Home-grown innovation will lead to improved health in Northern Ontario communities

NORTHERN ONTARIO—Northern Ontario families will benefit from improved detection of disease-causing bacteria in local lakes and waterways as a result of a Government of Canada investment of $1 million.

The FedNor funding will enable the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and its industry partner, Discover Air Fire Services, to develop innovative camera technology to quickly and accurately identify toxic blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria), one of Northern Ontario’s major environmental issues impacting human health.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

“Innovation is the driving force behind a modern economy and the Government of Canada is proud to encourage Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs capitalize on opportunities that lead to business growth and the creation of well-paying middle-class jobs,” The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor, said in a press release. “Projects such as this will help unleash the potential of new technologies for the benefit of Northern Ontario residents, communities and companies alike.”

 “Today’s announcement demonstrates confidence in our organization and the work we do,” said Dr. Roger Strasser, Dean and CEO, Northern Ontario School of Medicine. “Our strong partnership with Discovery Air Fire Services will ensure that the remote sensing technology is adequately tested, refined and subsequently commercialized. We welcome and appreciate FedNor’s continued support—support that allows us to collaborate with our partners as we work together towards the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s vision of Innovative education and research for a healthier North.”

The three-year “Remote Sensing: Waterway Algae Identification” project will help test the use of specially developed sensors merged with existing camera technology mounted on aircraft to produce real-time results on algae contamination in water-bodies via waterway flyovers.