The provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Innovation met in Quebec City on June 29 and 30, 2010.
The meeting was chaired by Quebec’s Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Clement Gignac. It was an opportunity for the Ministers from the provinces and territories to advance the work begun in Edmonton last year on various elements of innovation public policy, notably measuring the performance of innovation systems, the sustainability of research and innovation activities, and business strategies. It also followed up on the request made by the Council of the Federation in summer 2009 to create an environment more favourable to innovation.
Provincial and territorial Ministers were joined by their federal counterparts, Minister Gary Goodyear (Minister of State, Science and Technology) and Minister Tony Clement (Minister, Industry Canada). Minister Goodyear delivered a presentation on the culture of innovation and Minister Clement spoke about the federal research and development program review and the digital economy strategy. Ministers’ presentations and discussions focussed on Canada’s productivity and competitiveness challenges and the fundamental role that business-led innovation plays. Canada has a long history of leadership and excellence in discovery-based research. Ministers also agreed that the new economic reality requires a focus on policies that will help strengthen business-led innovation.
To this end, provincial and territorial Ministers agreed to meet again in the fall and to invite business leaders and entrepreneurs to join with them in a dialogue on how to strengthen Canada’s business innovation capacity. Ministers invited federal representatives to join in that dialogue. In light of the federal research and development program review, Ministers expressed their strong interest in being engaged in the process and will be looking for opportunities to participate with the federal government as the review progresses.
“The provinces, territories and federal government can no longer afford to act independently against the world’s most innovative economies,” said Minister Gignac. “We must now pool our efforts and coordinate our actions in order to get the most out of our respective investments in innovation and thereby make Canada more competitive globally.”
The next regular annual conference will be held in British Columbia in spring 2011.