Ottawa narrows ‘superclusters’ hopefuls to nine industry groups – by Sean Silcoff (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2017)

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“We’re very happy to have been successful to this stage,” said Doug Morrison,
chief executive officer of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, who
is spearheading a shortlisted bid backed by many of Canada’s largest mining
firms, including Barrick Gold. Corp., to turn Canada into a leading source
of cleaner mining technology and industry practices.

“The industry needs to make major changes to its technology platforms. And
Canada, more than any other country except for Australia, is best capable
of making that transition.”

Ottawa has chosen nine industry consortiums that will qualify to receive $950-million under the Liberal government’s flagship innovation initiative known as its “superclusters” program, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Groups comprising Ontario mining giants, Quebec aerospace manufacturers, Prairie agriculture companies, Atlantic Canadian fishing and energy enterprises, Alberta construction firms and dozens of other prominent Canadian corporations are among the nine bidders selected by government officials from more than 50 letter-of-intent applications submitted in July. Full applications are due from shortlisted groups by Nov. 24, and the government plans to announce up to five finalists in early 2018.

The identities of shortlisted groups has been a closely guarded secret given more than 1,000 firms – including many of Canada’s largest corporations – participated in the process. The list will be unveiled by Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and cabinet colleague Ralph Goodale at news conferences across Canada this week, starting Tuesday in Halifax and Montreal.

But senior government sources on Monday revealed the short list to The Globe. Those bids include:

an “oceans supercluster” headed by energy company Emera Inc. and Clearwater Seafoods Inc., both of Nova Scotia, that would invest in digital technologies for offshore industries;

an “advanced manufacturing” supercluster drawn from companies and universities in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, including auto parts maker Linamar Corp., Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and software startup Miovision Technologies Inc. aimed at improving manufacturing efficiencies;

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