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.