Government of Canada invests to help over 500 innovative companies develop natural products

News release

Network to boost the development and commercialization of natural products and technologies in Canada

August 12, 2021 – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Canada’s natural products sector remains largely untapped, although it has the potential to offer vast environmental, health and economic benefits to Canadians. This includes everything from agriculture to wastewater treatment, veterinary care and green household products. Many of the businesses breaking new ground are currently working on their own and would benefit from the knowledge and expertise of others in the sector to bring their products to market and, eventually, to consumers in Canada and around the world.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Innovation and Industry), announced, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, an investment of $20 million in a $41.8-million initiative led by Natural Products Canada to support current and future innovation in the sector, create jobs and help protect our environment. 

Natural Products Canada (NPC), a Charlottetown-based not-for-profit organization established in 2015, will lead efforts to connect innovators and organizations from across various sectors to accelerate innovation and the commercialization of products impacting human, animal and plant well-being; increase knowledge transfer; and gain access to global value chains. NPC will draw on their expertise, strategic partnerships and increased access to markets and will invest in research and development (R&D) and the commercialization of natural products in the following five areas:

  • Agriculture, including biopesticides and indoor growing technologies. This could include, for example, natural biopesticides that leverage micro-organisms for the reduction of codling moth on apple, pear and plum trees.
  • Animal health and nutrition, including natural veterinary products and feed ingredients. This could include, for example, animal care products to protect livestock against bacteria, viruses and parasites.
  • Bioproducts and sustainability, including bioplastics and compostable materials. This could include, for example, fully biodegradable products like shampoo made from plants or utensils and plates made from the fibres of hemp or flax.
  • Human health and nutrition, including natural supplements and ingredients such as food preservatives extracted from mushrooms.
  • Water and waste management, including water-quality monitoring and remediation of contaminated sites. This could include, for example, microbe-based monitoring and treatment solutions for wastewater.

Today’s investment is expected to help the network expand to over 2,500 organizations, accelerate the growth of over 500 companies, enable $28 million in programs to accelerate R&D and the commercialization of innovative natural products and technologies, and generate $200 million in new investments for Canada’s natural products industry.

The project is aligned with other initiatives supported by the Government of Canada, including the Economic Strategy Tables, the Protein Industries Supercluster and the Ocean Supercluster.


“Our government stands behind our brilliant innovators to make sure they have access to the expertise, knowledge and resources to grow and to reach markets all across our country. Our support will help Natural Products Canada bring together businesses, academia and industry players to reach untapped markets, grow their businesses, create jobs and provide natural, sustainable and healthy products for Canadians.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Natural products can balance great economic opportunities with caring for the environment. This investment is a perfect example of that. It’s going to create jobs and boost our economy here on Prince Edward Island while protecting the natural environment that is at the heart of so many of our industries and communities.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“Canada has an opportunity to embrace the natural products sector thanks to its abundant agriculture and natural resources, excellent reputation for regulatory oversight, and globally recognized research capacity. Today’s investment will benefit all Canadian consumers with more products derived from natural products.”
– Eli Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Innovation and Industry)

“Innovation in natural products has significant potential to bring social and economic benefits to Canada through quality solutions that benefit people, animals and the planet. Natural Products Canada is pleased to partner with the Government of Canada to support the companies and researchers that are developing these solutions and the broader ecosystem that is facilitating bringing these innovations to market.”
– Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada 

Quick facts

  • The worldwide natural products industry represents a market of approximately one trillion dollars, and it remains largely untapped in Canada.

  • The network has successfully helped over 800 Canadian companies to date. This includes completing a pilot phase of its commercialization programs that helped 21 companies advance 25 new natural products to market, generating 48 new jobs, $12 million in new revenue and $22.9 million in new investment. 

  • Natural Products Canada aims to invest $11.2 million in R&D and contribute to creating and maintaining at least 800 direct jobs.

  • The contribution is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy. The investment is under Stream 5: SIF support for national innovation ecosystems and pan-Canadian network-led projects that involve a high degree of collaboration and aim to stimulate innovation and commercialization in areas of Canadian advantage and enhance linkages between businesses and academic/research institutions. 

Associated links


Mohammad Hussain
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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