The Government of Canada is working to mobilize Canada’s industrial capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Strategic Innovation Fund will allow for rapid support to Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage promising research and development projects aimed at providing medical countermeasures to COVID-19, including vaccines and critical medical supplies. Key projects have already been identified, and the Government of Canada is working rapidly in collaboration with other programs and departments to identify potential measures for building critical capacity.
The Innovation Superclusters Initiative will prioritize existing funding, and leverage Canada’s five superclusters by mobilizing their networks of over 1,800 members to support the government’s COVID-19 efforts. Project proposals are currently in development, and the government is ensuring that the necessary steps are being taken to allow for more streamlined and timely evaluations, funding, and initiation to support these priority projects.
The Government of Canada will launch specific challenges through the Innovative Solutions Canada program to harness the innovations of Canadian entrepreneurs to meet the immediate needs of the health system. The government will rapidly select the best projects to accelerate development and testing of promising innovations that can have a direct impact on our health care response. The Government of Canada will also use the program to become the first customer of these innovative products.
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) will organize a COVID-19 Challenge Program, composed of teams of government, academic, and private sector partners, to address a range of medium-term needs of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, therapeutics, and disease tracking technology. The NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program will also build on its existing relationships with thousands of Canada’s most innovative small and medium-sized businesses to pose challenges to the marketplace for innovative solutions to address these needs. The most promising solutions will be selected for procurement, working with Innovative Solutions Canada.
The Plan’s procurement strategy will open the government’s innovation programs so that they are able to immediately provide funding to promising projects that can help in the fight against COVID-19. Adjustments and increased procurement flexibility will accelerate Canada’s response to the pandemic.
Working with Canadian Industry
The following Canadian companies have signed letters of intent with the Government of Canada to assist in the government’s response to COVID-19:
- Medicom is a manufacturer and distributor of medical-grade personal protection equipment, including masks and gowns.
- Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, the company has operations on three continents, six manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Taiwan and Europe. The company has Health Canada and FDA/CDC certification for its facilities in these locations.
- Medicom is considering starting a production line to manufacture N95 masks and surgical masks in Canada.
- Spartan manufactures precision medicine diagnostic equipment. The company is headquartered in Ottawa.
- It is currently developing an application of its portable device to provide rapid diagnostic results for COVID-19.
- It is in discussions with Health Canada and the U.S. FDA/CDC for approval of its technology to diagnose COVID-19. If successful, its diagnostic platform and COVID-19 test could be used in airports, clinics, and border crossings by individuals with no medical experience. The device could read the test result within 30 minutes. The Government of Canada is working with Spartan to secure Canadian supply of this equipment.
Thornhill Medical (Toronto)
- Thornhill Medical is medical technology company located in Toronto that manufactures ventilators. It was created as a spin off from the University Health Network.
- It manufactures a portable integrated Intensive Care Unit product that includes a unique, oxygen-conserving ventilator and complete vital signs monitoring in a single, portable battery-operated system.
- Its products have applications in both hospitals and remote locations.
- It is working to supply Canada’s need for this equipment.