Archived — Performance Report for the period ending March 31, 2006

Table 3.9: Details on Horizontal Initiatives

Horizontal Initiative
Name of Horizontal Initiative: Lead Department:
Canadian Biotechnology Strategy (CBS) Industry Canada
Start Date of Horizontal Initiative:
End Date of Horizontal Initiative:
Not specified
Total Annual Federal Funding Original Allocation ($000): $64,019.7

Total Federal Funding Received Including Carry Forward/Warrants ($000): $64,273.80
Description of the Horizontal Initiative:

The Canadian Biotechnology Strategy includes three federal government initiatives: the CBS Fund, the CRSB and the Genomics R&D initiative.

CBS Fund
The objective of the CBS Fund is to support horizontal policy and program development under the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy across federal government departments and agencies. The strategic objectives and investments are focused on capturing the benefits of biotechnology, managing the risks, developing global opportunities, facilitating citizen engagement, and related foundation activities. The fund helps enable federal departments and agencies to work collaboratively to respond to the challenges and realize the opportunities presented by the rapid pace of change in the biosciences.

Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat (CBSec) and Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee (CBAC)
CBSec is responsible to ensure effective horizontal policy, communications and coordination across federal departments and agencies. CBSec reports on CBS Fund financial performance and creates the necessary mechanisms to report on results to the CBS community and Canadians. The Secretariat also supports the operation of CBAC, the external committee of experts established to provide advice to government on the full range of policy issues associated with biotechnology.

Canadian Regulatory System for Biotechnology (CRSB)
The goal of the CRSB is to enhance regulatory capacity and to ensure that Canadians have an efficient, credible and well-respected biotechnology regulatory system that safeguards health and the environment and permits safe, effective products to enter the marketplace.

Five departments and one agency receive funding under the CRSB Fund: Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Industry Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

The strategic objectives of the CRSB are to:

  • meet technical capacity and human resources needs
  • improve public awareness of, and confidence in, the regulatory system
  • increase efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of the regulatory system
  • generate knowledge to support the regulatory system

Genomics Research and Development Initiative
Biotechnology research related to genome sciences (the study of genes and their interactions) will provide new methods for managing agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, enhance stewardship and conservation activities, and develop new methods of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The objective of the Genomics R&D initiative is to build the capacity inside government laboratories to do this new type of biotechnology research, which will strengthen the regulatory system and bring the benefits of revolutionary advances in research and technology to a variety of Canadian industrial sectors and regions. The new technologies are expected to dramatically increase industrial competitiveness and economic growth. They are also expected to bring significant social benefits (e.g. better therapeutics, a cleaner environment and better management of natural resources).

Shared Outcome(s):
The shared outcome of the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy is to ensure that the Government of Canada exercises its responsibilities to ensure that biotechnology will continue to enhance Canadians' quality of life in terms of health, safety, the environment, and social and economic development.
Governance Structure(s):

Coordinated by the Minister of Industry, the Biotechnology Ministerial Coordinating Committee (BMCC) sets overarching priorities for the CBS.

The Biotechnology Deputy Minister Coordinating Committee (BDMCC), chaired by Industry Canada, meets as required to provide strategic policy guidance on the government's priorities and to prepare advice for BMCC.

The Biotechnology Assistant Deputy Minister Coordinating Committee (BACC) is the "management committee"of the CBS. BACC has a permanent representative from each department that receives CBS funding and that has significant biotechnology accountabilities — Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Environment Canada (EC), International Trade Canada (ITCan), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Health Canada (HC), Industry Canada (IC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) — and as well as one member from National Research Council Canada (NRC), one member from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), one member representing the tri-councils of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). BACC is responsible for setting priorities and providing overall coordination of the federal biotechnology strategy and related initiatives, including the CBS Fund, CRSB and Genomics R&D Programs.

In 2005–06, two subcommittees of BACC provided specific oversight, as follows.

The ADM sub-group on Stewardship and Regulation provided leadership by identifying, discussing and resolving emerging biotechnology regulatory and stewardship issues and challenges, providing strategic guidance and recommendations, and promoting Smart Regulation.

The interdepartmental Genomics R&D ADM Coordinating Committee oversees the collective management and coordination of the federal Genomics R&D Initiative. It ensures that effective priority-setting mechanisms are established within departments and that government objectives and priorities are addressed. The Committee also ensures that common management principles associated with R&D management are implemented and that horizontal collaborations between organizations are pursued wherever relevant and possible. The Committee includes members from each of the six organizations receiving funding, as well as the CBSec and IC.

See Attachment 1 for the planned and achieved results in 2005–06 across this horizontal initiative.

Horizontal Initiative
Federal Partners Involved in Each Program Names of Programs Total Approved Allocation
Received Funding2 (000s) Forecasted Spending for 2005–06
Actual Spending in 2005–06
1. AAFC CBS Fund $300 $300 $300 $300.00
Genomics R&D $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 $6,000.00
2. CBSec CBS Fund $1,045 $1,045 $1,045 $623.87
3. CFIA CBS Fund $920 $920 $920 $913.80
CRSB $11,284 $11,284 $11,284 $11,284.00
4. ITCan CBS Fund $210 $0 $210 $0.00
5. DFO CBS Fund $300 $275 $300 $275.00
CRSB $1,495 $1,495 $1,495 $1,495.00
Genomics R&D $900 $900 $900 $900.00
6. EC CBS Fund $1,005 $1,005 $1,005 $815.24
CRSB $1,603 $1,603 $1,603 $1,603.00
Genomics R&D $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000.00
7. HC CBS Fund $935 $935 $935 $935.00
CRSB $18,948 $18,948 $18,948 $18,948.00
Genomics R&D $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000.00
8. IC CBS Fund $665 $665 $665 $665.00
CRSB $150 $150 $150 $150.00
9. NRC CBS Fund $200 $200 $200 $200.00
Genomics R&D $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 $6,000.00
10. NRCan CBS Fund $200 $200 $200 $200.00
CRSB $1,120 $1,120 $1,120 $1,120.00
Genomics R&D $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000.00
11. Statscan CBS Fund $510 $510 $510 $510.00

(Includes O&M and salaries)
$3,229.70 $3,718.80
(includes $489.1 carry forward)
$3,718.80 $2,959.54

1. Each department and agency was allocated $10,000 for reporting purposes under the CBS Fund initiative.

2. CBS Fund: Due to the dissolution of Parliament in fall 2005, CBS Funds for 2005–06 were not allocated to departments and agencies via the normal Supplementary Estimates process. For this year only, departments and agencies delivered their CBS Fund programs through internal reallocations, or Governor General's warrants, as required. CRSB and Genomics R&D program delivery was unaffected.

Comments on Variances: None
Results Achieved by Non-Federal Partners: None
Contact Information: Approved By: Date Approved:
CBS Fund: Glenn Kendall,

Glenn Kendall 10/07/2006
CRSB: Bruce Smith,

Bart Bilmer,
613-225-2342, ext. 4185

Bruce Smith 10/07/2006
Genomics R&D: Gary Fudge Gary Fudge 10/07/2006

Attachment 1

Attachment 1
Planned Results for 2005–06 Achieved Results in 2005–06
CBS Fund  
1. Advice to the government on appropriate programs and approaches to improve the commercialization of biotechnology products.

1.1 Established an informal working group of federal departments and agencies that have commercialization programs related to biotechnology. Contributed to more effective federal collaboration on R&D and technology commercialization.

1.2 Increased understanding of the benefits and risks of plant molecular farming by addressing policy considerations and laying the groundwork for commercialization of plant-made pharmaceutical and industrial products.

1.3 Assessed Canadian and world capabilities in bio-based products to foster commercialization of innovative products and processes and to identify gaps and opportunities; undertook quantitative research to collect empirical data regarding Canadian consumer attitudes and perceptions towards functional foods.

1.4 Enabled the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) community and senior management to raise the profile of bioproducts by establishing policy and research goals and linkages with other initiatives (e.g. Canadian Biomass Innovation Network [CBIN]); provided key inputs to the strategy and action plan for CBIN; worked with industry and the research community on forest biorefineries to identify specific opportunities for research and commercialization of technology to convert waste by-products from the pulp and paper industry into green feedstock for the chemical industry.

1.5 Provided key foundational data and analysis (e.g. analytical papers on tax system reform, biopharmaceutical alliances, provincial and regional life sciences strategies, biotechnology human resources/skills) to support policy development and recommendations across a broad spectrum of biotechnology issues. Clinical trials processes were reviewed, and their impact on the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry was examined.

1.6 A physical product study was commissioned to obtain data regarding the use of genetically engineered (GE) foods-related claims to contribute to a better understanding of consumer attitudes and awareness of GE-labelled foods.

1.7 Completed gap analysis and organized multi-stakeholder consultations to discuss intergovernmental regulatory aspects of advantageous presence of genetically engineered products.

2. Establishment of a coherent and effective stewardship framework that takes an integrated approach to guide government policies towards projecting Canadians' values, ensuring safety, and advancing prosperity. This includes providing foresight on the regulation of biotechnology products.

2.1 Developed three Biotechnology Regulatory Foresight models that would provide technology trends and product developments to support a proactive regulatory system.

2.2 Posted a discussion document on a Regulatory Framework for the Environmental Release of Plants with Novel Traits intended for commercial plant molecular farming in Canada, and launched a multi-stakeholder consultation process.

2.3 Contributed to the set-up of DFO's New Substance Notification Program while CEPA equivalent regulations are being developed under the Fisheries Act. Extensive foresight work was conducted.

2.4. Developed a draft guidance document for the collection, use, sharing, storage and disposal of human biological materials for Health Canada, supported the Canadian medical genetics community to develop a policy statement on the key elements of the process of consent to genetic research, and supported the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in the development of the draft CIHR Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal Peoples, which provided the basis for extensive public consultation.

2.5 Completed policy work, including a research strategy with details on the structure of the ecosystem effects of novel living organisms and governance of the proposed funding program.

2.6 Involved First Nations representatives in international discussions around access and benefits sharing and the specific challenges they face in this context.

2.7 Increased awareness and understanding of the nature and scope of the dual use of technologies with respect to research in the biosciences and their current and potential impact on research practices and government policies.

2.8 New interdepartmental work was launched on the integration of bioethics in decision making, and on improvements to Canada's biotechnology regulatory system.

2.9 Promoted international stewardship, supporting Canadian input to the Cartagena Protocol. Provided information (domestically and internationally) on approved agricultural biotechnology products and the regulatory framework for approvals to increase transparency and confidence in Canadian biotech products and international trade.

2.10 Organized the second edition of the Agricultural Trade, Biotechnology and Biosafety Program. The objective of the program was to advocate the Canadian position related to the BSP to 25 international participants representing 14 countries that are party to the BSP.

3. Accelerated horizontal regulatory governance in support of effective decision making.

3.1 Sponsored a workshop regarding the regulatory trigger "novelty"and produced a report that enabled a common interpretation of what constitutes effective horizontal governance and what should be in place for this to be achieved.

3.2 Examined the robustness of regulatory institutions by developing a roadmap of interdepartmental committees / working groups (WGs) clearly involved in the biotechnology regulatory process, and developing guidelines for committee/WG formation and best practices.

4. Representation of Canadian interests and expertise globally in biotechnology, with a focus on stewardship, trade and international development.

4.1 Facilitated discussions on the federal government's approach to biotechnology and international development and cooperation. Engaged key federal government players on an early scope and approach. The workshop "Latin America Vaccines in Humans"was organized to address R&D, regulations and intellectual property issues and opportunities.

4.2 Provided a Canadian perspective and voice in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) efforts to identify best practices and models for encouraging health innovation among OECD countries, and participated in OECD's Bioeconomy 2030 initiative.

5. Progress towards an updated policy agenda for biotechnology and ongoing policy support to the CBS.

5.1 Recognizing the tremendous pace of global scientific advances in biotechnology, work was initiated to review Canada's policy framework for biotechnology.

5.2 Provided ongoing statistical information and analysis to inform Canadians and policy-makers on biotechnology activities in the industry and the government. Two key documents were published in 2005–06:

  1. the second edition of Canadian Trends in Biotechnology — published by the Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat and Statistics Canada — provided key basic indicators and trends; and
  2. the OECD published A Framework for Biotechnology Statistics, a document largely based on Canadian leadership in the development of biotechnology statistics.

5.3 Conducted analyses to identify horizontal issues and articulate strategies for the federal government's role in stimulating biotechnology innovation in the health sector; developed a primary Web tool (GRaPH-Int) to support information about genomics and population health domestically and internationally.

6. Expert advice to government on important biotechnology issues (e.g. the impact on health care of the patented inventions based on human genetic material, and biotechnology and sustainable development) (CBAC).

6.1 CBAC published "Dialogue Tool Kit,"a made-in-Canada approach to exploring contentious issues related to biotechnology.

6.2 Provided a report and recommendations on human genetic materials, intellectual property and the health sector; included five sectoral consultations and one multi-stakeholder consultation.

6.3 Initiated a major new study on the bioeconomy: Biotechnology, Sustainable Development and Canada's Future Economy; released Biotech Watch, CBAC's newsletter; completed CBAC's annual report for 2004.

7. Engage decision-makers and increase public awareness of and confidence in biotechnology products and applications; coordination of the communications function under the CBS, including the implementation of the government Web-based bio-portal.

7.1 The BioPortal (a single window to the Government of Canada's biotechnology activities) has been continually upgraded with the support of CBS departments. This Web site is recognized worldwide as a key source of biotechnology information.

7.2 Continued tracking media and public opinion trends on biotechnology.

7.3 Published major analyses to contribute to biotechnology policy development (e.g. The Conference Board of Canada's Biotechnology in Canada report, completed and released at BioNorth).

7.4 Organized "Engage Decision Makers" conferences, exploring ethics in regulatory decision making, risk communication and biotechnology.

8. Effective horizontal management, governance and accountability of the CBS, including the development and implementation of a new knowledge management system.

8.1 Supported the accountability and the reporting strategy for the CBS Fund. Produced reports during the fiscal year to support decision-makers and to increase transparency. Improvements to horizontal management have been developed.

8.2 Launched the BioNetwork, a new Web-based knowledge management tool for public servants to manage biotechnology issues.

1. Improved capacity (technical and human resources) to respond to public health, plant protection, animal health and environmental protection issues.

1.1 Continued efforts to build capacity and ensure that personnel are adequately trained to develop policy, conduct research and carry out product assessments and evaluations. Trained post-doctoral fellows, master's students and PhD students, as well as undergraduate, co-op and technical staff in cutting-edge research that is vital to the maintenance and improvement of public and environmental health. Attracted and retained scientific, policy and regulatory experts with current knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of changing regulatory and environmental risk assessment science. This has included research scientists, technicians, research managers and experts in regulatory development and implementation, and horizontal policy issues and coordination. Supported networking with graduate students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows involved in research projects, in order to facilitate recruitment of highly qualified staff.

1.2 Participated in various key national and international workshops, conferences and meetings such as BioNorth, the International Conference on Intellectual Property, the International Marine Biotechnology Conference, Biotechnology and Public Interest, Bioethics and Regulations, Newborn Screening Task Force Symposium, Quality Assurance in Genetic Testing, Pharmacogenomics, Direct to Consumer Advertising, and Food Allergen Methodologies and Genetic Discrimination.

1.3 Developed draft technical manuals for evaluation of human health and for environmental risk assessment of aquatic organisms with novel traits.

1.4 Conducted research on movement of viruses (naturally occurring and genetically modified) in water, to enable risk assessors to determine the likely environmental impact of viruses intentionally introduced as pest control agents.

2. Improved priority setting and evidence-based decision making (by the participating department/agency).

2.1 Identified issues and developed a work plan to improve interdepartmental coordination of regulations and horizontal regulatory governance.

2.2 Conducted an interdepartmental summative evaluation of the Canadian Regulatory System for Biotechnology to assess the fund's performance and to collect first-hand information for evidence-based decision making.

2.3 Developed a manual for policy development, inventory of policies and standard operating procedures, service standards for novel food reviews, and revised guidelines for the safety assessment of novel food.

2.4 Conducted research on an improved scientific basis for detailed assessments of potential risks of new feed products, including funding experts in allergenicity and microbiology/molecular biology to initiate research confirmed animals fed genetically engineered feeds productivity, and food quality resulting from animals fed genetically modified feeds. This research on changes in gene expression associated with introduction of transgenes and environmental stress is groundbreaking and was accepted for publication in prestigious journals.

2.5 Developed and implemented improved processes for priority review of biotechnology-derived vaccines for emerging diseases, such as newly developed vaccines for immunizing swine against porcine circovirus type 2.

2.6 Conducted extensive research on public policy and debates on patenting human genes in Canada and internationally, and on public opinion within Canada. Commissioned two policy discussion papers on licensing in medical genetics and patent pooling in medical genetics to support evidence-based decision making.

2.7 Commissioned reports such as Outlining R&D of Genetically Engineered Aquatic Organisms for use in setting research priorities in support of regulatory development and implementation.

2.8 Research results assisted in updating directives and terms and conditions for confined field trials and unconfined releases; updating directives for unconfined releases; improving stewardship of authorized plants with novel traits, including Bacillus thuringiensis crops and herbicide-tolerant crops; updating directives for imports of plants with novel traits.

2.9 Conducted extensive research on public policy and debates on patenting human genes in Canada and internationally, and on public opinion within Canada. Commissioned two policy discussion papers on licensing in medical genetics and patent pooling in medical genetics to support evidence-based decision making. Led the revision of guidelines for conducting scientific research on novel supplements and industry reference materials. This work has contributed to more timely and effective regulation of novel micro-organisms, enhanced the scientific expertise required to conduct safety assessments, ensured consistency in novel microbial product approvals among regulatory departments, and expedited the review process contributing to a fair and effective regulatory system that is administered equally to all regulated parties.

3. Improved coordination, synchronization, standards and sharing of resources with partners.

3.1 Participated in national and international conferences and working groups, as well as in bilateral and multilateral meetings such as the Workshop on Principles for the Risk Assessment of Novel Fruits and Vegetables, the Third Workshop on Food Allergen Methodologies, and the 6th Pacific Rim Conference on the Biotechnology of Bacillus Thuringiensis and its Environmental Impacts to exchange information, present research results, share lessons learned, learn new skills, keep pace with changes, and enhance harmonization.

3.2 Enhanced cooperation, information sharing and participation in development of documents with international agencies such as the OECD regarding the Consensus Biology Document for Atlantic salmon, the World Health Organization regarding the safety of biotechnology products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products.

3.3 Undertook activities to facilitate joint reviews, product assessments, work-sharing and harmonized review templates, submission formats, review formats, data requirements and test guidelines with various agencies, including the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Food Standard Australia, New Zealand and agencies in other OECD member countries.

3.4 Developed detection kits for important forest tree pathogens. These have been given to the CFIA and the USFA-APHIS agencies to provide standard operating procedures for conducting surveys for these diseases.

3.5 Provided scientific and technical advice and expertise to international commissions and panels, working and consultative groups, technical advisory groups, standing committees, bilateral discussions and/or special missions. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency contributed to the development of "Biotechnology applications in animal health and production."

3.6 Developed two international agreements on the North American Plant Protection Organization Standard on importation of transgenic plants.

3.7 Participated in the North American Biotechnology Initiative (NABI), which was formed to facilitate sharing of information on biotechnology and cooperation on biotechnology issues among Canada, Mexico and the United States. Participated in four working groups: those on science, regulations, research and communications.

3.8 Canada was Shepherd of the APEC Research, Development and Extension of Agricultural Biotechnology (RDEAB), co-organized with Chile. This 9th annual workshop focused on agricultural biotechnology technical cooperation and information exchange. It included a two-day training session on strategic communications, including risk communications, with a focus on new and emerging applications.

3.9 Actively participated in national and international discussions (e.g. Codex) regarding detection methods and organized meetings on thresholds and tolerances for the adventitious presence of genetically engineered seed in non-genetically engineered seed.

3.10 Organized APEC capacity-building session on strategic biotechnology communications (including communications planning, consultation, practical communications experience [US], Web-based communications, media relations, risk communications, and addressing a mock communications scenario).

4. Improved awareness, support and compliance by industry, stakeholders and other affected parties.

4.1 Promoted compliance through information notes, brochures and posters, onsite visits, and Web site improvements designed to improve information accessibility. Participated in the preparation for consultation with industry and academic researchers on issues and potential changes to regulatory exemptions, and participated in the development of Canadian Council on Animal Care Guidelines for Fish Research and draft guidelines for the notification and testing of new substances.

4.2 Attended pre-submission consultation meetings with petitioners (new 6M corn variety, Nutrilactis, Pork with DHA, Selenium enhanced eggs, etc.), as well as Food Ruling Committee Meetings.

4.3 Revised Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods, as well as ongoing inspections, investigations and lab analyses.

4.4 Presented posters to participants (industry, stakeholders, etc.) at the Canada Federation of Biological Societies' 48th Annual Meeting, and at the American Oil Chemists' Society Annual Meeting.

4.5 Developed tools and methods to network biotech scientists internationally and start a knowledge repository for scientific and policy-related use.

5. Improved transparency, awareness and involvement in biotechnology issues, including improved healthy choices and informed decision making by the public.

5.1 Enhanced the BioBasics section of the BioPortal to include automatic definitions for technical terms, a revised architecture and menu structure, and a new graphic design, making the Web site more accessible to Canadians. The BioRegulations section was also given a new graphic design, and new information was added to the database. In addition, a new Web site, BioGov, was developed to help raise awareness of biotechnology issues on a global level. The BioPortal (and BioRegulations section) was promoted at multiple trade shows and conferences across Canada and the United States.

5.2 Developed additional Web-based information products, including an aquatic biotechnology regulatory–focused Web site developed in consultation with other government departments, an industry advisory note, and science articles, aimed at a broad audience, designed to raise awareness of risk assessment research focusing on contained, non-commercial transgenic fish. Also developed a Notice of Submission project for food, feed and the environmental release of plants with novel traits.

5.3 Completed communications materials for the pilot project for external participation in the Food Rulings Committee.

5.4 Developed an activity kit to inform high school students about biotechnology and about Health Canada's regulation of biotech-derived products.

5.5 Disseminated a university-level resource for educators on the regulation of agricultural products on biotechnology. This was delivered directly to university and college deans, and also at several venues throughout the year.

6. Increased awareness of the regulatory system through tools such as consultations, fact sheets, decision documents and increased Internet presence.

6.1 Held information sessions on the New Substances Notification Regulations in November and December of 2005 in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, and also via a Webcast.

6.2 Revised and updated existing fact sheets; created new ones, including "Fact Sheet on the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program."

6.3 Launched a new biotechnology section on the Health Canada (HC) Web site, which provides information on Health Canada's role in the regulation of biotechnology.

6.4 Fact sheets developed and posted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Web site: Genetically Engineered Livestock Feeds Derived from Plants: Assessment and Safety, Novelty and Plants with Novel Traits, Seeking Expert Advice on Regulating Biotechnology-Derived Agricultural Products, and Use of the Precautionary Principle in the Regulation of Biotechnology-Derived Products in Agriculture. This brings the total number of these fact sheets to over 40.

Genomics R&D  
1. Commercially relevant advances in areas of genomics R&D related to human health (e.g. diagnosing, treating and preventing human diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and pathogens). 1.1 Cancer research is targeted at discovering gene/protein changes that either cause or provide signatures of cancer, and to use them as targets for therapeutic molecules and for imaging techniques that detect disease and track the efficacy of therapy. Research with a specific tumour-marker protein resulted in the development of antibodies that were able to neutralize its tumour-promoting effects.
2. Improvements in crop value in cereals, soybean and canola through quality improvements in areas related to plant adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses (e.g. resistance to disease, tolerance to drought and cold), as well as seed development and metabolism.

2.1 Rust is a wheat disease that causes major losses in quality and yield. Genetic resistance is the main means of fighting this disease. Genomics tools have allowed the cloning of a leaf rust–resistance gene — only the fourth disease-resistance gene to have been cloned in the very complicated species of wheat. The cloning of a resistance gene permits further studies toward understanding the mechanisms of resistance that a plant can draw upon when challenged by a pathogen.

2.2 Crops such as alfalfa or clover — but not wheat or canola — can take nitrogen out of the atmosphere and convert it into a form that plants can use through a process called nitrogen fixation. Key genes have been identified and mapped that specify the ability of legume (nitrogen-fixing) plants to acquire growth-limiting macro-nutrients, nitrogen and phosphate via beneficial root symbioses.

2.3 Domestic and export markets demand high-quality soybean. Proteomic screens have been established to identify and locate new soybean genetic material that lacks the major allergens that affect some Canadian consumers.

2.4 The Cooperative Research Agreement (CRA) between AAFC and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of the United Kingdom was intended to help strengthen basic and applied research as well as technology transfer and commercialization in areas of genomics research relevant to canola (i.e. species of cold, hardy plants). Many of the enabling genetic and genomics platforms are now available to facilitate advanced crop research and development.

2.5 A functional analysis of Brassica (e.g. canola) seed development and metabolic processes is being undertaken, with the goal of improving Brassica seed quality traits. Recent research has identified a gene that controls growth rate, and a provisional patent has been filed on this gene.

3. Sustainable management of aquatic resources through the use of genomics tools to manage fishery openings and understand changing behaviour of fish stocks due to pollution and climate change, and through the management of aquatic animal diseases (e.g. vaccine development for farmed fish).

3.1 Genomics approaches to characterizing aquatic animal diseases are being undertaken in order to further our understanding of differences in responses to infection, disease development and recovery or resistance. Of particular interest are the phylo-geography and phylo-genomics of viral hemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) and infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV). Structural, functional and comparative genomics are being conducted to discern differences between Atlantic and Pacific coastal strains. This information can then be used to design disease management approaches in order to mitigate the potentially deleterious impact on wild and aquaculture finfish.

3.2 Sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems is also being facilitated through research designed to genetically identify species of conservation and regulatory interest; research is being undertaken to develop and use molecular markers to determine the genetic diversity patterns of winter skate, which has been subjected to fishing pressure, and in some areas is under conservation review.

3.3 Research to develop efficient new tools and technologies for vaccine development and vaccine delivery in farmed fish (e.g. Atlantic salmon) is targeted at reducing costs while increasing the value of the Canadian industry. Research has resulted in the identification of several promising proteins that are able to induce an antibody response. These show great promise as vaccine candidates.

4. Supporting the Canadian regulatory system for health by strengthening capacity in priority areas such as long-term effects of products of biotechnology and social/ethical issues, and human genomics and microbial genomics.

4.1 Building on the work and research of previous years, including benefit-sharing benchmarks and guidelines, has resulted in advances in policy development in various forums. This includes the development of the Canadian negotiating position for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, which include an article on social responsibility (Article 14, "Social responsibility and health").

4.2 Federal scientists, together with local, national and international collaborators, focused microbial genomics on common causes of food-borne and water-borne infections. New tools were developed for genomic analysis of pathogens associated with different levels of virulence for humans. These are likely to prove effective in rapid detection, surveillance and risk assessment of subtypes of organisms that pose the greatest public health risk.

4.3 A project has been extended to build on an existing research initiative, Evaluation of Environmental Toxicogenomics for Use in Regulatory Toxicology and Risk. Toxicogenomics is the application of genetic methods to the study of toxicology. The results from the project have led to the development of processes that permit very low levels of toxicity to be measured. This approach is being studied to determine if this type of analysis can provide a more rational, objective reference methodology for toxicological risk assessment in organisms.

4.4 While pharmacogenomic data has not yet greatly influenced human drug approvals in Canada, Health Canada recognizes the increasingly significant role that such data will play in future drug submissions. Research projects have led to a better understanding of the methods and data analyses involved in the generation of genomic/proteomic data with respect to biotherapeutics. This increased understanding helps position Health Canada to meet the regulatory challenges of analyzing such data in order to issue sound, science-based decisions.

5. Improved forest generation and protection methods through a focused genomics R&D effort on species and traits that are of economic importance, while ensuring that environmental impact considerations are addressed.

5.1 The forestry genomics research program is advancing effectively to design strategies for forest growth and protection and the formulation of sound policies for wood and wood products. For example, candidate genes were discovered for tree (spruce and poplar) wood formation and quality, growth and productivity, defence mechanisms, etc. Genetic diversity studies were conducted in white spruce. Structural, functional and comparative genomics of several insect viruses and of their insect hosts (mainly spruce budworm) allowed the characterization of many genes of interest and enabled understanding of the evolutionary development of virus-insect interactions. Bioinformatics capacity was developed to process and distribute massive quantities of information.

6. Development of genome-science applications to support regulatory activities in key areas such as environmental risk assessment and management; enforcement and compliance; pollution detection, monitoring and prevention; conservation biology and wildlife genetics; technology forecasting and assessment; and the responsible and sustainable development of bio-based products and industrial processes.

6.1 Environmental genomics-based approaches were used to: (1) investigate molecular-level effects of environmental contaminants on wild species to improve environmental risk assessment/monitoring; (2) conduct molecular characterization of communities of microbes in contaminated soil in order to enhance bioremediation; (3) detect pathogenic micro-organisms in waste water in order to assess the effectiveness of sewage treatment; and (4) improve decision making regarding management and conservation of several species of concern (e.g. polar bears, various bird populations).

6.2 Additional investments were made in (1) environmental genomics infrastructure (e.g. construction of a Biosafety Level II soil microbiology laboratory at EC, which will allow in-house development of standardized genomics-based soil toxicology tools and procedures); and (2) environmental genomics foresight, knowledge development, and outreach (e.g. periodic comparative analysis of international environmental genomics activities bilaterally with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Energy, the UK, the OECD, and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; preparation for future integration of genomics-derived data from notification packages submitted under CEPA; potential applications of genomics to harness microbial systems for bioremediation, bio-energy, and climate change mitigation).

6.3 Genome-science applications are being developed and used in monitoring aquatic ecosystem health, including the use of meta-genomics towards bioremediation strategies. Additionally, genomics research is being undertaken to enable the development of conservation and monitoring tools for certain aquatic species of management concern. Examples include some of the Pacific salmonids, winter skate and Atlantic cod.

Horizontal Initiative
Name of Horizontal Initiative: Lead Department:
Canada Business Network
Amalgamation of Canada Business Service Centres (CBSC) and Business Gateway (BG)
Industry Canada
Start Date of Horizontal Initiative: End Date of Horizontal Initiative: Total Federal Funding Allocation:
Canada Business Service Centres (CBSC):
Funding originally started in 1995. (February 9, 1995; TB 822499)
Most recent renewal for period 2006–07
(Policy and funding approval: Building a More Innovative Economy — Jobs and Growth)
Fall 2006 $181 million (since 1995)
Business Gateway:
Funding originally started in 2000, to go to March 31, 2006
(Policy and funding approval: Government On-Line funding via TBS initially / PWGSC — Gateways and Clusters)
$6.79 million (since 2000)
  Total: $187.79 million
Description of the Horizontal Initiative:

Canada Business was established to improve service to small business and start-up entrepreneurs by providing a comprehensive first stop for information on government services, programs and compliance requirements from federal and provincial/territorial levels of government.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and its partners, Canada Business delivers a host of information products and resources through a variety of channels across Canada (Web, in person, telephone). Through its collaboration with the provinces and territories, information products and resources are supplemented by jurisdictionally relevant content — providing a client-centred, integrated information service.

Shared Outcomes:

Increased awareness and access to government business-related information, programs and services and facilitated compliance for business:

  • Increased use of self-service channels.
  • Reduced complexity in accessing programs and services and compliance requirements for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Improved SME planning and market research.
Governance Structure:

The Canada Business network is managed on behalf of the federal government by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Industry Canada, and Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The lead organizations are responsible for ensuring compliance with all federal policies affecting program delivery in a collaborative environment, particularly policies on topics such as official languages, accessibility, access to information and privacy, federal identity, and alternative service delivery.

Horizontal Initiative
Federal Partners Involved in Each Program Names of Programs Total Allocation Forecasted Spending for
Actual Spending in
Achieved Results in 2005–06
IC Businessgateway $1,273,250 $1,273,250 $1,273,250

Delivered multi-channel inter-jurisdictional government service to Canadian businesses that are nascent, starting and growing.

Transformed processes for regulation content creation at both federal and provincial levels.

Improved upon the existing user-centred collection of jurisdictionally integrated information on topics critical to starting a business in Canada.

Optimized Canada Business's search capabilities by implementing metadata, indexing, classification and standards strategies to better lever information holdings from legacy services.

Improved the overall performance, functionality and value of Canada Business to stakeholders and clients to create a better client experience at all levels.

TBS GOL Funds Businessgateway $3,395,000 $3,395,000 $3,395,000 See above
Total $4,668,250 $4,668,250 $4,668,250  
Comments on Variances: Not applicable
Results Achieved by Non-Federal Partners:
Not applicable — program does not have any non-federal partners.
Contact Information: Approved By: Date Approved:
Grace Moores,
Policy Planning and Research
Marcie Girouard,
A/Executive Director,
Canada Business
June 21, 2006

Horizontal Initiative
Name of Horizontal Initiative: Name of Lead Department:
SchoolNet Industry Canada
Start Date of Horizontal Initiative: End Date of Horizontal Initiative: Total Federal Funding Allocation:
October 15, 1993 March 31, 2007 $293 million
(Industry Canada funding from 1995 to 2006)
Description of the Horizontal Initiative:

Industry Canada's SchoolNet works in collaboration with governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector to position Canada at the global forefront of e-learning readiness, support the innovative use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for lifelong learning, and promote the competitiveness of the e-learning industry.

SchoolNet continued to work with the provinces and territories to develop and showcase best practices in the use of ICT for learning, improve connectivity and ICT skills development in First Nations schools, and carry out research on the connectivity of Canadian society and on the use of ICT for learning. In 2005–06, SchoolNet made progress in the following areas:

  • Eighty-eight percent of schools on reserves have been participating in the First Nations SchoolNet program and 74 percent of these schools now have high-speed Internet access. There are now 80,000 students benefiting from the program. Twenty-nine percent of schools have video conferencing capability, and the computer-to-student ratio was lowered to 1:4.8.
  • The SchoolNet portal provides Canadian elementary and secondary students with access to online resources, resulting in 222,455 visits in 2005–06.
  • Over 113,000 computers have been refurbished and distributed to schools, libraries and not-for-profit learning organizations, thereby extending the useful life of the computers and diverting them from landfill sites.
  • 4500 tonnes of surplus ICT equipment was recycled and/or refurbished for further ICT applications and use.
  • To increase the safety and security of young Canadians using the Internet, was developed and launched in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. As of March 31, 2006, the site has attracted 80,700 visitors. In order to create awareness, 116,000 information/promotion items were distributed to the public. Support was also provided to Child Find Manitoba to operate the Cybertip hotline, where Internet users can report abuses of the Internet.
  • Results of Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase II, which provides a benchmark for the status of the integration of ICTs and a basis for future programming, were released in fall 2005 and can be found online at the Young Canadians in a Wired World — Phase II Overview page.
  • Fourteen of Campus Canada's member institutions (colleges, universities and consortia) offer online post-secondary programs, and 89 Campus Connection participants (colleges and universities) offer online courses. There are 3078 online post-secondary courses available to users through Campus Connections.
Shared Outcomes:
SchoolNet works with Canadian partners to position Canada at the global forefront of e-learning readiness, support the innovative use of ICTs in developing employability skills, and promote the competitiveness of the e-learning industry.
Governance Structure:
  • Federal departments/agencies:
    • Provide policy support and financial support for joint initiatives; participate in and coordinate international events that showcase Canadian capabilities in connectivity.
  • Provincial and territorial governments:
    • Provide strategic advice to SchoolNet.
  • Private sector organizations:
    • Provide financial support and in-kind support for Computers for Schools.
  • Non-governmental organizations:
    • Provide resources to manage and deliver SchoolNet to schools and provide resources for content.
  • First Nations:
    • Broaden efforts to overcome connectivity obstacles to and within First Nations schools, and encourage and promote e-learning among First Nations students, teachers and parents. SchoolNet's national office and Industry Canada's regional offices facilitate the delivery of First Nations SchoolNet through Regional Management Organizations.

Horizontal Initiative
Federal Partners Involved in Each Program Names of Programs Total Allocation Forecasted Spending for
Actual Spending in
Planned Results for 2005–06 Achieved Results in 2005–06

1. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)

Youth Employment Strategy (YES)

a) Netcorps International 2004-06
HRSDC (YES): $7,130,000
IC: $0
$3,565,000 $3,515,800 Placement of 211 Canadian youth in internships in Canada, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. 211 Canadian youth were placed in internships in Canada, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.
b) CFS Youth 2004-06
HRSDC (YES): $4,261,360
IC: $0
$2,130,000 $2,151,000 Placement of 250 youth in ICT-related assignments, primarily in technology workshops. A total of 302 youth were placed, and 13 organizations were funded.
c) SNet Youth 2004-06
HRSDC (YES): $190,560
IC: $0
$95,280 $52,900 Placement of five youth. Placement of five youth interns in schools, including First Nations schools on reserves. Three organizations were funded.
d) First Nations SchoolNet Youth 2004-06
HRSDC (YES): $1,800,000
IC: $0
$900,000 $900,000 Placement of 147 youth in First Nation communities. A total of 147 First Nations youth provided ICT technical support, computer servicing and computer training in First Nations communities, including First Nations schools.
2. Health Canada (HC) Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (2002–06)
HC: $250,000
IC: $0
$50,000 $50,000 Selection of 10 national and 15 regional recipients for excellence in Early Childhood Education (includes one Aboriginal recipient in each category). Selection process for both categories was completed in 2005–06; however, the award ceremony was delayed — it will be held in 2006–07.
3. Social Development Canada (SDC) Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (2002–06)
SDC: $300,000
IC: $0
$100,000 $100,000 Selection of 10 national and 15 regional recipients for excellence in Early Childhood Education (includes one Aboriginal recipient in each category). Selection process for both categories was completed in 2005–06; however, the award ceremony was delayed — it will be held in 2006–07.
4. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) PSEPC Nov. 2004 to Feb. 2006
IC: $165,000
$115,000 $115,000 Develop a public education Web site to increase security of young Canadians, and distribute public safety materials. Web site was developed, and 116,000 promotional/information items were distributed in 2005–06.
  PSEPC/RCMP June 2005 to Feb. 2006
IC: $117,000
$117,000 $117,000 Develop training material for law enforcement organizations. Training material dealing with the dangers of sexual exploitation of children was developed by the RCMP for inclusion in the ongoing officer training program. The pedagogical material was also integrated into numerous other police forces across Canada.
  PSEPC Sept. 2005 to Feb. 2006
IC: $82,000
$82,000 $82,000 Develop French-language educational content to counter sexual exploitation of children on the Internet. Content dealing with the issue of sexual exploitation of children was developed for francophone audiences (primarily parents and teachers).
Total   $14,145,920 $7,154,000 $7,083,700    
Comments on Variances:
A variance of $70,000 is primarily attributable to reduced costs for the delivery of the NetCorps initiative, as well as a lapse recorded under the SchollNet Youth initiative. A portion of the SchoolNet lapse was, however, redirected to the Computers for Schools youth component.

Funding for the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) initiative is shown as Industry Canada funding only. Overall funding for the initiative ($42.1 million for the period 2004–2009) included a $3 million component to fund SchoolNet initiatives related to the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet. At Treasury Board's request, the lead department (PSEPC) was directed to include the $3 million in funding within Industry Canada's reference levels.

Canada's Digital Collections initiative, highlighted in the 2004–05 report under the HRSDC Youth Initiative, was discontinued in 2005–06.

Results Achieved by Non-Federal Partners:

Computers for Schools (CFS) is a program led by the Government of Canada that operates in cooperation with the provinces, territories, and private and volunteer sectors to collect, repair and refurbish donated surplus computers from government and private sector sources and distribute them to Canada's schools, libraries and non-profit learning organizations. CFS was established as a partnership between Industry Canada and Telecom Pioneers, a national volunteer association of current and retired telecommunications professionals. Since it began 13 years ago, CFS has delivered more than 706,309 recycled computers to Canadian schools and libraries and not-for-profit organizations, including 113,000 computers in 2005–06.

Every year, close to a thousand youth and volunteers acquire valuable skills and work experience by refurbishing computers for the program. Stakeholders such as Microsoft, Canadian National Railways, Bell Canada and ministries of education provide valuable donations such as software, warehouse space, transportation and volunteer labour. For every dollar of federal funding invested, an additional three to four dollars are contributed by the other organizations supporting the program. Placing computers into classrooms and communities means that Canadians get more hands-on opportunities to learn about computers and ICT, and to develop new skills.

E-Learning Marketplace Strategy (ELMS) encourages the development, adoption and use of e-learning tools and open technical specifications and standards for interoperable learning technology to better support effective practices, as well as to encourage the development and use of innovative information communications technology. This includes proof-of-concept activities to explore new organizational structures, such as Campus Canada.

ELMS provided Campus Canada, a national, not-for-profit online service provider, with $491,500 to provide services to adult learners, who benefited from a direct route to online degrees, diplomas or certificates from recognized universities or colleges in Canada that give credit for previous learning, where appropriate. Campus Canada has been able to reduce the barriers to post-secondary learning by sharing expertise and resources among member post-secondary institutions by removing intra- and inter-university/college barriers, and by using technology to provide an enhanced range of educational programs and support services to learners. Through the use of online technologies, Campus Canada has broadened access to Canadian distance-delivered degrees, diplomas and certificates, and to expanded learner support services specifically designed for distance learners. Campus Canada also provided value-added services to Canada's Campus Connection, an online database of more than 3,000 e-learning opportunities offered by post-secondary institutions in Canada. Funding beyond 2005–2006 was not provided for this project.

In the area of standards for learning technology, ELMS provided $161,955 in support to the University of Toronto for its efforts to move forward on a proposed new standard to ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission) Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology, Subcommittee on Learning, Education and Training (ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36). This proposed standard would ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities and people who require alternative access technologies in e-learning environments. The Canadian-led accessibility initiative completed the ISO processes, and the Access for all specifications were recognized as an ISO standard.

The ELMS sub-program concluded its operations on March 31, 2006.

NetCorps Canada International
NetCorps Coalition is a group of nine Canadian non-governmental organizations that work in the international development field. Members of the coalition — Alternatives, CUSO, Canadian Crossroads International, the Canadian Society for International Health, Canada World Youth, Human Rights Internet, Oxfam-Québec, Voluntary Services Organization Canada, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development — bring their expertise in international development issues and their extensive international networks of contacts to the task of identifying and designing internship opportunities for young Canadians interested in working in Canada and abroad on the application of ICT to international development issues. In 2005–06, members of the NetCorps Coalition found placements and provided orientation, in-country support and debriefing services for 211 young Canadians who worked on internships in Canada, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Prime Minister's Awards
The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence have been honouring outstanding Canadian elementary and secondary school teachers for more than 13 years. Originally created for science and mathematics teachers, the program was expanded in 1997 to include teachers in all disciplines with a focus on skills for the knowledge-based economy. The Prime Minister's Awards are an excellent example of partnership among federal departments, the education community and the private sector. Partner agreements (valued at $50,000 each) with RBC Financial Group and Microsoft Canada are in place for the current program year. In 2005–2006, 15 recipients of Certificates of Excellence and 50 recipients of Certificates of Achievement were selected to receive an award from the Prime Minister. The Awards ceremony has been delayed until fall 2006.

Contact Information: Approved By: Date Approved:
Michel Fauteux Deborah Davis August 18, 2006
Date modified: