The federal government has announced that it will invest $1 million in monitoring northern waterways for cyanobacteria.

Northern Ontario families will benefit from improved detection of disease-causing bacteria in local lakes and waterways as a result of a Government of Canada investment of $1 million. Administered through Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor), the funding will enable the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and its industry partner, Discover Air Fire Services, to develop innovative camera technology to quickly and accurately identify toxic blue-green algae, one of Northern Ontario’s major environmental issues impacting human health.

“This investment will help NOSM and Discovery Air Fire Services to develop and commercialize a new technology for the emerging waterway remote sensing market, creating quality jobs and growing the local economy in the process,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North. “Our Government is pleased to support a partnership project that makes use of local talent and ingenuity to help tackle a pressing environmental issue.”

The three-year “Remote Sensing: Waterway Algae Identification” project will help test the use of specially developed sensors merged with existing camera technology mounted on aircraft to produce real-time results on algae contamination in water-bodies via waterway flyovers.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates confidence in our organization and the work we do. Our strong partnership with Discovery Air Fire Services will ensure that the remote sensing technology is adequately tested, refined and subsequently commercialized,” said Dr. Roger Strasser, Dean and CEO, Northern Ontario School of Medicine. “We welcome and appreciate FedNor’s continued support—support that allows us to collaborate with our partners as we work together towards the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s vision of Innovative education and research for a healthier North.”

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Founded in NSOM 2005, is comprised of over 70 community partners, over 1000 clinical, human, and medical sciences stipendiary faculty, and more than 200 employees. A part of the school’s missions is to be socially accountable to the needs and diversity of Northern Ontario’s population. The organization takes a lead in conducting research that focuses on outcomes that improve the health of all people living in Northern communities.

The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.

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