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Volta Academy wants to help early-stage founders test and validate their ideas

Source: BetaKit

Halifax tech hub Volta is accepting applications for its Volta Academy program, which supports founders to build businesses around ideas. Volta Academy participants work with mentors who help them validate their ideas and develop a scalable startup business.

“There were SaaS solutions for agencies, the music industry, education, financial planning, legal, and insurance. Others had hardware solutions to help with medication adherence, carpal tunnel, and efficient solar electric vehicle charging.”


Federal government investing in space exploration, supporting more than 175 Canadian jobs

Source: CNW

The Canadian government announced it will invest $54 million as part of its commitment to the International Space Station. Funds will be used to support the development of space robotics technologies used in the station, also supporting a total of 175 jobs in the process.

“ISS partners rely on Canadian robots to maintain and operate the Station in space and to resupply astronauts on board.”


Renewable Industries Canada supports regulatory approach in government’s clean fuel standard

Source: Digital Journal

Renewable Industries Canada, a non-profit that promotes the use of value-added products made of renewable resources, announced its support for the newly announced clean fuel standards. The policy is expected to increasing demand for biofuels is met by increasing supply, making stronger inroads towards tacking climate change.

“The domestic biofuel industry has grown to the point where it is now generating gross economic benefits in excess of $3.5B to the Canadian economy each year.”


Report: 61 percent of Canadian companies use automation to run their business

Source: BetaKit

A report published by Intuit Canada and Emergent Research found that the majority of small and medium businesses are embracing automation technologies to run their businesses. 57% of business owners believe that automation will have a positive impact on their businesses.

“About half of the businesses report that over the next five years, they expect automation technology will improve their job satisfaction, work-life balance, and their ability to manage their business.”


The Bank of Montreal Group is embracing collaboration in the digital era

Source: World Finance

The Bank of Montreal has been adopting a strategy of collaboration with smaller fintech companies that are disrupting the industry. Such strategic partnerships have been found to enable the bank to drive innovation and accelerate business outcomes.

“Such partnerships are beneficial for both established banks and budding fintech companies, because both parties have complementary strengths.”


Make room for fintech, Competition Bureau urges regulators, an ‘important sector of the Canadian economy

Source: Financial Post

Following a detailed study to assess the impact of fintech on areas such as lending, investment dealing and advice, equity crowd funding and Canada’s retail payments system, the Competition Bureau issued recommendations in which it encourages regulators to ensure that future regulatory changes allow for innovation with the financial sector and to adopt a tiered approach that creates a level playing field in which smaller players will be able to compete.

“Regulation based on a financial product or service — rather than on the technology or device used to get it — would ‘ensure that all entities that perform the same function carry the same regulatory burden and consumers have the same protections when dealing with competing service providers.’”


Canadian government launching $100 million procurement program for startups

Source: BetaKit

The Canadian government launched the Innovative Solutions Canada program, which will offer $100 million to support procurements from startups. Startups will be asked to propose solutions to challenges, and winning proposals will have the government as a first customer, supporting them to bring their innovative products and services to market.

“Innovative Canadians small businesses are well-positioned to help the government solve some of its more persistent challenges.”


Alberta wind power auction blows ‘old renewable energy myths out of the water’

Source: Calgary Herald

The Government of Alberta selected four wind power project proposals to install a total of 600MW of new generation capacity and invest a total of $1 billion. The projects that are to be located in Southern Alberta would have sufficient capacity to power 255,000 homes.

“The province wants to add up to 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy through private-sector investment of about $10 billion by 2030.”


Ottawa is driving the autonomous vehicle revolution

Source: Calgary Herald

Ottawa is becoming a centre for autonomous vehicle research, with examples such as Blackberry QNX launching its AV Innovation Centre and Ford announcing the establishment of a $338 million research and engineering centre as well as test track to test licensed AVs on the streets. The region is home to over 70 SMEs that are contributing to the AV sector.

“Ottawa is open for AV business.”


Federal data measures economic contribution of clean technology in Canada for the first time

Source: CNW

For the first time new data from Statistics Canada detailed how clean technologies and environmental goods and services are benefiting the country´s economy. Canada is among the first countries to make such information available to inform decision-making, improve knowhow and encourage innovation.

“Production of clean technologies, clean energy, and environmental goods and services contributed three percent of Canada’s gross domestic product and provided jobs to 274,000 Canadians in 2016.”


Quebec unveils five-year, $1.5B strategy to boost digital services

Source: CTV News

The Government of Quebec announced a 5-year plan in which it will invest $1.5 billion to adapt its citizens to the digital economy by ensuring access to the internet and ensuring that more people know how to take advantage of that resource.

“Limited internet connectivity is a real problem in rural areas in Quebec, and that’s something the province wishes to change.”


Chinese investors are expected to spend $1 trillion in the next decade

Source: HiBusiness.ca

Expected to invest $1 trillion over the next decade, Chinese investors are expected to allocate a large portion of that amount towards Canadian real estate. Canada currently ranks as the fourth location to receive most Chinese investments, following the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

“Chinese homebuyers are more interested in Toronto and Montreal than Vancouver, as stated in a report from Juwai, China’s largest real estate portal.”


First green energy auction puts Alberta’s climate plan to the test

Source: Calgary Herald

Moving forward with plans to phase out coal-fired electric energy and expanding renewable energy to 30% of total generation by 2030, the Government of Alberta is announcing the projects to be selected in the first auction for renewable power contracts.

“The province wants renewable electricity to grow to about 5,000 megawatts of power capacity by the end of the next decade. To do that, Alberta needs to attract at least $10.5 billion in investment.”


Bitcoin, blockchain startups cashing in on cryptocurrency frenzy

Source: The Globe and Mail

Taking advantage of increased market interest, companies are shifting their names and focus towards the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain in order to capitalize on capital seeking for related investment opportunities.

“While cryptocurrency startups may well provide legitimate investment opportunities, and the technology behind them provide immense potential.”


Generation Energy Council created to give shape to Canada’s energy future

Source: CNW

The Canadian government announced the creation of the Generation Energy Council, which will offer recommendations on how to prepare for a reliable and affordable low-carbon economy. Members of the council will make recommendations on what Canada´s energy future will look like, goals to achieve, principles to be followed and paths to be taken.

“Canadians want a thriving, low-carbon economy. They want us to be a leader in clean technology. And they want an energy system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians without harming the environment.”


Premier Wynne celebrates agri-food innovation in Ontario

Source: Office of the Premier of Ontario

As part of a delegation that visited China on a business mission, a number of Ontario-based companies in the agri-food sector signed agreements to open-up Chinese markets for their products. Agreements were also signed for Chinese companies to establish production facilities within Ontario. Furthermore, Ontario is being represented in NAFTA negotiations to promote the benefits of trade, particularly with the US markets.

“Through ingenuity, dedication and hard work, you are planting the seeds for an even brighter future for agri-food. Together, we will build an agri-food sector that can continue to adapt and grow.”


The Canadian tech startups that could be the next billion-dollar breakouts

Source: Canadian Business

Whereas Ottawa-based Shopify´s performance in the stock market may be difficult to replicate, there are a number of Canadian companies that are on their way to potentially attaining billion-dollar valuations. Seven companies with such potential are listed by the article as having such potential.

“Canada’s tech ecosystem is in rare form, with companies regularly raising nine-figure amounts from investors, and lots of young firms overcoming early challenges to rapidly grow revenue and head count.”


Lyft launches in Toronto with SickKids donation partnership

Source: BetaKit

The ride sharing company Lyft started to offer its services in Toronto, also announcing a partnership with the SickKids Foundaiton in which passengers will be able to round up fares to the nearest dollars throughout the month of December.

“Lyft confirmed just yesterday that it is launching in Toronto today; this is its first expansion outside the US.”


Ottawa tech consortium pitching alternative to Phoenix

Source: CBC News

With problems in the operation of the Phoenix payroll system for public servants that was rolled out in the winter of 2016, a consortium of tech companies in Ottawa will pitch a new alternative to replace the current system. The group of companies have expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence, integrative human resources programs and data analytics.

“Smaller tech firms like the ones that are part of the Civic Innovation Consortium deserve a chance to come up with a better solution.”


The future is automated

Source: Food in Canada

Small and medium sized companies in the food and beverages sector are increasingly investing in automation and robotics to improve productivity, reduce costs, and maintain high levels of quality. Although employee headcount requirements are consequently lower, the adoption of technology is allowing for employees in the sector to increase skills and knowledge.

“Large companies are going to have various levels of automation in their plants, but small- and medium-size manufacturers are facing the same competitive pressures.”


B.C. Interior’s first genomics lab opens with provincial support

Source: InfoTel News

The provincial government of British Columbia invested $291,000 to fund the creation of a genomics lab at Thompson Rivers University. The facility will support genetic research that will enhance agricultural and environmental remediation, and support innovation in the food and beverages sector.

“B.C.’s post-secondary institutions are conducting groundbreaking research that benefits people, the environment and industry here and around the world.”


City of Brampton’s innovation lead on building a ‘world renowned’ tech ecosystem

Source: IT World Canada

The city of Brampton is working to give innovation and technology a central role in its economy. The city is working to build an ecosystem that attracts tech companies, foster the organic growth of its existing innovation and tech sector, and creating a reputation in the tech sector

“Our goal is to develop the city through innovation and technology, whether that means bringing more technology companies into the city, or making the city itself a more innovative place.”


Nova Scotia investing $25 million to create two new VC funds

Source: BetaKit

The Government of Nova Scotia will invest $15 million in the creation of a venture capital fund that will support later-stage startups, as well as a $10 million fund for early-stage companies.

“To ensure Nova Scotia’s startup community continues to grow, it is also important to bring a new private-sector-managed fund to the region to support early stage companies.”


Time to let the world know Canada is a financial giant

Source: The Globe and Mail

The strength of Canada´s financial sector have increased its prominence internationally and led to Toronto be ranked as the second most important financial centre in North America. This represents a unique opportunity to attract capital and talent to Canada´s financial industry so that it may consolidate its position as a global financial centre.

“While the prominence of Canada’s financial sector continues to grow, it is noteworthy that it is also very often underestimated on the international stage.”


Canada is ready to be a global environmental leader using blockchain

Source: Coinsquare

With the United States departing from the Paris Climate Agreement, Canada´s stance on climate change and its blockchain ecosystem put it in a position to take-on a leadership role to address climate change issues using the technology.

“Canada’s abundant resources, resilient energy ecosystem, and long-standing tradition of protecting the environment makes it ripe for innovation.”


Addressing depression and making an impression: Montreal artificial intelligence start-up ranked in top 10 of international $5m IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition

Source: McGill Faculty of Medicine Electronic Newsletter

An AI startup run by McGill University students ranked among the top 10 finalists of the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition. The company developed an AI aid that helps physicians to predict the best treatments for clinical depression.

“Montreal has rapidly become a hub for AI development, and the momentum of this city’s AI community only continues to increase.”


GM Canada proposing first of its kind renewable energy project at Ontario facility

Source: The Chronicle Herald

General Motors Canada is proposing to build a renewable energy project at its St. Catharines Propulsion Plant which would reduce the facility’s GHG emissions by 77%. The 6.4 megawatt co-generation plant will use renewable landfill gas to generate electricity and recover thermal energy to power and heat the facility.

“The automaker says once the project is online in mid-2019, clean energy will power approximately 32 per cent of the St. Catharines plant.”


Canada’s healthcare industry making waves in country’s share of tech developers

Source: IT World Canada

Ryerson University’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship published a report on Canada´s developer talent, finding that the healthcare industry greatly contributed towards the country´s share of tech developers. Overall, the tech sector employs 864,000 Canadians.

“Between 2015 and 2017, the healthcare industry’s share of developers in Canada grew by 50 per cent.”


A magnet for talent and innovation, Greater Toronto’s top employers for 2018 are announced

Source: CNW

The ability to attract some of the best and brightest immigrants has allowed the Greater Toronto Area to become a leader in technology and innovation. Winners announced by the publication where recognized particularly for being able to tap into diversity and invest in professional development to drive innovation.

“A magnet for talent and innovation, the region is home to some remarkable employers that harness the GTA’s enormously diverse talent pool to create high performance organizations.”


Creative Canada: Minister Joly outlines the Government’s vision for cultural and creative industries in Montréal

Source: Markets Insider

Following the announcement of Creative Canada in September 2017, a roadmap for the development of creative industries in the digital space, the Minister of Canadian Heritage outlined the main themes that will serve to develop the segment.

“The renewed policy approach rests on three pillars: investing in our creators and creative industry professionals, promoting the discovery and distribution of our content at home and globally, and working to strengthen public broadcasting and support local news.”


OSC seeking applications for FinTech Advisory Committee

Source: BetaKit

The Ontario Securities Commission is taking applications for its FinTech Advisory Committee. The OSC is looking for people with expertise in areas such as digital platforms, cryptocurrencies, investment and financial services focused on fintech, AI, entrepreneurship, compliance and cybersecurity.

“The FinTech Advisory Committee advises OSC LaunchPad — which helps FinTechs navigate regulations — on developments in the FinTech space and challenges faced by startups in the securities industry.”


Canada needs to adopt Blockchain technology to meet ambitious agriculture and food goals

Source: The Hill Times

Having the goal to become the world’s trusted supplier of safe sustainable food, Canada can make use of blockchain technology to track all processes in the food chain, and allow consumers to know what they are eating, how it was produced an where it came from.

“In essence, Blockchain gives us the tools to track and verify almost anything we can imagine in complicated global food supply chains.”


Young Canadians lead the way in attending online course

Source: IT World Canada

According to a study published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada outranked all other countries in the number of 16 to 24 year olds attending online courses. A total of 77% of Canadians in that age-range attended online courses, nearly twice as much as second-ranked Brazil, which registered 43%.

“More than 93 of Canadian universities offer online courses and programs.”


Zenika chooses Montréal for its North American headquarters

Source: Markets Insider

French IT and digital transformation services provider selected Montréal to establish its new headquarters in North America, creating 50 jobs over a 3-year period. The company plans to work closely with academic institutions, and train students while recruiting for skilled talent.

“The city’s vibrant economy and bustling digital transformation scene prompted us to set up an R&D centre there so we could focus more on product development.”


TransAlta fast-tracks green transition, expects up to $50M in carbon credit windfall

Source: Calgary Herald

Calgary-based power producer TransAlta Corp. is accelerating its transition to cleaner power by mothballing coal pants in the near future and invest $300 million in converting 6 coal-fired units to natural gas by 2022. Additionally, the company is proposing a $2.5 billion pumped hydro project at the Brazeau dam in Drayton Valley.

“The $300-million project is expected to cut emissions from these facilities by half and extend their useful life until the mid-2030s.”


Blockchain stock listings set to explode in Canada: GMP Capital

Source: Financial Post

The level of activity and expertise related to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is allowing Canada to emerge as a hub for bitcoin and cryptocurrency stocks with the backing of a capital markets system that has traditionally backed small companies.

“A least 50 firms tied to blockchain and cryptocurrencies are set to list on Canadian exchanges, thanks in part to a junior market that’s more comfortable with risk than other parts of the world.”


The Government of Canada and 16 Canadian companies join forces to highlight Canadian clean-technology expertise to China

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada

A delegation of 16 Canadian companies joined the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in a visit to China with the goal of promoting Canadian clean technology companies.

“Canadian companies have expertise and solutions to offer. For example, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens are served by Canadian ultraviolet water- and wastewater-treatment technology.”


Yaletown reportedly raises $100 million for growth fund

Source: BetaKit

Vancouver-based Yaletown Partners, a private equity fund that invests in emerging-growth technology companies, raised a $100 million growth fund that will target investments in intelligent industrial and enterprise companies with annual product sales in the range of $2 million to $5 million.

“The firm – which has traditionally focused on western Canada investments — is now looking to invest across Canada with presences in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.”


How Canada has emerged as a leader in artificial intelligence

Source: University Affairs

Government investments at a federal and provincial level, tech startups and giants’ investments, and a long history of research initiatives by academic institutions have positioned Canada as a leading force in artificial intelligence research. The country now needs to position itself as an industrial force in the field.

“Academics, industry and government have joined together, setting the stage for Canada to become a research and development powerhouse in AI.”


Acquisition of The Montreal Gazette’s former printing facility – Québec-based eStruxture Data Centers to open a new world-class facility in the heart of Montréal

Source: Markets Insider

eStruxture Data Centers announced that it will create a 30MW power capacity data centre in Montreal. The $150 million investment will serve Montreal’s growing IT services industry, as well as clients around the world.

“The city’s unique assets played a crucial role in this business decision: access to clean and affordable energy, a cool climate that limits the amount of energy needed for cooling, a current flourishing digital ecosystem and a strong technology sector with many potential clients, among others.”


Canadian CEOs + leaders say: Let’s stand up for nature

Source: Smart Prosperity Institute

A diverse group of business and civil society leaders in Canada called upon the government to conserve nature, protect endangered wildlife, and meet international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Canada´s natural endowment also represents an economic opportunity, with marketable natural resource assets worth an estimated $750 billion.

“With its rich natural heritage, Canada can play a global leadership role in conservation.”


Artificial intelligence can accelerate the race toward sustainable energy technologies

Source: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Prominent researchers argue that artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies maybe key towards accelerating the development of clean energy. Such technologies could be used to search through vast number of alternatives that can be considered further improvements in areas such as conversion efficiency and energy storage, where sorting through the large number of potential materials to be considered in the use of such technologies represent a challenge for researchers.

“Machine learning could focus the efforts of engineers looking to harvest, convert and store clean energy.”


How banks and fintechs can learn to be good partners

Source: Financial Post

The advent of fintech is not only causing disruption to the traditional financial markets, but as they increasingly work closer with financial institutions they are forcing the banking industry to find new ways to partner and reconcile to practices that they may not have been used to in the past.

“Fintech firms offer entrepreneurial energy, innovative technologies and highly flexible consumer engagement techniques. But they also bring a healthy dose of impatience to a famously staid industry.”


PwC Canada opens hub in Toronto to help traditional industries embrace tech

Source: BetaKit

PwC Canada opened its new digital experience centre in Toronto, where it will be able to work with clients to create solutions for their business challenges. Clients will be able to work with and test new technologies, such as AI, VR, IoT, and robotics, and their applications to their businesses.

“[Toronto has] been a place where we’ve had blockchain technology be born, and various founders of new ways of thinking in technology. The opening of this centre is conducive to the fact that Toronto, on a global scale, is a hub for innovation.”


Stacking up: A snapshot of Canada’s developer tech talent

Source: CNW

A report published by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University in partnership with Stack Overflow found that Canada has one of the highest concentrations of developer talent in the world. Canadians represented 4.4% of global developers, ranking Canada as the 5th country in terms of developer talent.

“Internationally, Toronto ranked 13th among all cities in terms of number of developers and 5th in terms of the growth of its developer community over the past year.”


Alberta pledges $1.4 billion for oil and gas industry climate change initiatives

Source: Calgary Herald

The Government of Alberta committed towards the creation of a $1.4 billion fund that will support industry innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over a 7-year period. The greater part of those funds, $440 million, will be earmarked for oilsands projects. Other areas that will receive support are climate change technology, industrial energy-efficiency measures, bioenergy, as well as loans to support efficiency and renewable-energy measures.

“The new program is different because it takes a ‘whole-of-the-economy view’ and because the levy on industrial operations is changing.”


Climate targets generate B.C. clean-power opportunities

Source: Business in Vancouver

With municipal, provincial and federal climate change strategies driving growing demand for clean power, British Columbia may potentially see the need for increased electrification to serve demand from within as well as from neighboring provinces.

“The federal government has a greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and B.C. is targeting an 80% reduction by 2050. Meanwhile the City of Vancouver aims to be 100% renewable by 2050.”


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