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Author: Darrell Winwood

New rapid COVID-19 test taking off at EIA

GLC, Edmonton company, testing new technology exclusively at airport 

In partnership with GLC Medical (GLCM) Inc., a subsidiary of Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) Inc., an Edmonton-based company, EIA will host clinical trials of this new technology that has the potential to have global implications for COVID-19 testing. This test is conducted with a handheld unit that takes a saliva sample from a person and is expected to tell if someone has COVID-19 in under 1-minute, compared to other tests with longer laboratory-based waiting periods for results.  This test promises many advantages from its ease of use to the elimination of the nasal swab to direct virus detection.  This kind of test will help address the need for a 14-day quarantine period in Canada and potentially other international quarantine restrictions. By removing or reducing this barrier, it can help travellers feel safer in returning to travel.  

GLC Medical (GLCM) Inc. is headquartered in the Edmonton Research Park and has garnered international attention for the development of this test, which is still undergoing clinical testing as part of the regulatory approval process with health authorities. As an airport, EIA understands working with governments and within a regulated structure. With secure and safe facilities and a consistent flow of passengers, it’s one reason an airport is an ideal place to start testing the trial phase of this new COVID-19 rapid test.   

“We all want travel to get back to normal and a rapid COVID-19 test will accelerate this return while enhancing passenger confidence in the safety of our industry.  While we have seen some growth in recent months, our passenger numbers during COVID-19 continue to remain low and a test like this is crucial to our future. All airlines, airports and the whole travel and hospitality sector are looking for this solution. If EIA can play a role in bringing new technology and science forward by partnering with experts like GLC that’s exactly what we’re going to do. This is an exciting opportunity for all of us.” 

-Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport 

“We are very excited to offer the world a graphene-enhanced rapid solution in COVID-19 virus detection. The opportunity to collaborate with EIA, a world-respected airport authority, to enable travel and to bring families back together is very rewarding for us. This graphene-enhanced rapid test demonstrates the power of graphene innovation to overcome the challenges of COVID-19. GLC is proud to be a part of EIA’s initiative in setting the global standard in safety and reliability for their travellers.” 

-Donna Mandau, President & CEO, Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) Inc. / GLC Medical (GLCM) Inc. 

Prototype of the rapid COVID-19 testing unit. Credit: GLC Medical

 How the test works 

  • The person being tested provides a saliva sample into the testing unit; 
  • The graphene surface inside the testing unit is designed to bond to the spike protein in the virus; 
  • This binding event changes the electronic characteristics of the graphene, and this measurable change is what is used to determine if a person is infected or not; 
  • The device will show a red or green light in under 1-minute to indicate if a person is virus free or not; 
  • The test is not required to be administered by a medical professional and with training can be administered by anyone, similar to how basic first aid training is done. 

 The next step is to bring this test and GLC to EIA and establish a safe and secure test site. Details about the testing and the process will be shared in the coming weeks. A start date has not been determined, but once it begins, the clinical trial will last several weeks over this fall. This trial phase will help GLC Medical secure regulatory approval and certification for its test from Health Canada and other regulatory bodies, including in the United States and other areas of the world. 

 As a not-for-profit corporation, EIA works to attract investment and jobs to the Edmonton Metro Region and support local innovation. Airports connect global communities and create opportunities for people and business. The partnership with GLC Medical has tremendous opportunities to impact many industries beyond just the travel industry. EIA is focused on safety and security as its number one core value and creating a safe passenger experience at the airport is a priority. The EIA Ready program focuses not only on enhanced cleaning but also seeking out and adopting new innovations and technologies to help passengers feel comfortable in the airport and with travel overall. The recent announcement of EIA being accredited by Airports Council International (ACI) with the airport health certification is yet another example of how EIA is putting safety and security as a top priority in creating a safe airport. Visit flyeia.com/ready for more information.  

About Edmonton International Airport 

Edmonton International Airport is a self-funded, not-for-profit corporation whose mandate is to drive economic prosperity for the Edmonton Region. EIA is Canada’s fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and the largest major Canadian airport by land area. EIA offers non-stop connections to destinations across Canada, the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. EIA is a major economic driver, with an economic output of over $3.2 billion, supporting over 26000 jobs. For more information, please visit: flyeia.com, follow @flyeia on TwitterInstagramLinkedin or Facebook

About GLC  

Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) Inc. is a Canadian technology company producing high quality, high purity graphene nanomaterials which functions as a platform technology with the ability to add value across numerous applications. Graphene Leaders Canada Inc. is focused to work with industry to develop solutions by integrating the graphene to develop new innovative products.  GLC’s tag line is “Making Great Products Even Greater”.   

GLC Medical (GLCM) Inc. is a subsidiary of GLC Inc. and offers graphene solutions in the medical industry leveraging our material science expertise in working with high quality graphene and developing products and solutions to serve the betterment of People and Planet.    

Edmonton receives platinum certification for the Data for Canadian Cities Project

September 21, 2020

Today, the World Council on City Data (WCCD) recognized the City of Edmonton for achieving ISO 37120 Platinum certification as part of the Government of Canada supported Data for Canadian Cities Project. This is the highest level of certification that a city can achieve and reflects the calibre of the data reported in accordance with ISO 37120: Sustainable Cities and Communities – Indicators for City Services, the first international standard for city data. This global first was largely created through the input of Canadian urban leaders and practitioners.  

“Transparency and accountability maintain and strengthen our democracy. This is why we’re extremely pleased to have achieved Platinum certification from the WCCD for the Data for Canadian Cities Project,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “Edmonton has long been a leader in data-driven decision-making to provide better City services and improve quality of life for Edmontonians. I’d like to thank Minister McKenna and the WCCD for their leadership in this project and encourage my colleagues in other Canadian municipalities to participate in this important work.” 

“We are so pleased to welcome Edmonton into the WCCD global network of 100 data-driven cities across more than 35 countries” stated the WCCD President and CEO, Dr. Patricia McCarney. “Edmonton is already recognized, here in Canada and on the global stage, as a city truly dedicated to building high calibre data for performance management, benchmarking and moreover, for putting that data to use as a core element in their strategic planning framework. Being awarded WCCD ISO Platinum Certification today further underscores the commitment of Mayor Iveson and Edmonton’s leaders on leveraging globally standardized, comparable, and independently verified city data, that will drive a more prosperous, sustainable, resilient and inclusive future for the City’s residents.”

“All communities, large and small, need good data to plan and build modern public infrastructure. Meeting global data standards is critical. Through the Data for Canadian Cities Project, in partnership with the World Council on City Data, we’ve been helping municipal leaders in a number of communities across Canada do just that,” stated The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “I am delighted that Edmonton has obtained the ISO standard for municipal data. This will help the City plan projects with quality data and will help guide evidence-based decision-making. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”

Data for participating Canadian cities will be publicly available in early 2021 on the WCCD website, following the relaunch of the WCCD Visualization Portal. Data compiled through this project supports municipalities to better plan and implement infrastructure investments and measure the impacts of those investments on economic prosperity and the quality of life of their residents. 

The WCCD administered ISO 37120 is a globally standardized data set that measures quality of life and delivery of municipal services. As part of a funded agreement with the Government of Canada, the WCCD is working with fifteen municipalities across Canada to help them become certified under ISO 37120, doubling the number of WCCD ISO Certified Canadian municipalities to thirty. This three-year project assists the participating cities in obtaining WCCD’s ISO 37120 Certification, as well as leveraging the data to drive insights, build capacity, and monitor trends. 

For more information: www.dataforcities.org

Showcasing Alberta’s AI advantage

Alberta’s government is supporting artificial intelligence and machine learning, with $9 million in funding for the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).

The funding includes $4 million from Alberta Innovates and $5 million through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, and will allow Amii to continue its world-class research and accelerated commercialization of new technologies. Amii will also help Alberta companies use artificial intelligence and machine learning to find and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy and agriculture sectors.

Through the government’s Investment and Growth Strategy, developing Alberta’s technology sector has been identified as a top priority as it will make way for investment and innovation in other industries, including agriculture, aviation, health sciences and energy.

“Alberta is already a world leader in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which creates a strong foundation for our province moving forward. Rest assured your government is here to make sure that Alberta attracts high-growth technology and innovation companies that will diversify our economy and create jobs for today and for the future.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute at the University of Alberta is in the top five in the world for artificial intelligence research facilities, and works with technology leaders like Google, IBM and Microsoft. Our investment demonstrates that Alberta’s government recognizes the important role that Amii and the University of Alberta plays in creating a stronger economy.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

“For Alberta to reach its full economic potential, we need a strong technology sector with players like Amii, who are at the heart of the artificial intelligence expertise in Alberta. Alberta’s government is taking action to ensure that we are a destination of choice for more innovators and inventors like Amii, where they can develop their ideas into companies and create good-paying jobs.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta

Alberta’s government and Alberta Innovates have been longtime supporters of Amii and its world-class work, such as their recent work with OKAKI, a Calgary-based health technology company working to predict and prevent opioid overdoses.  

Thanks to its innovative and leading-edge approach, Amii has also been able to attract research funding through the private sector, Western Economic Diversification, and $25 million over five years from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.  

“Amii exists in large part thanks to crucial investments made by the Government of Alberta, CIFAR and Alberta Innovates – and our partnership with the University of Alberta. With renewed funding, we’re able to continue our trajectory of long-established excellence in AI and machine learning and leverage scientific advancement to speed industry adoption, job creation and innovation for Alberta’s most forward-thinking organizations.”

Cam Linke, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

“A century ago, Albertans could never have imagined how innovations like oil sands SAGD technology would yield billions of dollars of economic wealth to the province. The government’s support of technology – including artificial intelligence – has that same potential to bring new jobs, businesses and wealth to Alberta in today’s $16 trillion global artificial intelligence market.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Today’s funding announcement for Amii will unlock tremendous opportunity across our province. Alberta is a global powerhouse in energy, agriculture, life sciences, and manufacturing – we’re also home to the University of Alberta, ranked third in the world for AI research. That combination makes us unique – globally! As a direct result of the province’s funding, Amii will not only drive results for existing businesses, it will be incredibly powerful in attracting the international investment community. This is outstanding news.”

Malcolm Bruce, CEO, Edmonton Global

“These investments in Amii will be key to ensuring Alberta is poised for success. We have incredible potential to diversify the economy, create jobs and strengthen our communities by building on our world-class artificial intelligence and machine learning expertise.”

Janet M. Riopel, president and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

The Investment and Growth Strategy is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan – an ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs, now. By building schools, roads, and other core infrastructure, we are benefiting our communities by putting Albertans back to work. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for economic growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the COVID-19 curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow back our businesses, and thrive as a province.

Quick facts

  • Amii is an Alberta-based non-profit institute that supports world-leading research in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and is one of Canada’s three centres of AI excellence.
  • Amii’s mission is to make artificial intelligence and machine learning the primary drivers of economic growth for Alberta – through great research, advisement and education.
  • Alberta’s government is developing sector-specific strategies for diversification that will build off the province’s existing technology and innovation strengths. These include:
  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Aviation, aerospace, and logistics
  • Culture and creative industries
  • Energy
  • Financial services and fintech
  • Technology and innovation
  • Tourism

Canadian town seeking Australian farmers and Agrifood investors

Although rising global temperatures by just two to three degrees will most likely cause crop failures in many other parts of the world, Canada, and more specifically prairie provinces, like Alberta, are seeing the opening up of millions of once frigid acres to the plow.

The community of Parkland County, located 20 miles west of the City of Edmonton, part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, and located on the CANAMEX corridor, is inviting Australian farmers and investors to explore its opportunities in food/beverage processing, production, logistics and distribution thanks to take advantage of  its strategic location, exceptional infrastructure and easy access to its new agricultural resources

Agriculture represents the largest use of land in the region, with roughly 1.7 million acres of farms covering 80% of the land. Conditions in the region are well-suited for grains, oilseeds, pulses, cannabis, hemp, and livestock production. The region has been making strides in diversifying its agriculture industry, turning to cannabis and hemp as its latest area of focus. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is one of the few locations in the world that has never experienced a region-wide crop failure.

In 2016, Alberta exported approximately $10 billion in agri-food products. Fifty percent of the seed potatoes grown on the 10,000 seed potato acres in Alberta are exported, with the majority of exports earmarked for the USA and other international markets.

Almost all Canadian agricultural air traffic to Asia routes through the Edmonton International Airport due to its 24-hour freight services and shortest-in-Canada flight times.

 According to Ian Jarvis, a senior official with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a government department, in the country’s three prairie provinces alone – vast swaths of flat land in central Canada covering an area more than twice the size of France – the amount of arable land could rise between 26 and 40 percent by 2040!

The community of Parkland County, located 20 miles west of the City of Edmonton, part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, and located on the CANAMEX corridor, is ideally suited for food/beverage processing, production, logistics and distribution thanks to its strategic location, exceptional infrastructure and easy access to agricultural resources.

For all of the above reasons, numerous food processing companies, including those listed below, chose to locate operations in Parkland County and adjacent areas:

  • Champion Pet Foods established in January 2020 in Parkland County a 421,000 square foot facility that employs about 200 people. Referred to internally as the NorthStar Kitchen, the operation features three dry food production lines (Acana and Orijen dog and cat food) as well as a distribution warehouse and logistics center. Parkland County offers easy access to rich resources and suppliers of proteins, grains and vegetables found in the Prairies.
  • Cargill has a hamburger meat patty plant located in Spruce Grove that produces 3 million hamburger patties a day for global customers including McDonalds Canada. They also produce 1500 tons a day of canola oil and 2000 tons of canola meal for animal feed out of their Camrose facility located 45 minutes outside of Edmonton.
  • Whole Leaf established 11 acres of greenhouses in Coadale, AB that produces 40-60,000 heads of lettuce (6 days a week) supplies all of Wendy’s 300 Canadian chain restaurants.
  • For nearly a decade, Canyon Creek has been creating delicious foods for grocery retailers, restaurant chains, and other foodservice institutions throughout Canada. It operates in both the food service and retail channels and manufactures all products out of a plant located in Edmonton.
  • Started with 600 colonies in 1979, TPLR Honey Farms, located in Parkland County, has since expanded to 3,300 colonies for honey production. Honey produced is sold across Canada and exported to North America and Asia.

“Regarding assets, Parkland County has a wealth of options to offer prospective investors” said, Robert Fernandez, Director of Economic Diversification of Parkland County. “We have fantastic industrial areas in our Acheson Park, which is uniquely positioned on a major transportation corridor. We have ready rail access with spurs into industrial zones that attract a variety of users from heavy industrial, agriculture and logistics.”

Williams Engineering – Using the power of machine learning to optimize business functions

As we move towards economic recovery, the need for businesses to adopt new technologies to improve efficiencies and support long term growth is becoming more and more critical. Increasingly we are seeing a real shift towards understanding how innovation and technology are key to supporting growth across all industries here in the Edmonton Metropolitan region and across the globe. The Edmonton region’s strengths in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have the capacity to capitalize on the opportunities that have emerged as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williams Engineering Canada (WEC), an engineering consultancy firm had begun investing in machine learning software even before the pandemic hit. Through a partnership with AltaML, another Edmonton-based company that is focused on applied artificial intelligence, the two organisations are building machine learning applications in the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. 

“We’re passionate about designing sustainable infrastructure that contributes positively to the communities that we’re a part of. ML algorithms, when applied to large amounts of data generated by buildings and business processes, will create economic opportunity and transform the AEC industry,” said Naseem Bashir, President and CEO of Williams Engineering Canada when the announcement was made in December 2019. “Being the first to partner with AltaML to develop AI and ML solutions for the AEC industry is exciting and beneficial not only our organization, but for every organization responsible for designing and building infrastructure across Canada. Machine learning and data analytics will augment our people’s ability to understand and predict the behavior of complex systems, enabling new and innovative solutions to emerge. The ability to leverage data enables companies like WEC to make improved decisions and produce greater efficiencies that lead to creating more sustainable infrastructure for the cities and communities where we all live, work and play.”

Adopting these tools are generating a real-world return on investment (ROI) for Williams Engineering where improving efficiencies is helping to make them more globally competitive.

“Typically, one of the most time-consuming parts of what WEC does is the proposal phase,” says Naseem. “We have 180 employees who write between 2,500 and 2,700 proposal a year – this takes a lot of time. An ML tool has the capacity to pull a tonne of data together, learn from it and help our engineers make better and faster decisions – leading to better work and the ability to bid on even more projects.”

It is these sorts of efficiencies that will have the ability to set them apart from their global competitors.

“Disruption breeds opportunity,” says Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global. “ML & AI have the ability to support businesses in all sectors to become more efficient and productive. Globally, we’re seeing companies that invest in digital approaches, AI & ML, automation, etc. expand and gain market share. Our region is really well positioned to be at the leading edge of this because of companies like AltaML, the huge number of AI graduates from our universities, and the awareness of our business community that we’re at a real turning point in the global economy. Now is the time to take our regional strengths – like our well-developed expertise and talent in AI and ML- and use those to our advantage.”

To learn more about the Edmonton region’s strengths in AI and ML, and how businesses are using these tools to optimize business functions register for our upcoming webinar – Accessing the world’s top AI & ML talent

Edmonton ICE District properties earn international award

Stantec Tower, JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District, and The Legends Private Residences in downtown Edmonton’s Ice District have been awarded the prestigious ENR Global Best Project Award in the Retail/Mixed-Used Development category.

ENR (Engineering News Record) has been hosting this international competition for 8 years, aimed at recognizing best in class design and construction projects from around the world. Entries were received from projects in many countries including Australia, Ireland, Sri Lanka and Moscow, highlighting the significance of receiving these awards for these Edmonton-based projects.

“Stantec Tower, JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District and The Legends Private Residences were all designed to draw residents to the vibrant downtown core of Edmonton,” said Tim Shipton, Senior Vice President, Communications and Government Relations, ICE District. “These towers have transformed the urban fabric in downtown Edmonton, and we are very proud that their design teams have received well-deserved recognition for their efforts.”

Stantec Tower is the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto. JW Marriot Edmonton ICE District is only the third JW Marriot property in Canada – Marriott’s most elite brand.

During construction of these buildings, both project teams demonstrated exceptional innovation by implementing safety measures to combat weather elements and mitigated construction risks posed by the height of each tower, as well as created safety programs to aid the protection of the general public and workers during construction.

“Receiving this highly regarded award speaks to the quality and craft production behind each project,” said Tim. “We are thrilled to see ICE District be recognized on the international stage for being innovative, safe and environmentally-responsible.”

“There’s incredible innovation happening in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region in all sectors,” said Edmonton Global CEO, Malcolm Bruce. “This is a great example of the world-class initiatives that are underway here and this global recognition is well deserved. The Edmonton region has a great story to tell – when you look at the global companies in architecture, engineering, and construction that are headquartered here and led these projects – it should come as no surprise that awards and international recognition are coming our way.”

The ICE District is located in the heart of downtown Edmonton, one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. Including a state-of-the-art arena, this 25 acre development was recently chosen to host the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, with Edmonton acting as a hub city for the playoff run leading up to the finals. ”If you haven’t been to the Edmonton region in the past couple of years, you’ll be stunned by the dramatic changes to our skyline. This has always been a beautiful city and region, and

Submissions to the ENR Global Best Projects competition were reviewed and analyzed by an advisory committee made up of industry veterans, and were judged on criteria such as safety performance, innovation, challenges, and design and construction quality.

The JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District and The Legends Private Residences were developed by notable contract and design firms PCL Construction, EAD Property Holdings Corp, DIALOG Alberta Architecture. Stantec Tower was developed by Stantec Architectural, which managed the design, engineering, and construction of the tower.

Newly released white paper explores the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s potential as a ‘hydrogen node’

The Transition Accelerator has released a white paper – Towards Net-Zero Energy Systems in Canada: A Key Role for Hydrogen. The report includes a pan-Canadian perspective on the work of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force which was established in order to develop a framework for implementing a hydrogen economy in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. This white paper provides an assessment of the ability of the region to contribute to the transition towards a net-zero energy future through the acceleration of hydrogen adoption.

Part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, represents a cluster of world-class refining and processing operations representing $40 billion in capital investments and a wealth of expertise in the energy sector.  

As Canada commits to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, most of the fossil carbon-based energy carriers – like gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and natural gas – that currently provide over 70% of secondary energy demand in Canada will need to be replaced with zero-emission energy carriers. Hydrogen has the capacity to fulfill this need.

In order to scale up the hydrogen industry in Canada to meet the anticipated demand, the white paper recommends the establishment of ‘hydrogen nodes’ in regions across the country where the following criteria can be met:

  1. Low cost/low carbon source of blue, green or waste hydrogen
  2. Substantial nearby markets for the hydrogen as fuel and/or industrial feed stock
  3. Ability to cost-effectively connect supply to demand
  4. Scale of supply and demand where the economics work without sustained public investment
  5. Engaged industry, governments and academics to drive and support the initiative

The unique strengths of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland make it an excellent choice when considering where to locate one of these ‘nodes’. The region is among the world’s lowest cost producers of hydrogen. Alberta’s blue hydrogen, in particular, is made with ultra-low emissions by upgrading natural gas and sequestering carbon dioxide.

As well, the region offers well developed existing infrastructure, excellent access to domestic and international markets, a growing clean-tech ecosystem, and skilled labour.   

Lastly, the establishment of the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Taskforce has brought together government, industry and academia – clearly demonstrating well rounded support of this initiative.

You can learn more about the study by reading the white paper here.

PBG BioPharma announces the official completion of their manufacturing and research laboratories

Edmonton Global CEO, Malcolm Bruce and Director of Marketing and Communications, Chris McLeod visited the new facility at its launch (pictured here with PBG BioPharma founder, Dr. Shan)

LEDUC, AB, Sept. 4, 2020 – PBG BioPharma Inc., a life science company committed to becoming a world leader in the development and production of evidence-based natural health products and medicinal cannabis products using its proprietary GenBioChem™ fingerprinting technology platform, announced today the official completion of its 25,000 SQF research and manufacturing facility on September 8th, 2020. The one-of-a-kind facility houses three distinct operations under one roof— a GMP certified facility for natural health product development and manufacturing, a C1D2 manufacturing facility with license for cannabis processing, and a suite of world-class GMP and ISO 17025 accredited research and analytical laboratories with cannabis analytical and research license.

The manufacturing and research/analytical laboratories will be utilized as innovation and manufacturing centres performing proprietary extractions, isolations, formulations, research and testing of Canada-based medicinal herbs, as well as cannabis products for health and wellness. The manufactured products will include ingredient extracts and isolates and formulated finished products. The facility will also serve as a “one-stop-shop” for Canadian and international businesses looking to create innovative, reliable, consistent, and evidence-based nutraceutical and medicinal cannabis products.

“We are excited to announce the completion of our state-of-the-art facilities,” said Dr. Jacqueline Shan, PBG Biopharma’s President, Founder, CEO and Chief Science Officer. “These joint facilities will serve as innovation centres, furthering our research and development of scientifically verified NHP products and medicinal cannabis, and also provide a much-needed resource to businesses looking to manufacture and develop their own reliable NHP and medicinal cannabis products.”  

“I am truly proud of our incredible team that has achieved such a monumental task in a matter of 8 months, and during a pandemic no less. We couldn’t have done this without the excellent execution of our entire PBG team and our wonderful team of architects, engineering and construction.”

The completed facility has created 20 jobs for scientists, biomedical professionals, and highly qualified personnel, and is expected to lead to the creation of another 30 new jobs over the next three years.

About PBG BioPharma Inc.
PBG BioPharma is a vertically integrated biopharmaceutical company based in Alberta and Ontario. Using the proprietary GenBioChem™ Fingerprinting Technology platform, the company takes a pharmaceutical approach to their research and product development process. PBG BioPharma’s products are vigorously tested and standardized by chemical, biological and genomic fingerprinting to ensure consistent purity, potency and targeted efficacy batch to batch and are in compliance with regulatory and industry standards. PGB BioPharma is currently conducting research and development and clinical testing in the area of broad-spectrum anti-viral therapy, neuropathic pain and Alzheimer’s management. The company’s NHP brands including Allergy Rf®, GenBioChem® Immunity and GenBioChem® Memory, are sold via multi-platform channels both nationally and internationally, including through wholly-owned Ontario based pharmacy store, Chi Health Pharmacy.

Further information regarding updates on the development may be found on www.pbgbiopharma.com 

Government of Canada invests in Alberta’s construction industry to help strengthen energy efficiency and green building practices

Minister Mélanie Joly announces $3 million investment to enable small- and medium-sized firms to develop innovative green technologies and support good, local jobs

September 4, 2020 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Alberta’s construction and engineering is a central part of its economy, supporting good jobs across the province. As the industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, innovation is essential for it to come back strong and support growth across Alberta. The Government of Canada is a partner in these efforts, helping the industry recover, reopen and retool to emerge stronger than before.

Jobs for Alberta

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), today announced federal funding of $3 million to help Alberta’s construction and engineering industry innovate and grow. This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will help small and medium-sized businesses adopt new products and technologies that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This funding will be directed towards an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization—the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)—to establish a network of test buildings where firms can collaborate and test their products under different conditions. WD funding is complemented by an investment of more than $2.8 million from Alberta Innovates, in-kind support from industry and $165,000 from the SSRIA, bringing the total project funding to over $6.3 million.

Products and services expected to be commercialized through this initiative include:

  • materials for walls, roofs and foundations;
  • mechanical and electrical system improvements;
  • sensors and lighting products that reduce energy consumption; and
  • software for storing and analyzing building performance on energy efficiency and greenhouse gases.

Today’s announcement further supports the construction industry’s shift towards energy efficient and environmentally-friendly practices. In addition to benefiting from new products and services to meet their needs, Alberta’s broader architecture, engineering, and construction industry will also reap the benefits of this important initiative.


“Our shift towards green technologies is both the right thing to do for our environment and the smart thing to do for our economy. This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will support good, well-paying jobs in communities across Alberta while helping the province’s construction industry stay on the cutting edge. It will help many small and medium-sized businesses across the province innovate and grow while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m excited to see the difference it will make.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Through strong collaboration with our partners, the Government of Alberta continues to look for opportunities to create new jobs. Albertans are builders, and innovators. We’ve been the engine of Canada’s economy because of the fresh ideas that we bring to the table, and this is one more way for us to keep sharing new concepts from our world-class construction and engineering industry with the rest of Canada and the world.”

– Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“The technology developed with SSRIA will significantly reduce emissions and support the growth of the building and construction sector in Alberta. The project reimagines buildings themselves as clean tech and will drive transformative work around built environments, creating new opportunities and new markets. This initiative is another compelling example of innovation growing the economy.”

– Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“The operations of our buildings account for 20 per cent of GHG emissions in Canada and as high as two-thirds of emissions in Alberta’s largest cities. Through industry collaboration and innovation, we will develop and disseminate validated solutions to reduce GHG emissions by building higher performing buildings, which in turn provides economic benefits for the engineering and construction industry, building owners and their occupants.”

– Tanya Doran, Chair, Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)

Quick facts

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is investing $3 million towards the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA) to establish a network of test buildings where firms can test new products, technologies, and practices that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The SSRIA is a membership-based organization supported by major construction firms in Alberta, including Stantec, Ledcor and PCL Construction, as well as several Alberta post-secondary institutions and technology incubators.
  • Alberta’s varied climate provides companies an opportunity to develop a level of expertise in the green building and construction sector that can be exported world-wide. Alberta has other natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and wood in abundance—all of which provide the region with a competitive advantage in developing green building technologies and products that require the use of alternative energies and other natural resources.


Canadian Utilities, an ATCO company, announced it has been awarded $2.8 million in funding from Emission Reductions Alberta’s (ERA) Natural Gas Challenge to advance a first-of-its-kind hydrogen blending project in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. Once complete, the project will be Canada’s largest hydrogen blending project, injecting up to five per cent hydrogen by volume into a section of Fort Saskatchewan’s residential natural gas distribution network, lowering the carbon intensity of the natural gas stream for its customers.

“Affordably decarbonizing the production of heat is vital to achieve our long-term emissions and energy goals, particularly in our cold Canadian climate, and hydrogen can play a powerful role,” said Siegfried Kiefer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Utilities. “This project is an important first step for Alberta, which has all the ingredients needed to be a leader in the hydrogen economy—including the ability to produce near zero-emissions hydrogen at a lower cost than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world.”

Canadian Utilities’ project will use hydrogen derived from domestically-produced natural gas, with the intent to eventually leverage Alberta’s existing carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure to store emissions associated with the production process. Engaging with customers and the community of Fort Saskatchewan will be integral to the project. Canadian Utilities will work diligently to create awareness about the safety of hydrogen, environmental benefits and the considerable economic potential.

“This project will not only create jobs, but a roadmap for hydrogen in Alberta, using low-cost, responsibly produced natural gas while leveraging the province’s existing investment in carbon capture technology,” said George Lidgett, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Utilities, Canadian Utilities. “Our vision is to enable Western Canada’s world-class natural gas industry to grow in tandem with Alberta’s hydrogen economy, including supplying eventual exports to global markets where demand is steadily growing.”

The Fort Saskatchewan Blending Project is expected to get underway in September with commercial and community activities. Construction is planned to commence begin the first quarter of 2021.

“The City is pleased to be the site of this proposed hydrogen blending project,” said Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur. “This project demonstrates Fort Saskatchewan’s commitment to sustainability and reducing emissions, while supporting our local economy. We look forward to working with ATCO.”

This isn’t ATCO’s first foray into the production, distribution and use of hydrogen. Last year, ATCO officially opened its world-class Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Western Australia. The industry-leading facility is a test bed for hybrid energy solutions and integrates natural gas, solar PV, battery storage and clean hydrogen production. In addition, ATCO is working with Fortescue Metals Group in Australia to explore hydrogen vehicle fuelling infrastructure in Western Australia and has recently been awarded funding by the government of Western Australia to conduct a feasibility study into the development of a commercial scale hydrogen production plant.

Blending hydrogen into the natural gas grid is being safely trialed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and France, with concentrations reaching up 30 to per cent by volume.

With approximately 4,600 employees, assets of $20 billion, and two million customers around the world, Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company, is a diversified global energy infrastructure corporation delivering essential energy services, service excellence and innovative business solutions in Utilities (electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution), Energy Infrastructure (electricity generation, energy storage, and industrial water solutions); and Retail Energy (electricity and natural gas retail sales). More information can be found at www.canadianutilities.com.

Investor Inquiries:
Myles Dougan
Director, Investor Relations & External Disclosure
T: 403 292 7879 C: 403 828 2908

Media Inquiries:
Leanne Madder
Senior Communications Advisor
T: 587-215-9115

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