The Honorable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Government of Canada, writes about the development of Canadian leadership and excellence in science and innovation
As Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, I see the challenges and opportunities facing the world every day. These challenges have been visceral for Canadians over the past few years. Whether it’s COVID or climate change, it’s become clear how important it is to invest in science and innovation. Because when we make these investments, we protect our loved ones and the environment. We are developing our economy. And we’re finding opportunities for Canada to be a world leader.
That’s why our government has made a strong commitment to making decisions based on science and evidence. A foundation built on well-funded research leads to discoveries that advance society as a whole and lead to strategic advantages for our country.
This is the motivating principle that guides our government to invest historic levels of support for science and research. Since 2016, our government has invested more than $14 billion in science and research initiatives. This is also the reason for announcing the first one Chief Scientific Advisor – to help strengthen research capacity and the use of science in government.
Canadian leadership in areas of strategic advantage
In addition to supporting basic research, our government is focused on strengthening Canada’s leadership in areas of strategic advantage, such as artificial intelligence (AI). And thanks to the first federal investments in this area, we are a world leader in AI. In fact, Canadian research is some of the most cited among international academic peers, and Canadian companies are world leaders in AI technology. When one thinks of Canada, artificial intelligence research and expertise is increasingly at the fore. Another program that builds on Canada’s strengths is ours Global innovation clusters.
This co-investment with industry has helped build innovative ecosystems in five key areas: digital technologies, plant protein industries, advanced manufacturing, AI for supply chain and logistics, and the ocean economy. These independent organizations move at the speed of business, responding to local conditions to take advantage of innovation and market opportunities. Since their launch, the clusters have done an impressive job investing in projects, helping businesses grow and positioning Canada as a global leader in their respective innovation spaces. That is why the clusters are now expanding their national presence and will collaborate to deepen their impact, such as achieving net zero and addressing supply chain disruptions.
Traditional industries making the green switch
Like many other countries around the world, Canada is also grappling with the challenge of helping some of our traditional industries make a green switch – a great example is our automotive industry. Here, our government is investing in the transition to future technologies, including establishing the entire EV supply chain here in Canada. From the mine to the recycling. In the past six months alone, we’ve made major announcements with many major automotive companies, including Stellantis, Volkswagen, GM, Honda and Mercedes Benz. Together, with the help of industry and Canadian talent, we are seizing the moment to ensure Canada leads the way as the global automotive industry transitions to a cleaner and greener one. Tens of thousands of jobs have been secured through these strategic partnerships.
As the world moves toward a low-carbon future, these Canadian approaches will lead the way and inspire excellence around the world. Together – thanks to our investments in science and innovation – we can tackle every challenge and create a better tomorrow where everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. So, let’s be brave. Let’s be ambitious. And let’s make Canada a global leader for generations to come.
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