MRO Magazine

Government ministers to fight for innovation

Vancouver, BC -- June 25, 2002 -- Canada's federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for industry,...


Industry

June 25, 2002
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

Vancouver, BC — June 25, 2002 — Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for industry, science and technology met June 21 in Vancouver to continue a discussion on ways to make the country one of the most innovative in the world. The meeting was co-chaired by the industry minister Allan Rock and Rick Thorpe, minister of competition, science and enterprise for British Columbia.

Provincial and territorial ministers provided initial comments to the Government of Canada regarding the specific goals and targets of the federal innovation strategy launched in February 2002. Ministers agreed to work together to expand awareness of the importance of innovation. Rock said the discussions will be an important input to the engagement process leading to the Innovation Summit scheduled for November.

“We are in fierce competition with other countries to rank as one of the most innovative economies in the world,” said Rock. “Canada’s quality of life and economic prosperity will benefit from greater co-operation from all levels of government, the private sector and academia to promote innovation.”

Ministers agreed on the need for early progress and instructed officials to bring forward items for co-operative action. These items include: ensuring the availability of a skilled workforce; increasing collaborations between universities, business, and government; and, improving the business environment and regulatory framework, increasing access to capital, including the issue of flow through shares; improving support for research and development, and community-based innovation activity.

At their meeting in Quebec City in September 2001, ministers adopted principles to guide future action to advance innovation. At this meeting, they reaffirmed these principles and described activities that their respective governments and communities are pursuing to support innovation, particularly in the areas of knowledge performance, risk capital, and highly qualified people.

The ministers also discussed the importance of science and technology not just to support growth and competitiveness but also as a valuable tool to help resolve public policy issues, such as addressing Canada’s long-term energy, medical and environmental challenges. They also discussed a range of actions under the four themes of the federal innovation strategy, including:

– encouraging greater availability of private sector venture capital to innovative companies to develop their ideas here in Canada;

– ensuring the growth and development of synergies among firms, suppliers, consumers, producers, employees and researchers in the innovation process; and,

– addressing the challenges to innovation in remote and northern communities, for example, the need to improve high-speed broadband Internet access.