Vancouver, British Columbia [June 4, 2020] – The Digital Technology Supercluster (the “Supercluster”) is collaborating with companies from across Canada to develop, deploy and scale innovative technologies to support Canadians safely return to work and their respective communities. Providing accessible mental health and wellness to support all Canadians regardless of where they live, is a critical success factor in achieving Canada’s economic recovery and renewal.
COVID-19 is significantly impacting Canadians’ mental health and wellness while also compromising access to care, particularly for Canada’s youth. One in five young Canadians are experiencing mental health or substance use challenges, and fewer than 25% are receiving appropriate services. Through Making Virtual Care Happen, Thrive Health and its partners will expand access to mental health services, substance use and physical health care, walk-in counseling and peer support using virtual tools and intuitive technology through an app specifically focused on the needs of young Canadians.
Safely re-opening businesses, schools, and public spaces are top of mind for municipalities across our country. Re-opening too soon has the potential to spark the re-emergence of COVID-19. Re-opening too late could further damage the Canadian economy due to shuttered businesses. This suite of innovative projects will mitigate these challenges. One example is the Looking Glass project. This project will use data and statistics to predict outcomes from various public policies. This will support municipal, regional, provincial, and federal decision-makers in assessing risks and determining how policies such as physical distancing measures, closing and re-opening of schools and businesses, widespread testing, and contact tracing campaigns impact public health and economies.
These are only two of the 22 projects selected to date by the Supercluster out of over 500 proposals received as part of the previously announced $60 million investment to fight COVID-19. This investment is designed to address some of the biggest hurdles facing Canadians impacted by COVID-19, including protecting frontline workers, supporting Canadians’ return to work and community, and protecting the mental well-being of Canadian youth.
“Canadians have shown that when we work together, we can combat challenges as significant as COVID-19. As provinces reopen we must remain vigilant and continue to find effective ways to protect and support our frontline workers and use technologies to prevent and predict further outbreaks while supporting Canadians in the many ways they have been impacted by COVID-19”, said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “Our Supercluster Members are developing and deploying digital technologies in ways never seen before to continue to keep Canadians safe, informed, and protected. Through this, we are supporting Canadian companies in the digital transformation of our economy and society.”
The Supercluster’s COVID-19 Program is supported by the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative. “I am happy to see the superclusters stepping up in a big way to leverage their membership and Canada’s strong industrial base as part of our pandemic response. As we look ahead, it is vital that we leverage our tech community to create an environment that allows for the safe and gradual re-opening of our economy and safeguards the hard work of our frontline and health care workers,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“As we continue to face down two public health emergencies – the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis – it’s incredibly exciting to see all levels of government and the digital technology sector working together to ensure British Columbians, including those with mental health and substance use challenges, don’t get left behind as we transition to a new normal in society,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Now more than ever we must think outside the box and embrace new and innovative solutions to mental health and substance use challenges that will help all British Columbians find the support they need and deserve during this challenging time.”
The new projects announced today complement the Supercluster’s previously announced projects including Providing Safe and Effective Home Care During COVID-19 and Thunderbird: Rapid Antibody Design using Artificial Intelligence.
Media Inquiries: For more information, please contact Elysa Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org or 587-890-9833. For media assets, click here. Interview opportunities with Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster, are available upon request.
About Digital Technology Supercluster: The Digital Technology Supercluster solves some of industry’s and society’s biggest problems through Canadian-made technologies. We bring together private and public sector organizations of all sizes to address challenges facing Canada’s economic sectors including healthcare, natural resources, manufacturing, and transportation. Through this ‘collaborative innovation,’ the Supercluster helps to drive solutions better than any single organization could on its own. The Digital Technology Supercluster is led by industry leaders such as D-Wave, Finger Food Advanced Technology Group, LifeLabs, LlamaZOO, Lululemon, MDA, Microsoft, Mosaic Forest