Government of Canada invests in innovation to protect animal health and support export market access for Canadian livestock
May 18, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
Investing in Canadian small businesses to develop innovative tools, products and services helps protect the safety of Canada's food and the health of our plants and animals.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced a $1 million investment in Bioimaging Research Solutions Inc., a small business based in Guelph, Ontario, to continue their work to develop cutting-edge technology to protect Canadian livestock from bovine tuberculosis and support market access for Canada's beef and cattle exports. With this investment, the company is developing an artificial intelligence system to improve the efficiency of disease surveillance activities in slaughter plants.
Bovine tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial disease of livestock that can result in production losses, barriers to market access and risks to both animal and public health. Current methodologies of detection are long and cumbersome, and there are no known automated tools to support surveillance efforts. Bioimaging Research Solutions Inc. will receive $1 million over 2 years to develop an automated surveillance tool that will scan cattle carcasses as they move along a slaughter line. Machine learning algorithms will be used to "teach" the automated system to differentiate between tissue of concern and healthy tissue. The automated tool will be able to make split-second decisions when assessing the tissue for detection of granulomas for bovine tuberculosis surveillance, helping inspectors check for signs of disease more efficiently.
Canada has made great strides towards eradicating bovine tuberculosis, and all provinces and territories are currently recognized as free from the disease in domestic livestock. Improvements to disease surveillance can help to maintain Canada's status as free from bovine tuberculosis, thereby preserving market access opportunities. Ultimately, this innovation may support Canada's efforts to detect animal diseases early, while maintaining Canada's reputation as a supplier of safe and high quality livestock and livestock products to our current and future trading partners.
Bioimaging Research Solutions Inc. previously received $150,000 through the Innovative Solutions Canada program to develop a proof of concept as part of phase 1 of the "Detection of granulomas for tuberculosis surveillance" challenge. The company successfully completed phase 1 and this additional funding will support the development of a prototype as part of phase 2 of the challenge.
The Government of Canada's continued collaboration with small businesses results in novel solutions that help protect Canadians, the environment and the economy, both now and into the future.
"Collaboration in research and development for new technologies helps to achieve faster results. Federal government funding for projects protecting animal health supports animal welfare and trade."
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Protecting the wellbeing of all Canadians means safeguarding Canada's food, plants, and animals. Our government is proud to partner with Canadian small and medium businesses to help them develop new efficient technologies which will serve to better protect Canada's food supply."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
"Our government is committed to providing Canadian businesses with opportunities to grow and innovate. With this additional support from the Innovative Solutions Canada program, Bioimaging Research Solutions Inc. will be able to develop an innovative prototype of its automated tool to improve disease surveillance. Through projects like this one, we can better protect Canadians' health and safety while strengthening our economy."
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovative Solutions Canada is a research and development procurement program administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
- Through this program, 21 federal departments and agencies invite small businesses to develop novel solutions to Government of Canada challenges
- Small businesses can also propose to have the government test their late-stage prototypes in real-life settings
- The program's ultimate goal is to promote the growth of Canada's firms while helping support the participating government organizations' mandate, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
These funding opportunities result in innovative solutions to challenges faces by the agency, or fill a gap in the marketplace for the industry we regulate
For further information
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
343 549 0778
Senior Communication Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
LinkedIn: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
YouTube: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) touches the lives of all Canadians in so many positive ways. Each day, hard-working CFIA employees – including inspectors, veterinarians and scientists – inspect food for safety risks, protect plants from pests and invasive species, and respond to animal diseases that could threaten Canada's national herd and human health. Guided by science-based decision-making and modern regulations, the Agency works tirelessly to ensure access to safe and healthy food in Canada, and support access to international markets for our high-quality agricultural products. To learn more, visit inspection.canada.ca.
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