The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of the Government of Canada, writes about developing Canadian Leadership and excellence in science and innovation

As Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, every day I see the challenges and opportunities that the world is facing. 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 our environment. We grow our economy. And we find opportunities for Canada to be a world leader.

That’s why our government has made a firm commitment to science and evidence-based decision-making. A foundation built on well-funded research leads to discoveries that advance society as a whole, and lead to strategic advantages for our country.

That’s the motivating principle that guided 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-related initiatives. That’s also the reason we announced the first Chief Science Advisor – to help bolster research capacity and the use of science across government.

Canadian leadership in areas of strategic advantage

As well as supporting basic research, our government is focused on cementing Canadian leadership in areas of strategic advantage, such as artificial intelligence (AI). And thanks to early federal investments in this field, we are a world leader in AI. In fact, Canadian research is one of the top-cited among international academic peers, and Canadian companies are leading the world in AI technologies. When one thinks of Canada, AI research and expertise are increasingly top of mind. Another program that bolsters Canadian strengths is our Global Innovation Clusters.

This co-investment with industry has helped build innovative ecosystems in five key areas: digital technologies, plant-based 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 conditions on the ground to capitalize on innovation and market opportunities. Since their launch, the clusters have been doing an impressive job of investing in projects, helping firms scale up, and positioning Canada as the global leader in their respective innovation spaces. That’s 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 shift

Like many other countries around the world, Canada is also grappling with the challenge of helping some of our traditional industries make the green shift – a great example is our auto industry. Here, our government has been investing in the transition to future technologies, including establishing the entire EV supply chain here in Canada. From the mine to recycling. Just in the last six months, we have made significant 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 world’s auto industry transitions to be more clean and green. 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 be leading the way and inspiring excellence around the world. Together – thanks to our investments in science and innovation – we can tackle any challenge and create a better tomorrow where everyone has a real and fair chance at success. So, let’s be bold. Let’s be ambitious. And let’s make Canada a global leader for generations to come.

Contributor Profile

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Government of Canada
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