuclear reactor technologies, including small modular reactors. The provinces will also work to advance industrial decarbonization and enhance grid capabilities. Govt. of Saskatchewan

Vancouver-based Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline, signed a letter of intent with Everett, Wash.-headquartered magniX to purchase 50 magni650 electric engines. Harbour Air said this agreement marks a significant step towards the company’s ambitious goal of electrifying its fleet, and its commitment to sustainable aviation. A key element to Harbour Air’s electrification vision is to develop a sustainable aviation hub on the West Coast, providing electrification conversions and services to third parties. magniX will support the Transport Canada validation of its magni650 type certificate and assist in the certification work required for Harbour Air to obtain Canadian and American supplemental type certificates for installing the magni650 electric engine on the DHC-2 Beaver, with an option to extend their support to other aircraft platforms. Harbour Air’s target is to have its first aircraft commercially certified by 2026. Harbour Air

Guelph, Ont.-based GoodLeaf Farms announced the opening of its $52-million, 96,000-sq-ft vertical farm facility in the Calgary region – Canada’s largest vertical farm. Projected to create more than 90 jobs, the farm leverages innovative technology and enhances food security of the region by producing over two million pounds of fresh greens annually. By growing micro and baby greens through its efficient hydroponic system, the farm embraces the real-world application of research to feed local communities. GoodLeaf’s vertical farm is powered by TruLeaf, a controlled-environment multi-level farming system that insulates crops from exposure to pests and weather events and reduces water and natural gas use. Construction of the facility was funded in part by a $2.7-million investment through the Alberta government’s Alberta Investment Growth Fund (IGF). Calgary Economic Development

The Government of Alberta announced a 15-year master plan aimed at increasing passenger rail service in the province, including a $9-million commitment to support development of the plan this year. The plan comprises six phases, the first of which would connect rail from both Edmonton and Calgary’s downtowns to their airports and surrounding communities, the government said. A high-speed rail service connecting Edmonton and Calgary is also a priority. Regional rail lines from Calgary and Edmonton to Banff and Jasper national parks also will be looked at, as will a rail line connecting Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. The plan will assess the feasibility of passenger rail, including regional (inter-city), commuter and high-speed services, the government said. The plan will include a cost-benefit analysis and determine what’s required from government, including governance and a 15-year delivery plan. The vision includes a province-led Crown corporation, similar to Metrolinx in Ontario, with a mandate to develop the infrastructure, oversee daily operations and system maintenance, and plan for future system expansion. The government said the Master Plan will take into account future growth, planning for the growing provincial population and considering the use of hydrogen-powered trains to ensure a robust and effective passenger rail system to serve Albertans for years to come. Govt. of Alberta

The State of Florida has banned and criminalized the manufacture and sale of laboratory-grown meat – also known as cultivated meat – in the state. The legislation joins similar efforts from three other states – Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee – that have also looked to stop the sale of lab-grown meat, which is believed to still be years away from commercial viability. Upside Foods, a cultivated meat startup, said the ban could put the resilience of Florida’s supply chain at risk by hindering the state’s ability to address the projected doubling of global protein demand by 2050. In Canada, the federal government has stated its intent to regulate cultivated meat under its current novel foods regulations, instead of considering new regulatory approaches. As of August last year, there have been 22 patent fillings for cell-based meat in Canada since 2020, with nine companies working in the cultivated meat sector. Last September, a team of McMaster University researchers received a $10-million investment from Genome Canada through Ontario Genomics, to bring together experts from multiple postsecondary institutions across the country. The team will work to develop an efficient, nutritious biological process for making meat without slaughtering animals by combining cultured muscle and fat cells on a plant matrix to recreate the familiar look, texture and taste of meat from animals. The ultimate goal is to produce slabs of cultured beef comparable to traditional steaks. Similar technology could be used to make pork, poultry and other meat. NBC News

The European Investment Bank is providing a loan of close to €45 million to Calgary-based Eavor Technologies Inc. to build an innovative geothermal heating project Eavor-LoopTM in the German state of Bavaria. Eavor will implement its closed loop geothermal technology for the first time at commercial scale in the Bavarian town of Geretsried. Eavor’s total investment is expected to reach €350 million. In contrast to conventional geothermal heating, the Eavor-LoopTM  technology does not capture heat from subsurface water or steam reservoirs. Instead, the company drills deeply into the earth and harvests the heat directly from underground rocks. The Eavor-LoopTM system resembles a giant underground radiator. Eavor’s project, which also received a €91.6-million grant from the EU Innovation Fund, will provide low-carbon heating for the town of Geretsried and the region in Bavaria. Before starting the commercial Eavor-LoopTM in Germany, Eavor built a pilot, the Eavor-Lite, in Alberta, Canada, in 2019. The pilot has been in operation for the past five years. European Commission


Vancouver-based Netskrt Systems Inc. announced it secured $10 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital fund Yaletown Partners, with participation by InBC Investment Corp. and Credit Mutual Equity. Netskrt Systems specializes in technology that improves streaming video quality over far distances or in rural areas. The company’s edge content delivery network (eCDN) enables streaming subscribers to view content at higher qualities, including locations and environments that traditional content delivery networks can’t reach. The company said the investment will enable it to expand its offerings into international markets including Europe and South America, as well as airlines and other travel markets. Business in Vancouver

Sherbrooke, Que.-based BioIntelligence Technologies Inc. raised $5 million to accelerate the company’s growth in America and Europe. The all-equity round was led by Amplify Capital (Toronto) and joined by Investissement Québec, Real Ventures, Anges Québec and AQC Capital (Montreal), and by Innospark Ventures (Boston). The company’s AI-powered BioIntelligence Analytics Solution™ is a turnkey solution developed to measure directly in fermenters and bioreactors the evolution of microorganisms, their consumption of nutrients and their synthesis of products, while performing advanced customized analytics in real-time for plant operators. The technology eliminates losses in products and reduces consumption of water, energy and carbon dioxide emissions in industrial bioprocesses using fermentation. Biointelligence Technologies

Sydney, N.S.-based cleantech startup alterBiota Inc. closed a $4-million seed financing round led by Invest Nova Scotia and BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund, which each invested $1.5 million. Funds will be used for industrial product trials, engineering of a commercial scale plant, and to hire additional staff in order to facilitate the growth, refinement, and commercialization of the company's bio-graphene admixtures. The company said its technology offers practical and economical means to  reduce the carbon footprint of concrete, one of the world's largest sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide. alterBiota

Fredericton, N.B.-based automotive tech firm Potential Motors Inc. raised $2 million in an all-equity seed round extension that included returning partners Brightspark Ventures, Build Ventures and NBIF, joined by Farpointe. Existing backers include Marc Benioff's TIME Venture. The funding will be used to drive commercialization of Potential's AI-powered perception solutions in automotive, powersports, mining and defense sectors, following years of intensive R&D. Potential's software platform, Terrain Intelligence, uses forward-facing sensors (such as cameras) to interpret terrain shape, incline gradient, surface type, obstacles and more. The platform can deliver multiple outputs, from presenting data to drivers through to self-selecting vehicle control adjustments such as drive mode, suspension and differential settings, torque levels and more. Potential Motors

Victoria, B.C.-based Save da Sea closed its seed II funding round at $650,000, in a round supported by BDC’s Thrive Lab, a $100-million collaborative co-investment vehicle that supports women-led social impact companies. Other participants included Spring and What If Ventures, with support from YSpace at York University. Save da Sea is creating the category for fresh refrigerated plant-based seafood, Year over year, the company saw a 63-per-cent increase in retailers and 64 per cent increase in points of distribution. In Canada, products are available in 500 retailers including Fortinos, Healthy Planet, Save-On Foods, Sobeys and Whole Foods. This investment will enable the company to expedite its U.S. expansion, double down on its commitment to a more sustainable and equitable food system, and hire at its headquarters in Victoria. BCD

Natural Products Canada (NPC) announced support for two Ontario companies. Toronto-based AuX Labs specializes in engineering yeasts that produce nature-identical animal proteins. Neptune Nanotechnologies is an innovative bio-nanotechnology company headquartered in Markham. NPC, through its Commercialization Program, works with applicants before, during and after the official application process, providing in-depth advice, guidance and connections to resources from across the country. The investment into AuX Labs will help the company expand its team as it looks to expand and revolutionize alternative protein production with yeast. Initially focused on caseins, the company's products are nearing price parity with traditional proteins. NPC is investing $75,000 in AuxLabs, enabling a total budget of $188,600. NPC will invest $250,000 in Neptune Nanotechnologies, enabling a total budget of $816,750. The support for will help the company fund proof of concept activities to advance the commercialization of their unique product that uses a natural compound to create sustainable chitin nanocrystals that are stronger than steel, lighter than plastic, and biodegradable in soil.  NPC

Toronto-Waterloo-based Profound Impact Corporation and Toronto-headquartered AI Partnerships Corporation announced a strategic partnership aimed at matching available grant funding with AI-focused companies and researchers looking for non-dilutive funding. Profound Impact has developed an AI-powered researcher-to-funding matching platform. AI Partnerships (AIP) is an affiliate network of AI solutions providers and researchers. AIP has more than 80 Canadian companies in its affiliate network, and approximately 130 worldwide Affiliates, all engaged in providing software-based AI services or products. Through the partnership, both organizations will continue to promote the Canadian AI technology ecosystem, increasing their own presence in the robust AI marketplace and concurrently supporting the growth of Canadian AI companies. Profound Impact

San Francisco-based SVB Financial Group announced it reached an agreement to sell the company’s investment platform business, SVB Capital for US$340 million to Pinegrove Capital Partners. Pinegrove is an investment vehicle launched last year by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Heritage. Under the terms of the agreement, SVB Capital would be acquired for a combination of cash and other economic consideration. As part of the deal, Pinegrove and SVB Capital will operate independently, each led by their existing management teams, with the common long-term financial backing of Brookfield and Sequoia Heritage. SVB Capital is the last big unit to be sold off following the collapse early last year of Silicon Valley Bank. The acquisition needs approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and regulators. SVB Financial Group

London, England-based autonomous driving startup Wayve Technologies Ltd. (which recently opened a hub in Vancouver) raised US$1.05 billion in a Series C round led by SoftBank Group. Investors included Nvidia Corp. and Microsoft Corp. The company will use the funding to expand into new markets and build out the artificial intelligence of its autonomous-driving model for production vehicles. Wayve was founded by New Zealander and Cambridge graduate Alex Kendall in August 2017 with a mission to provide a generalized and transferrable form of AI software for autonomous mobility. The company has been able to integrate its technology into several vehicles, including electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace and the Ford Mustang. Wayve said its research into multimodal and generative models could enable vehicles that can offer such features as language-responsive interfaces, personalized driving styles, and co-piloting to enhance the automated driving experience. eeNews Europe


Canada has reduced national GHG emissions since 2005, but oil and gas industry emissions have increased: federal report

Canada reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 44 megatonnes (Mt) in 2022 compared with pre-COVID pandemic levels, according to the federal government’s new National Inventory Report on emissions for 2022.

Total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2022 of 708 Mt were the lowest they’ve been in 25 years, with the exception of the COVID‑19 years (2020 and 2021), when the sudden, global economic slowdown caused emissions to drop sharply, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said.

Even set against the sharp COVID dip, emissions were up only 9.3 Mt from 2021 – lower than the 13 Mt forecasted by ECCC modelling and 14.2 Mt forecasted by the Canadian Climate Institute.

The inventory’s results confirm that Canada’s economic growth continues to decouple from its GHG emissions, ECCC said. The emissions intensity of the Canadian economy has declined by 42 per cent since 1990 (greenhouse gases per every dollar of gross domestic product), the department noted.

Today, the country is tracking to surpass its 2026 interim objective to reduce emissions by 20 per cent over 2005 levels by 2026, and continues the momentum toward meeting its 2030 target, ECCC said.

Between 2021 and 2022, transport, and commercial, institutional and residential combustion emissions increased by 7.8 Mt (4.2 per cent) and 3.8 Mt (5.3 per cent), respectively. Emissions  from public electricity and heat production and fugitive sources from oil and natural gas production decreased by 4.3 Mt (7 per cent) and 2.1 Mt (2.8 per cent), respectively.

Canada’s energy sector, which includes stationary combustion sources, transport and fugitive emissions, emitted 577 Mt, or 82 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2022. The remaining emissions were largely generated by the agriculture and industrial processes and product use sectors – 56 Mt, or 7.9 percent, and 51 Mt, or 7.3 per cent, respectively.

Since 2005, emissions from stationary fuel consumption in oil and gas extraction have increased by 45 Mt, consistent with a 240-per-cent increase in crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil production from Canada’s oilsands operations since 2005, the report said.

As of 2022, carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) had permanently stored a total of 7.2 Mt of captured CO2, while 47.8 Mt of CO2 had been injected for enhanced oil recovery operations.

[Editor’s Note: In comparison with 7.2 Mt of  captured CO2 permanently sequestered through CCS technology, Canada’s energy sector emitted 577 Mt, or 82 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2022. So CCS – despite the technology’s huge cost – is currently only removing about 1.25 per cent of the energy sector’s total GHG emissions].

By economic sector, the oil and gas sector had the highest emissions – 217 Mt – in 2022, according to the inventory report. This was followed by the transport sector (156 Mt), buildings (89 Mt), agriculture (70 Mt), waste and others (51 Mt), and electricity (47 Mt).

The oil and gas sector’s emissions have increased the most since 2005 – from 195 Mt to 217 Mt.

Alberta and Ontario have the highest GHG emissions, with Alberta’s emissions increasing by 19 Mt (7.5 per cent) since 2005, “primarily because of the expansion of oil and gas operations.”

Ontario’s emissions, on the other hand, have decreased by 46 Mt (23 per cent) since 2005, mainly due to the closure of the province’s last coal-fired power plants in 2014.

In the agriculture sector, the main drivers of the emissions trend are the fluctuations in livestock populations and the application of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers to agricultural soils mainly in the Prairie provinces, according to the inventory report.

Since 2005, fertilizer use has increased by 79 per cent, while major livestock populations peaked in 2005, then decreased sharply until 2011. As a result, emissions in 2022 are roughly equivalent to 2005, though the contribution of emissions from crop production has increased relative to the livestock sector.

In 2022, emissions from livestock feed consumption and digestion (enteric fermentation) accounted for 48 per cent of total agricultural emissions, and the application of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers accounted for 19 per cent of total agricultural emissions. 

This year’s inventory also provides evidence that many parts of the economy are becoming more efficient and greener through: the adoption of clean technologies; the switch to cleaner fuels and non-emitting electricity (hydro, wind, solar, nuclear); and structural economic changes as Canadians build a low-carbon economy, according to ECCC.

Budget 2024, committed $800 million to reduce emissions and lower energy bills for renters and homeowners by increasing support for energy-efficient home retrofits, including launching a new Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program, ECCC said.

ECCC said that with economy-wide pollution pricing and other federal measures, complementary climate actions from the provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples, businesses, and individuals – as well as the acceleration of clean technology innovation and adoption – the federal government expects further emissions reductions this decade. ECCC


ISED’s management of $8-billion Net Zero Accelerator has problems, says Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) management of the $8-billion Net Zero Accelerator has “important shortcomings,” according to a report by Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

This includes ISED not tracking the initiative’s overall value for money in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says the report by Commissioner Jerry DeMarco’s office

The Net Zero Accelerator incentivizes manufacturing industries – the fourth-largest source of GHG emission in Canada – to decarbonize their operations and reduce their emissions.

DeMarco’s office calculated the cost to taxpayers of a tonne of GHG emissions reduced through the Net Zero Accelerator to be $143 per tonne for the five companies that have a signed commitment to reduce a precise amount of emissions.

However, the other 12 of the 17 funded projects did not have a signed commitment as a result of the initiative to reduce a precise amount of emissions. This resulted in an overall higher cost to taxpayers at $523 per tonne for all approved projects, according to the commissioner’s report.

The commissioner says his office’s audit of the Net Zero Accelerator also revealed a larger issue the government as a whole needs to address. The audit found ISED didn’t have an industrial decarbonization policy that involved all relevant government entities to guide its efforts.

This type of policy would give the department a better picture of which industries are the most in need of funds to reduce emissions and is ensuring the most value for money spent, the commissioner says.

For the companies applying for funding, the commissioner’s audit found the application process to be very lengthy and complex, requiring an average of 407 hours to complete the application and an average of 20 months to complete the full process before signing the contribution agreement.

“Given that large emitters already have little incentive to decarbonize their operations, efforts should be made to better attract large emitters and review applications quickly to increase Canada’s opportunities to reduce emissions,” the commissioner says.

Out of the 55 large emitters that emitted at least one megatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021 in Canada, only 15 of these emitters applied to the Net Zero Accelerator and only two of them signed a contribution agreement.

After $3.2 billion was committed through a total of 17 contribution agreements with both large and small emitters, companies committed to reducing their emissions by only 6.2 megatonnes – less than one per cent of Canada’s total emissions.

The commissioner’s audit also found that ISED’s calculations of anticipated GHG reductions for projects funded by Net Zero Accelerator did not always follow international standards, affecting the credibility of the department’s calculations.

Moreover, sometimes due diligence steps within the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative were not followed before funding approval, the commissioner says.

There were $0.4 billion in uncommitted funds left to be allocated of the initial $8 billion in the initiative, according to the commissioner’s report.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, in the government’s response to the commissioner’s report, didn’t specifically address any of the problems highlighted in DeMarco’s report – such as getting value for money spent and the need for an industry decarbonization policy.

Champagne said an assessment of the Net Zero Accelerator program’s value is incomplete if it doesn’t include the commitments to create or maintain over 34,000 good-paying jobs, and the investments in the technology of the future that will help business and industrial sectors achieve Canada’s 2050 net-zero goals.

The Net Zero Accelerator has supported the industrial transformation of Canada’s traditional industries and promoted both clean technology development and the electric vehicle battery ecosystem, Champagne said.

“The program’s processes align with international standards, support sound investment decisions, and incorporate the advice of greenhouse gas experts,” he said. Commission of the Environment and Sustainable Development


Good science in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s climate programs hampered by funding approval delays, says Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has undertaken extensive science-based work to inform its current programs in response to climate change, according to a report by Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

In 2021, AAFC launched  three key programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the department’s delays in funding approvals resulted in recipients missing a growing season, which limited the greenhouse gas reduction results achieved by January 2024, Commissioner Jerry DeMarco’s report found.

In addition, two of the three programs had not yet set or finalized all of their performance targets for climate change mitigation by January 2024, the report says. “The department’s contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under its programs are integral to the fight against climate change, which is why setting targets and tracking results are so important.”

Without a strategy to provide the sector with a long‑term vision and direction, the department’s path to help achieve Canada’s 2030 and 2050 goals remains unclear, the commissioner says. Given the current climate crisis and limited results by January 2024, AAFA will need to ensure that all its expected reductions in GHG emissions for 2030 take place in the six growing seasons that remain, DeMarco says.

The findings of the commissioner’s report included:

  • Between 1990 and 2021, GHG emissions from the agriculture sector grew by 39 per cent, mostly driven by an increase in emissions related to crop production.
  • In 2021, about 10 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions came from the agriculture sector, making it the fifth‑largest emitting sector.
  • In 2021, agricultural soils stored 18 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, offsetting approximately 26 per cent of Canada’s total annual agricultural emissions.
  • By January 2024, funding disbursed under the On‑Farm Climate Action Fund program had resulted in 4,338 producers adopting beneficial management practices, and 1.32 million hectares of land under improved management.
  • By January 2024, funding disbursed under the Agriculture Clean Technology program resulted in 193 new agricultural clean technologies adopted by producers.
  • Between May 2022 and June 2023, AAFA approved 14 living labs across Canada, with every province having at least one living lab.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Minister Lawrence MacAulay, in the government’s response to the commissioners’ report, said the government is preparing work on a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, developed in partnership with the agriculture sector, provincial and territorial representatives, and Indigenous partners.

This strategy “will set a shared vision to support the sector’s ambition and actions on climate change and sustainability,” MacAulay said. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development


Government not using its purchasing power to “green” construction materials

In a separate report, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development looked at the government’s efforts to “green” the building materials used in public infrastructure, thereby reducing GHG emissions.

The federal government committed to reducing GHG emissions by 40 per cent to 45 per cent relative to the 2005 level by 2030, “but it is not on track to achieve that objective,” the commissioner’s report says.

Emissions from construction and construction materials represent 11 per cent of Canada’s total emissions. The federal government had an opportunity to use monies allocated to public infrastructure spending – from both the infrastructure it acquires and the infrastructure it finances – to reduce the carbon footprint of construction materials, the report says.

However, the commissioner’s office found that the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and Infrastructure Canada did not use their public infrastructure procurement and financing capacity effectively to prioritize the use of construction materials with a lower carbon footprint.

From 2006 to 2016, improvements in energy efficiency reduced emissions from infrastructure, but it was not until 2017 that the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat addressed the issue of reducing the environmental impact of construction materials. “Since then, progress has been made, but it is too slow given Canada’s climate goals," the commissioner says.

For example, the secretariat established the Standard on Embodied Carbon in Construction in December 2022. But as of now, the standard applies only to ready-mix concrete. Public Services and Procurement Canada has not finished incorporating the requirements of the standard into its infrastructure procurement process.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Canada has begun – in a limited way – to integrate considerations of the embodied carbon of construction materials into its funding programs.

To increase Canada’s chances of achieving its 2030 and 2050 climate commitments, the federal government needs to speed up its work to include embodied carbon considerations in the materials used in public infrastructure construction, the commissioner says.

According to the commissioner’s report:

  • The production of construction materials accounts for 11 per cent of global GHG emissions. Of these materials, steel and concrete are particularly harmful to the environment.
  • Once a structure has been completed, it is no longer possible to significantly reduce its embodied carbon emissions. At that point, the embodied carbon of the materials in each built infrastructure is “locked in” for the life of the infrastructure.
  • In 2021, governments were responsible for approximately 76 per cent of the $108 billion spent on infrastructure, 8 per cent of which consisted of direct federal spending. Governments have also committed to spending hundreds of billions more in the coming years.
  • From 2014 to 2023, Infrastructure Canada approved more than $46 billion in federal contributions to fund infrastructure projects across the country.
  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Public Services and Procurement Canada were slow to prioritize low embodied carbon construction materials in federally owned infrastructure, focusing instead on energy efficiency.

“This slow pace of change is concerning because steel production typically emits high amounts of greenhouse gases and is widely used in major construction projects,” Commissioner Jerry DeMarco said in a statement. “To increase Canada’s chances of meeting its 2030 and 2050 climate commitments, the federal government needs to more actively promote the use of low carbon construction materials in public infrastructure.”

Treasury Board President Anita Anand, in the government’s response to the commissioner’s report, said Ottawa agreed with the commissioner’s recommendation to move quickly to identify which structural construction materials, such as steel should be included in the Standard on Embodied Carbon in Construction, and will collaborate with key stakeholders to do this by the end of March 2025.

“We will continue to work within our ambitious strategy to reduce emissions in government operations and leverage the government’s purchasing power,” Anand said. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development


Canadian companies’ IT budgets down by half, but spending on cybersecurity rises

Canadian companies and government organizations information technology budgets have declined by more than 50 per cent compared with 2023, but firms continue to increase cybersecurity spending in relation to their overall IT budget year-over-year, according to the 2024 Canadian Cybersecurity Study by CDW Canada.

This indicates that cybersecurity remains a priority to reduce potential impacts on Canadian industries and organizations, the report says. CDW provides information technology solutions to business, government, education and health care customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

IT budgets have declined significantly in medium-sized and enterprise organizations, but have seen a slight increase in small organizations, the report says. Overall across Canada, IT budgets have declined in absolute terms by more than 50 per cent and have also decreased as a proportion of revenue (or as a proportion of budget for government organizations).

The data in the report was obtained through a Canada-wide, cross-province and cross-industry survey, independently conducted by IDC Canada, of 706 IT security, risk and compliance professionals directly involved in managing their organization’s IT security. Survey respondents were screened to represent organizations with a minimum of 15 fulltime employees, with at least 10 per cent of their total employees located in Canada.

The report found that cyberattacks have decreased, but the number of successful cyberattacks continues to increase, and that  use of artificial intelligence has altered cybersecurity, for both attackers and defenders.

For defenders, the report says, the benefits of AI include: significantly reducing false positive alerts; real-time threat detection and response; automating the process of identifying and neutralizing threats; predicting potential threats based on historical data and patterns; improving incident response times; and managing talent shortages through automation, enabling security teams to handle larger workloads without needed to hire additional staff.

More than 60 per cent of Canadian organizations said they anticipate AI will have significant positive impact on cybersecurity over the next two years.

Cybercriminals can use AI to automate the process of finding vulnerabilities by increasing their efficiency and reach, the report notes. In addition, AI can be misused to create sophisticated phishing and social engineering tactics, making it harder for victims to recognize fraudulent activity. Furthermore, machine learning (ML) can help attackers adapt their tactics in real time, learning from their successes and failures to refine their strategies.

“The combination of AI and ML can make cybercriminals more formidable, necessitating robust AI-based defences in cybersecurity,” the report says, noting that:

  • Organizations often overlook a critical component of success: threat detection and response.
  • An effective approach for addressing security gaps on the public cloud must consider the entire cloud ecosystem.
  • Fifty-nine per cent of Canadian organizations are working on a security policy regarding the use of AI in the workplace.
  • Twenty-nine per cent, or less the one-third, of organizations implementing zero-trust strategies have a policy in place that mandates security monitoring for threat detection. Zero-trust strategies ensure that every user, device and network flow is authenticated and authorized before being allowed to access resources.
  • Fifty-seven per cent of organizations indicated that the public cloud is the most impacted IT component from a cybersecurity attack.

Attackers have learned to exploit cloud-specific vulnerabilities, such as misconfiguration, to gain unauthorized access, the report says. Ransomware attacks have been adapted to cloud storage, exploiting the cloud’s computational power for “cryptojacking.” Cryptojacking is a threat that embeds itself within a computer or mobile device and then uses its resources to mine cryptocurrency (digital or virtual money).

  • Thirty-five per cent of organizations don’t feel that migrating their workloads to the public cloud has met their security expectations.

Compared with the 2023 study, fewer organizations stored their confidential and secret data in public cloud. The top reason cited by 74 per cent of respondents in the 2024 study was concern about security.

The report’s recommendations to organizations include:

  • Prioritize detection and response within zero-trust strategies.
  • Strengthen confidence in cloud security through best practices, cloud monitoring tools and other actions.
  • Create a comprehensive strategy for AI in security.
  • Conduct security assessment and implement an effective security framework. CDW Canada


Program to clean contaminated sites in Canada is not being effectively led, says Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development

Environment and Climate Change Canada, with the support of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, did not effectively lead the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, according to a report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Contaminated sites in northern Canada haven’t been managed to reduce the financial liability under the action plan and the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, the commissioner’s report says.

Although work was undertaken to remediate contaminated sites, the total financial liability for federal contaminated sites is now more than $10 billion, the report says. “In addition, gaps remained in practices intended to reduce the risks to the environment and human health for current and future generations.”

Complex sites that require ongoing care and maintenance – such as the large abandoned Faro and Giant mines – present immediate and long-term risks to the environment and health of Canadians, the commissioner said.

 For example, the Faro Mine in the Yukon requires ongoing maintenance for the foreseeable future to prevent contaminated water from polluting surrounding areas, and the Giant Mine in the Northwest Territories requires a large volume of arsenic to remain frozen underground.

The cost to remediate the eight largest abandoned mines in the North has increased by 95 per cent since 2019 due to several factors, including more accurate estimates to reflect the scope of work required to address these sites. As the responsible organization managing these mines, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada had gaps in its approach for considering climate change adaptation and perpetual care plans, the commissioner says.

Transport Canada and Crown‑Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, which manage contaminated sites in the North, complied with the contaminated sites program, the commissioner’s report says. “But we found this was not enough for the program to meet its Canada‑wide objectives.”

For example, the cost for remediating contaminated sites keeps increasing for Canadians, the commissioner says. Also, the program did not appropriately support custodians by including climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in remediation efforts, which are key priorities related to the management of contaminated sites.

As these sites often stand on Indigenous land, the remediation of contaminated sites in the North provides a significant opportunity to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and promote economic development, the commissioner says. “We heard from some Indigenous communities that these opportunities have yet to be realized.”

Findings by the commissioner’s report included:

  • There were more than 24,000 contaminated sites across Canada, and more than 2,600 were in northern Canada. Of the more than 24,000 sites, 18,110 were closed, including 8,639 where no action was required.
  • While only 11 per cent of the total number of federal sites are in the North, over 60 per cent of Canada’s total estimated financial liability is for the remediation of sites in the North.
  • Although progress has been made in closing contaminated sites, the total financial liability for known contaminated sites had increased from $2.9 billion in 2004-05 to $10.1 billion in 2022-23.
  • The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan does not include realistic targets for climate adaptation and is missing targets for Indigenous engagement and socio-economic benefits to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples – key priorities related to the management of contaminated sites.
  • The lack of reporting and meaningful information on contaminated sites, including large abandoned mines, means that the Government of Canada, decision makers, and Canadians do not have a clear picture of the environmental and financial effects of these contaminated sites.

“After 20 years, there is still much work needed to reduce financial liability related to contaminated sites and to lower environmental and human health risks for current and future generations,” Commissioner Jerry DeMarco said in a statement.

In addition, he said, “the government needs to take urgent action to advance socio-economic benefits, including employment opportunities, and to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples whose lands are often affected by contaminated sites.”

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in the government’s response to the commissioner’s report, said it’s important to note that increasing liability amounts [reported by the commissioner] reflect the fact that more sites have been assessed, revealing the more accurate underlying liabilities.

Contamination at many of the sites is the result of historic activities, spanning decades, Guilbeault said. The ongoing assessment and remediation activities throughout Canada help the government understand the true scope and scale of contamination., he said. “Without the significant actions taken by the Government, that liability would amount to an additional $4.6 billion.”

Guilbeault said Ottawa will continue to build upon the efforts the government has taken so far to ensure that work at contaminated sites supports reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities         

The Rideau Hall Foundation announced the sixth recipients of the ninth annual Governor General’s Innovation Awards. These awards recognize and celebrate exceptional Canadian individuals, teams and organizations for their excellence in innovation and their contributions in helping to shape our future and positively impact our quality of life. The recipients are:

  • Christian Bagg, Bowhead Reach (Bowhead Reach is an adaptive bike made by Bowhead Corporation, Calgary) – Following a snowboarding accident,  Bagg recognized the limitations of existing assistive technology for people with disabilities. Fueled by his desire to independently enjoy nature, he designed the Bowhead Reach – an adaptive bike tailored to enable individuals with disabilities to explore the outdoors independently.
  • The Canadian Archeological Association Working Group on Unmarked Graves (CAAWG), Kisha Supernant (Chair) – CAAWG developed resources for those affected by the search for missing children and unmarked burials. CAAWG has served as an expert panel for Indigenous communities, acted as advocates for survivors to government, guided private industry, and become a key public voice that has informed opinion and journalism.
  • Nuha Siddiquiand Kritika Tyagi, erthos (Mississauga) – erthos’ AI-powered biomaterials platform fosters a global shift towards eco-friendly practices. With ground-breaking standards and a projected 70-per-cent carbon reduction, erthos’ platform sets a transformative benchmark for sustainable solutions, positively impacting the quality of life in Canada and beyond.
  • Laurent Dallaire and François Bédard, Inneo (Princeville, Quebec) – Inneo is a revolution in the food world, being the first bacteriocin approved by Health Canada to eliminate bacteria from food. The team develops and produces innovative natural antimicrobials, offering a new generation of natural preservatives to ensure the naturalness and quality of food from the field to the grocery store.
  • Kang Lee (University of Toronto), Research in Moral Development to Legal, Clinical and Healthcare Innovation – Dr. Kang Lee's ground-breaking research on childhood dishonesty has led to unexpected innovations in legal, clinical, and health care practices. His research has influenced diagnosis and treatment of children with behavioural problems, and his invention of a contactless technology for measuring physiological responses is now used by over 10 million people globally for health monitoring and research.
  • Steven Holdcroft (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Benjamin Britton (Simon Fraser University), Revolutionary ion-exchange membranes and polymer for Clean Energy –Holdcroft’s world-leading research on anion and proton exchange membranes with Britton's scientific work and entrepreneurial foresight led to the discovery and commercialization of revolutionary clean energy materials. These materials unlock scalable green hydrogen generation technologies and meet hydrogen fuel cell targets, providing a major step-change in cost and performance. Holdcroft and Britton co-founded Ionomr Innovations Inc., with R&D and manufacturing facilities based in Vancouver.

An event celebrating the 2024 GGIA Laureates will take place on May 14, 2024, at Rideau Hall during Canadian Innovation Week (May 13 to 17). Rideau Hall Foundation

Vancouver-based quantum computing company Photonic Inc. announced it is scaling up its executive leadership team, with several appointments in the areas of research and development, materials science, quantum technologies, marketing, human resources and legal. In the areas of research and development, materials science, and quantum networks:

  • Chantal Arena joins as vice president of research, development, and production – devices. Arena has 35 years’ experience in business strategy, materials science, and semiconductor devices fabrication.
  • Klaus Schuegraf joins as vice president of research, development, and production – systems. Schuegraf brings over 30 years of experience driving innovation in semiconductor technology development, and leading large technical teams at companies. 
  • Quantum networking pioneer Thomas Jennewein serves as one of Photonic’s scientific fellows, informing the company’s quantum networking strategy.
  • Michael Thewalt also serves as a scientific fellow at Photonic and is a world expert on the optical properties of isotopically enriched silicon-28, the material forming Photonic’s scalable quantum technologies architecture. 
  • Also onboard as a scientific fellow at Photonic is  Artem (Art) Cherkasov, who provides expertise to Photonic in computer-aided drug discovery and new cancer therapeutics discovery –with a focus on how quantum technologies will provide value in these areas.  

In the areas of marketing, human resources, and legal:

  • Alison Berg, an original executive team member at Photonic, who joined initially as vice president, people and communications, was appointed to the newly created role of chief marketing officer, to focus on elevating the company’s brand awareness and positioning.
  • Stepping into the human resources leadership role as vice president, people, for Photonic is Jessica Hodgson, who brings nearly two decades of experience in scaling organizations to the task of further building out Photonic’s global workforce. 
  • Leading Photonic’s legal strategy is Neysa Finnie, vice president, legal, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise working with Fortune 50 companies and well-funded start-ups. Photonic

Dr. Ian Gates, PhD, was named the new associate vice-president (research and innovation) at the University of Calgary, effective May 1, 2024 for a two-year renewable term. Gates, a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, is an accomplished researcher and innovator in the field of fundamental and applied energy. He has been awarded more than 30 patents and has commercialized and co-founded multiple companies out of his research discoveries. His research group has been focused on fundamental and applied research which has led to innovative commercial outcomes and working with industry on how to reduce costs and emissions while increasing efficiency. Gates comes from his position as director of the Global Research Initiative (GRI) in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources, which was the first Canada First Research Excellence Fund awarded to the university of Calgary in 2016. Gates takes over the role from Dr. Stephen Larter, PhD, professor, Department of Earth, Energy and Environment, Faculty of Science, who was appointed in 2019, and who helped to formalize and develop the innovation ecosystem at the university. UCalgary

The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) announced Umesh Ramachandran as biomanufacturing trainer and site manager for its new training facility located at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Richmond Campus. The new training facility stems from a partnership between BCIT and CASTL, and was made possible through funding from the federal and British Columbia governments. Ramachandran has more than 20 years of technical and training experience in the life sciences sector. Prior to joining CASTL, he held various senior-level positions and worked on numerous international collaborations to advance bioprocessing and manufacturing systems. He will play a pivotal role in liaising with industry and academic partners and launching operations at the world-class facility scheduled to open in September 2024. As part of the training team, he will deliver in-person, virtual and practical hands-on training to a new generation of learners and current industry employees in the Canadian life sciences sector. CASTL

Edmonton Unlimited (previously Innovate Edmonton) announced the appointment of Tom Viinikka as its new CEO. Viinikka will assume the role on May 15, taking over from Launa Aspeslet. According to a January report from Taproot Edmonton, Aspeslet was named the organization’s interim CEO after Catherine Warren departed the role in January. Warren had served in the role since 2020, before Innovate Edmonton and its program divisions rebranded to Edmonton Unlimited in 2022. Viinikka has a career spanning nearly two decades in a number of industries, including technology. He has previously held roles in executive, operational, ownership, investing, strategic advisory, and economic development roles. He most recently led the Edmonton Screen Industries Office as CEO. BetaKit

Michelle Simms is leaving as CEO of St. John’s, Nfld.-based startup hub Genesis. Simms, who announced her departure in a LinkedIn post on April 22, will serve in the role until May 24. She has worked at Genesis since 2002, and was named president and CEO in August 2016, according to her LinkedIn. She said she is leaving the role to pursue a new opportunity, but has yet to disclose where that will be. Genesis has existed since 1997 with a goal of supporting companies with everything from ideation to scaling their business. BetaKit

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) appointed four new directors to its board of directors. David Goldie, the current board chair will continue to serve in the role until September 1, to support the transition of one of the new directors into the chair position. With these appointments, the board will consist of eight members (one non-voting), including the chair. The new directors are:

  • Duncan Au, incoming chair of the board. He is a Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountants and Chartered Financial Analyst with more than 30 years of corporate finance and energy services experience, and the former president and CEO of CWC Energy Services Corp.
  • Carey Arnett, appointed for a five-year term. Arnet has more than 20 years of management experience in the energy sector, including as former president and CEO of pipeline construction firm Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners Ltd. (now Arnett & Burgess Energy Services).  Arnett was chair of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association Foundation and president of the Calgary Petroleum club.
  • Theresa Watson, appointed for a five-year term. Watson has more than 30 years of experience in the energy sector as a professional engineer. She previously served as a board member of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) from 2009 to 2013, the predecessor of the Alberta Energy Regulator.
  • David Yager, appointed for a two-year term. Yager has more than 50 years of experience in the upstream oil and gas industry and has been a longtime writer, commentator and energy policy analyst.

Current directors Corrina Bryson, Gary Leach and Allison Rippin Armstrong will remain on the board. Govt. of Alberta

 Research Canada has established the Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award (ELIAA) to recognize the remarkable contributions of emerging advocates in advancing health research and innovation across Canada. This prestigious accolade is an addition to the organization’s existing Leadership in Advocacy Award, “reaffirming our commitment to fostering advocacy excellence at every level,” Research Canada said. ELIAA recipients will be selected based on their significant contributions to health research advocacy in Canada. Nominations for the 2024 Research Canada Advocacy Awards, including the Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award, are open until May 30, 2024. Research Canada

Several partners launched the Green Economy Calgary hub. The non-profit, a partnership between Green Economy Calgary, the City of Calgary, Alberta Ecotrust, Calgary Foundation, Natural Resources Canada, and TD Bank Group, was created to help transition SMEs into a cleaner way of doing business while helping them save on expenses. Among the supports provided by the hub will be one-on-one support, peer-network supports and educational resources to help businesses lower their energy use and carbon emissions. Businesses that join will also be part of a community that will share best practices, and ultimately working towards greater efficiency and profitability. Livewire Calgary

The University of Ottawa will break ground May 9 on its new Advanced Medical Research Centre, the biggest investment in the university’s history. The new six-storey building will feature 350,000 sq ft of advanced research space, with a dozen state-of-the-art core facilities not found anywhere else in the region, including an imaging facility, a metabolomics core and a Flow Cytometry & Virometry core, among other features. The facility will also house a health innovation hub dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation. Scheduled to open in 2026, it will welcome hundreds of researchers and employees of uOttawa’s Faculty of Medicine, accelerator and incubator companies, and regional partners. uOttawa also opened the $130-million Faculty of Health Science building on the Lees Avenue campus last September. uOttawa




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

You have 1 free article remaining.
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.