Government of Canada’s new innovation program expected to create tens of thousands of middle-class jobs

News Release

$950-million investment positions Canada for an innovation boom in high-growth sectors

February 15, 2018 – Ottawa, ON

When small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations come together to generate bold ideas, Canadians benefit from more well-paying jobs, groundbreaking research and a world-leading innovation economy.

That’s why the Government of Canada is investing up to $950 million under the Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

The investment, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the private sector, is expected to create more than 50,000 middle-class jobs and grow Canada’s economy by $50 billion over the next 10 years.

In 2017, the Government of Canada challenged Canadian businesses of all sizes to collaborate with other innovation actors, including post-secondary and research institutions, to propose bold and ambitious strategies that would transform regional economies and develop job-creating superclusters of innovation, like Silicon Valley.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced Canada’s five superclusters:

  • The Ocean Supercluster (based in Atlantic Canada) will use innovation to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy;
  • The SCALE.AI Supercluster (based in Quebec) will make Canada a world leading exporter by building intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (based in Ontario) will connect Canada’s technology strengths to our manufacturing industry to make us a world manufacturing leader in the economy of tomorrow;
  • The Protein Industries Supercluster (based in the Prairies) will make Canada a leading source for plant proteins and help feed the world;
  • The Digital Technology Supercluster (based in British Columbia) will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors like healthcare, forestry, and manufacturing.

The Innovation Superclusters Initiative is a centrepiece of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to prepare Canada for the innovative jobs of today and tomorrow.


“Today we are investing in five superclusters so that tomorrow we will be more than 50,000 jobs richer and benefit from an even stronger economy—an innovation economy. With the Superclusters Initiative, we bet on Canadians. We looked at what we did well across our great nation, and we asked industry, academia and NGOs how we could do it better. The response was impressive and the ideas were remarkable.”

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

“When Canadian small businesses succeed, Canadians succeed. That’s why I’m thrilled to see more than 300 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses playing such a central role in Canada’s superclusters. Our economy is changing, and this kind of collaboration—between large and small businesses, alongside community and academic partners—shows what is possible when we work together. I am especially proud of the fact that so many of these small businesses are run by women. These new superclusters will create great new opportunities for them to scale up, export and create well-paying middle-class jobs. This is great news for our economy, for Canadian innovation and for our society.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“Groundbreaking Canadian research is at the heart of these superclusters. We are renowned for our bold progress in artificial intelligence, ocean and marine science, and agriculture. With our Superclusters Initiative, scientists in these fields and others can look forward to expanding their research horizons in partnership with their academic peers, businesses, entrepreneurs and members of the non-profit community.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“The government’s investment in the Ocean Supercluster will position Canada as a global leader in the ocean economy of the future. It catalyzes unprecedented private investment in collaborative innovation across Canada’s ocean sectors, including energy, food and bio products, shipping, defence, and ocean technology. This will kick start new partnerships, innovations, and economic opportunities.”

– Robert Orr, Managing Director, Cuna del Mar

“SCALE.AI will build something unique: bolster Canada’s leadership in AI and data science, and define the new supply-chain platform, deeply impacting the retail, manufacturing and transport sectors. SCALE.AI will drive economic growth, create highly-skilled jobs and boost our talent pool, putting AI at the service of all Canadians.”

– Louis Roy, President, Optel Group, and Hélène Desmarais, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CEIM, Co-Presidents, SCALE.AI Supercluster

“Led by some of Canada's strongest companies, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive greater connectivity and collaboration between our manufacturing and technology sectors. By leveraging southern Ontario’s innovation infrastructure and a strong network of manufacturing, technology and business expertise, we're confident that the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will drive exponential benefits for industry and the Canadian economy.”

– Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar and lead applicant for the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster

“The world has a growing appetite for crop protein. That’s a huge new opportunity for Canada but also a challenge. The Innovation Supercluster Initiative will help farmers, feed and food processors meet that challenge and provide high quality plant proteins for the global market.”

– Frank Hart, Chair of the Board for the Protein Industries Supercluster

“Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster represents over 200 member organizations, including large, medium and small enterprises as well as not-for-profit entities and post-secondary institutions. Leveraging the capability of Canada’s world-leading broadband telecommunications networks, we will use advanced data collection, analytics and visualization in order to realize breakthroughs in sectors such as healthcare, natural resources and industrial applications. Our goal is to produce innovations that have tremendous local and global impacts.”

- Josh Blair, Chief Corporate Officer, Executive Vice President TELUS, founding member of Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster

Quick Facts

  • Superclusters are dense areas of business activity where many of the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow are created. They attract large and small companies that collaborate with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market.

  • Together the superclusters represent more than 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and 180 other participants in sectors covering 78 percent of Canada’s economy.

  • Having the strong representation of women and under-represented groups in these superclusters is a top priority. The superclusters will endeavour to increase the representation of women and under-represented groups in their activity and leadership, helping them succeed in skilled jobs in highly innovative industries.

Associated Links


Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

For official event photos, please visit our Canadian Innovation Facebook page.

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Page details

Date modified: