Government of Canada invests in first-of-its-kind project in B.C. to help businesses create more value and less waste

News release

Two scientists wearing lab coats protective glasses looking at a machine in a laboratory next to the caption that reads $1.04M for first-of-its-kind project in B.C. to help businesses create more value and less waste

Funding will enable experts at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus to work with local companies to create new bioplastics and save materials from the landfill by using them in new innovations

November 16, 2022 – Kelowna, British Columbia – PacifiCan

The Government of Canada is supporting initiatives that build a clean and prosperous future. That includes helping B.C companies lower their environmental footprint while creating jobs.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) announced $1.04 million in funding to the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) to help local businesses implement cutting-edge circular economy practices.

In a circular economy, nothing is waste. The circular economy retains and recovers as much value as possible from resources by reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, repurposing, or recycling products and materials. It’s about using valuable resources wisely, thinking about waste as a resource instead of a cost, and finding innovative ways to better the environment and the economy.

With this PacifiCan funding, UBCO will connect local businesses with the engineering expertise needed to save industrial materials from landfill, while designing new green products from fully bio-sourced materials. UBCO will also buy new equipment and expand its advanced materials and manufacturing testing capabilities so that more companies can access this support. Technical knowledge developed through these projects will be saved in a digital repository to help current and future companies embrace the circular economy.

The combination of in-person expertise and a digital repository supporting a circular economy is the first-of-its-kind in the province and will build on B.C.’s leadership in clean technology. It will also raise the profile of local companies and innovators who are creating solutions with global impact.

Minister Sajjan made the announcement while celebrating the launch of UBCO’s Clean Tech Hub, an innovation space that received $1.9M from PacifiCan in 2021. This investment is helping UBCO catalyze academic-industry collaborations that help Canadian companies bring their technologies and products to domestic and international markets.

This morning, Minister Sajjan also announced the opening of new PacifiCan offices in Kelowna and Cranbrook. Our expanded footprint means PacifiCan will be more accessible to British Columbians. It will also support high-impact local investments and quality advice, to advance the region’s diverse economic interests. 

Quotes

“Collaboration between industry and researchers helps solve tough problems—and creates new opportunities. By partnering with the University of British Columbia to grow the circular economy, the Government of Canada is helping make B.C. businesses more competitive as they build a prosperous net-zero economy.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

 

“UBC Okanagan researchers are creating leading-edge solutions for the complex challenges faced here in the BC Interior and around the world, such as how to reduce waste and create new value from existing materials. We are proud of the ground-breaking work being done on our campus and with our partners to create novel solutions that benefit both the environment and the economy. I am grateful for the Government of Canada’s ongoing support for this research project and the UBCO Clean Tech Hub.”
- Dr. Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus

Quick facts

  • Established in 1908, UBC is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top public universities in the world. It has more than 65,000 undergraduate and graduate students at its two major campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna.

  • The circular economy program is supported by UBCO’s Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute, a multidisciplinary research hub that fosters collaboration between local, national and international research and development organizations.

  • In August 2021, the Government of Canada launched PacifiCan, a new federal economic agency dedicated to British Columbians. 

Associated links

Contacts

Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan)
haley.hodgson@international.gc.ca

Ben Letts
Senior Communications Advisor
Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan)
ben.letts@pacifican.gc.ca

Nathan Skolski
Associate Director, Public Affairs
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus
nathan.skolski@ubc.ca

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