Collaborative digital platform to secure Canada’s food system

News

Published: 10Aug2021

McGill is the academic lead of a $2.7 million consortium project to build the first national food supply chain data platform with Canada’s food and beverage associations.

The prolonged outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic strained domestic and global value chains, impacting food and manpower access, while highlighting the need for greater connectivity among Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers. To address these issues, the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) will be the academic lead of Food Convergence Innovation Canada (FCI-Canada), the first-ever national consortium to build provincial and regional data bases that connect food and beverage supply chains, which will in turn form a national platform. This collaborative platform will enable food and beverage manufacturers across the country to connect with suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders to address food supply chain challenges and identify domestic solutions, thus safeguarding Canadian food supply and integrity while opening scalable access to international markets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic did more than reveal weaknesses in our healthcare system, it also exposed the fragility of Canada’s ability to feed itself,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “This project demonstrates the value of academia working together with industry to impact a precious, but all too often taken for granted, resource: the food we eat.”

Protein Industries Canada (PIC), one of Canada’s five Innovation Superclusters, has committed $2.1 million to this project over two years, with additional funds from industry and academic partners. Food and Beverage Canada, Le Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ), Food & Beverage Atlantic, Food and Beverage Ontario, Food & Beverage Manitoba, BC Food & Beverage, Quebec-based technology enterprise Bivizio, and the University of Ottawa, are together investing $500,000, for a total project value of $2.7 million. FCI-Canada will expand the CTAQ’s existing Systeme Numerique Alimentaire Collaboratif (SNAC) collaborative platform, developed by Bivizio and currently in use in Quebec.

Sylvie Cloutier, CEO of CTAQ and initial chair of the FCI-Canada steering committee said, “I am convinced that we can build deep, robust and lasting bridge between social and commercial value creation, as well as between private sector and academia. A thriving agri-food sector is key to a vibrant society.”

The FCI-Canada platform will enable companies from across Canada to search for specific products and to indicate their availability, as well as to search for services and partners within a given region. Earlier contribution from programs of Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and from the Ministère de l'Éducation contributed a combined $220,000 in early seed funding for building digital convergence capability, while preliminary data science research spearheaded by the University of Ottawa and supported by the federal program MITACS enabled initial pool enterprise development.

“The Quebec government and its partners are working to increase our food self-sufficiency, which is a critical component of strengthening the supply chain,” said Mr. André Lamontagne, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec. “The SNAC helps to develop a strong synergy between companies while improving connectivity with other links in the biofood chain. It represents another step toward creating an ecosystem that promotes the circular economy and the optimization of resources,”

FCI-Canada will share findings with the recently announced project, Implementing Smart Cities Interventions to Build Healthy Cities (SMART) Training Platform, co-led by McGill. SMART will study the central place of food in cities, the use of ‘big data’ to create smart solutions for urban environments, and on bringing together the best knowledge, practices and tools from different fields of study to solve complex societal problems.

Collaborative digital platform to secure Canada’s food system

 

McGill is the academic lead of a $2.7 million consortium project to build the first national food supply chain data platform with Canada’s food and beverage associations.

The prolonged outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic strained domestic and global value chains, impacting food and manpower access, while highlighting the need for greater connectivity among Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers. To address these issues, the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) will be the academic lead of Food Convergence Innovation Canada (FCI-Canada), the first-ever national consortium to build provincial and regional data bases that connect food and beverage supply chains, which will in turn form a national platform. This collaborative platform will enable food and beverage manufacturers across the country to connect with suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders to address food supply chain challenges and identify domestic solutions, thus safeguarding Canadian food supply and integrity while opening scalable access to international markets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic did more than reveal weaknesses in our healthcare system, it also exposed the fragility of Canada’s ability to feed itself,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “This project demonstrates the value of academia working together with industry to impact a precious, but all too often taken for granted, resource: the food we eat.” Protein Industries Canada (PIC), one of Canada’s five Innovation Superclusters, has committed $2.1 million to this project over two years, with additional funds from industry and academic partners. Food and Beverage Canada, Le Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ), Food & Beverage Atlantic, Food and Beverage Ontario, Food & Beverage Manitoba, BC Food & Beverage, Quebec-based technology enterprise Bivizio, and the University of Ottawa, are together investing $500,000, for a total project value of $2.7 million. FCI-Canada will expand the CTAQ’s existing Systeme Numerique Alimentaire Collaboratif (SNAC) collaborative platform, developed by Bivizio and currently in use in Quebec.

Sylvie Cloutier, CEO of CTAQ and initial chair of the FCI-Canada steering committee said, “I am convinced that we can build deep, robust and lasting bridge between social and commercial value creation, as well as between private sector and academia. A thriving agri-food sector is key to a vibrant society.”

The FCI-Canada platform will enable companies from across Canada to search for specific products and to indicate their availability, as well as to search for services and partners within a given region. Earlier contribution from programs of Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and from the Ministère de l'Éducation contributed a combined $220,000 in early seed funding for building digital convergence capability, while preliminary data science research spearheaded by the University of Ottawa and supported by the federal program MITACS enabled initial pool enterprise development.

“The Quebec government and its partners are working to increase our food self-sufficiency, which is a critical component of strengthening the supply chain,” said Mr. André Lamontagne, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec. “The SNAC helps to develop a strong synergy between companies while improving connectivity with other links in the biofood chain. It represents another step toward creating an ecosystem that promotes the circular economy and the optimization of resources,”

FCI-Canada will share findings with the recently announced project, Implementing Smart Cities Interventions to Build Healthy Cities (SMART) Training Platform, co-led by McGill. SMART will study the central place of food in cities, the use of ‘big data’ to create smart solutions for urban environments, and on bringing together the best knowledge, practices and tools from different fields of study to solve complex societal problems.

Contact Information

Contact: 
Meaghan Thurston, Senior Communications Officer
Organization: 
Research and Innovation, McGill University
Email: 
meaghan.thurston [at] mcgill.ca
Office Phone: 
514-398-3400
Mobile Phone: 
514-916-3400

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