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Digital Policy Salon: AgriFood Technology and Climate Change

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: AgriFood Technology and Climate Change
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #53 • View online
Welcome to the 53rd issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
Agricultural technology is a crucial, yet rarely discussed, component of the fight against climate change. Today we release a new report on the Canadian AgTech sector, which acknowledges that the health of the global food system is intimately tied to health of the planet, as food systems rely on predictable climates, clean water, and fertile soil. Precision agriculture, vertical farming, and other innovations have the potential to help farmers produce food more efficiently and more sustainably. This concept is also explored in our first perspective piece, which describes controlled environmental agriculture (CEA) and its implications. And, don’t miss our policy updates’ examination of COP26 and its impact on Canada.
Our second article takes a detour from climate change to labour rights, quality of work, and the gig economy, including opportunities within Canada’s commitment to improve Employment Insurance (EI). Similarly, “what we’re reading” asks the question, “is the ‘Great Resignation’ really happening in Canada?”
Last but not least, be sure to check out our special events section for a deep dive into the BC creative technology sector and a “Smart Waterloo” engagement event.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Prime Minister announces Cabinet Ministers, attends COP26
The Prime Minister introduced the new federal Cabinet last week, which includes 38 federal Cabinet Ministers. Parliament is set to reconvene on November 22nd, which will be followed by the Government’s Speech from the Throne and the Ministers’ mandate letters.
This week, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the Prime Minister signaled Canada’s intention to support climate focused initiatives, such as:
  • Investing further to fight the climate crisis
  • Expanding the use of pollution pricing internationally to cover 60% of global pollution by 2030
  • Ensuring Canada’s electricity grid achieves net-zero emissions by 2050
Over 450 financial institutions in 45 countries commit to net-zero emissions by 2050
The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, which represents more than 450 financial institutions in 45 countries and $130 trillion worth of financial assets, celebrated yesterday as it announced its commitment to “transform the economy for net-zero.” Specifically, GFANZ firms have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and delivering approximately 50% of emissions reductions by 2030.
Among the GFANZ firms are Canada’s six largest banks and one financial co-op. The University of Toronto is also the only university in the world to have joined the GFANZ asset owner alliance.
Ontario introduces legislation banning non-competes, making it easier for newcomers to secure work opportunities
­­­The Government of Ontario recently introduced new workplace legislation that, if passed, would establish new requirements for Ontario employers. The bill, titled, Working for Workers Act, proposes to
  • Make it easier for newcomers to become licensed in regulated professions and secure work opportunities
  • Require employers with more than 25 employees to develop “disconnecting from work” policies
  • Ban non-compete agreements
According to the Government of Ontario, non-compete agreements can restrict work opportunities and suppress wage growth. University of Ottawa’s Matt Malone writes that non-compete agreements prevent knowledge spillovers, “a critical factor in building vibrant and prosperous economies.” Nonetheless, others have expressed concern over companies’ ability to protect trade secrets and other valuable IP.
Cyberattack disrupts Newfoundland and Labrador healthcare system
Thousands of X-rays, chemotherapy treatments, and other medical procedures were cancelled this week following a cyberattack on Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare system. While it is unclear what type of attack occurred, who was responsible for the attack, nor what the motive was, the province’s Centre for Health Information has confirmed that an “unauthorized party” gained entry to the system.
CBC News reports that “the cyberattack has laid clear the digital inter-connectedness of the health authorities.” In many parts of the province, regular patient care has not yet been restored.
- Mairead Matthews
Our Perspective
Hothouse Tomatoes and Other Stories of Tech in Canadian Ag
Helping to Build a Better EI Program
Special Events
BC’s Creative Tech Ecosystem: Driver of Growth & Opportunity
Waterloo Smart Cities Community Event
What We're Reading
The ‘Great Resignation’? It’s not happening in Canada
Research Visualized
Source: ICTC, Statistics Canada Note: Seasonally adjusted employment
Source: ICTC, Statistics Canada Note: Seasonally adjusted employment
ICTC’s Clean Resources forecast from our recent Outlook 2025 report is shown above. External factors such as global and national environmental commitments, energy sector trends, and others play a role in clean resources employment prospects. The forecast shows a steep decline in 2020 followed by a gradual recovery to pre-crisis employment levels by early 2021. The clean resources sector contains a large number of natural resources companies (the majority are in the oil and gas industry), which were significantly impacted by suppressed energy demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, as the economy returns to “normal,” businesses are likely to hire extensively as they launch new “green economy” projects. Under a baseline growth scenario, ICTC forecasts demand for approximately 14,000 workers in the clean resources sector by 2025, bringing total employment to 185,000. The increased demand for talent with the right mix of skills is likely to be fuelled by an increasing number of projects focused on renewable energy sources. Filling this demand will be necessary for Canada to achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate change goals.
For other digital economy forecasts, check out Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025
Our Research
Canadian Agri-food Technology: Sowing the Seeds for Tomorrow
Twitter Highlights
ICTC-CTIC
A robust #GreenEconomy can enable continued growth and prosperity while limiting environmental impacts. The Horizon “Green Economy” track panelists will discuss the policy measures and more that can secure a sustainable future. Register now: https://t.co/2JFIVMtuU6 #OnTheHorizon https://t.co/gz2j5wSBUS
Talk to Us 💬
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