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May 2015 Issue

Bolstering Western Canada as a Leader in Innovation

The Government of Canada is proud to provide opportunities and initiatives that promote Western Canada’s global position as a leader in innovation. By supporting entrepreneurs, Canadian businesses will contribute to job creation and economic growth.

In April 2015, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), Mitacs, and Canadian Commercial Corporation, hosted the 2nd Western Innovation Forum (WIF). The Forum brought together over 600 individuals from the public and private sector, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research institutions, multinationals, and other innovators from the aerospace and Defence sectors.

By bringing together innovators from all across Western Canada, the Forum facilitated an open venue for all participants to discuss, learn, and exchange ideas, all the while fostering new relationships and business opportunities.

WD takes pride in its role as a partner, a pathfinder, and an advocate, and we look forward to continuing to deliver on our mandate to grow the already vibrant economy of the West,” said Minister Rempel.

On the first day of the Forum, participants took part in four moderated panel discussions:

  • Canada’s Defence Procurement Strategy: Supporting industry to better leverage defence procurement
  • The Defence Supply Chain in Canada – What it Takes to Win
  • Research and Technology Development and the ITB Policy
  • Go Global: Supporting Exporting Success

The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, during her keynote address on Day 1 of the Forum

The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, during her keynote address on Day 1 of the Forum


The following day provided a more open schedule, dedicated largely to Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Government (B2G) meetings through WD’s matchmaking program. This program allowed companies and organizations to meet with equipment manufacturers, tier-one companies, and representatives from federal innovation and industrial support programs.

Throughout the Forum, participants had the opportunity to attend keynote addresses from the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade; and the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue; as well as a luncheon hosted by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services.


At a Glance

  • 600+ participants
  • 4 moderated discussions
  • 8 technology demonstrations
  • 270+ B2B and B2G meetings
  • 38 prime contractors, including Seaspan, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Electric

Forward-Looking Research in the Life Sciences

<P>Advanced imaging and analysis equipment at the Regeneration in Neurobiology (RUN) Facility</P>

Advanced imaging and analysis equipment at the Regeneration in Neurobiology (RUN) Facility

The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine launched the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) in 2004 with a vision of “Healthy brains for better lives.” In little over a decade, the Institute has succeeded in assembling a world-class team of researchers, whose work spans twelve academic departments and nine facilities at the University of Calgary. Acclaimed as one of the leading neuroscience testing and training facilities in Canada, the HBI has also become an internationally-recognized centre of excellence in brain and mental health research.

In May 2010, WD, in partnership with the Government of Alberta, announced a $2.3 million investment toward the HBI Regeneration in Neurobiology (RUN) Facility. RUN, dedicated to pre-clinically test new nerve regeneration technologies, furthered the development of promising treatments in the lab and increased the HBI’s capacity to translate new discoveries into commercial applications.

This investment provided the foundation for the HBI to leverage the expertise of its researchers to introduce innovative methods in microscopy. Their research has been a critical step in the generation of new treatments for neurological disorders and injuries, such as peripheral neuropathy, multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury, and recovery.

Researchers at the HBI have greatly benefitted from data acquired at RUN to inform insights into patented medications, generate new therapies to treat neurological conditions, and to advance microscopy instrument designs. The forward–looking research conducted at the HBI will continue to contribute to the development of key technologies that will advance the biomedical field in Canada and across the globe.