VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, June 21, 2002 – Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for industry, science and technology met today in Vancouver to continue their discussion on ways to make Canada one of the most innovative countries in the world. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Rick Thorpe, Minister of Competition, Science and Entreprise for British Columbia.
Provincial and territorial ministers provided initial comments to the Government of Canada regarding the specific goals and targets of the federal innovation strategy launched in February 2002. Ministers agreed to work together to expand awareness of the importance of innovation and to encourage all stakeholders to undertake necessary actions. Minister Rock spoke on the early results of public consultations and confirmed that today's discussions will be an important input to the engagement process leading to the Innovation Summit scheduled for November and agreed to meet again following that session.
"We are in fierce competition with other countries to rank as one of the most innovative economies in the world," said Minister Rock. "Canada's quality of life and economic prosperity will benefit from greater cooperation from all levels of government, the private sector and academia to promote innovation."
Ministers agreed on the need for early progress and instructed officials to bring forward items for cooperative action. These items include: ensuring the availability of a skilled workforce; increasing collaborations between universities, business, and government; and, improving the business environment and regulatory framework, increasing access to capital, including the issue of flow through shares; improving support for research and development, and community-based innovation activity.
"We will continue to work on the development of early actions such as addressing indirect costs of university research; the environment for biotechnology; criteria for successful federal-provincial-territorial partnering; expanding access to venture capital; and, the regulatory and business environment to foster innovation," said Minister Thorpe.
At their meeting in Quebec City in September 2001, Ministers adopted principles to guide future action to advance innovation. At today's meeting, Ministers reaffirmed these principles and described activities that their respective governments and communities are pursuing to support innovation, particularly in the areas of knowledge performance, risk capital, and highly qualified people. Recognizing that achieving shared objectives will require complementary activities on the part of all governments, Ministers again agreed on the need to consult and collaborate on their respective initiatives to take full advantage of their approaches on innovation and of the distinctive features of provincial and territorial innovation systems.
Ministers discussed the importance of science and technology not just to support growth and competitiveness but also as a valuable tool to help resolve public policy issues, such as addressing Canada's long term energy, medical and environmental challenges. They also discussed a range of actions under the four themes of the federal innovation strategy, including:
Ministers acknowledged the critical role of the private sector in innovation and reiterated their call to action.
For more information, please contact:
Office of Allan Rock
Public Affairs Bureau
Office of the Premier of British Columbia