Category: News

OSC Welcomes New Technology Leadership Program Manager

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is pleased to welcome Pascal Milord to the organization’s team in the capacity of Technology Leadership Program Manager. Pascal has extensive experience in project management and innovation in manufacturing, marine technology, and offshore sectors with a particular focus on marine navigation systems, offshore and subsea projects, systems engineering, as well as harsh environment solutions. In his new role, Pascal will facilitate the initiation, development and execution of OSC Technology Leadership Projects.

April 14 OSC COVID-19 Measures Update

Update from OSC – COVID-19 Measures

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

As our collective focus remains on keeping each other safe and adhering to those guidelines set to help flatten the curve, we have seen incredible stories of leadership, generosity and kindness. Across the country, companies are stepping up to contribute in whatever way they can to help in the response to COVID-19. Some are providing very direct support in the response through activities including working on trial vaccines, shifting operations to produce PPE, and donating supplies that hospitals and front line workers need most. Recent examples include NGen support of Sona Nanotech’s commercialization of a COVID-19 rapid response antigen test, and the donation of N95 masks to hospitals and the frontline by Halifax Shipyard. For others, giving back has meant providing donations to local food banks, sharing resources with organizations who need help through programs like NATI’s Resource Allocation and Expertise Sharing program, and offering the tools and resources to support the well-being of employees and those around us. To our members, partners, and friends, thank you for coming together during this challenging time.

While we do not know with any certainty when we will return to a new normal post-COVID-19, every indication we are seeing tells us the weeks and months ahead will continue to be focused on the action required to overcome the pandemic. During this time we will see many companies continue to step up, and we will step up for members. As we look to the future and the path to economic recovery, realizing our full potential in sustainable ocean growth will continue to be incredibly important. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster will continue to support members, and advance projects and ecosystem building activity so, together, we are ready to help drive this effort.

Federal programming available to provide relief to business of all sizes and other organizations includes both the 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy Program which is intended to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help position Canadian employers to more easily resume normal operations following the health crisis, and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy Program which is a three month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to CRA.

For businesses looking for assistance now and as they plan for the future, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Government of Canada has launched the Canada Business Resilience Network providing tools and resources focused for Canadian businesses, with four key areas of focus: containment measures, business continuity, support for business, and recovery. This will be updated regularly with new information as we move through the pandemic.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is here to support members and partners in whatever way we can now through this challenging time, and also as we plan for the future. We looking forward to sharing further updates on these measures in the coming weeks.

Stay healthy and safe.

Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

April 6 OSC COVID-19 Measures Update

Update from OSC – COVID-19 Measures

Monday, April 6, 2020

Over the past number of weeks we’ve all made adjustments in order to keep each other safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In communicating, collaborating, and advancing our work priorities, the ability to connect virtually has never been more important. To further share information publicly, engage with members, and move important projects forward, we accelerated the completion of a new platform to host this virtual activity for OSC members. On Thursday of last week our team completed that work and launched a robust and interactive new website together with a member portal that can be found here. In addition, the Ocean Startup Project officially launched its free webinar series focused on ocean innovation. Last week’s session saw very high attendance from across Canada. The next in the series takes place April 9 and examines ocean growth from Canadian and international perspectives. Registration is still open to those who are interested.

There has been a growing list of opportunities for innovators in Canada and for those who are able to retool operations to deliver necessary health products and services in response to the pandemic. Through the supercluster program, funding is available to those Canadian companies who can help support these efforts, and as a reminder, they include the following calls with a combined investment value of $110 million:

Last week the Prime Minister announced further details on the emergency wage subsidy program for Canadian companies of all sizes, and others, that can demonstrate a loss of revenue of 30 per cent due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Department of Finance has since posted a program backgrounder with expanded details around the program, eligibility, and timeframes.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster would like to recognize its members, partners, and all those who are taking the necessary measures to keep each other healthy and safe. Our shared commitment to addressing challenges in the ocean economy continues, and we are doing everything we can to continue to develop project ideas and support companies through these unprecedented times. Stay tuned for program updates in the coming weeks!

Stay healthy and safe.


Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Launches New Website and Member Portal

Connecting Virtually Has Never Been More Important
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Launches New Website and Member Portal

Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) launched its new website and member portal, serving as a robust new platform for sharing information, collaborating, and advancing ocean opportunities. Ocean Supercluster members, partners, and all those who share an interest in growing Canada’s ocean economy will be able to leverage the website for regular updates and access to: the latest in news, virtual events, and announcements; information on membership and projects; Canada’s Ocean Asset Map (an evergreen ocean capabilities tool); Canada’s ocean opportunity; OSC leadership blog, and other features.

An interactive member portal has also been launched for the more than 140 OSC members across the country who will be onboarded over the course of the next couple of weeks. As we are encouraged to continue to stay safe and stay home, this provides another set of tools for OSC members to connect from coast to coast to coast. The member portal is a virtual space designed for members to connect, communicate, and work together with other members to pursue, explore, and advance new projects and opportunities. They will be able to, among other things, contribute to discussion groups, review member information including ideas, proposals, and any projects their organization is a part of, as well as post new ideas or a call for ideas to solve a particular ocean challenge or market need.

“Being able to connect virtually has never been more important,” said Kendra MacDonald, CEO Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. “We continue to work with our members and partners to support them in new ways through these unprecedented times while continuing to look to the future to achieve the kind of transformational innovation, project deployment, and economic growth we know is possible in ocean. This new platform provides the virtual tools and resources to help accelerate these opportunities.”

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster website and member portal can be found at

COVID-19 Measures – Weekly Update From OSC

As we continue to take necessary measures to protect ourselves and each other amid the pandemic, we look to the coming weeks and months knowing there is uncertainty around when regular activity can resume. Our team is working closely with members and partners as we finalize new projects, advance others from proposal to contracting, and guide new proposals through the review process. Innovation Ecosystem activities continue to expand in a number of areas including the Ocean Startup Project webinar series for ocean innovators (starting April 2), work in indigenous engagement and other ecosystem building initiatives, and creating opportunities for members and partners to connect. Projects, initiatives, and activities are taking place virtually and this will continue until it is permitted and safe to engage otherwise.

Canada and the world are looking to innovators to help beat COVID-19 with new and accelerated production of health solutions. Last week the Government of Canada announced additional funding directed towards the accelerated development of new products as well as the scale-up and retooling of facilities to deliver on these products and services. To help achieve this, there has been a call for solutions from the Digital Technology Supercluster for the development, deployment and scaling of digital technology and from Next Generation Manufacturing (NGEN) for the provision of equipment, products, and therapeutics in response to virus. These opportunities are open to Canadian companies with a solution in any of these areas.

Further relief came for businesses late last week, when the Government of Canada made an announcement on wage subsidies and interest free loans to help companies avoid layoffs during this time. Today, the federal government provided greater detail on the program:

· 75 per cent of the cost of wages up to $847 per week will be provided

· Businesses of all sizes as well as not-for-profits and charities who have experienced at least 30 per cent revenue loss are eligible

· Payments are to go toward staff salaries, and businesses who are able are encouraged to top up salaries to full pay

· Payments will be backdated to March 15

In addition to the wage subsidy, guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 will be provided interest-free for one year to help those companies who are facing cash flow pressures during the health crisis. The full details of measures announced under Canada’s Economic Response Plan, can be found here. For tools and information on COVID-19 business resilience, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is providing regular insights and updates that may also be of assistance.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is here to support its members and partners however possible, as we work our way through this time and continue the work happening in ocean innovation that will be more important than ever to help drive our economy forward. Stay tuned later this week for the launch of our new Ocean Supercluster website and member portal, a dynamic platform to engage, and stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities.

Stay healthy and safe.

Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Update from OSC – COVID-19 Measures

As COVID-19 cases grow in Canada, it’s more important than ever that we all take the necessary steps to slow the spread of the virus in our communities. The most consistent advice we have been given tells us unless you are an essential worker, stay home. With this comes a different way of doing our work, sharing information, and providing opportunities for collaboration.

Our team is working virtually, has ceased travel for business, and taking the steps necessary to stay healthy and safe. We are actively working with projects to support their continued advancement in addition to readying new projects and supporting them through the approval process. We are adjusting as best we can to keep things moving forward and will continue to explore every opportunity.

Sharing information, facilitating collaboration, and building solutions to shared ocean challenges is at the heart of what Canada’s Ocean Supercluster does every day. As always, our team members are available by video, phone, and email to provide the information, guidance, and support needed by members and partners. We will bolster our digital communications tools with a dynamic new website, a monthly ocean news publication, and virtual events to share ocean opportunities. Watch for more details on these digital communications, in addition to the opportunity to participate in other virtual programs and events in the coming weeks and months.

Over the past week, the federal government has announced an economic response plan to help address some of the immediate impacts being experienced by individuals and businesses as a result of COVID-19. In addition, ISED is mobilizing resources quickly for manufacturers and businesses that can provide goods and services to help combat the virus. We will use our social media channels to share information on other new relief and funding programs as we become aware of them.

Our work to develop and deliver transformational ocean projects in Canada continues. The way we do that today looks different than it did even just a few weeks ago. We are relying more heavily on digital solutions to actively engage with members and partners and forge ahead with Ocean Supercluster projects, while also sharing information around other opportunities including those related to Canada’s COVID-19 response. Our team is here to support members and partners in whatever way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Stay healthy and safe.

Kendra MacDonald

CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Statement from OSC COVID-19 Precautions and Measures

In the last week, we have seen the global concern about COVID-19 and its presence in Canada grow. We want to acknowledge that, above all, the health and safety of each other and our communities is most important. We have all been advised to practice social distancing to help flatten the curve, where public gatherings are discouraged and travel is to be avoided. In response, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has postponed our participation in upcoming conferences and in the delivery of in-person events for at least the next month, and, in some cases, beyond. This timeframe may be extended as we continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidelines set by governments should they change over time.

For the protection of our team, members, and partners, we would like to share the following:

  • While our team is accustomed to working virtually, effective today our employees have been encouraged to work from home until further notice.
  • Work related travel, both domestically and internationally, has been suspended for OSC employees until further notice.
  • We will work together with project teams to understand any impacts and develop solutions to support continued project advancement.
  • Participation in and delivery of in-person events has been cancelled until at least April 17, 2020 (subject to extension as required for precautionary measures)
  • In the days and weeks to come, we will communicate any further decisions on future in-person events.

Our team will fully leverage the technology we have available to us to facilitate planned information sessions, workshops, and meetings to continue to engage and collaborate with you. This is a challenging time for all of us, where we must adjust the way we do our work and take care of each other. For the foreseeable future, we will update our website news section every Monday morning highlighting any further changes to operations and events, and any other precautions we are taking in response to the pandemic.

During this time, we acknowledge different organizations will face different challenges. Despite those differences, we all are in this together. If there is something we can do to assist your organization, please let us know.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announces $6.8M Ocean Startup Project

St. John’s, NL – Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster team, with the support of the Government of Canada and other project partners, announced its first Innovation Ecosystem Project, representing an unprecedented investment and collaboration to make Atlantic Canada one of the best places to start and grow ocean companies.

The Ocean Startup Project will increase the number of quality, market-driven, ocean-focused start-ups in the region to support the kind of transformative ocean activity that will be realized through Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. The Ocean Startup Project activities will focus on engaging with entrepreneurs in their communities and encouraging quality startups; identifying academic prospects with high potential for commercialization; showcasing industry issues and developing solutions with global market potential; attracting female-led, Indigenous-led and international startups; and awarding grants for those companies demonstrating the greatest potential.

The project brings together, for the first time, six of Atlantic Canada’s leading incubators, accelerators, and support organizations including Genesis, Creative Destruction Lab, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance, and Springboard Atlantic as partners to deliver on the $6.8 million Ocean Startup Project. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster provided the bulk of funding at $3.9 million, with an additional $535,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as up to $2.4 million in contributions from the Atlantic Provinces and the six project partners.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is changing the way ocean business is done. By growing the panAtlantic ecosystem, embracing collaboration, and bringing ocean industries together to develop game-changing ocean solutions, the supercluster is growing the ocean economy in a way that has never been done before.


“This new project is a clear sign that the Ocean Supercluster is growing momentum, and establishing itself as a hotbed for innovation and collaboration. With the longest coastline and the fourth largest ocean territory in the world, this project has the potential to increase the number of ocean-focused startups in Canada, helping companies grow and creating new, middle class jobs.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“One of our strongest economic drivers here in St. John’s and in Atlantic Canada is our ocean and marine sector. By supporting accelerator and incubation programs, I see this project helping to bridge the technology gap that has long hampered the ocean economy in areas like offshore oil and gas, shipping and seafood.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources

“The Ocean Startup Project represents an unprecedented collaboration and investment to grow more ocean companies in Atlantic Canada. This is an incredibly important part of building capacity, expanding our capabilities, and setting ourselves up for success as we embark on what we know will become a $3 trillion global ocean opportunity by 2030.”

Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“This pan-Atlantic collaboration with our neighbors in PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, aligns efforts to build the best ecosystem for ocean tech startups in the world. For centuries, Newfoundland and Labrador has been a leader of innovation and development in the ocean economy, which involves our world class research facilities, companies and institutions developing innovative ocean technologies and ecosystem development leaders such as Genesis. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to be a contributing partner to support Genesis and the other strong leaders involved in the Ocean Innovation Ecosystem Project.”

Minister Bernard Davis, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“We recognize the potential for Nova Scotia in ocean technology and our $100,000 in support of the Ocean Startup Project demonstrates that. With focus and collaboration between private and public sector, start-ups and researchers, we are seeing continued growth in this sector. This project furthers our commitment to building a world-class ocean technology ecosystem, leveraging regional strengths and creating new opportunities.”

Minister Geoff Maclellan, Government of Nova Scotia

“Prince Edward Island already provides a strong support system for technology startups. The Ocean Startup Project will provide additional opportunities to move those technologies to commercial success.”

Minister Matthew MacKay, Government of Prince Edward Island

“This unprecedented partnership with partners from across the region lets Genesis double down on our commitment to ocean technology. We have already helped local ocean startups succeed with their innovations, and now Genesis is partnering to invest in more companies and accelerate their growth.”

Michelle Simms, CEO, Genesis Group

“Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges are renowned for oceans-related research, and through the Springboard Network, we have the unparalleled ability to bring great research to market. The Ocean Startup Project provides a unique opportunity to connect the region’s startup supports and fast track the development of new ocean tech ventures built upon that world-class expertise.”

Daryl Genge, President and CEO, Springboard Atlantic

“This project will boost the number of ocean technology startups launching and growing in this region.The Innovacorp team looks forward to helping build more venture capital ready companies in this vital sector.”

Malcolm Fraser, President and CEO, Innovacorp

“With a decade of experience in creating ideal conditions for technology commercialization, the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance looks forward to working with regional partners to accelerate the quantity and quality of ocean startups in Atlantic Canada. Through our regional and national bioscience business incubator Emergence, we will focus on startups in aquaculture, fish health and nutrition, marine biotechnology, and fish waste bioconversion—working with innovators to bring their technologies to market.”

Rory Francis, Executive Director, PEI BioAlliance

“Together with our regional partners, we are investing to create lasting and positive changes for Atlantic Canada’s economy through ocean technology. Through this project, we will nurture homegrown ocean startups that have potential for high growth and encourage companies from away to set roots here within our valued innovation ecosystem.”

Jeff White, CEO, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

“This co-funded Ocean Startup Project will identify and support ocean tech startups that can clearly scale up to contribute to Atlantic Canada’s economy. This project will funnel selected startups into our next CDL cohort, where our mentors can accelerate the ability and preparedness of entrepreneurs and technical founders to get ocean tech innovations to market.”

Jeff Larsen, CDL-Atlantic Executive Director, Creative Destruction Lab.


Media contact:

Nancy Andrews
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Introducing the Newest Members of the Canada’s Ocean Supercluster Team!

As we embark on an exciting year ahead, our team now spans six cities across the Atlantic Region with a relentless drive to grow the ocean economy in a way that has never been done before.

Ralph Eldridge – Indigenous Engagement Lead

Ralph raises awareness and promotes inclusion of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster with Indigenous communities and OSC members. He is a trained facilitator and project manager with more than 20 years of experience working in indigenous engagement, community development, and in private sector roles.

Corey Kirkhus – Member Relations Lead

Corey’s focus at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is membership onboarding and engagement, helping to deliver on member communications, events, and strategic networking. In the role of Member Relations Lead, Corey will draw on his experience in strategic services as well as his background in sales, marketing and operations.

Darren Oickle – Technology Leadership Program Manager

Darren facilitates the development and execution of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster project opportunities and identifies partnership opportunities. He has a passion for sustainable ocean development and has worked background engineering in offshore resources around the world.

Andy Stone – Intellectual Property & Technology Leadership Program Manager

Andy completed a part-time secondment with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and has joined us in a full-time capacity where he works with OSC members to build innovative R&D projects that have global reach. Andy has a background in business development with 20 years of his career dedicated to identifying, developing, and marketing innovation strategies.

Paddy Wadden – Digital Media Lead

Paddy is focused on the development and delivery of video and digital content to help tell Canada’s Ocean Supercluster’s story. He will also leverage his background in video production, digital strategy, and marketing to play an instrumental role in the refresh of the OSC website, social media, and event support.

Robert Laureijs – Analyst (MBA co-op)

Robert joins Canada’s Ocean Supercluster from the Dalhousie MBA Program bringing energy, fresh ideas, and a range of experience to his eight-month term with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. During his tenure with us, Robert will support both our finance/admin function and communications team on a variety of projects.

Ocean Frontier Institute, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, and Innovacorp work together to provide seed money for innovative, ocean-related research projects

Ocean researchers in Atlantic Canada can now apply for a fourth round of seed funding thanks to a new collaboration among Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Innovacorp, and the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI).

OFI launched the first round of Seed Funding in March 2018 and provided financial support to ideas with the potential for advancing research, commercial or social concepts relating to the ocean. While the available funding isn’t large—typically ranging between $10,000 and $30,000—it will help early-stage projects get started. Funds can be used to conduct feasibility studies or develop prototypes, undertake pilot studies, collect and analyze early stage data and validate new research methodologies or approaches.

“This new synergy will help link OFI with our critical industry partners, allowing our researchers to commercialize their work like never before,” says Dr. Anya Waite, OFI Scientific Director, who helped forge the partnerships. “Our aim is to encourage innovative ideas that help us better understand the ocean and its complex challenges, while identifying solutions that will help us bring economic and social benefits to the ocean sector, in Atlantic Canada and beyond.”

The Ocean Supercluster is fostering new partnerships with industry, post-secondary, non-profits and indigenous communities, to accelerate commercially focused multi-sector ocean innovations and to drive increased sustainable economic growth for Canada’s ocean economy.

“Collaboration is at the forefront of everything we do at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. Partnering with the Ocean Frontier Institute and Innovacorp to support researchers as they explore the commercial potential of their projects is extremely important for sustainable development of our ocean resources,” remarked Kendra MacDonald, OSC CEO. “Helping innovative ideas flourish is a key element to building a stronger ocean ecosystem.”

Innovacorp is Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization. In addition to risk capital, Innovacorp gives entrepreneurs access to world-class incubation facilities, expert advice and other support to help accelerate their technology companies.

“We know there’s a tremendous amount of research with great market potential at our region’s post-secondary institutions, especially when it comes to ocean-related innovations,” said Malcolm Fraser, Innovacorp’s president and CEO. “Innovacorp is pleased to be part of the effort to advance those opportunities.”

Representatives from both the Ocean Supercluster and Innovacorp will sit on the selection panel. The funding supports projects that will be completed within 12 months.

To qualify, applicants must be current faculty, staff, and students at Dalhousie University and/or Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Please note: due to university regulations, successful applications submitted by students must be supervised by a current faculty member who would be identified as the grant holder and assume responsibility for distribution of finances and terms of the deliverables.)

Applications are now being accepted. The deadline is October 28, 2019 for Dalhousie projects. Candidate projects from Memorial University must consult with their unit’s Grants Facilitators to determine internal deadlines per the institute’s procedures. A complete list of Seed Fund recipients, and funding application information, can be found on the OFI web site:


Christopher Algar, Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University, is examining the potential for microbial electrochemical cells to remediate organic matter in the ocean. His focus? Use science to reduce the amount of organic waste that gathers in fish farms. “If we reduce the amount of waste that accumulates, we can help reduce marine pollution and eliminate the risk of disease,” says Chris.

And that in turn would support the growth of Canada’s aquaculture industry.

“An effective solution to the problem of organic matter loading would greatly increase the amount of coastline that could support aquaculture facilities in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Chris. “That means we can put more people to work, responsibly farming the fish the world needs.”

Allison Chua, a Ph.D student at Dalhousie University, is using her Seed Fund award to test the viability of new technology that she hopes will allow scallop harvesters to farm with less of an impact on the ocean floor. Invented and constructed by Marcel Boudreau, a welder fabricator from St. Andrews, Nova Scotia, the equipment requires further analysis to ensure it can deliver what both the fishing industry and government regulators require: a low-cost technology that equals or exceeds current harvest rates while minimizing seabed disturbance.

“It could be a game changer,” says Allison. “To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no alternative harvesting method available that succeeds in mitigating the destruction caused by scallop draggers yet matches present-day catch rates.”

Allison’s role is to use the Seed Fund to work with the engineering and scientific community to validate the concept, building on the invention created by Marcel.


Brad deYoung, professor, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography at Memorial University, is using a Seed Fund award to evaluate the feasibility of using underwater gliders to monitor for hydrocarbons in Placentia Bay. “Placentia Bay is one of six regions in Canada that are included in the Ocean Protection Plan, and this work will help us better understand environmental baseline conditions—essential information in the event of a major oil spill,” says Brad.

Natalia Prieto Vidal, a postdoctoral fellow with the Boreal Ecosystem Research Initiative wants to reduce the amount of waste mussels that are discarded and disposed in landfill sites because they don’t meet the aquaculture industry’s criteria for consumer sales. Her work examines the feasibility of extracting oils enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids from the waste mussels which she would then infuse with Newfoundland wild berries extracts with superior antioxidant content.

“This could create high-value secondary products from an aquaculture industrial waste product, which will contribute to a sustainable exploitation of mussel aquaculture. This innovative high-value product could be marketed as specialty products in fine dining applications.”