Launch of the Strategic Innovation Fund


Speech by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, PC, MP
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Hamilton, Ontario

July 5, 2017

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Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. 

Thank you, Philippe [Philippe Dauphin, Director General, CanmetMATERIALS], for the warm words of welcome. 

It’s a real privilege to be here among true innovators, especially in a city that has transformed remarkably over the past two decades. 

Hamilton’s economy has diversified from steelmaking and heavy manufacturing to technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. 

This region has built on its unique strengths and identified new opportunities for growth. 

This smart and forward-looking move has created good, middle-class jobs for the people of this community. 

I’m also delighted to be visiting this impressive facility. 

And I want to thank Natural Resources Canada for hosting us. 

CanmetMATERIALS is Canada’s largest research centre dedicated to metals and materials. 

The team here collaborates with Canadian companies in the energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors. 

They develop new materials from metals and minerals that are more high-performing, energy-efficient and better for the environment. 

Canada needs more of these public-private partnerships across all sectors of the economy. 

That’s how we will drive innovation, attract more business investments across all sectors of the economy and create more well-paying jobs for Canadians. 

That’s why I’m delighted to be here today to launch the next steps in our government’s plan. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the path to a better life for middle-class Canadians is through innovation. 

Globalization and technology are reshaping how Canadians live and work. 

That’s why the 2017 federal budget put forward an innovation and skills plan. 

This plan will grow the economy and create good-quality jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. 

This plan will equip Canadians with the skills to adapt to a changing job market and prepare for the jobs of the future. 

Innovation depends on the resourcefulness, creativity and drive of Canadians. 

As I said earlier, innovation also depends on collaboration between the public and private sectors. 

That’s how the most successful economies in the world become global leaders in innovation. 

Canadians have made it clear to me that our country must take the same approach. 

Our government has listened to what you’ve told us. 

And we have responded. 

Today, I’m pleased to launch the Strategic Innovation Fund. 

This fund is worth more than $1.2 billion. 

And it’s a key part of our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan. 

This fund will attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy. 

It will help high-growth firms scale up to become world-class companies. 

This fund is also an investment in jobs and skills training for Canadians. 

Putting Canada at the forefront of innovation will equip Canadians with the in-demand skills for well-paying jobs now and into the future. 

The projects supported by this fund will add thousands of high-quality middle-class jobs in the coming years. 

Ladies and gentlemen, our government recognizes that innovation happens in every sector of Canada’s economy. 

Which is why the Strategic Innovation Fund is designed to reflect the diversity of innovative sectors that exist in this country and to encourage cross-sector partnerships. 

The reality is that the lines separating traditional industries are dissolving. 

Think about today’s cars and jets, which increasingly have more computer chips and software in them than smartphones do. 

As a result, brand new industries are being created. 

Through this fund, our government can play a role in creating these new industries, which will result in better jobs and opportunities for all Canadians. 

This fund will support four types of innovation activities. 

First, it will support the commercialization of promising Canadian technologies. 

Many businesses struggle to access the capital they need to get promising products or services to market. 

As a result, many new firms either fail or leave Canada, taking the jobs they create with them. 

The Strategic Innovation Fund can provide the financing to bridge that commercialization gap. 

Second, this fund will support the growth and scale up of high-potential firms, especially small and medium-sized companies that have the potential to grow into large anchor companies. 

The kind of companies that entire industries are built around. The kind of companies that create thousands of well-paying jobs. 

Third, this fund will be an effective way to attract additional investment from other parts of the world. 

These investments would expand Canadian operations, create new jobs for Canadians, and fund the development of new technologies or processes that equip Canadians with the skills for the jobs of the future. 

Finally, this fund will encourage collaboration between the private and public sectors. 

Through this fund, our government can play a meaningful role in bringing together the private sector, knowledge institutions and civil society. 

We can invest in the collaborations that lead to the development and demonstration of promising new technologies. 

The business opportunities created from these partnerships will equip Canadians with the skills they need for the middle-class jobs of the future. 

Ladies and gentlemen, many of us in this room keep a close eye on Canada’s vital signs. 

Despite a challenging global climate, Canada’s economy continues to exceed expectations. 

In fact, the International Monetary Fund expects our economy to be the third-fastest growing among G7 nations this year and the second-fastest growing in 2018. 

Within Canada, Ontario is expected to have one of the fastest-growing economies over the next two years. 

This growth benefits Canadians. 

We’ve seen incredible gains in the number of jobs added to the economy: more than 300,000 jobs over the past 12 months, 86,000 of them in Ontario. 

This pace of growth did not happen by chance. 

Our government is making the smart and responsible investments that have resulted in better jobs and opportunities for all Ontarians. 

But we still have more to do to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared by everyone. 

That’s why our government is investing in the Strategic Innovation Fund. 

This fund will transition Canada to a high-value economy that competes globally based on the most innovative solutions—solutions that will be developed by Canadians with the skills for the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow. 

That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada. 

Thank you.

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