April 20 OSC COVID-19 Measures Update

Update from OSC – COVID-19 Measures

Monday, April 20, 2020

Today I would like to acknowledge the devastating news out of Nova Scotia. We are thinking of everyone who has been impacted, and expressing our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones. Our hearts are with you during this very difficult time.


Now a number of weeks into physical distancing and all those measures necessary to keeping each other healthy and safe, we know our members and partners continue to navigate doing business in a time of uncertainty. This looks a little different for everyone. Whether it’s working to advance projects, supporting the response to COVID-19, or laying the groundwork for what’s next, this is an unprecedented time for us all that has presented challenges across ocean industries. We are right there with you to help whatever way we can, knowing the work we do, collectively, in ocean is critical to Canada. Next week Research Money is hosting a virtual event called Coping with COVID-19 – A Conversation with Canada’s Superclusters where the CEOs of each of the five superclusters will speak to the impacts and response programs, while also looking ahead to economic recovery. I’m looking forward to providing insights and information on the challenges facing ocean industries, and also the support and resolve to help overcome them. The event takes place on April 29 from 11:00am to 12:30pm EDT and registration is open now.


On Friday, the Prime Minister announced details around new supports available to startups and small businesses, as well as some new measures to help retain and create jobs in the energy sector. The funding for startups and small businesses is intended to address the gap in relief measures to date and will be made available through a variety of programs, including:


  • Canada’s Regional Development Agencies – $675 million in financing support to small and medium-sized businesses unable to access existing COVID-19 support programs.
  • Community Futures Network – $287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including access to capital.
  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies unable to access existing COVID-19 support programs.
  • Futurpreneur Canada – $20 million to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19.


Just a couple of weeks ago, we launched our new OSC website and member portal. The feedback and uptake has been excellent, and we encourage members to continue to leverage the portal to collaborate with partners, and explore and advance ideas. We have also welcomed a new Technology Leadership Program Manager, Pascal Milord, to the team as we work to advance more projects and proposals. The Ocean Startup Project will deliver its fourth weekly webinar this week How to be Successful in the Ocean Sector, and the Lab2Market program applications are also now available. OSC members have also been invited, by direct email, to a special, interactive members-only virtual event on May 27 to replace our planned in-person event as we continue to look for opportunities to connect in new ways.


The information from health officials indicates that measures to support the health and well-being of Canadians will continue for an undetermined number of weeks ahead. While we look forward to a time in the future when we will return to a new normal way of life and business, but in the meantime we will continue to connect with members and partners virtually. We have made the decision to extend the suspension of OSC in-person events to June 30, 2020.


Next week I look forward to sharing details of new support for OSC projects and proposals.


Stay healthy and safe.

Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster