2021–2022 Annual Report

It’s Not Magic It’s Genomics.


Ontario Genomics 2021-2022 Annual Report

The Ontario Genomics 2021-2022 Annual Report captures the essence of what is truly possible in the revolutionary, cutting-edge space of genomics. Although sometimes it may seem like magic, genomics offers scientifically sound and proven solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges: climate change, food insecurity, and acute and chronic disease.

Land Acknowledgement


A Message from Our President and CEO,
Dr. Bettina Hamelin

The theme of our 2021-22 annual report, It’s Not Magic, It’s Genomics, captures the essence of what is truly possible in this revolutionary, cutting-edge space. Although sometimes it may seem like magic, genomics offers scientifically sound and proven solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges: climate change, food insecurity, and acute and chronic disease.

A Message from Our Board Chair,
Dr. Deborah Stark

As the world continues to rapidly change, Ontario Genomics moves with agility and strategic focus to keep Ontario on the map when it comes to technology development and research. Centering their work on the incredible advancements being made in genomics and engineering biology, Ontario Genomics is executing on a vision that sees our province capitalizing on a global technology disruption for a healthier future for all.



“On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I would like to thank Ontario Genomics for another strong year and for the vital work that you continue to do in finding solutions to some of life’s biggest challenges. Our government has been proud to support this ground-breaking work, which positions Ontario as a leader in the global bio-revolution and creates a healthier, more promising future for the people of this province.”

Hon. Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities.
The Honourable Jill Dunlop,
Minister of Colleges and Universities.

It's not magic, it's genomics IMPACT

A Year in Review 2021–2022

Leading the application of genomics-based solutions across key sectors to drive economic growth, improve quality of life and foster global leadership in Ontario.

Connecting scientists, ideas and partner organizations for collaborative investment opportunities in genomics technologies. Learn more about how we bring the right researchers together with the right partners at the right time to achieve our goals.

Impact During this Year

$ 0 M

Funds Raised

Follow-On Funding


Jobs Created or Maintained

$ 0 M+
Active Portfolio
(Including co-funding)

Impact Since 2000

0 +

Patents Awarded

$ 0 B

GDP Growth Supported (2013-2018)

Follow-On Investments (Companies & Research)

0 +


0 +


Impact Across Digital Platforms (2021-2022)

Followers: 10,309 (39%↑)
Profile Visits: 175,274 (497%↑)
Engagement: 26,415 (41%↑)
0 M+
Impressions: 1.45M+ (67%↑)
Posts: 1,604 (57%↑)

It's not magic, it's STRATEGIC VISION

2021-2026: Living Sustainably. Innovating Together.

Over the next five years, Ontario Genomics will leverage its unique position to help Ontario fully capitalize on the health, economic and environmental benefits in a genomics- and engineering biology- enabled world and catapult the province to national and international leadership in the global bio-revolution.

Our Strategic Vision is a product of engaging with nearly 200 stakeholders from across Ontario, Canada and the world. By working together, genomics and engineering biology can enable a global technology disruption poised to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges for a healthier future for all. Genomics and engineering biology provide proven solutions to address climate change, food insecurity, and acute and chronic disease. These concerns are already increasingly impacting the health and well-being of Ontario’s people and economy.

We believe that agility, efficiency, multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral thinking, and deep genomics and engineering biology expertise are at the heart of a thriving biotechnology ecosystem. By breaking down siloes, driving policy modernization, and meeting market demands our Strategic Vision aspires to nurture Ontario’s competitive and innovative advantage for generations to come.

Building a world-class, mission-driven one health genomics and engineering biology innovation ecosystem in Ontario to accelerate the collective achievement of beneficial outcomes.

Driving applied research, development, and commercialization of made-in-Ontario genomics- and engineering biology-based innovations to create new jobs, companies, and business outcomes.

Developing talent for trans-disciplinary jobs that integrates diverse and multidisciplinary scientific expertise with market-focused business acumen.

Engaging with key communities to drive adoption of genomics-based solutions and empowering people with an understanding of the positive impact of genomics and engineering biology in their everyday lives.

It's not magic, it's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA)

We strive to incorporate these principles into our strategic actions.

We are committed to fostering an environment that welcomes and encourages individuals to be their authentic selves, enabling the sharing of diverse perspectives, and advancing impactful and innovative genomics research that is inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible. The principles of IDEA are foundational to our strategic actions, internally and externally.

In the past year, as part of our commitment to IDEA, Ontario Genomics has signed on for the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge and put an internal IDEA Committee in place. 

Signing on to the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge, Ontario Genomics is committing to increasing representation of women and/or non-binary people at the Senior Management and Board of Directors level (aiming towards gender parity [“50%”]) and working towards significant representation (“30%”) of other equity-deserving groups: racialized persons including Black Canadians, persons living with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities), Canadians who identify as 2SLGBTQ2+, and Indigenous peoples.

Ontario Genomics’ internal IDEA Committee is composed of a diverse representation of staff from teams across the organization and is tasked with leveraging internal and external resources to increase competencies for a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible environment within our organization and our community.

Since its inception in 2020, the IDEA Committee has worked closely with senior EDI consultants to initiate IDEA skills training for Ontario Genomics staff and board members. These sessions included education and creative awareness as well as actions and outcomes training.

We continue to be active contributors to an Enterprise-wide IDEA working group that meets bi-monthly for coordination of strategic IDEA issues, shared lessons and approaches across the Enterprise. 

IDEA is central to our organizational culture and values. We are committed to fostering both a top-down and grassroots approach. This gives us the opportunity to address the broadest set of initiatives, both internally and externally. 

We strive to reflect and make space for diverse voices across the communities we serve and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work. There is more work to be done, but with the help of our — employees, partners, and community — we can improve IDEA for all.

It's not magic, it's genomics TALENT

Developing talent for trans-disciplinary jobs in a genomics and engineering biology-enabled world that integrates diverse scientific expertise with market-focused business acumen is a key driver of our strategic goals.

Ontario Genomics enables challenge-oriented knowledge translation, training, education, and talent development across sectors through various programs to strengthen Ontario’s research and innovation potential.

This success highlights work towards a key Ontario Genomics strategic goal – to educate and inspire students on the power and potential of genomics research and innovation in the agri-food sector. We also want to provide opportunities to students to explore a wide variety of related career paths.

This genomics-based applied research partnership opens doors for college students to cross-train using state-of-the-art infrastructure, allowing for opportunities to collaborate and solve the world’s greatest challenges.

This fellowship is supporting the work of early-career investigators who are using genome data science to deepen our understanding of statistical genetics, infectious diseases, and biodiversity to overcome challenges and catapult Ontario and Canada as leaders in the global bioeconomy.

The Landing Pad Investment Program (LPIP) seeks to provide investment and in-kind support to help Ontario-based genomics and engineering biology companies to return to and scale successfully in Ontario.

It's not magic, it's genomics BREAKTHROUGHS

Ontario Genomics endeavors to find solutions to some of humanity’s greatest challenges: climate change, food insecurity, and acute and chronic disease. In our commitment to do so, we leverage our unique position to help Ontario fully capitalize on the health, economic, and environmental benefits in a genomics- and engineering biology- enabled world.

Food Innovation with Cellular Agriculture

Disease Burden

It is globally recognized that genomics and other ‘omics technologies are vital tools that need to be widely adopted and utilized in our fight against pandemics. 


Food Insecurity

Ontario Genomics is securing sustainable and resilient food supply chains by supporting bee health, which plays a critical role in biodiversity and contributes to food security. 


Climate Change

Plastic can be repurposed to produce biodegradable products, and Ontario Genomics is facilitating the transition from a linear use to a circular use model—bringing the world closer to a future without plastic waste.

It's not magic, it's genomics SOLUTIONS

Known for our leadership in groundbreaking ‘omics innovations, Ontario Genomics has its finger on the pulse of what is making headlines. Learn about projects, organizations, and researchers that Ontario Genomics has worked with and/or funded that are making headlines locally and around the world.


CReSCENT, a scalable and standardized set of novel computational tools and data portal, was launched and is available for use to researchers on any computing platform. This open-source platform allows scientists to perform systemic analysis on their single-cell RNA-seq data by tapping into the large public reference data sets available through the platform. Moreover, through the data-sharing and collaboration-enabling function embedded in the CReSCENT portal, this platform brings together researchers across a broad spectrum of scientific areas and disease types to increase the impact of data generated across research programs.


Driving the adoption of genomics-based solutions in Ontario and Canada, Ontario Genomics partnered with Athabasca University and Memorial University to form the Canadian Nursing and Genomics (CNG) steering committee. With a vision to empower nurses with knowledge about the advances in genomics and the emergence of precision health, this steering committee created numerous educational whiteboard videos. The videos cover the importance of genomics in healthcare, the CNG engagement framework, intra-professional collaboration, and genomic literacy to address healthcare equity.


Cystic fibrosis, one of the most common fatal genetic diseases, causes difficulties in breathing, recurrent lung infections, and digestive disorders. Recent drug discoveries can address the underlying genetic defect, but only some patients respond positively to them. Given the side effects and cost ($300K+ per year per patient for a drug that needs to be administered lifelong), there is a pressing need for robust predictors of who will respond to the treatment. Dr. Felix Ratjen’s team is developing predictive tools to determine individualized treatment for navigating patient care, research goals, and ethics.


The beer sector contributes over $13.6 billion to the Canadian GDP and yeast diversity is one of the main tools used by brewers to create product diversity leading to increased economic impact. Dr. Van Der Merwe and Escarpment Labs have received the University of Guelph Innovation of the Year Award for isolating and characterizing regional yeast strains for the craft beer industry. Many of these yeasts are now available to breweries across Canada through Escarpment Labs.


Providing genomics-driven “stress-buster” solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate fluctuations on field-grown hazelnuts, this project is enhancing the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of Ontario’s agri-food sector. The team has recently published a manuscript which reports on hazelnut varieties that can withstand Ontario winters and provide a toolkit to hazelnut farmers to nurse trees through the winter while maintaining crop yields.


This Trent University team worked with Ontario’s own NutriAg Ltd. to successfully design, apply, and bring to market their biofertilizer composed of a carefully selected beneficial bacteria that can be used on multiple crops and has shown significant increases in yields, potentially creating economic advantages for Ontario. Further, the team has noted that the bacteria may be a valuable tool to combat drought stress. Currently, NutriAg has registered one product based on this technology and the company is completing large-scale testing for commercialization, while researchers at Trent continue to use genomics approaches to understand the bacteria’s mode of action.


With mines in every province and territory, the Canadian mining sector contributes more than $57 billion to the economy and employs 375,000+ people. To reduce pressures on Canada’s freshwater water supplies and develop sustainable approaches, Dr. Lesley Warren’s team at the University of Toronto is applying genomics, geochemistry, and modelling to develop smarter environmental solutions in the Mining Wastewaters Solutions (MWS) Project. A Hudbay Minerals Inc. mine straddling the border of Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba will be the first site in the world to deploy and get regulatory approval to use a new sulfur monitoring tool developed by the MWS team. This strategy not only improves understanding of possible impacts in the receiving environments but also allows mines to proactively steward environmental goals into actionable steps.


Ardra Inc. received a strategic investment from Bedoukian Research, Inc.. They are collaborating to bring synthetic, biology-based, natural flavour and fragrance ingredients to the market. Their first product is green leaf aldehyde, which is used in food and perfumery. Synthetic biology-based production has great potential as a foundational platform for sustainable biomanufacturing of natural aroma and flavour ingredients. The consistent, high-quality production of natural ingredients is a significant challenge, and this partnership focuses on developing biomanufacturing processes with the goal of leading to commercial-scale production.


EcoGenomics is a research program that employs non-invasive fecal collection to monitor Canadian caribou. This project considers ecological, evolutionary, genomics, and open-science applications relevant to the conservation and management of this vulnerable species. This team is creating a long-term, Canada-wide caribou monitoring framework to increase substantially: the capacity of government, industry, and Indigenous communities to participate in wildlife monitoring; transparency, reliability, and cross-compatibility of wildlife monitoring; and opportunities for collaboration across sectors in the monitoring and conservation of at-risk wildlife. While focused on caribou, this program has research and monitoring implications for a wide range of species, such as moose, deer, and wolves.

It's not magic, it's genomics ENGAGEMENT

Genomics to the Rescue






This campaign highlighted numerous impactful GAPP, LSARP, and DIG-B/CB projects funded by the provincial and federal governments and other partners and underscores how genomics has the potential to help solve numerous problems faced by the world.

Food Innovation






Cellular agriculture presents a significant global opportunity to diversify food production and biomanufacturing for numerous sectors in new and sustainable ways. This campaign features extensive input and an economic analysis, providing critical considerations for Canada’s emerging cellular agriculture industry.

Wastewater Surveillance






Ontario Genomics, in collaboration with partners, announced a game-changing initiative to analyze COVID-19 in wastewater to improve public health response and better understand outbreaks in communities across Ontario. This campaign underlines the importance of a coordinated approach to leverage the province’s deep genomics resources and capacity to equip public health with evidence for timely decision-making.


Board of Directors (2021-2022)

Deborah Stark

Vice Chair, University of Guelph and Former Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Alan E. Winter


Former BC Innovation Commissioner

Alex MacKenzie

M.D., PhD

Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute Professor

Alison Paprica

Executive Advisor and Affiliate Scientist, ICES and Executive Committee and Chair, Public Engagement Working Group, Health Data Research Network Canada

Ann Marie Vaughan

Ed. D.

President and CEO, Loyalist College

Benjamin Rovinski


Managing Director, Lumira Ventures

Charmaine Dean


Vice-President, Research & International, University of Waterloo

Colin Kelleher

CEO, Kelleher Group

Mark Lundie


Director, Medical Affairs, Rare Diseases, Pfizer Canada Inc.

Stephen Cummings

B. Sc. (Econ.), CPA, CA, FCA (UK)

CEO and General Managing Partner, Rizolve Partners

Tom Corr


Former President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence


Jehoshua Sharma

BSc., PhD Candidate

Co-founder and Director of Operations, cGEM

Katherine Kelly Gatten

Director, Science & Research Branch, Ministry of Colleges & Universities

Rob Annan

President and CEO, Genome Canada


Ontario Genomics makes public its annual financial statements, which are prepared in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations. The consolidated financial statements present the consolidated financial position of Ontario Genomics as at March 31, 2022, its consolidated results of operations and its consolidated cash flows for the year then ended. 

In This Report

  • Independent Auditors’ Report
  • Consolidated Statement of Financial Position
  • Consolidated Statement of Operations
  • Consolidated Statement of Changes in Net Assets
  • Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
  • Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

Download the 2021-2022 Annual Report PDF

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