The federal government has announced an ambitious goal of turning Canada into a centre of global innovation. Over the next year or so, it will develop a bold new innovation agenda to help achieve this objective.
What should be the crucial elements of this agenda? And how much can changing government policies actually boost Canada’s innovation performance, which has been lamentably poor relative to those of peer countries?
The IRPP hosted a working lunch with the author of an IRPP report on this topic, Andrei Sulzenko (former senior assistant deputy minister, Industry Canada), and commentators Hon. John Manley (president and CEO, Business Council of Canada); Ilse Treurnicht (CEO, MaRS Discovery District); and Iain Klugman (CEO, Communitech). The moderator of the event was president and CEO of the IRPP, Graham Fox.
Andrei Sulzenko is a public policy consultant specializing in micro-economic, innovation, and trade and investment issues. He is an executive fellow at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, where he is leading a research program on transportation infrastructure. As senior assistant deputy minister of policy at Industry Canada from 1996 to 2004, he led the federal government’s science and technology and innovation policy development.
The Honourable John Manley, P.C., O.C., is president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of Canada. He is a former deputy prime minister. He was first elected to Parliament in 1988, and he was re-elected three times. From 1993 to 2003 he was a minister in the governments of Jean Chrétien, serving in the portfolios of Industry, foreign affairs, and finance.
Ilse Treurnicht has been the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation hub in Toronto, since 2005. She is a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. She was president and CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures. Previously she was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in several emerging technology companies. She served as chair of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance in 2010.
Iain Klugman is the CEO of Communitech in the Waterloo Region, a leading tech enabling organizations, supporting the growth of more than 1,000 small, mid-sized and large technology companies. Previously, he was the CEO of a provincial crown corporation, executive director of communications with the CBC, director of Global Branding and Advertising for Nortel, and held numerous roles with the Privy Council Office and Industry Canada.
Graham Fox has been president and CEO of the IRPP since April 2011. He brought to the organization extensive executive-level experience in the fields of politics and public policy. Previously he was a strategic policy adviser at the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain, and before that he was vice-president of the Public Policy Forum, executive director of the KTA Centre for Collaborative Government, and director of communications at the IRPP.