Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers responsible for Research, Science and Technology

NEWS RELEASE – Research, Science and Technology Ministers Agree on Principles of Action to Speed Up the Transition to an Innovation- and Knowledge-Based Economy

QUÉBEC CITY, QUEBEC, September 21, 2001 --Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for research, science and technology met today in Québec City to discuss ways to improve research and development performance and make Canada one of the most innovative countries in the world. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Brian Tobin, federal Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Pauline Marois, Quebec Minister of State for the Economy and Finance and Minister for Research, Science and Technology.

This meeting gave research, science and technology ministers from all governments the opportunity to review progress, explore future directions and to scope out efforts needed to place Canada among the top five countries in the world in research intensity and excellence.

The ministers all agreed that reaching this shared objective is a tremendous challenge for all Canadians and will require complementary efforts and approaches on the part of all governments. Ministers acknowledged that the federal, provincial and territorial governments would have to work together to reach their objective. Ministers agreed on the need to consult and collaborate on initiatives in order to take full advantage of the distinctive features of provincial and territorial innovation systems.

"I am pleased with how frank and productive our dialogue was and am optimistic that these discussions will allow us to proceed with a shared commitment to making Canada a leader in innovation," said Mr. Tobin.

Key topics discussed by ministers included the crucial role of both university-based and industry-based research and development and the importance of information sharing among governments. Ministers concurred that innovation is key in raising Canada's standard of living and agreed on the goal of making Canada one of the most innovative countries in the world. To do so, efforts by both the public and the private sectors must be undertaken t create, adopt and commercialize knowledge; supply highly qualified personnel; and, provide a business climate which supports industrial competitiveness and excellence in innovation. Ministers also agreed that the completion of the provision of high-speed internet broadband capacity is an urgent and high priority for the innovation economy.

"We all agreed to continue our dialogue and to work in tandem in order to develop a competitive research and innovation system and ensure that government initiatives are effective," said Ms Marois.

At the end of this first meeting, ministers agreed on the need to continue exchanging information. The ministers scheduled a further meeting for next year. In the meantime, they tasked their deputy ministers with creating the necessary information channels and building on areas of consensus identified during the meeting. They also committed to making further progress on specific issues such as the question of the indirect costs of research.

The meeting saw ministers adopt principles to guide future action to advance innovation within their respective province or territory. This is an important milestone in strengthening Canada's economy through research, science and innovation.

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