Government of Canada promotes Innovation Agenda in Alberta

News Release

Tour and investments help support innovation projects under way in the province

September 9, 2016 – Calgary, Alberta – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, concluded a successful two-day tour across Alberta to promote Canada's Innovation Agenda.

The Minister met with several municipal groups and officials to develop a mutual understanding of regional economic development and diversification efforts and to learn about specific innovation activities in the cities of Edmonton and Calgary. Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, provided insight on how the City of Calgary is supporting innovation and economic diversification, and representatives from the Alberta Capital Region Board, comprising 24 mayors from around the Edmonton region, provided details on their collaborative efforts to drive innovation and competitiveness across the region.

To learn more about regional innovation initiatives, the Minister met with Alberta Innovates, an agency of the Government of Alberta that has consolidated existing agencies to make it easier for researchers and companies to gain access to the opportunities and support available to them. Minister Bains was provided with an overview of their unique, efficient innovation system to support regional innovation, particularly in the area of scaling up for innovative companies.

Canada's post-secondary institutions play a significant role in advancing the knowledge economy. During his tour, the Minister announced funding under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund: a $56-million investment in the University of Alberta and a $78-million investment in the University of Calgary. In total, universities and colleges throughout Alberta will receive over $500 million from the Government of Canada, the provincial government, the institutions themselves and private donors.

As the Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, Minister Bains took the opportunity to meet with government and non-governmental organizations supporting the Fort McMurray wildfire recovery and rebuilding efforts following the devastating wildfires in the region in May 2016. The Minister commended their efforts and reiterated the Government of Canada's support to the ongoing recovery process.

The Minister's tour concluded at the University of Calgary with an Innovation Town Hall hosted by Innovate Calgary. The audience comprised local innovative companies from a broad cross-section of sectors, including small business, clean technology, energy, pharmaceutical, medical devices, and information and communications technology. Audience members participated in an engaging conversation with the Minister about the Government's support for innovation in their region, particularly in this time of economic uncertainty. The session provided the Minister with the opportunity to hear directly from innovative local business leaders and to highlight the Government of Canada's commitment to foster innovation and business development, which will help strengthen Canadian communities and grow the middle class.

Throughout the tour, the Minister reinforced how Canada's Innovation Agenda will provide support at the regional level to address businesses' specific concerns and the importance of close collaboration with the provinces, territories and municipalities.


"Innovation across all industry sectors will offer Canada a competitive global advantage. I am keen to learn about innovative ideas and practices from all across the country as we must leverage innovation in all sectors to compete globally. Alberta is ahead of the innovation curve, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to hear first-hand about their innovative practices and collaborative business models from which we can all learn."

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Government of Alberta targets science and innovation by performing government-funded R&D, commercializing innovative products and processes, investing in future-focused technology, and leveraging research to solve industry challenges.
  • Canada's Innovation Agenda is being built through active engagement with all Canadians. The Alberta tour is part of the Government's cross-Canada sector engagement with the common objective of building Canada into a nation of innovators.
  • Since June 2016, over 28 innovation roundtables have been held with key stakeholders across Canada. In addition, an interactive web portal has received almost 90,000 hits and over 1,300 ideas related to the key pillars of the Innovation Agenda.
  • The Government of Canada is analyzing the feedback received and will put forth concrete, evidence-based initiatives in Budget 2017.

Associated links

Follow Minister Bains on social media.
Twitter: @MinisterISED


Philip Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation,
Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada

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