Seizing Canada's Moment:
Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014

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Cat. No. Iu37-4/1-2014E-PDF
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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Industry, 2014.

Aussi offert en français sous le titre Un moment à saisir pour le Canada : Aller de l'avant dans le domaine des sciences, de la technologie et de l'innovation 2014.

 

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Table of Contents

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Prime Minister's Message

Photo of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister of Canada

Stephen Harper

The success of our economy, the prosperity of our communities and the well-being of our families depend on advancing cutting-edge science, technology and innovation in Canada.

While our Government has already significantly ramped up support for Canada's quest for knowledge, we recognize that remaining competitive in the global marketplace of ideas demands a long-term commitment and strategy.

That is why we are launching Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation, a new strategy that leverages the expertise and resources of post-secondary institutions, industry and government to translate brilliant theories and ideas into applications that will improve the day-to-day lives of Canadians and generate economic growth and jobs across the country.

For years Canadian researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs have expanded the boundaries of knowledge and experience, building a proud, progressive and strong country. As Canada approaches the 150th anniversary of Confederation, our Government is proud to build on that remarkable foundation through new investments in science, technology and innovation that will be of benefit to this generation and an invaluable inheritance for generations to come.

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Minister of State's Message

Photo of the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Ed Holder

Today, science, technology and innovation drive the prosperity of nations. Canada has great strengths in this regard including many of the world's brightest minds; as a result, Canada is well-positioned to seize its moment on the world stage, ensuring long-term jobs, opportunities and prosperity for Canadians.

Our Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has made record investments in science, technology and innovation to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and opportunities, and improve the quality of life of Canadians.

While the global economy remains fragile, Canada has come a long way. We boast a welcoming and predictable business environment thanks to low taxes, a sound banking sector and a modern regulatory framework.

In Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation, our government is delivering on our commitment to renew Canada's science and technology strategy with a vision to strengthen Canada's position as a global leader in scientific research and innovation.

The renewed strategy builds on two existing pillars, People and Knowledge, and introduces a third pillar, Innovation.

People Pillar: We will inspire, develop, attract and retain the highly talented researchers needed to meet the demands of the modern global economy both in the lab and in the boardroom while encouraging young Canadians to seek rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Knowledge Pillar: We will tackle national and global challenges by supporting world-leading research through legacy investments like the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for the long-term economic benefit of Canada.

Innovation Pillar: We will encourage greater partnerships among Canadian businesses, universities and colleges to drive innovation and encourage the adoption of new processes and technologies that help Canadian businesses prepare to compete and win in the global marketplace.

Our government's renewed science, technology and innovation strategy will strengthen Canadian science and business to ensure they remain world-leading. I look forward to sharing the excitement of new Canadian discoveries, breakthroughs and innovations along with the boundless promise they hold for Canadians.

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Executive Summary

Introduction

On the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Canada stands at the threshold of a new era of achievement. Our nation has long been a pioneer in scientific and technological achievement with a quality of life that is envied around the world. From the development of kerosene in the 1840s, Sir Frederick Banting's and Dr. Charles Best's discovery of insulin in 1921 and Bombardier's invention of the snowmobile in the 1930s, to the development of the Canadarm in the 1980s and the BlackBerry in the 1990s, Canada has a proud legacy of innovation and scientific breakthroughs.

This is a legacy our Government will continue to build upon through the combination of a strong marketplace framework and unprecedented investments in science, technology and innovation. Totalling some $11 billion in new investments since 2006, our support thus far has powered Canadian leadership in research, science and technology. It has helped provide consumers with the products and services they need, as well as assisted in delivering social benefits in areas such as health, responsible resource development and safety. With targeted investments and strategic support, we are enabling our economy to turn ideas into jobs, growth and enhanced quality of life for Canadians.

These new investments in science, technology and innovation were guided by the strategic direction set out by Prime Minister Stephen Harper with the release of a Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, in 2007. The Strategy provided a comprehensive plan to make Canada a leader in science and technology, research and innovation. It featured an ambitious agenda to make investments in this area more strategic, efficient and accountable for delivering results.

The results so far have been impressive: Canada has become a prime destination for top researchers and skilled workers from around the world, and we rank first among G7 nations in spending on research and development in universities and colleges as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The world, however, has changed since the Strategy was first released. The forces of globalization, disruptive technologies and demographic changes are creating increased pressure on Canadian researchers and businesses to strive for excellence and innovate to compete. Like any time of change, this period brings new risks and exciting new opportunities.

The time is right to capitalize on our strengths. As global markets continue to recover from an extended recession, our record of prudent fiscal management and solid business fundamentals has put Canada in an excellent position to continue to invest in science, technology and innovation while remaining on the road to a balanced budget.

As such, this new strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation, serves as both a progress report on what we have achieved so far, and as a commitment to keep science, technology and innovation at the forefront of government policy for years to come. Economic Action Plan 2014 represented a significant down payment toward this objective, including measures such as the new Canada First Research Excellence Fund, support for internships in high-demand fields and further investments in business accelerators and incubators.

The Challenges

Canada is well positioned in today's global knowledge-based economy, while the pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation continues to accelerate. Here at home and around the world, businesses, research institutions and governments are challenged to adjust their strategies to keep up with change.

Today, the world's industrialized countries are working hard to stay ahead of the innovation race. At the same time, emerging economies are investing heavily in science, technology and innovation (ST&I) and their companies are globalizing quickly. Countries around the world are competing to attract and retain multinational companies within their borders and also incorporate their domestic companies into global value chains. At the same time, the ever-increasing complexity of global challenges – in areas such as climate change, energy and health – require international research collaborations across many disciplines. All these factors create pressures on Canadian businesses in both traditional and emerging sectors to adjust their approach and strategies to ensure long-term success.

Also influencing the global economic environment is the emergence over the past decades of new technologies with major transformative impacts. We see this especially in the way information and communications technologies have changed how we live and work. To keep up, nations must swiftly develop and adapt to newer platform technologies (such as nanotechnology and additive manufacturing), harness large and complex data systems ("big data") and adopt "open science" policies to foster collaboration. The availability of state-of-the-art research and digital infrastructure is also critically important for success. The challenges are complex and the stakes are high, yet nations that excel in these areas will have significant competitive advantages in the years ahead.

Here in Canada, the gains we have made in growing our knowledge base and fostering a highly-skilled workforce through our investments under the 2007 Strategy and recent new measures introduced to respond to the external Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, have been many. Our ST&I ecosystem will feel the full impact of these measures over time, but in the meantime, we must do more to respond to the pressures of globalization, an aging population and the pace of technological change.

The unique challenge Canada faces is to leverage our strengths and expand our strong entrepreneurial spirit into a broader business innovation culture. Traditionally, we have had great success in creating innovative new start-ups. Now, Canada needs more Canadian firms to foster innovation-based growth and to expand into global markets.

Seizing Our Moment

The 2014 Strategy continues and builds upon the 2007 Strategy. It will be guided by the same core principles as the original: Promoting World-Leading Excellence, Focusing on Priorities, Fostering Partnerships and Enhancing Accountability.

In addition to maintaining these core principles, the 2014 Strategy retains the People and Knowledge pillars from the earlier framework, but enhances and broadens the Entrepreneurial pillar to encompass Innovation.

The 2014 Strategy also updates the research priorities by adding a fifth priority, advanced manufacturing, to the previously established priorities of natural resources and energy, health and life sciences, information and communications technologies and by augmenting the environment priority to include agriculture.

Icon representing the People Pillar

People Pillar: The 2014 Strategy is based on the principle that at the heart of great science, technology and innovation are the researchers, developers and innovators – the men and women who drive change. As such, the Strategy aims to strengthen the skills and capacity that keep Canada at the forefront of research and innovation. This includes promoting an interest in science in our youth, encouraging innovative entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life and supporting the researchers who are making ground-breaking discoveries and pushing the frontiers of knowledge. It centres on our support for universities, colleges and polytechnics so they can develop, attract and retain tomorrow's leaders and experts. It also underscores the importance of international connections – both at the personal and institutional levels – that help Canada tap into the strengths of other countries.

Icon representing the "Knowledge" Pillar

Knowledge Pillar: The 2014 Strategy builds on our existing emphasis on supporting research and scientific capacity in universities, colleges and polytechnics. As stated in Economic Action Plan 2014, we will make Canada a world leader in targeted research areas to create long-term economic advantages. We will strengthen support for excellence in discovery-driven and applied research and will ensure that Canada has the infrastructure needed to foster world-class science, technology and innovation. Under the Strategy, research will become more open, accessible and transparent to the public and end users. Canada will continue to be a world-leader in discovery research. The Strategy also highlights the importance of support for the critical research performed in federal laboratories.

Icon representing the "Innovation" Pillar

Innovation Pillar: Building on the development of highly-skilled Canadians and world-class research, the 2014 Strategy puts innovation front and centre – in fostering business innovation, in building synergies with Canada's research capacities and in using its skilled and innovative workforce. It emphasizes the need for business of all sizes to define and implement for themselves the science, technology and innovation they require to compete nationally and internationally. The Strategy builds upon Digital Canada 150, our Government's recently announced plan to guide Canada's digital future. It will also seek to close the persistent innovation gap that has hindered the transfer of ideas from the laboratory to the factory floor and the store shelf. The Strategy will also encourage businesses to work with partners in the innovation system, including by making Canada's world-class research infrastructure, expertise and researchers available to them. It will encourage scaling up successful programs and consolidating program offerings to improve access and increase impact. The Strategy also emphasizes the need for Canadians to protect their intellectual property and enhances Canada's access to global markets.

Conclusion

The 2014 Strategy sets out a path for the next few years, while looking to Canada's 150th anniversary and beyond. It places in context the initiatives to support business innovation introduced in Economic Action Plan 2012 and 2013 and the significant investments made in Economic Action Plan 2014. Above all this, it is a call to action for the players in the Canadian innovation system – whether they be in the research community, the business community, or different levels of government – to work together to achieve the goal of making Canada a scientifically and technologically innovative nation capable of leading the world.

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1.0 Introduction

Don't keep forever on the public road, going only where others have gone, and following one after the other like a flock of sheep. Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do so you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before. Of course it will be a little thing, but do not ignore it. Follow it up, explore all around it; one discovery will lead to another, and before you know it you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind. All really big discoveries are the results of thought.

Alexander Graham Bell ()

Alexander Graham Bell understood the array of forms in which innovation may manifest – in the ingenuity of using electricity and diaphragms to transmit the sound of the human voice, but also at a more basic level, in the curiosity to explore beyond the beaten track. Bell knew that unexpected observations can sometimes lead to big discoveries. The famed innovator made these comments during an age when electricity and telecommunications were transforming societies and individuals profoundly. Today, these observations are just as prescient in a world in which curiosity, application and innovation have even wider ranging impacts on so many different aspects of our lives.

More than a century later, it is clear that science, technology and innovation play a crucial role in economic prosperity and quality of life. At the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Stephen Harper emphasized that innovation holds the key to addressing societal and economic challenges. From preparing for an aging population to providing consumers with quality products at lower prices or developing our resources responsibly and improving productivity and competitiveness, there is no doubt, science, technology and innovation power the economy in Canada and around the world.

That's why our Government has made science, technology and innovation top priorities. Since 2006, we have invested more than $11 billion in new resources to support discovery-driven and applied research, knowledge and skills development, research infrastructure and innovative activities in the private sector. These investments are creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians. They are also helping us address important societal challenges such as the treatment of chronic diseases, protection of the environment, maintenance of food safety and adaptation to climate change.

To focus our efforts in these areas, the Prime Minister announced the Science and Technology Strategy in 2007. Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage linked the competitive energy of Canada's entrepreneurs to the creative genius of our researchers. It identified Canada's people, knowledge and entrepreneurial advantages and set out how federal science and technology policy and programs could be more strategic, efficient, effective and accountable for delivering results.

The Strategy sought to make Canada more productive and competitive by positioning our researchers at the leading-edge of knowledge creation and by developing, attracting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce to build a modern national economy.

The Strategy also underscored the central role Canada's private sector plays in mobilizing and commercializing knowledge to develop the products, services and technologies that create a productive, sustainable and competitive society.

In parallel with the 2007 Strategy, our Government has been hard at work supporting business innovation by helping establish the conditions that encourage investment and economic growth. We have expanded trade opportunities, lowered taxes, made it easier to start a business, reduced red tape, modernized regulations, maintained a strong financial system and welcomed skilled immigrants.

These building blocks are now in place, but change is constant in today's world. We must continually adapt our approach to building up economic and social success. As the Science, Technology and Innovation Council has argued, Canada needs to "aim higher and aspire for global leadership."Footnote 1

While Canada shows research and development strengths in some industrial sectors, the overall outcomes for business continue to be less than the competition in other countries, with adverse impacts on our productivity and, potentially, on Canadians' long-term prosperity.

Having built a framework to position Canada as a global science and technology leader through the 2007 Strategy, the time has come to take our approach to science, technology and innovation to the next level. Canada's future growth and prosperity will depend on our ability to build on our advantages in people and knowledge and address our innovation challenges.

A Legacy of Innovation

Throughout our history as a nation, Canadians have been pioneers in scientific and technological achievement. We have turned research and ideas into products, jobs and a healthier, safer world. Here are some of Canada's successes:

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2014: The Road to Balance

Economic Action Plan 2014 lays the foundation for this Strategy update and charts our course for the years ahead by targeting investments in science, technology and innovation. Some investments include:

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2.0 Where Canada Stands

The 2007 Science and Technology Strategy – Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage – positioned Canada well in the world-wide race for knowledge, skills and competitiveness. Even during the ensuing period of global economic uncertainty, Canada's economy has remained strong, in part because of strategic investments in key areas, including science, technology and innovation.

Today, Canada is internationally recognized for research strengths across most areas of scientific pursuit both in terms of quantity and quality of science done. A diversity of research capacity can be found across the country, often with a focus on local economic strengths and regional innovation clusters. Canadians on the whole are highly-educated and skilled. Canada has become a magnet for knowledge workers – top experts and leaders are staying in Canada, skilled and educated youth are entering the workforce and talented people are coming to Canada to study and work.

Notwithstanding all these strengths, the global environment has changed dramatically since the 2007 Strategy was published. Canada's businesses face certain domestic innovation and global challenges. We must do more as a country to encourage a business innovation culture – the management of risk, the desire to experiment with new technologies and processes and the willingness to explore new business horizons.

2.1 Canada's Business Innovation Challenge

The proportion of Canada's overall R&D effort undertaken by the business sector fell from 56.7 percent in 2006 to 52.3 percent in 2012 – well below the OECD average of 67.9 percent. OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators, 2014-1.

At the most fundamental level, the performance of an economy is best measured by the standard of living of its citizens. In the short-term, economies or companies may prosper because of advantages conferred by factors such as the prices of their exports or strength of currencies, but in the long-term, standard of living is determined by the ability of an economy to turn inputs into outputs efficiently (i.e., its productivity), as compared to competitors in other countries. Recent data from the OECD show that in 2012, Canada's labour productivity stood at 73 percent of the U.S. level, down from 82 percent in 2000. The comparatively low rate of Canada's current productivity growth indicates that our economy can and needs to be more competitive.

At the same time, the performance of our business sector has been strong. For most of the past 20 years, in spite of recent declines, corporate profits have remained higher than those of the U.S.Footnote 2 Canada's position in an integrated North American market and its endowments in natural resources, coupled with the strength of the energy and other commodities markets, have enabled our firms to maintain a solid performance.

During the early 2000s, the abundance of Canadian labour and a low dollar masked the need for productivity growth. More recently, incomes in Canada have been boosted by the demand for commodities in China and other emerging economies. These factors have offset Canada's productivity levels in manufacturing. This cannot be sustained indefinitely. If productivity growth does not pick up, the effect will be felt on corporate performance and jobs.

Successful innovation by businesses, not-for-profit organizations and governments requires that we put into place corporate strategies based on fostering innovation. However, innovation is a complicated process that is neither defined by a simple formula or playbook, nor easily measured. Sometimes, innovation comes directly from advances in science and technology, but it can also stem from other sources. Even innovation that comes from R&D rarely follows a straight path from lab to marketplace. The results of curiosity-driven research are not known in advance, so capitalizing on the outcomes is risky and depends as much upon the skill, vision and adaptability of the innovator, as on the quality of the research itself.

Innovation is the "implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations." OECD, Oslo Manual.

An idea or invention, however radical or creative, is not an innovation unless it is put to use. A strong science and technology base supports innovation but alone is not its cause and not all innovation has a base in science and technology. Innovation requires creative firms or individuals to see an opportunity, take a risk, and often it involves experimenting with different practices, methods and processes.

Ultimately, creating a widespread and sustainable innovation climate in Canada will require the transformation of Canada's strong entrepreneurial spirit into a wider business innovation culture. We have to broaden our current strength in creating innovative new start-ups, to include the innovation-based growth of firms into larger enterprises with a presence in global markets. This will mean implementing innovation-based competitive strategies to sustain the health and viability of enterprises over the long-term.

While measuring innovation is difficult, R&D spending is one way to gauge a country's commitment to it.Footnote 3 Despite Canadian federal and provincial governments providing some of the world's most generous incentives to encourage business R&D and innovation, Canada's overall performance is below the OECD average on this measure.

We see that while businesses in OECD countries spend an average of 1.63 percent of GDP on R&D, in Canada, the figure was only 1.11 percent in 2006 ($16.5 billion) and this fell to 0.88 percent ($16.2 billion) by 2012. Out of 34 OECD countries, this drop takes us from 16th to 22nd place.

Figure 1: Business Expenditures on Research and Development as a Percentage of GDP, Selected OECD Countries, 2012 or Latest Available Year

Business Expenditures on Research and Development as a Percentage of GDP, Selected OECD Countries, 2012 or Latest Available Year  (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 1
BERD as a Percentage of GDP, Selected OECD Countries, 2012 or Latest Available Year
Country Percent of GDP
Korea 3.40
Israel 3.32
Japan 2.57
Finland 2.44
Sweden 2.31
Switzerland 2.17
Germany 2.02
United States 1.95
Total OECD 1.63
Belgium 1.52
France 1.48
Australia 1.23
Netherlands 1.22
United Kingdom 1.10
Canada 0.88
Norway 0.86
Italy 0.69
Source: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators 2014/1, June 2014.

What gets measured, gets done

The Conference Board of Canada believes Canadian businesses need to do a better job of measuring their innovation performance and competitiveness. In a 2013 report entitled Metrics for Firm-Level Business Innovation in Canada, the Board documents the value of measurement-based management of firm-level innovation to enhance corporate performance. It found that, by using innovation metrics effectively, firms can fine-tune their innovation activities, increase their innovation success rates, and contribute to more productive and competitive companies.

To gain some insight into these imbalances and how to rectify them, in 2010 the federal government launched an independent external Review of Federal Support to Research and Development. Chaired by Tom Jenkins, then Executive Chairman of OpenText Corporation, the Panel was charged with analyzing federal government business R&D programs and recommending how to adapt our approach to better stimulate the growth of innovative firms.

Figure 2: Direct and Indirect Government Funding of Business R&D and Tax Incentives for R&D, Selected OECD Countries, 2011

Direct and Indirect Government Funding of Business R&D and Tax Incentives for R&D, Selected OECD Countries, 2011 (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 2
Direct and Indirect Government Funding of Business R&D and Tax incentives for R&D, Selected OECD Countries, 2011
Country Direct government funding of BERD Indirect government support through R&D tax incentives
Korea 0.187 0.198
France 0.109 0.263
United States (2012) 0.223 0.050
Canada 0.035 0.201
Netherlands 0.044 0.154
United Kingdom (2012) 0.086 0.077
Norway 0.084 0.047
Australia (2010) 0.022 0.103
Sweden 0.117 0.000
Denmark 0.056 0.047
Japan 0.027 0.072
Germany (2012) 0.085 0.000
Finland (2012) 0.073 0.000
Italy 0.047 0.003
Switzerland (2012) 0.018 0.000

Note: The estimates of R&D tax incentives do not cover sub-national R&D tax incentives. Germany and Switzerland do not provide R&D tax incentives. Finland and Sweden recently introduced R&D tax incentive schemes for companies for which cost estimates of foregone revenues are not yet available.

Source: OECD, Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014.

The Panel found that a number of factors influence a firm's decisions concerning R&D and innovation, including the structural characteristics of the company and industry in which it operates; the intensity of competition it faces; its business ambition; and the climate for new ventures and its understanding of customer needs and opportunities.

Although many of these factors are not directly connected to government policies or programs, initiatives to improve framework conditions can have an influence on many of them. Since 2006, the intent of government policies in areas such as trade, competition, regulatory reform, skills development, tax and other policies has been to encourage firms and people to innovate.

Informed by the recommendations of the Panel, Canada's Economic Action Plans 2012 and 2013 were built around a new approach to promoting business innovation – one that emphasizes active business-led initiatives and focuses on fostering the growth of innovative firms. To that end, they included measures such as the transformation of the National Research Council, a doubling of the Industrial Research Assistance Program and the launch of a new Venture Capital Action Plan (see Chapter 7).

Innovation Canada: A Call to Action

A six-member expert panel (Jenkins Panel) was appointed in October 2010 by the Government of Canada. Over the course of a year, it met with more than 160 stakeholders across Canada, received 228 written submissions, surveyed over 1,000 businesses, and consulted with numerous experts in Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and the United States.

Key findings of the Jenkins Panel include:

2.2 Pressure to Act: The Global Context

In both traditional and emerging sectors, Canadian researchers and businesses must innovate to compete and survive in response to globalization and emerging economies, disruptive technologies and demographic change.

Globalization and Emerging Economies

Globalization and increased trade liberalization has created unprecedented opportunities for businesses to diversify and expand abroad, and it has also exposed Canadian firms to increased competition. In order to set themselves apart in today's fiercely competitive world, Canada's most successful and innovative firms are adding value to their goods and services through innovation.

Since one in five Canadian jobs depends on exports, free trade agreements with emerging markets like South Korea and developed economies like the European Union are essential. Opening new markets to Canadian goods, services and investment is crucial to our prosperity.

Globalization also increases pressure among developed countries to attract and keep high value-added activities, such as R&D, within their borders. Several factors affect how multinational companies shift or re-distribute their R&D mandates between countries, including: the presence of top universities, the quality of people available, market potential and the fiscal environment.Footnote 4

Newly developed economies like China, India and Brazil are making substantial research and technology investments. They have rapidly-growing scientific establishments that contribute strongly to their competitiveness. These countries are shifting quickly from low-value production to higher value-added activities, bringing them into direct competition with developed countries like Canada. In addition, many of Canada's competitors with well-developed innovation cultures (e.g., Australia, the European Union) are investing significant resources into R&D networks with emerging economies.

Disruptive Technologies

Just as information and communications technologies have transformed the way we live now, disruptive technologies are creating entirely new fields with exciting possibilities for social and economic benefits. Areas such as additive manufacturing, genomics and nanotechnology can provide unparalleled opportunities for early adopters. Those who embrace these kinds of platform technologies early will leap ahead of their competitors to increase Canadian opportunity and jobs.

Technological advances in the natural resources sector, especially in energy, are also delivering research-based solutions to environmental challenges. Clean technology, in particular, can play an important role in environmental protection by helping businesses and industry reduce their environmental impact and improve their competitiveness. This fast-growing international market has great potential for those Canadian resource firms who drive these advances.

Additive Manufacturing: 3-Dimensional Printing

Additive Manufacturing builds 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material. The technology relies on the development of nanomaterials and new materials including plastics and metal alloys. It has the potential to dramatically increase business competitiveness by:

In Canada, The National Research Council along with universities, colleges and research institutes is collaborating with leading firms to evaluate novel designs and applications enabled by additive manufacturing. Their findings could have applications in the automotive, aerospace and other Canadian manufacturing sectors.

However, in an ever-more competitive world, developing and deploying disruptive technologies is risky and those who do not sufficiently protect their intellectual property in a new idea or innovation may not reap its full benefits. Intellectual property can have many strategic uses, from providing the freedom to operate, to protecting products and markets from competitors and facilitating collaboration. Canada's innovation support programs need to help Canadian entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge they need to benefit from the commercial advantages of intellectual property. This need is particularly acute for small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which enter new markets without adequately having thought through their intellectual property strategy.

The disruptive technologies that affect us the most today come from the world of information and communications. As we use our mobile devices to board planes, download books and magazines and stream videos, we drive change across society. And the disruptive impact of the advance of technology in these areas is far from spent. Experts have indicated that the "Internet of Things" – independent communications between smart devices and parts – will introduce another digital revolution. Additionally, the ability to create and use huge data sets, known as "big data" offer new opportunities for discovery and the creation of new products and services. The growing use of "big data" will create new opportunities for businesses but also challenges the way we collect and share data, in both the public and private sector. It also puts pressure on our digital infrastructure to keep up.

Digital Canada 150, released in April 2014, outlines an ambitious path forward for Canadians to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. It is designed to be inclusive, capable of responding to the demands of fast-changing times and able to provide Canadians with the tools, the protections and the skills they need to fully embrace the opportunities of a digital future. It forms the foundation that will drive Canadian leadership in science, technology and innovation.

Demographic Changes

The pressure for change is also coming from the trends that we see among people, both in Canada and abroad. Demographic projections for many developed economies, including Canada, suggest that the coming decades will be marked by a sharp decrease in the proportion of the population that is of traditional working-age.

While Canada has one of the world's best-educated populations, keeping up with the changing skills required of an innovative economy is a constant challenge. We will need a workforce with the right mix of skills that can adopt new technologies and practices in the workplace. And with fewer people available to work, it will be increasingly important to prepare for an innovative economy that can sustain Canada's standard of living.

Today's young people will work in jobs that are very different from those of their parents. They will be called upon to communicate differently, to collaborate with others with diverse skills and backgrounds and to adapt to constant change. They will need both a strong educational base and on-going training to provide them with the soft skills needed for working with others and the hard skills associated with science and technology.

Canada begins this new era from a solid foundation. Recent results from an international survey assessing students' competencies in literacy, math and science, indicate that Canadian youth perform above the OECD average.Footnote 5 However, with other countries placing a premium on education, Canada's performance in science and mathematics must keep pace.

Young people's attitudes toward these subjects are also of potential concern. Only two in five say they would be interested in working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions. While education falls within provincial jurisdiction, the federal government can foster and promote an interest in science, technology, engineering and math among young Canadians outside the classroom.

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3.0 Seizing Canada's Moment

Today, Canada has the necessary ingredients for building an innovation economy: world-class research strengths, a highly-educated and skilled workforce and one of the best business environments on the planet. Canada must seize this moment and leverage our many advantages by promoting global research leadership, strengthening our skills and abilities as well as pushing for world-leading business innovation.

3.1 Principles and Framework

The 2007 Science and Technology Strategy was built around four core principles. The 2014 Strategy will continue to be guided by these same principles:

Promoting World-Leading Excellence

Our Government will ensure that our policies and programs inspire and assist Canadians to perform at world-leading levels of scientific and technological excellence. We must create an environment of healthy competition to ensure that funding supports the best ideas.

Focusing on Priorities

While Canada is well-positioned to rise to the challenge of global competitors, with much of the infrastructure, knowledge and skills required for success, the next step is to build on this strong base by focusing on strategic areas where Canada can be a world leader. The goal is to target funding strategically in areas of opportunity that will build national strengths.

Encouraging Partnerships

Partnerships between the business, academic, and public sectors both at home and abroad are essential to assuring world-class Canadian successes and to accelerate the pace of discovery and commercialization in this country. The cost, complexity and pace of scientific achievement demand the creation of smart partnerships, through which the unique capabilities, interests and resources of various stakeholders can be brought together for greater success. The goal of fostering partnerships is to support science and technology collaboration and align the roles and responsibilities of the federal public sector with other orders of government and the private sector so we can together generate greater social and economic opportunities.

Enhancing Accountability

Image representing the People Pillar, the Knowledge Pillar and the Innovation PillarThe strategic importance of science and technology to Canada merits rigorous and disciplined accountability mechanisms to ensure value for money. Stronger governance and reporting practices will help to deliver the results that really make a difference in people's lives. Accountability is key because it puts the responsibility on those who are supported by public funds to demonstrate to taxpayers that they are achieving results.

Operating on these four principles, our Government has made investments in science, technology and innovation that are helping Canadian businesses turn knowledge into commercial advantage and new jobs. This is bolstered by our world-class research and the development, attraction and retention of people able to contribute and lead innovation.

In addition to reinforcing the Pillars introduced in the 2007 Strategy, the 2014 Strategy will expand on this framework with concrete new actions:

Icon representing the People Pillar

People Pillar: We will develop, attract and retain highly-qualified and skilled individuals, as well as top experts and leaders needed for Canada to thrive in the global knowledge economy. We will promote science and technology skills in youth, expand opportunities for entrepreneurs and leaders to mobilize their skills and knowledge in the workplace and enhance opportunities for innovators and researchers whose ambitions and creativity generate discoveries that improve social and economic outcomes for Canadians.

Icon representing the Knowledge Pillar

Knowledge Pillar: We will strengthen support for excellence across the spectrum of discovery-driven and applied activities by investing in research and infrastructure. We will achieve world-leading research strengths in recognized areas of current advantage and emerging opportunity. We will continue to support federal science-based institutions to perform research to deliver on regulatory, public policy and operational mandates such as public health, responsible resource development, environmental protection, transportation safety and public security. We will make federally funded research more open and transparent to the public and to end users.

Icon representing the Innovation Pillar

Innovation Pillar: We will help bring new ideas and knowledge to market by stimulating more demand for innovation from firms of all sizes and influencing more innovation-focused business strategies. We will make it easier for businesses to work with partners, including government, in the innovation system and foster collaborations based on industrial-demand that encourage newly emerging as well as established industries to look for solutions from Canada's research institutions. We will build on Digital Canada 150, our recently announced plan to guide Canada's digital future. We will emphasize the need for firms to protect their intellectual property and enhance Canada's access to global markets.

Canada's Key Players in Science, Technology and Innovation

Our Government cannot achieve these goals alone. Canada's system has diverse players, each vital to success. All players have a direct interest in sharing the leadership and commitment that will make Canada thrive.

Universities, colleges and polytechnics develop Canada's future experts, leaders, entrepreneurs and shop-floor innovators. Universities also perform the bulk of discovery-driven research in this country, while colleges and polytechnics help businesses to conduct time-sensitive applied research.

The non-profit sector, including organizations such as health charities, provides significant funding in support of R&D performed by universities.

The business sector transforms knowledge and ideas into goods, services and technologies that build an innovative and competitive economy. It brings new ideas to market and provides hands-on job training in the marketplace.

Provincial and territorial governments understand local needs and harness regional assets. They create the conditions for their jurisdictions to compete and prosper. They are responsible for primary and secondary education. They fund universities, colleges, general and vocational colleges in Quebec (CÉGEPS) and polytechnics; support research in those institutions as well as in the private sector; foster a competitive business environment through marketplace framework policies and support regional innovation networks.

The federal government underwrites research and innovation activities throughout the system through loans, grants and contributions to entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers, students and research facilities. We also have put in place tax measures to encourage investment in research and development as well as marketplace framework policies that create a competitive environment to support innovative businesses.

Federal regional development agencies deliver targeted programs at the regional and local levels to enhance innovation, business and community economic development. The federal government participates in international initiatives to tap into global wells of knowledge, talent and major research facilities. It also performs its own science and technology to support government mandates and the evidence-based policies and regulations that protect Canadians, strengthen the marketplace and safeguard the environment.

The following graphic illustrates the broad nature of federal government activity in support of Canada's science, technology and innovation ecosystem and the general role of key federal players as well as organizations that deliver federal support.

Figure 1: Business Expenditures on Research and Development as a Percentage of GDP, Selected OECD Countries, 2012 or Latest Available Year

Infographic: Federal Partners
Description of Figure

This diagram illustrates the broad nature of federal government activity in support of Canada's science, technology and innovation ecosystem and the general role of key federal players as well as organizations that deliver federal support. In support of the people, knowledge and innovation pillars, federal players support collaboration, undertake and fund research activities, and support and provide research infrastructure.

Collaboration:
NRC connects businesses with federal research and support.
Regional Development Agencies support innovation, business and community development.
The Granting Councils fund partnerships between post-secondary researchers and businesses.

Research:
NRC and Science-Based Departments and Agencies conduct research and support regulatory and policy objectives: health, the environment, natural resources, safety and security.
The Granting Councils and federally funded, arm's-length organizations (including Genome Canada) fund or perform discovery research.

Infrastructure:
NRC and Science-Based Departments and Agencies provide laboratories for world-class research.
The Canada Foundation For Innovation funds leading research infrastructure.

Federal Partners

  1. Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  2. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  3. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, International Development Research Centre, Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Museum of History, Canadian Museum of Nature, Library and Archives Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Space Agency, Communications Research Centre Canada, Industry Canada, National Research Council Canada, Statistics Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, National Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Parks Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Defence Research and Development Canada

3.2 Enhancing Accountability and Transparency

Strong governance and reporting practices help deliver and demonstrate results. Requiring accountability and transparency in the use of public funds puts the responsibility on those who are supported by tax dollars to show how these investments make a measurable difference in people's lives. With public resources, it is important for people and organizations funded with taxpayer dollars to demonstrate a net benefit for Canadians. A focus on demand-driven research for innovation will further encourage the use of public investments to create and sustain jobs and growth.

This was recognized in the 2007 Strategy in part through the creation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. As an external advisory body, the Council reports on the results of Canada's science, technology and innovation performance. Over the past five years, the Council has increased transparency and accountability through three State of the Nation reports on Canada's system. The reports have also enabled the federal government to measure and monitor Canada's innovation performance over time.

We also enhanced the accountability and value for money of the granting councils and the National Research Council by changing the way they are governed. The National Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council have separated the roles of President and Chair and diversified council membership. The granting councils, in turn, have revised their conflict of interest and integrity policies. And, in December 2011, the three granting councils launched a Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research to enhance the quality and rigour for the oversight of the research they fund.

To ensure a better return on investment at the program level for joint initiatives of the three granting councils, our Government established a Private Sector Advisory Board to provide advice on several industry-focused programs, including the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence and the College and Community Innovation Program. The Board assesses whether the programs meet the needs of Canadian businesses, support projects that are of high priority to Canada and yield significant economic, social, health and environmental benefits.

In concert with the implementation of the 2007 Strategy, our Government launched the Open Government Strategy in 2011. That same year, Canada joined the Open Government Partnership, a group of 63 countries working together to develop and implement ways to make their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. In 2012, our Government released Canada's Action Plan for Open Government structured along the three streams of Open Information, Open Data, and Open Dialogue.

The process of ensuring that the research we fund delivers benefits to Canadians and the continuous search for better ways to improve the measurement of performance and results are complex tasks.

Looking forward, our Government will continue to work with other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally to strengthen performance indicators.

3.3 Reducing the Administrative Burden

Ensuring research funding is adjudicated and administered efficiently and effectively is a long-standing challenge in Canada and around the globe. Some level of administrative effort is always necessary to ensure a rigorous peer review process. It is also critical to promote accountability for federal dollars spent, as well as compliance with the various guidelines and requirements governing the conduct of research. At the same time, an excessive administrative burden can result in scientists and researchers wasting energy, time and resources on paperwork, rather than on advancing science – an inefficient and unproductive use of resources.

A range of players are involved in funding research at post-secondary institutions and in regulating or administering the conduct of research. This can include post-secondary institutions, federally funded organizations, federal departments and agencies, provincial governments and regulatory bodies, standard setting organizations, charitable foundations, as well as industry and international bodies.

Such complexity calls for concerted action on the part of all stakeholders in Canada's research ecosystem to enhance efficiency and reduce the administrative burden on researchers, releasing them to concentrate their efforts on generating breakthrough ideas.

Our Government will work with the post-secondary sector and other research-funders to reduce the administrative burden associated with research so it will be the lowest in the G7, while maintaining a strong commitment to uphold our high standards of research excellence and accountability and to govern the conduct of research and protect the health, safety and privacy of Canadians.

To accomplish this, we will:

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4.0 Focusing on Priorities

A strong knowledge base allows Canada to respond to social and economic challenges, and leads to unexpected discoveries and breakthroughs. This requires federal support across all disciplines that include both discovery and application driven research. It also requires that Canada's research strengths are leveraged to gain a competitive edge in areas critically important to Canada.

…The Canadian advanced manufacturing sector must adapt to a whole new era of fast-paced technological change, particularly in the fields of digital technology, materials, bio- and nano-technology, and big data…the weight of manufacturing in Canadian R&D is so important that it is imperative for the government to make it a national S&T priority. Therefore CME recommends that Canada's S&T strategy include advanced manufacturing as a priority.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME)
CME submission to Science, Technology and Innovation Consultation (posted on CME website, )

The 2007 Strategy identified four research priorities – Environment, Natural Resources and Energy, Health and Life Sciences and Information and Communication Technologies.

In the years since, we have targeted investments in these priority areas and we are already seeing a great return on these investments. In 2012, the Council of Canadian Academies' follow-up assessment on the state of science and technology affirmed Canada's leadership in these four broad research areas. Our government will continue to sustain and enhance the nation's advantages in these strategic areas.

However, we understand the need to adopt high-potential platform technologies that transform industries and yield strong social and economic benefits. So we are adding Advanced Manufacturing as a new priority. Advanced manufacturing can include disruptive and enabling technologies such as new materials (e.g., composites, biotechnology and nanotechnology), as well as new methods of design and production (e.g., simulation, automation, additive manufacturing). Firms that embrace advanced manufacturing will have a powerful tool to deliver high value-added activities and products.

Equally important is to continue to research and innovate in Canada's strong traditional sectors. Agriculture encompasses a broad range of activities including technological development, genomic research, and manufacturing. Agriculture has been added to the Environment priority to focus research resources on this vital sector.

With advice from the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, we have identified areas of particular focus within each of the five research priorities that are of strategic importance to Canada.

Research Priorities and their Focus Areas
Research Priorities Focus Areas

Environment and Agriculture

  • Water: Health, Energy, Security
  • Biotechnology
  • Aquaculture
  • Sustainable methods of accessing energy and mineral resources from unconventional sources
  • Food and food systems
  • Climate change research and technology
  • Disaster mitigation

Health and Life Sciences

  • Neuroscience and mental health
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Health in an aging population
  • Biomedical engineering and medical technologies

Natural Resources and Energy

  • Arctic: Responsible development and monitoring
  • Bioenergy, fuel cells and nuclear energy
  • Bio-products
  • Pipeline safety

Information and Communications Technologies

  • New media, animation and games
  • Communications networks and services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Advanced data management and analysis
  • Machine-to-machine systems
  • Quantum computing

Advanced Manufacturing

  • Automation (including robotics)
  • Lightweight materials and technologies
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Quantum materials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive

These focus areas are relevant both to Canada's key economic sectors and societal challenges. By targeting them, we will encourage a greater integration of innovative technologies, products and processes and, by extension, create greater benefits for Canadians and key Canadian sectors.

For example:

These research priorities and focus areas address the needs of Canada's key industrial sectors, such as space, robotics, aerospace and automotive. Advanced manufacturing will provide higher-value added services, such as R&D, design and after-market support, that link to opportunities in global value chains. Automation, 3D printing and advanced data management, for instance, can revolutionize the way manufacturers operate in both traditional and emerging industrial sectors.

In a changing world, our research priorities cannot remain static. To inspire Canada's innovators to take the next leap forward in ST&I or capitalize on a new opportunity, our Government will review and identify emerging areas of comparative advantage to inform medium- and long-term planning.

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing technologies including automation, robotics, biotechnology and nanotechnology are rapidly developing, high-technology areas that cut across multiple traditional industries.

They provide competitive advantage to manufacturers by enabling the development of premium, differentiated products and they represent new, more effective processes for existing products.

These new processes, business models, product design and materials are driving gains in productivity and are crucial to ensure the competitiveness of Canadian firms on the global stage.

Advanced manufacturing firms are improving productivity to compete for global mandates. These firms are:

These activities make Canadian firms more competitive and help grow jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

"Internet of Things" Untapped Potential for Canadian Business

The "Internet of Things" (IoT) is considered among experts as the next wave in the communications revolution and Canadian businesses are posed to embrace it. According to the Telus / International Data Corporation Internet of Things Study 2014: The Connected Canadian Business, released in July 2014, some 30 percent of medium and large businesses surveyed plan to deploy IoT technology in the next 24 months.

IoT – the evolution of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology – is a network of uniquely identifiable end points (or things) that communicate without human interaction, most commonly over a wireless network. It is the use of sensors, actuators and data communications technology built into physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—that enable those objects to be tracked, coordinated or controlled across a data network or the Internet. The systems collect, analyze and act on information in real time and are being deployed to create "smart" connected businesses, homes, cars and cities. Cisco, which opened Toronto's Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in March 2014, has predicted that the Internet of Everything will generate up to $19 trillion dollars of global economic opportunity over the next decade.

Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy positions our country well for the upcoming opportunities through our priorities, including:

As device communications and complexities grow, Canada is well positioned with its priorities, highly-skilled people and world-class researchers to capitalize on this opportunity.

Emphasizing Key Technologies

The aerospace and space sectors make critical contributions to Canada's prosperity and security. To keep government policies and programs relevant and in step with changing global conditions, the Aerospace Review (Emerson Panel) was launched in February 2012. In examining research priorities, the Panel noted that, "a 'sweet spot' exists where there is a confluence of the tools vital to Canada's future, rising demand in the global marketplace, and the technologies and products conceived and tested by Canadian researchers and businesses." Research priorities in information and communications technologies and advanced manufacturing will support Canada's space and aerospace industries in gaining a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

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5.0 Growing Canada's Talent

People are at the heart of discovery and innovation. They are the most effective agents of change and we are committed to fostering ambition and ingenuity in our society. Our Government will continue to support those who make ground-breaking discoveries and push the frontiers of knowledge. As well, we will support those with the drive and know-how to take new ideas and use them to resolve problems, create and offer new products and services as well as find new ways of doing things.

Taking Stock of People

Reviewing Canada's performance and the overall outcomes of our investments and achievements, Canada's people advantage is clear. We have:

5.1 Record of Support for People

Because people are a country's greatest asset, the 2007 Strategy set out to attract and retain home-grown experts, returning Canadians, as well as newcomers from abroad.

Several initiatives are already helping to make it happen:

Our Government also places a heavy emphasis on inspiring and empowering the great minds of tomorrow. As such, we encourage young people to obtain industry-relevant research and entrepreneurial experience through a variety of initiatives, such as:

Supported by a Vanier Scholarship, Dr. Brittany Rasmussen uncovered a new target for therapeutic strategies to control glucose levels in diabetes, and help to improve the lives of diabetic individuals. Her findings were published in the prestigious journal Cell Metabolism in January 2014.

Our Government has also made significant progress in implementing long-overdue reforms to Canada's immigration system. Changes have been designed to attract greater numbers of skilled and entrepreneurial newcomers with the education and experience our economy requires. For example, we have improved the Canadian Experience Class by providing international student graduates with a pathway to permanent residency and increased the responsiveness of the immigration system by better aligning it with the needs of the labour market. Our Government has also been working with the provinces, territories and other stakeholders to strengthen labour market information partnerships.

Yukon College Shares PhD Student with Industry

Guillaume Nielsen, a PhD student with the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, is working with industry and Yukon College's Centre for Northern Innovation and Mining to see how local bacteria can be used at mine sites to remove heavy metals from water, a process called bio-remediation. He will begin his research at the Yukon Research Centre and then apply his findings at the Keno Hill mine site. Support from Mitacs' Accelerate and the Yukon Research Centre are making this happen.

Mitacs

Mitacs is a not-for-profit research organization that builds linkages between academia and industry to promote high-quality research and innovation across Canada. Mitacs leverages federal funding with support from provincial governments, companies and universities. The Government of Canada supports three Mitacs programs:

5.2 Moving People Forward: Next Steps

Canada will be a place where curiosity is encouraged, our youth are inspired by science, technology and innovation, and where the best and brightest minds from around the world come to share in our aspirations of pushing the frontiers of knowledge and making ground-breaking technology advancements to help Canada succeed in the global economy.

Over the past decade, Canada has enjoyed a "brain gain" of highly-skilled workers. This means our top experts and leaders are staying in Canada, skilled and educated youth are entering our workforce and we are also attracting new people to study and work here. These people are driving discovery and innovation through their ingenuity and determination to find solutions to society's challenges. We want to continue this trend and make Canada a place where curiosity is encouraged and people are inspired to solve problems and bring ideas to life.

Our Government looks to grow a highly-trained and skilled workforce by:

5.2.1 Preparing our People for Innovation

Our Government will encourage more young people to pursue education and choose careers in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines and raise awareness of the inherent value of science, technology and innovation.

Space Academy for Aspiring Astronauts

With the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's PromoScience program, the Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology at the University of Alberta, lets Space Academy Trainees explore the many areas of space with real space scientists over the summer. Trainees design and launch model rockets, make galaxies, build interactive robots, experience virtual reality, simulate working at mission control and take pictures of earth by sending a camera 30 km into the atmosphere on a weather balloon.

We will accomplish this by:

5.2.2 Encouraging Science-to-Industry Jobs

Our Government will continue to provide record support to Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnics so they can develop, attract and retain tomorrow's research leaders and experts.

We will accomplish this by:

Our Government will focus federal investments in youth employment by reviewing the Youth Employment Strategy to align it more effectively with the evolving realities of the job market so that young Canadians gain the real-life work experiences needed to develop the technological skills increasingly required for jobs.

We will also strengthen youth programming by dedicating $40 million for up to 3,000 full-time internships for university, college and polytechnic graduates in high-demand fields between 2014–15 and 2015–16. Of this amount, $30 million will be provided to the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program to support youth internships in small and medium-sized businesses undertaking technical R&D projects. The remaining $10 million will be delivered by the realigned Youth Employment Strategy.

Business and Science Skills Create Employment Opportunities

Dr. Haleh Vahedi participated in a two-year Mitacs Elevate post-doctoral fellowship from 2011 to 2013 in a collaboration between the University of Toronto and Snowbush-Semtech IP, a supplier of semiconductor devices for computer, communications and industrial applications, located in Toronto, Ontario. Through her fellowship, Dr. Vahedi participated in a series of workshops prepared by Mitacs that included essentials for business communication, networking and project management. These workshops allowed Dr. Vahedi to hone her workplace interpersonal skills and to better plan and predict the resources and time required to efficiently complete projects. The new electrical circuit that she designed offered Snowbush-Semtech the potential to improve signal integrity which helps position the firm to be a leading supplier of next generation data communication products. At the end of the Mitacs fellowship, Snowbush-Semtech recognized the valuable skill set that Dr. Vahedi possessed and hired her full-time as an analog designer.

Getting hired after participating in a Mitacs program is nothing new, in fact it has been a frequent occurrence for Mitacs Accelerate interns. Based on a 2013 longitudinal survey of past Accelerate interns, Mitacs estimates that roughly 1,450 interns have been hired by their industry partner. The survey also concluded that more than 650 interns started their own firms. Industry partners have provided ample rationale as to why the Accelerate program is popular with them. They reported the number of outcomes from Accelerate internships as follows: new product developed or anticipated (504), new processes developed or anticipated (672), patent applied for or anticipated (216) and, in 97 percent of cases, the company reported increased interest in collaborating with the academic sector.

5.2.3 Supporting Global Connections

A key element of our Government's ambitious plan for international trade and investment expansion, known as the Global Markets Action Plan, is the International Education Strategy (IES). The IES focuses on attracting more international students and researchers to Canada and developing strategic partnerships with key countries. It also seeks to foster institutional partnerships including research collaboration and student mobility between Canadian and foreign educational institutions, as well as improve coordination among federal, provincial and territorial governments and education stakeholders, including the private sector.

Recent IES initiatives include $20 million over three years for Mitacs to deliver internships for international students to come to Canada and for Canadian students to develop their international contacts by studying abroad. It will also support graduate fellowships for international interns to pursue graduate studies in Canada.

Figure 3: International Student Internships Awarded through Mitacs Globalink

International Student Internships Awarded  through Mitacs Globalink (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 3
Figure 3: International Student Internships Awarded through Mitacs Globalink
Year Number of Mitacs internships awarded
per year for international students
2009–10 17
2010–11 105
2011–12 199
2012–13 207
2013–14 643
Source: Industry Canada compilation based on Mitacs data.

International Student Recruitment through Mitacs Globalink

Wanyao Zhao, an electrical engineering student from the Beijing Institute of Technology, was attracted to Canada to participate in a Globalink Research Internship in the summer, 2012. His positive experiences in Canada convinced Wanyao to return to Canada after completing his undergraduate degree. In the fall of 2013, Wanyao became an international Master's student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Our Government will enhance Canada's global position in higher education through the Global Markets Action Plan and the International Education Strategy.

To accomplish this, we will:

5.2.4 Fostering an Innovation Culture

Our Government will increase corporate management capacity by working with business schools to foster a business innovation culture that embraces risk and growth strategies.

To accomplish this, we will:

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6.0 Maintaining Canada's Leadership in Knowledge

Science and technology are essential to Canada's long-term prosperity and the quality of life of Canadians. When researchers push the frontiers of knowledge, they endow society with ideas and discoveries that shed light on the world around us and open doors to previously unimagined possibilities. Canada's world-class research facilities – combined with our top-tier researchers and scientists and their growing access to global pools of knowledge and expertise position Canada for ever greater success in the future.

Taking Stock of Knowledge

A review of Canada's performance and the overall outcomes of our investments and achievements confirm Canada's achievements.

Canadian Researchers Help Discover the Origins of the Universe

More than 150 Canadian scientists and students were involved in one of the major experiments contributing to the high-profile scientific discovery of the Higgs Boson – an elementary particle associated with the origins of the universe. Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics (TRIUMF) worked with other international partners from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to prove the theories on how particles operate. This discovery is expected to provide insight into how the universe works, open doors to new fields of research in physics and lead to new technology.

6.1 Record of Support for Knowledge

World-Leading Homeless Research Strategy –
At Home | Chez Soi

Canada invested $110 M over four years to support the At Home | Chez Soi research demonstration project across five major Canadian cities which provided a housing-first approach. The project had strong results in helping Canadians, increasing from 32 percent to 73 percent the number of homeless staying in stable housing. It also greatly reduced public costs, with more than $2 in emergency and social costs saved for every $1 spent. As a result, Economic Action Plan 2013 expanded the program to $600M over five years.

The 2007 science and technology strategy was successful in strengthening support across the full spectrum of research endeavours.

We boosted support for discovery-driven and applied research with increased investments in the three federal granting councils – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This includes the Research Support Fund (formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The chart below shows the evolution of federal investments in higher education R&D since 2006.

We have also provided significant additional support to arm's-length not-for-profit organizations and other institutes that deliver a broad range of innovation-related activities across Canada; from world-class academic research to the commercialization of research breakthroughs. These organizations include Genome Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics (TRIUMF), the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Thunder Bay Regional Institute (Cyclotron) and the Institute for Quantum Computing.

In addition, our Government boosted support to organizations such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network (CANARIE) to ensure that Canada's research infrastructure is world-class.

Figure 4: Higher Education Expenditures on Research and Development by Funding Sector, 2006–2014

Higher Education Expenditures on Research and Development by Funding Sector, 2006–2014 (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 4
Figure 4: Higher Education Expenditures on Research and Development by Funding Sector, 2006–2014
Year Higher education Federal government Provincial governments Private non-profit Business Foreign
2006 4,435 2,488 993 776 808 126
2007 4,574 2,720 1,034 890 870 99
2008 5,055 2,811 1,105 949 892 114
2009 4,824 2,932 1,144 901 896 120
2010 4,970 3,074 1,193 1,029 842 141
2011 5,193 3,165 1,255 1,127 966 126
2012 5,417 3,086 1,341 1,149 980 127
2013 5,478 3,128 1,357 1,156 989 129
2014 5,533 3,160 1,371 1,168 999 130
Source: Statistics Canada, Cansim Table 358-0001, 2014.

Through Genome Canada, Canadians are taking prominent roles in a number of international projects, including:

Figure 5: CFI Disbursements 2006–2007 to 2013–2014

CFI Disbursements 2006–2007 to 2013–2014 (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 5
Figure 5: CFI Disbursements 2006–2007 to 2013–2014
Year $ Million
2006–2007 355.3
2007–2008 298.2
2008–2009 372.2
2009–2010 379.4
2010–2011 460.1
2011–2012 427.4
2012–2013 549.8
2013–2014 406.9
Source: Industry Canada compilation.

Federal scientists and researchers perform world-class work that is integral to providing evidence for policies, regulations and protecting and serving Canadians' economic, social and health interests. Here too, we have seen great success in the past years. In fact, Canadian federal departments and agencies have averaged over 4,000 publications in the natural sciences and engineering fields annually and in 2011, federal researchers published 10 percent more in these fields than they did five years earlier.Footnote 6

Putting geospatial information to work for Canadian industry

Natural Resources Canada manages and provides geospatial information used by mapping companies that enhances the competitiveness of Canada's natural resource sectors. By playing a national and global leadership role, government researchers are helping Canadian companies compete globally and develop our natural resources responsibly.

The Canmet Materials laboratory at Natural Resources Canada is a prime example of federal scientists contributing to both economic and policy goals. The materials lab collaborates with universities and industry, and contributes to public policy, such as its research on materials that improve pipeline safety and reliability. We are also building a new Canadian High Arctic Station, a world-class, year-round, multi-disciplinary science and technology hub to strengthen Canada's leadership in Arctic research.

Even in the midst of the recent global economic downturn, our Government made additional investments in science, technology and innovation to provide short-term economic stimulus which contributed, at the same time, to supporting our science and technology objectives. These included:

Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) Investments from Coast to Coast to Coast

Capilano University in British Columbia, boasts a new $33 million digital media/film development centre which provides 20 new classrooms with a capacity of 760 students, multiple offices and meeting rooms and an advanced sound stage/screening room with a capacity of more than 200. The facility allows Capilano U to provide students a combination of technical, creative and business skills that it feels are essential to entrepreneurial development in film production, animation and visual effects.

At Mount Royal University's Lincoln Park Campus in Alberta, the construction of a 4,700 square metre, 3-floor, expansion of the Science and Technology Wing expanded the labs space for training in new tissue culture, hard and soft rock geology, and cellular biology, chemistry, anthropology and archaeology labs, and faculty offices. The expansion to the facility is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and help the institution meet a key commitment necessary to complete its transition from a college to a university.

A new Centre for Health Sciences at Toronto, Ontario's Waterfront expands George Brown College by roughly 40 percent, adding instructional and training spaces such as dental labs, radiology clinics and simulation centres to support an estimated 3,500 additional students. The $175-million facility that expanded its capacity also houses dedicated research and incubation spaces to assist the College in fostering industry partnerships and improving its applied research capacity. Designed to LEED Gold specifications, it reduces energy usage by 30 percent and water consumption by 40 percent.

At the Centre for Industry Innovation and Incubation at École de technologie Supérieure in MontréalQuebec, 11 floors of vacant space were renovated to create an industry innovation and incubation centre. This project provides internal and external researchers with a modern building equipped with high-tech tools and equipment. It improves ties between the school and its industrial partners as well as brings the various partners working in innovation and technology marketing closer together.

The new Sir Wilfred Grenfell Academic Building at Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, greatly expands instructional and research capacity of the science department. The $23-million facility increases research and computer laboratory spaces by 50 percent and 30 percent respectively, along with additional classrooms to support increased enrolment to the university.

Nunavut Arctic College installed new information technology systems and networking hardware to link the three college campuses along with 25 community learning centres to improve training and instructional opportunities in the North. New fibre optic cables enable internet connectivity for all 25 remote northern communities, connecting them to the main satellite and at a much broader bandwidth. Six high-end video conferencing terminals connected remote communities and enabled distance learning in areas where it is not practical for students to relocate. The new infrastructure will benefit local communities by making the Community Learning Centres open to all community members so that everyone can benefit from the improved connectivity.

Yukon College constructed a permanent Pelly Crossing campus to replace the outdated mobile trailer. The new, one-storey, 2,500-square foot building boasts classrooms, a computer lab, a mobile science lab and video conference equipment for delivering distance education. This new facility enables the College to offer courses and training opportunities that address the needs identified by the local Selkirk First Nation, such as resource management and trades training.

The Combined Technologies Project at the Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia installed renewable energy generating capacity to the campus, through the combined use of solar, wind and biomass systems to supply a significant portion of the institution's heating and electricity needs. During the system's first year of operation, it achieved a 71.6 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions when compared against 2008 levels.

KIP Project Distribution

KIP Project Distribution (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure

The graphic portrays a map of Canada with small dots placed according to where Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) projects were funded across the country. The graphic is meant to illustrate the distribution of projects across the country depicting different colleges, universities, regional centres and learning centres. It does not show every one of the over 500 KIP projects as the size of the graphic would not permit such detail.

6.2 Moving Knowledge Forward: Next Steps

Canada will continue to be recognized world-wide for its research excellence and knowledge infrastructure. We will be a nation where our talented researchers and entrepreneurs can pursue their aspirations and ideas for the benefit of Canadians and people around the world.

Canadian Leadership on the World Stage

Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, professor of biochemistry at McGill University, received the prestigious 2014 Wolf Prize in Medicine, awarded by the Wolf Foundation in Israel, for his pioneering work in the discovery of the mechanism of protein synthesis.

This has opened up new avenues to treat diseases like diabetes, cancer, polio, hepatitis, as well as neurological disorders like autism, learning and memory.

Dr. Sonenberg shares this prize with Victor Ambros of the Harvard Medical School and Gary Ruvkun of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

This Prize is recognized as a prestigious award in medicine along with the Nobel Prize and the Lasker Award.

In recent years, both the quantity and quality of the science we do in Canada have increased. A strong knowledge base in this country has allowed Canada to respond to social and economic challenges as they emerge.

Our Government will continue to support and deepen research across a broad spectrum of disciplines that include both discovery- and application-driven research.

We will also seize the opportunities of the digital age and make federally-funded science more open and transparent.

We will create a stimulating research environment that attracts private sector partners and trains tomorrow's experts and innovators. And we will strengthen federal research to continue to support good and sound policy-making.

Our Government will foster R&D excellence through:

6.2.1 Increasing Research Excellence in Post-Secondary Institutions

Our Government will continue to provide record support across the full spectrum of research endeavours in universities, colleges and polytechnics, including the enhancement of established networks and the fostering of new collaborations among post-secondary institutions, researchers and companies, as well as government scientists and engineers.

[Economic Action Plan 2014] represents a visionary investment in research excellence and innovation that will ensure Canada remains competitive globally. This funding will allow the University of Alberta and our peers to attract the best and brightest to advance the scientific discoveries, solutions and ideas that will benefit Canadians for generations to come.

Indira Samarasekera, President, University of Alberta (quote from University of Alberta news release,

This will be achieved by initiatives that include:

It is important that our country continues to support fundamental research and world-class infrastructure through the tri-councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation programs, yet support milestone-driven research and structuring initiatives for the R&D ecosystem such as networks of excellence.

Dr. Diane Gosselin
President and CEO of CQDM (excerpt from CQDM's submission to the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy Consultation, February 2014)

Forging Vibrant Urban Neighbourhoods

Giving voice to the marginalized has been the life's work of Tom Carter, an internationally recognized expert on urban policy and housing issues. Carter has spent over 25 years contributing his expertise to grassroots community groups and organizations dedicated to inner-city revitalization and other critical issues facing Canada's urban poor.

The insights from his ground-breaking research—spanning critical issues ranging from rural and inner-city housing to Aboriginal communities and urban poverty—continue to play a major role in generating practical solutions for many communities in Canada and abroad. Through his SSHRC-funded Winnipeg Inner-City Research Alliance, Carter partnered more than 50 community groups with established researchers, to better understand urban decline, evaluate the effectiveness of key initiatives, and inform policy to meet the real, everyday needs of residents. Over the project's seven years, Carter and his team developed programs and policies that have led to higher employment, better skills training, and improved infrastructure.

6.2.2 Promoting Open Science

As part of a government-wide initiative to broaden the breadth and depth of information available online through the Action Plan on Open Government, our Government will advance open science policies and practices for publicly funded research by increasing public access to the results of government funded research.

Open Science

On , as part of the launch of Digital Canada 150, the Government of Canada committed to publish a new iteration of Canada's Action Plan on Open Government, with a new Open Science initiative to facilitate open access to publications and related data resulting from federally-funded research in order to accelerate research, drive innovation and benefit the economy.

This will showcase the world-class work of Canada's scientific community and at the same time deliver on the Digital Government pillar in Digital Canada 150. An implementation plan will be developed to promote open science, including both open access and open data initiatives, within the activities of science-based departments and agencies, as well as those of granting councils and the International Development Research Centre.

Specifically, our Government will:

Integrated access to data and information on the St. Lawrence global ecosystem

The St. Lawrence Global Observatory partnership, based in Rimouski, Quebec, provides access to data and information from a network of federal, provincial, academic and other organizations for the sustainable management of the St. Lawrence ecosystem. The data collected from submerged sensors, buoys, fixed instruments and remote sensing on shipboard surveys are processed, validated and interpreted before being integrated into data bases and information models that are disseminated by the Observatory.

6.2.3 Supporting Cutting-Edge Infrastructure

Our Government will enhance Canada's research capacity through investments in transformative infrastructure projects that underpin world-class research and enrich Canada's research landscape.

This will be achieved by initiatives that include:

Building Canada Plan 2013 Supports World-Class Research Infrastructure

Following on the success of the 2007 Building Canada Plan, Economic Action Plan 2013 announced a new Building Canada Plan, including over $53 billion in new and existing funding for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure. This Plan establishes a new Building Canada Fund to support infrastructure projects of national, regional and local significance in communities across the country in a broader range of categories including innovation, connectivity and broadband. This new fund increases potential projects for federal and provincial support in innovation where provinces and territories can access up to $10 billion of federal matching funds to support world-class research infrastructure.

Federal Government Invests in Leading-Edge Research Networks

CANARIE manages Canada's only ultra-high-speed backbone research network, which facilitates leading-edge research and big science across Canada – crucial to the use of high-performance computing facilities. It is Canada's inter-provincial and international research and education network that links some 1,100 institutions in Canada with each other and with many leading research centres in other countries. CANARIE works with researchers and developers in many scientific disciplines, across 12 regional networks in Canada, and with 100 international peer networks in more than 80 countries.

Created in 2006 through funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Compute Canada has delivered advanced research computing capabilities to support researchers from over 30 member research universities representing every province across the country. With its four regional computing consortia, Compute Canada integrates high performance computing systems, research expertise and tools, data storage and resources with academic research facilities across Canada. Its high-speed computing is capable of running extremely complex and large-scale applications. While historically this capability was essential in only a few fields such as sub-atomic physics, genomics and climate modeling, the increasingly international nature of research collaboration and the exponential increase in data creation, advanced research computing is becoming a fundamental requirement in virtually all research disciplines. Compute Canada collaborates closely with CANARIE to ensure that researchers across Canada have high-speed access to its advanced computing network.

6.2.4 Strengthening Federal Research to Support Policy-Making

Much of the work performed by federal researchers not only informs good and sound decisions on public policy and government priorities, it also contributes in meaningful ways to the well-being of Canadians.

Recognizing the inherent value in federal research, our Government will bolster its policy-making capacity in several ways.

We will:

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7.0 Encouraging Canada's Business Innovation

Over the past seven years, our Government has established strong market frameworks including tax incentives and program funding to encourage private sector investment in science, technology and innovation. The advantages these actions and investments offer to Canadian businesses have only begun to influence our country's private sector business strategies.

Taking Stock on Innovation

Canada's performance, confirmed in the outcomes of federal investments and achievements, reinforces that there is much on which to build:

7.1 Record of Support for Innovation

To mobilize knowledge from the lab to the marketplace, to address business challenges and to seize new societal opportunities, our Government has built bridges between businesses of all sizes, universities, colleges, polytechnics and federal researchers.

For example, we created the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence which support large-scale business-led national research networks. Our Government also launched the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research to support centres of excellence in priority areas. By October 2013, 21 Centres and four Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence had been established. In fiscal year 2011–2012, alone, the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research helped create 2,483 new jobs and 39 new companies.

We have also enhanced partnerships between industry and the applied research capacity of Canada's colleges and polytechnics through initiatives such as:

The College and Community Innovation Program which sponsors college and polytechnic applied research is a good example of programs that foster industry-academic partnerships. The College-University Idea to Innovation Program is another exemplar that links university scientists with college and polytechnic applied research capacity. This supports a made-in-Canada approach to getting ideas out to markets, while fostering greater skills transference between graduate and undergraduate students at universities, polytechnics and colleges.

Robert Luke, PhD, Vice President, Research and Innovation, George Brown College (excerpt from George Brown's submission to the Science, Technology and Innovation Consultation, February 2014)

McMaster Automotive Resource Centre

Federal investments are supporting cutting-edge work at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre, located at the university's McMaster Innovation Park. In 2011, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario committed up to $11.5 million to help transform a former appliance warehouse into a state-of-the-art research centre that brings together academic, government and industrial partners to develop sustainable solutions for the automotive industry. In addition, the Canada Foundation for Innovation awarded up to $800,000 for cutting-edge research equipment to further automotive research efforts at the centre. These funds complement the relocation of Natural Resources Canada's Canmetmaterials Technology Laboratory from Ottawa to McMaster Innovation Park.

Dr. Ali Emadi, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain, is using the Centre to build the next generation of cost-effective, energy-efficient cars. The awarding of Dr. Emadi's Chair is one of nine projects at McMaster supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Federal funding of $39.0 million leveraged another $32.4 million from partners including General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and IBM. These investments are drawing national and international attention from the auto sector as a place to drive new knowledge and technologies that can create jobs in Canada.

Review of Federal Support for Business R&D

In response to the Jenkins Panel findings and advice highlighted in Chapter 2.1, our Government implemented policy changes to provide a more comprehensive and coordinated suite of business innovation support programs focused on industry needs. We also removed obstacles and barriers to innovation, and addressed gaps in the current program and policy mix.

We shifted the balance towards more direct support by:

We also strengthened Canada's venture capital environment and positioned the government as a 'first-time buyer' to help Canadian suppliers get their ideas to market:

Sector-Specific Challenges

Our Government is also addressing challenges specific to certain industries in different parts of the country by supporting innovative ideas and investments. These include:

Aerospace and Space

The government has acted on some of the key elements of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Top 10 initiative for restoring Canada's competitiveness. The result will be a stronger economy and more jobs. [Economic Action Plan 2014] presents the continuity of a plan for economic growth that builds on Canada's economic and fiscal advantages. The measures announced by the government will help Canadian businesses prosper and compete.

Perrin Beatty, President and CEO,
Canadian Chamber of Commerce (quote from Canadian Chamber of Commerce news release, )
Manufacturing and Automotive
Renewable Resources

The success of Canadian agriculture in supplying us with safe, nutritious, abundant and inexpensive food for the past 125 years has been largely due to the investment the federal and provincial governments have made in agricultural research.

Lianne Dwyer, Vice President, Agricultural Institute of Canada (appearance before Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, )
Health

International Partnerships

Canadians are recognized as global research leaders and effective collaborators that produce significantly more research at a world-class level than other countries per capita. Being connected to the world's many research intensive countries is critical for Canada to be a leader in science, technology and innovation. To achieve this, our Government has:

Investment and Competition

Through concerted efforts, our Government provides a solid and predictable environment for businesses to invest and grow. To accomplish this, we have maintained a strong financial sector, lowered taxes, eliminated tariffs on machinery and equipment, reduced red tape and eased unnecessary regulatory burdens on Canadian businesses.

We have also modernized Canada's intellectual property regime to align it with international best practices and to reduce the administrative burden on innovators. This includes passing the Copyright Modernization Act, which introduced more effective intellectual property rights enforcement measures with the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. We are also in the process of ratifying several key international intellectual property treaties.

To encourage more competition among Canadian firms and open Canada's markets and give consumers more choice, our Government has also amended the Telecommunications Act in order to lower prices in Canada's wireless sector and provide greater consumer choice. The changes include the introduction of monetary penalties for companies that violate rules on tower sharing, deployment of spectrum and service to rural areas and the prevention of concentration of wireless spectrum.

Additionally, to expand trade opportunities with the world's most dynamic and growing markets, we have been negotiating trade and investment agreements. We reached an historic milestone in October 2013, when we achieved an agreement-in-principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, the largest market in the world. We have also negotiated Canada's first ever free trade agreement with an Asian market through the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This historic agreement will especially benefit the information and communications technologies, aerospace, agricultural and agri-food and other sectors and will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two countries, creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians in every region.

7.2 Moving Innovation Forward: Next Steps

Drawing on the skills and knowledge of Canadians as well as our strong research capacity, Canada will be a place where businesses embrace innovation and successfully compete on the world's stage. Businesses will adopt the latest technological advancements and foster partnerships within the science and technology community to bring ideas from the lab to the global marketplace.

Building on the development of highly-skilled Canadians and world-class research, we are placing innovation front and centre – in fostering business innovation, in building synergies with Canada's research capacities and in using its talented and innovative workforce. This represents a change in our approach to supporting business innovation to one that focuses on business-led initiatives and targets federal resources more effectively to stimulate the growth of innovative firms. To compete, Canadian firms will increasingly need to rely on innovation to set them apart.

We are on the right path to unlocking Canada's potential to become a global leader in innovation. Our Government's actions here will continue to be guided by the advice of the Jenkins Panel.

Our Government will put innovation front and centre to stimulate greater business innovation by:

7.2.1 Becoming a Digital Nation

Today, we are living in a transformational digital age where there are few jobs, few sectors, few aspects of our lives that remain untouched by information and communications technologies. Our Government has an essential role to play by establishing, through effective public policies, the right conditions to encourage and help Canadians take full advantage of the transformational possibilities that the digital future holds.

Our Government will help connect all Canadians to the opportunities afforded by a digital world.

We will:

Becoming a Digital Nation

Digital Canada 150 envisions a country by 2017 that will be at the forward edge of the digital age.

7.2.2 Mobilizing Knowledge

Our Government will encourage closer connections between the public and private sectors. This will empower firms to leverage their investments in R&D by seeking solutions with universities, colleges, polytechnics and government laboratories.

If we are serious in our objective of improving Canada's innovation performance, we need to break down barriers and make the development of collaborative innovation ecosystems a key component of Canada's S&T strategy going forward.

Scott Smith, Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (excerpt from Canadian Chamber of Commerce submission to the Science, Technology and Innovation Consultation, )

This will be achieved by initiatives that include:

The Fine Art of Computer Science

University of Calgary computer scientist, Sheelagh Carpendale draws on her background in fine arts, design and computer science to study how people interact with information to design easier ways to visually represent complex data. Dr. Carpendale and her team are creating interactive tabletop applications that function through natural human actions, such as touch, and take people through complicated subjects in a logical and intuitive way.

Her partnership with Calgary-based SMART Technologies, supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's suite of partnership programs, has influenced the design of their interactive whiteboards and prompted SMART Technologies to include interactive tabletops as part of their multi-touch displays now being used in classrooms and offices around the world. The collaboration continues, with patent applications for three-dimensional, tabletop interaction techniques invented by Dr. Carpendale. SAP and Microsoft Research, among others are taking note of her work.

Transforming the National Research Council

Most industrialized nations have Research and Technology Organizations that drive technology commercialization and increase business expenditures on R&D resulting in high quality jobs and increased productivity.

The National Research Council is organized into portfolios aligned with Canadian priorities and its research is refocused into programs that address real problems and challenges identified by Canadian industry. Research is responsive to industry demand and lowers technology development risk to solve short-term technological challenges. Preliminary estimates show industry will invest over $650 million between 2014–15 and 2018–19 to partner with the NRC.

One of the Council's first programs is directed at personalized medicines to treat illness or disease based on a person's own body. The Biologics Program will develop new treatments for cancer and other diseases. The recent announcement of a three-year multi-million dollar agreement with the Council and Zymeworks Inc. to develop ground-breaking therapies for the fight against cancer, as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases will help position the company as a strong global competitor in biotherapeutics development. This creates jobs in Canada and contributes to better health outcomes for Canadians.

Meeting the immediate needs of industry also means looking longer-term at emerging technologies that underpin the future of Canadian industry. The Council's new model ensures strategic investments supported by foresight are made in R&D areas that enable its researchers to remain ahead of the curve and maintain a forward looking perspective on technologies and capabilities critical to Canada's future prosperity.

7.2.3 Growing Innovative Firms

The Government of Canada recognizes that to remain competitive in the global economy, entrepreneurial talent and investment in Canada must grow, and this can only happen if entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to create jobs and grow their business.

Adam Chowaniec, Chairman, Startup Canada (quote from Startup Canada news release, )

Our Government is committed to establishing a widespread business innovation culture among our firms.

We want to see business of all sizes define and implement for themselves the science, technology and innovation they require to compete nationally and internationally. To support these efforts, we will strengthen support for business innovation so more Canadian firms embrace innovation-based strategies. This will be achieved by initiatives that include:

Canada's Venture Capital Action Plan

Recognizing the importance of the venture capital industry to Canada's future productivity growth, Economic Action Plan 2012 announced resources to support Canada's venture capital industry, including $400 million to help increase private sector investments in early-stage risk capital, and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector. Announced in January 2013, the Venture Capital Action Plan includes:

Accelerating the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

The National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program helps Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises grow by:

The Program also supports job creation in Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises through the Youth Employment Program by assisting with the employment of post-secondary graduates. In 2014-15, it is estimated that the Program will provide $179 million to 2,200 small and medium-sized enterprises to support 9,000 sustainable jobs.

The Industrial Research Assistance Program is also delivering three new programs:

Figure 6: Support for Small and Medium-Sized Firms from the National Research Council, 2006 to 2013

Support for Small and Medium-Sized Firms from the National Research Council 2006 to 2013 (the long description is located below the image)
Description of Figure 6
Figure 6: Support for Small and Medium-Sized Firms from the National Research Council, 2006 to 2013
Year SMEs Receiving funding and advice
(Number of clients served)
SMEs Receiving advisory only
(Number of clients served)
2006–2007 1,906 6,526
2007–2008 1,806 5,674
2008–2009 1,462 6,349
2009–2010 2,871 5,710
2010–2011 3,098 4,965
2011–2012 1,853 7,532
2012–2013 3,047 8,412
Source: National Research Council, 2014.

Seizing the Sea's Potential in Atlantic Canada

A growing recognition of the health benefits of fish oils and good old fashioned research has turned a once tiny business into the world's leading supplier of marine-based dietary supplements and bulk nutraceutical ingredients. Researchers at Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited (ONC), of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia discovered a breakthrough technology that transformed fish oil into a fine powder. Starting out with just four employees, ONC now has more than 400 worldwide and was acquired by Royal DSM, a global life and materials sciences company in July 2012. Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency funding has helped ONC to purchase new equipment, develop new technology, expand facilities and undertake marketing activities.

We will also maximize the impact of federal business innovation programming by scaling up successful approaches, consolidating programs with similar objectives and reducing duplication so that it is easier for business to access federal programs.

Our Government will work to encourage businesses – especially Canada's small and medium-sized enterprises – to protect their intellectual property. More than just helping firms to develop new ideas and innovate, support programs should assist businesses in protecting intellectual property as it is produced. For example:

Additionally, we will continue to roll out the new Space Policy Framework, partnering with industry and the Canadian space research community to leverage existing resources and encourage further technology development opportunities. Funding will be targeted to areas of Canadian strength such as robotics, optics, satellite communications and space-based radar.

Monitoring and Managing Flood and Drought Conditions

Together, government and industry have produced a space-based radar tool for monitoring and managing emerging flood and drought conditions on agricultural lands. With funding from the Canadian Space Agency, Array Systems Computing Inc. packages models produced by an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada science team into a software toolkit that provides near real-time production of high resolution RADARSAT-2 soil moisture maps.

These data allow the department to focus in on regions of concern and provide information about emerging drought or excess moisture situations to enable proactive management decisions by farmers. The same technology could be used to estimate and verify the extent and severity of impact after adverse weather events.

Our Government will continue efforts to reduce administrative burden through our Red Tape Reduction Plan. The Plan combines system-wide reforms and targeted action to tackle issues that frustrate businesses, stifle innovation and restrict investment. This commitment includes completing the Administrative Burden Baseline Initiative to count the number of federal regulatory requirements on business. We are also following through on our commitment to legislate the One-for-One Rule – Canada has become the first country to introduce legislation for such a rule.

Under the Defense Procurement Strategy, we are applying the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, including a weighted and rated Value Proposition. This policy will ensure that purchases of defense equipment and services results in economic growth, innovation and success in export markets. This gives our Government more flexibility to improve economic outcomes from defence procurement projects, leading to high value-added business activity for Canadian industry.

Bridging the Commercialization Gap through "Made in Canada" Innovations

A procurement program, Build in Canada Innovation Program was created as a pilot in 2010 to boost innovation in Canadian firms, and to help companies bridge the pre-commercialization gap for their innovative products and services. Building on the early pilot program success, Economic Action Plan 2012 allocated additional funding for three years and, as of 2016, $40 million will be dedicated to it annually. The program provides the opportunity for innovators to: sell their pre-commercialized goods and services to the Government of Canada; connect with potential clients in federal government departments; get feedback on the use of their innovations in an operational setting; and enter the marketplace with a successful application of their innovations. The Program targets innovations in the environment; safety and security; health; enabling technologies; and the military.

Nova Scotia's Ocean Sonics and Instrument Concepts was awarded a $297,000 contract for its icListen device, used to detect and notify border security staff of boating activity and transmit data to off-site locations. The company also developed a special buoy that keeps the device upright at the bottom of the ocean and a radio system at the surface that transmits the collected data. Such information is useful for plotting shipping lanes or recording the sounds of animals rarely heard or seen by humans. The boat traffic monitoring aspect is new for the company and it expects more business diversity to come both through government and the private sector.

7.2.4 Improving Access to Global Markets

With the march toward global trade liberalization continuing unabated, and one in five Canadian jobs tied to exports, there is no doubt that Canada's long-term prosperity is dependent upon the success of our firms on the international stage.

Our Government will continue to promote Canada's innovation advantage in key international markets through the Global Markets Action Plan.

The Plan recognizes the importance of economic diplomacy as a driving force behind our international activities by providing Canadian businesses with the opportunities, services and tools to maximize their competitive advantage abroad, and mobilize Canada's network of Trade Commissioners, Canada Technology Accelerators, and international science and technology agreements with priority markets, such as China, Israel, India and Brazil.

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8.0 Moving Forward

Canadians can take pride in our country's international reputation for research excellence. We have built a globally envied reputation for sound economic management and solid fiscal fundamentals. In recent years, we have invested strategically and prudently in priority areas that are delivering results for Canadians. Our workforce is among the most-skilled and best-educated in the world. The time is right to build on these strengths: we want to see Canada's science, technology and innovation grow from world-class to world-leading.

Taken together, the actions outlined in this strategy will help create the conditions for Canada to flourish in today's knowledge-based world. To support Canada's long-term competitiveness and prosperity, we must maximize Canada's ST&I strengths and foster more demand for innovation from businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy. Canadian firms must invest in R&D to develop innovative ideas, access new markets and bring solutions to challenges in our daily lives.

Our Government will continue to enhance Canada's competitive advantage through strengthened investments in science, technology and innovation that deepen our world-class knowledge base, produce highly-qualified and skilled people, and drive Canadian leadership in global research excellence. We will work to maximize the return on tax dollars and find ways to open access to publicly-funded research results and data.

Our Government will also move forward with a more targeted approach to promoting business innovation through business-led initiatives that better respond to private sector realities. This approach also requires that we sustain and strengthen Canada's people and knowledge assets – essential building blocks of an innovative economy. Supported by this solid foundation, Canadian businesses will be positioned to innovate, create high-paying jobs, access new markets and generate prosperity for all Canadians.

Strength in Partnerships

All players in the ST&I system have a shared interest in Canada's success. Each must do what it does best so that, together, we can leverage one another's assets for the benefit of all Canadians.

For our universities, colleges and polytechnics, this means continuing to push the frontiers of knowledge. They must mobilize knowledge to solve Canadian industry and societal problems, while continuing to contribute to the development of our highly-qualified and skilled people.

For our private sector, it means an increased willingness to innovate and take risks. It means the confidence to capitalize on our knowledge base and workforce to develop more creative ways of doing business. Getting this right will result in innovative technologies, products and services that add value, enhance productivity and create high-paying jobs.

For provincial and territorial governments, it means fostering the economic and social strengths that are grounded in their respective regional realities.

For federal government science, it means delivering on regulatory mandates and supporting the safety and well-being of all Canadians. It also means looking for opportunities to support commercialization of the results of federal research.

By bringing people together from the academic, corporate and public sectors, and building on one another's advantages, we can find creative solutions to some of our biggest challenges – from overcoming regional and sectoral issues, to improving health care delivery, to developing Canada's natural resource wealth responsibly. Most promisingly, we can launch a new generation of innovations that improve Canadians' standard of living and quality of life.

As Canada's 150th anniversary approaches, we must harness the power of the many advantages Canada enjoys thanks to a strong, stable and vibrant science, technology and innovation ecosystem. Together, we will seize this moment and build a brighter future for all Canadians.

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Appendix: Glossary of Terms

Advanced Manufacturing is the incorporation of technology (specifically: computer-controlled or micro-electronics-based equipment) into the design, manufacturing or handling of a product. Typical applications include computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering, flexible machining centres, robots, automated guided vehicles and automated storage and retrieval systems.

Applied research is an original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective. The results of applied research are intended primarily to be valid for a single or limited number of products, operations, methods, or systems. Applied research gives operational form to ideas. The knowledge or information derived from it is often patented but may be kept secret.

Biotechnology, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development definition, is the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.

CANARIE (Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation network) designs and delivers digital infrastructure, and drives its adoption for Canada's research, education and innovation communities. CANARIE's roots are in advanced networking, which continues to evolve the national ultra-high-speed backbone network that enables data-intensive, leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at over 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network. Established in 1993, CANARIE is a non-profit corporation, with the major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.

The Council of Canadian Academies is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports independent, authoritative, and evidence-based expert assessments that inform public policy development in Canada. The Council's work encompasses a broad definition of science, incorporating the natural, social and health sciences as well as engineering and the humanities. The Council's operations are supported by the Government of Canada. This allows the federal government to refer up to five questions per year to the Council for assessment. The Council may also conduct assessments outside of its agreement with the government.

Digital Canada 150 is Canada's ambitious path forward to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. Digital Canada 150 encompasses 39 new initiatives that build on our Government's successful measures for a more connected Canada. It includes five key principles:

Discovery-driven research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view. Discovery-driven research analyzes properties, structures, and relationships with a view to formulating and testing hypotheses, theories or laws. The results of discovery-driven research have no direct or immediate commercial benefits, but are usually published in scientific journals or circulated to interested parties.

Discovery-driven research can be split into two categories:

Disruptive technologies (also known as disruptive innovations) produce radical or abrupt changes that challenge existing business models and transform larger social, economic, environmental or governance systems. These technologies can be stand-alone, combinations of existing technologies, multi-faceted technologies with disruptive applications or genuine disruptive technologies with no historical context. They can come in any field or emerge from any scientific discipline, but they typically share four characteristics:

Innovation is the use of new ideas, products or methods where they have not been used before, and can be defined as a new or significantly improved product (good or service) introduced to the market, or the introduction within an enterprise of a new or significantly improved process.

Innovations are based on the results of new technological developments, new technology combinations, or the use of other knowledge, acquired by the enterprise. The innovations may be developed by the innovating enterprise or by another enterprise. However, purely selling innovations wholly produced and developed by other enterprises is not included as an innovation activity, nor is introducing products with purely aesthetic changes.

The Jenkins Panel was created in 2010, when the Prime Minister appointed Tom Jenkins, then-Executive Chairman of OpenText Corporation, to lead an independent, external Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, and provide advice on how to improve Canada's support to business innovation. In October 2011, the Expert Panel (informally known as the "Jenkins Panel") submitted a report (Innovation Canada: A Call to Action to the Government) with findings and recommendations on how to improve support for innovative businesses and help them grow into larger, globally competitive companies.

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) was a government funding program announced in 2009 that provided close to $2 billion for the repair, maintenance and construction of university and college facilities. By leveraging $3.2 billion from project partners, the program led to a $5.2-billion investment in infrastructure at post-secondary institutions. A total of 515 projects were completed under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

Mitacs is a not-for-profit research organization that builds linkages between academia and industry to promote high-quality research and innovation across Canada. Mitacs leverages federal funding with support from provincial governments, companies and universities to promote collaborative, academic-industrial R&D, and the development of future innovation leaders through long-term development of skilled human capital.

The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada's premier organization for research and development. It partners with Canadian industry to take research impacts from the lab to the marketplace, where people can experience the benefits. Its market-driven focus delivers innovation faster, enhances people's lives and addresses some of the world's most pressing problems.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) groups 34 Member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. With active relationships with some 70 other countries, non-government organisations and civil society, it has a global reach. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.

The OECD plays a prominent role in fostering good governance in the public service and in corporate activity. It helps governments to ensure the responsiveness of key economic areas with sectoral monitoring. By deciphering emerging issues and identifying policies that work, it helps policy-makers adopt strategic orientations. It is well known for its individual country surveys and reviews.

The Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) is a body of trusted, seasoned, strategic industry advisors comprised of respected Canadian industry leaders. PSAB was established by the Networks of Centres of Excellence by request of the Government of Canada in 2007. PSAB provides the NCE Steering Committee with expert advice and recommendations during the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) and Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) competition processes. PSAB evaluates proposals based on their ability to create a strategic, long-term economic advantage for Canada.

Research and Development (R&D), sometimes also called research and experimental development, refers to creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge (including knowledge of man, culture and society), and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) is an independent advisory body mandated by the Government of Canada to provide confidential advice on science, technology and innovation (ST&I) policy issues. This advice helps inform government policy development and decision making. STIC is also mandated to produce biennial, public State of the Nation reports that benchmark Canada's ST&I performance against international standards of excellence. These reports provide a common evidence base for understanding Canada's ST&I system.

TRIUMF is Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. It is a world-class subatomic physics research laboratory located on the campus of the University of British Columbia. TRIUMF is one of three subatomic research facilities in the world that specialize in producing extremely intense beams of particles. The heart of the facility is the world's biggest cyclotron, which is used to accelerate 1,000 trillion particles each second.

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