Innovation Roundtable

August 8, 2016—Toronto, ON
Across all Action Areas
Hosted by Valerie Fox

Area of Focus

Engage with Canadians one on one on the six action areas of the Inclusive Innovation Agenda garner bold new ideas to make Canada a global centre for innovation.


Investment, looking to international models, attracting, building and retaining talent, and content creation.

Top Ideas/Outcomes


  • Investments as part of Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)—there could be a tax-incentive for saving towards future investment for your family, friends or colleagues. Returns can come back to RRSP, no penalties.
  • Local Angel investors: Investments could be eligible for 35% non-refundable provincial tax credit, and be RRSP eligible
  • Set up an entrepreneurship fund to invest in startup culture with an assured rate of return
  • Go big on 5G
  • Need State of Readiness for research—build businesses that create the bridge between research and product readiness. Could come from industry, separate businesses, or be a feature at a university or college
  • Invest in super-stars as they become the magnets that attract and retain talent—Produce innovation champions like we do for Olympics
  • Give foreign investors (venture capital firms) tax credits for investing in Canadian companies
  • Give every citizen a sum of money to start a company in their lifetime for the experience
  • Deregulate regulations to open up more paths to innovation

International Models:

  • Look at programs such as CAMP—China Angels mentoring program
  • Create a digital advisors council, similar to US
  • New business models that promote Canada's caring economy and diversity
  • Promote Canada's assets—Canada needs to know about, and use, the amazing innovation coming from itself. Right now Canadian startups seem to get more attention outside of Canada than within. Build pride, use our assets.

Retaining Talent:

  • Investments from U.S. or oversees investors
  • When a Canadian company receives investment from outside Canada, they are incentivized to stay because they are still eligible for Canadian matching funds
  • Invest in the Serial Entrepreneur, where the second time around, after an acquisition, support can be there for scaling and growing a business
  • Made in Canada—Build next generation capacity. Show we can make it in Canada
  • Be where the action is—Create talent magnets—investing in clusters around interesting initiatives
  • Look at Saskatchewan where the cyclotron work attracted talent and investors
  • Build and support Stars who love Canada and play internationally
  • Income free zones for innovation (no or reduced tax when in "innovation mode"
  • Create space for healthy competition…not "peanut butter spreading" for incentives

Building Talent:

  • Start Early with building ideation, prototyping and marketing skills in K-12, industry involvement (integrated learning)
  • National Education Agenda: which includes data literacy, financial literacy, entrepreneurial literacy and creativity and design discipline
  • Partnerships—Encourage packaging of partnerships for large projects with government incentives
  • Aggregate Canadian talent across Canada—meaning to provide infrastructure and mechanisms to combine and partner businesses in clusters and also to create mergers and "super-businesses"
  • Create frameworks for patronage or sponsorship that will create an environment for art creation (examples include artists in residence, writers in residence, etc)
  • Build design core of Canada from K-12 and College and University
  • Emulate UK's "Patent Box" (could be called "Innovation Box")—it works by reducing 25% corporate tax attributed to income acquired by patent (sales of the product and its accessories, licensing revenue and also exclusive licenses to the patent)
  • Create a "First Patent Program" across Canada like Quebec
  • "Activate, not educate" through design thinking, and prepare our youth for entrepreneurship
  • Engagement in neighbourhood—direct and experiential
  • Play the medium game. Don't just look for short term results. Expect iteration, pivoting, and support it. 
  • Create Ease of Movement (Canada without Borders) for students, to ensure rich experience, locally, nationally and internationally (e.g. Science without Borders program)
  • Design a National Indigenous Policy/Talent recognition: recognizing and helping to capitalize on the real value of indigenous products, culture, talent and services.
  • Ensure alignment between goals of governments and inventors

Attracting Talent:

  • Attract multi-nationals by bringing international R&D assignments to Canada for international company growth. This helps build talent in Canada and also creates Canadian Spinoffs
  • Package Canadian assets (R&D talent, tax credits, cost of labour, political soundness, safety, diversity, excellent financial stability, talent, etc.) for specific targeted large international companies to come to Canada
  • Help immigrants transition into Canada with an easier process and enable them to transfer their skills
  • Cultural endeavours like TIFF
  • Make it easy to stay visas for students who want to start businesses here and promote Canadian Stars that attract others or attract international stars to work here for a while to attract others
  • Build the Canada Brand: PM Trudeau is putting Canada back on the map. Support this with super star stories of people Canadians can rally around, who are also recognized around the world

Content Creation:

  • Trade side of publishing is stable and so a huge opportunity to export. More investment in consolidation of resources for small and medium publishing businesses
  • Challenge in distribution of ebooks in U.S.—"discoverability"
  • Allow for foreign investment with incentives in Canadian publishing
  • Challenges created for education content creation because of the copyright laws. This is causing Canada to lose ground.
  • More investment is needed in "Direct Digital Access". The technology is there, but without infrastructure, investment is needed in tech and designers, e-deployment and platform process systems in educational content
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