ARCHIVED - NRC Response to COVID-19

Archived - This content has been developed for the transition binder for the NRC President, December 2020

When COVID‑19 disrupted the world in early 2020, the NRC pivoted to support the massive government‑wide response — and help protect the health and safety of Canadians. The support that the NRC was called on to provide falls into three categories — healthcare, business, and innovation — and includes both NRC‑supported government efforts and NRC‑led initiatives.

  • Total New Funding: 792.7M

NRC‑Supported Government Response


Medical countermeasure (MCM) 1 – Royalmount Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Certification

Enables compliance with GM standards for emergency vaccine production - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 2– Royalmount Expansion

Allows critical upgrades needed for production of vaccine candidate batches for clinical trials and fill and finish for vaccines – [REDACTED]

Royalmount Biomanufacturing Facility

Funds a new biomanufacturing facility to develop capacity to produce vaccines domestically and support global vaccine access - $126 M 2020‑2022 [REDACTED]


MCM 3 - IRAP Support for Vaccines and Therapeutics

Support for businesses that are in the early stages of COVID‑19 vaccine and therapeutic development – [REDACTED]

IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) I

Assists innovative, early‑stage SMEs that are strategic to Canada's economy and unable to access other support - $250M 2020‑2021

IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) II

Extends IAP I support for innovative SMEs that are strategic to Canada's economy and unable to access other support - $155.2M 2020‑2021

IRAP Youth Employment Program (YEP)

Part of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), helps young people gain skills, work experience and abilities - $15M 2020‑2021


MCM 1 - Pandemic Response Challenge Program

Brings together the best Canadian and international researchers to fast‑track R&D aimed at specific COVID‑19 challenges - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 1 - IRAP / Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Funds challenges to accelerate development of COVID‑19 diagnostic tools and personal protective equipment - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 3 – IRAP / Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Funding additional challenges to enable research that focuses on the users needs and responds to essential policy priorities – [REDACTED]

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Career Kickstarter

Enhances Canada's support for students, grads, post‑docs affected by COVID‑19 by providing STEM opportunities at the NRC – [REDACTED]

NRC‑led Initiatives


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Delivered 9 pallets of its own PPE (sterile nitrile gloves, N95 masks, and sterile coveralls) for use by frontline health workers in NRC communities across Canada.
  • Supporting PHAC on quality assurance of N95 masks from suppliers, and Health Canada on evaluating sterilized or new N95 masks, as well as COVID test swabs.
  • Working with two partners developing COVID‑19 vaccine candidates: VBI Vaccines Inc. and VIDO.
  • Working with numerous other healthcare firms on potential vaccines, vaccine support materials, and therapeutics to treat COVID‑19.
  • Supporting Industry, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and Health Canada on domestic vaccine production capacity.


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Supporting requests for technical advice and providing short‑term support to companies, ranging from manufacturing ventilators to testing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Providing $1M in funding support through IRAP to VBI Vaccines Inc. for production technology transfer and scale‑up.


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Launched projects at IRAP focused on short‑ and medium‑term responses to COVID‑19 and aligned with priority areas (PPE, sanitization, diagnostics, etc.).
  • Shared filtration testing protocols with Canadian research institutes.
  • Supporting external partners and clients with established expert teams within NRC in thematic areas (sterilization, PPE testing, diagnostics and testing, manufacturing, etc.) to provide efficient, effective communication and assistance.