Global Skills Strategy Event

Speech

Speaking Points

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

Toronto, Ontario

November 30, 2016

Check Against Delivery


Thank you, John [the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship], and many thanks to Nick Green and your team for hosting us today.

It's always a pleasure for me to come home to Mississauga.

This is my second visit to Therapure since I was appointed Canada's Minister of Innovation a year ago.

It makes me so proud to see Therapure develop into a homegrown success.

Indeed, there's no better place to talk about innovation than Mississauga.

This city has a diversified economy with an established advanced manufacturing base.

There are more than seventy Fortune 500 companies with a presence in Mississauga.

And there are more than 400 businesses in our life sciences sector alone, including Therapure.

In total, these companies employ more than 25,000 workers.

Just about every sector of the economy is represented in Mississauga.

This city is a mini version of the Canadian economy.

That means the success of the country depends in many ways on the economic health of this region.

If Mississauga grows, Canada will grow.

For that reason, we must ensure that our country has enough people with the right skills to drive economic growth through innovation.

In fact, as technologies become more widely available to everyone, the only competitive edge for countries—and businesses—is the distinctive talent and creativity of their people.

And when companies look to invest, they aren't always looking for the lowest-cost jurisdictions.

Instead, many companies seek the most innovative economies—the ones with the most creative and entrepreneurial people who can turn ideas into solutions.

That's why we need to make Canada a destination of choice for the best and brightest from around the world.

Our government's Global Skills Strategy will make it easier for Canadian companies to recruit highly trained people with in-demand skills.

I have heard from business leaders—including many of you in this room—that bringing in top talent from around the world actually creates more jobs for Canadians.

One key hire attracts many others. This critical mass of talent enables the start-up of new companies and the scale-up of others, which create more jobs for Canadians.

I'm proud that our government has listened to the concerns of Canada's business community.

Tapping into a large pool of highly trained people—both in Canada and abroad—will position this country as a global innovation leader.

And it will enable high-growth Canadian companies, such as Therapure, to develop more quickly into globally competitive successes.

That's a key part of the Innovation Agenda, our government's plan to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

There's no time like the present to act.

Why?

Because Canada will continue to have fewer working-age people as the population ages.

In fact, our country is hitting this demographic transition at a time when we need more people to be trained in specific skill sets, such as science, technology, engineering and math.

The number of jobs in the economy that require those disciplines will continue to grow.

There's not a single industry that those fields don't touch anymore.

In the IT sector alone, an estimated 180,000 jobs will go unfilled by 2019.

Canada is simply not keeping pace with demand.

For that reason, we need to make it easier for Canadian companies to recruit from abroad.

At the same time, we need to invest more in the development of our own people.

In particular, we need to prepare our homegrown talent for a rapidly changing job market.

And we need more women and Indigenous people to fully participate in today's global digital economy.

I firmly believe it is our moral duty to promote diversity and inclusion.

But these values also make good business sense.

That's because innovation depends on good ideas. And those ideas can come from anyone, anywhere.

I challenge those of you in this room to invest more in the people who, through their ingenuity, will power our country to a prosperous future.

Now, it is my distinct honour to introduce Benjamin Bergen, Executive Director, Council of Canadian Innovators.


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