Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Genome Canada unveils Canada's new Genomics Innovation Network

10 "Nodes" located in BC, AlbertaOntario and Quebec to provide leading-edge technologies to researchers across Canada
OTTAWA, Ontario March 31, 2015 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Genome Canada is pleased to announce a $15.5 million investment inCanada's new Genomics Innovation Network. The Network is comprised of ten "Nodes," each receiving core operational funding from Genome Canada, with matching funds from various public and private sector partners.
The Genomics Innovation Network is designed to allow innovation centres across Canada to collaborate and harness their collective power for the advancement of genomics research. Each Node provides Canadian and international researchers with access to the leading-edge technologies required for research in genomics, metabolomics, proteomics and related areas. These Nodes are also well positioned to push the boundaries in terms of developing new technologies in genomics and related sciences.
Furthermore, the highly-qualified personnel within each Node will provide the Canadian research community with advice and expertise on use and selection of appropriate technologies, study design, data analysis and bioinformatics, ensuring that Canadian research remains world-class and highly competitive on a global scale.
Quick Facts
  • $15.5 million in federal funding through Genome Canada is the initial investment being made in core operations funding for the10 Nodes, with each receiving from $800,000 to $2 million in federal funds over two-years beginning April 1, 2015. Co-funding investments in the Nodes from other partners, including provincial governments, academic institutions, and the private sector at a required minimum 1:1 ratio, bring the total initial investment in the Genomics Innovation Network to approximately $31 million
  • In addition, approximately $15 million will be invested in the Nodes over the coming 2 years. Most of this funding is dedicated towards technology development and collaborative projects. This further investment will also attract at least an equal amount in co-funding from partners in the public and private sector.
  • The Node selection process was the result of a competitive process involving peer review by an international review committee.
  • The Genomics Innovation Network is a new model, replacing Genome Canada's former investments in five Science and Technology Innovation Centres. The new Network model places greater emphasis on collaboration and sharing of expertise among Nodes.
  • Providing Canada's research community with access to leading-edge technologies is a key pillar of Genome Canada's mandate. Creating the Genomics Innovation Network will also contribute to Canadian leadership in the development of new genomic technologies. The investment will also support important work in the area of bioinformatics and computational biology, including addressing major challenges associated with the storage and analysis of "big data". 
"Through our government's low tax plan for jobs and growth, we have made record investments in Canadian science and technology including Genome Canada. Genome Canada's new Genomics Innovation Network will provide leading Canadian researchers with new knowledge and new tools necessary to make breakthrough discoveries – discoveries that create jobs, prosperity and improve our quality of life as Canadians."
– The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology
"Breakthroughs across all sectors that form part of Canada's growing bioeconomy – health, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, energy and mining – rely on researchers across Canada having access to leading-edge 'omics technologies, which are rapidly evolving. Moreover, we want to build on past successes where we've seen new genomics technology development become the foundation for Canadian business growth."
– Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO, Genome Canada
Associated links
Follow us on Twitter: @GenomeCanada
About Genome Canada
Genome Canada is a federally-funded not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for developing and applying genomics and genomic-based technologies across multiple sectors to create economic and social benefits for Canadians. For more information, visit www.genomecanada.ca.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Canadians' Food Wasting Habits Need to Stop

Canadian households waste 4.5 kilograms of food on average per week

TORONTO, March 27, 2015  /Canada NewsWire/ - "Stop wasting your food!" A lecture delivered in every dining table, is now a national call to all Canadians.

Alarming rate of food and produce thrown away has far reaching impact beyond garbage,
says Green Living Enterprises Canada's leading cause marketing group.  Canada's food waste problem needs to be addressed at the household level.

20 -40 per cent of commercial fruits and vegetables are thrown away for being cosmetically imperfect

64 per cent of waste in Canada is completely avoidable

The Toronto Food Policy Council estimates about $27 billion worth of food produced and sold in Canada is wasted every year, and of that, approximately $13 billion is discarded at the consumer level. A recent University of Guelph study on Food Waste estimates the average Canadian household wastes 4.5 kilograms of food per week.

"When you think about food waste, we often point fingers at wastage at a commercial level. We never think about food waste as a problem that stems from our homes," says Laurie Simmonds, CEO of Green Living Enterprises. "Most people underestimate the impact of the volume of food they throw away from their kitchens."

"What is alarming is that a staggering 64 per cent of this waste is completely avoidable," says Michael von Massow, lead researcher for the Food Waste study. 

To demonstrate the magnitude of Canada's food waste problem, Green Living Enterprises have rallied together local Ontario chefs, farmers, researchers and local government advocates around the "Mindful Plate" food feature at this year's Green Living Show.  "The show, being North America's largest consumer show dedicated to healthy and sustainable lifestyle, is our biggest platform to raise awareness on the issue of food waste. Through the Mindful Plate, we not only cast a light on the issue, we also provide practical solutions that can be easily implemented in the home," adds Simmonds.

Separating your garbage is the first step. The Food Waste study found that people who use a compost bin produce less food waste than those who do not. In York region, the green bin program has been responsible for 82 per cent of food waste diverted from landfills.

Long term solutions lie in educating households to reduce the volume of waste altogether by maximizing the use of ingredients and prolonging the freshness of produce. Through the help of some of Ontario's top chefs, the Green Living Show is showcasing gourmet dishes made from often discarded produce to convince people that they can make delicious meals from roots, stems and bones that they normally throw away. The show also features expert refrigerator organizing tips to ensure that fruits and vegetables do not spoil before their time.

"Over the last nine years, we've worked Canada's leading thinkers and entrepreneurs to drive home the message that living a more sustainable lifestyle is not a fringe movement – it's something we all need to be mindful of because small changes can impact your family's health, your budget and future generations, " says Simmonds.

About The Green Living Show

The Green Living Show is Canada's largest consumer show dedicated to simple solutions for leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. This three-day event offers inspiration for all ages and features influential speakers; eco home, cottage and garden design; local and organic food and wine tastings; health, wellness and yoga pavilions; eco fashion and green beauty makeovers; electric and hybrid car test drives; nature exhibits and fun activities for the entire family. www.greenlivingshow.ca 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Nature Conservancy of Canada saves last unprotected Island in Murray Harbour

Thomas Island is a key habitat for great blue heron nesting birds

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced it has successfully acquired Thomas Island, completing a campaign to save a key conservation site in eastern Prince Edward Island.

It was the lone off shore Island remaining in Murray Harbour to be protected. The 30 acre (12 hectares) project was a partial land purchase and land donation.  The site provides habitat for colonial nesting birds and helps maintain Prince Edward Island’s breeding population of great blue herons. These birds will only nest where they can find mature spruce trees growing undisturbed.

“The five islands in Murray Harbour were identified as a conservation priority in 1972 by the International Biological Program,” says Julie Vasseur, Nature Conservancy of Canada Program Director of NCC in PEI. “Since that time, conservation groups and the province have been working towards protecting the islands in perpetuity for the wildlife habitat they provide. Thomas Island was also on the target list in the PEI Significant Environmental Areas Plan, which has been prepared by the PEI Government’s staff to guide their work in the selection and acquisition of sites to protect”.

The property contains mature white spruce forest, red maple, yellow birch, balsam fir and black spruce trees. There are also salt marshes and some low dunes. A sand bar links Thomas Island to Herring Island, which makes it accessible by foot at low tide.

Harbour seals frequent the area around Thomas Island, lounging on the sand spit and curiously following kayakers taking advantage of the harbour’s scenery.  Waterfowl feed in the shallow waters of the salt marsh. Herring gulls, great black-backed gulls all nest within Murray Harbour.

“This project marks another achievement under the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. Our Government is committed to preserving Canada's long-term prosperity by conserving and restoring our lands and waters, and connecting Canadians to our natural and unique spaces,” said The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “This important investment highlights our commitments announced in the National Conservation Plan.”

This means the archipelago of five islands (Cherry, Thomas, Gordon, Herring and Reynolds) are now all conserved.  It is the second project in the area by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which acquired Reynolds Island in 2012, and later transferred to the provincial government.

A portion of this project was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.  This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.

 “Taking a stand on places that matter to Canadians is a defining principle of MEC’s community contributions program. Enabling our members’ adventures is another. Together, it’s why we commit one percent of sales to conservation and outdoor recreation projects across Canada, more than $3 million last year alone,” said Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO David Labistour. “The Nature Conservancy of Canada is an important ally in our efforts, identifying some of Canada’s most precious places and collaborating with others to protect them. For our part, that’s 56,000 hectares and counting ‒ places like the Darkwood lands in BC, the Tadenac property on Georgian Bay’s eastern shores, and now Thomas Island on PEI”.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to acknowledge the following organizations who made this project possible: the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Veseys Seeds, Amalgamated Dairies Limited, United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wildlife Conservation Act along with other individual donors who wish to remain anonymous.


• Thomas Island is now registered under Prince Edward Island’s Natural Areas Protection Act of the Department of Environment. The Act is legislation that safeguards against future development or subdivision.
• Since the beginning of the Ecological Gifts Program in 1995, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has received more than 272 gifts of land through the program across Canada, including 3 in Prince Edward Island. For further information about the Ecological Gifts Program, please visit http://www.ec.gc.ca/pde-egp/.

Learn more

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (over 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 4,717 acres (1,909 hectares) in PEI. For further information visit www.natureconservancy.ca/pe.

This project was funded as part of the Government of Canada’s National Conservation Plan. The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $400 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and its partners to secure our natural heritage. This includes $100 million announced in May 2014 under the National Conservation Plan to continue this program.

Visit: www.natureconservancy.ca

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