Government of Canada IP Strategy supports the preservation and protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions
New initiatives will foster a more inclusive intellectual property system
April 26, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario
Indigenous knowledge holders, businesses, entrepreneurs and artists make important contributions to their communities and to the Canadian economy. The Government of Canada understands that ensuring the preservation and protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions is vital to advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Today, on World Intellectual Property Day, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, launched a series of initiatives to help bridge intellectual property (IP) and the protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions.
This includes Indigenous Intellectual Property Program grants supporting the participation of Indigenous peoples from Canada in domestic and international discussions about the IP system and the protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions. The grants supported a number of participants at the meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (WIPO-IGC) in Geneva, Switzerland, in March. The funding will also support other IP-related capacity building and outreach activities by Indigenous organizations.
The government also confirmed an investment to help replenish the WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities, making Canada the first WIPO member state to replenish the Voluntary Fund since 2017. This investment will ensure that Indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world can once again receive support to participate in these important negotiations.
Another initiative is a new Indigenous Peoples and Intellectual Property web page, where the latest information, tools and events related to IP and Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions can be found.
These initiatives are part of the Government of Canada’s overarching five-year Intellectual Property Strategy announced in Budget 2018. They are an important step in providing greater opportunities for Indigenous peoples to build their capacity, advocate for their interests in—and participate in discussions within Canada and internationally on—IP as it relates to the protection of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions.
“Advancing reconciliation takes a whole-of-government approach involving partners at all levels. With these new intellectual property initiatives, we are making Canada’s IP system more inclusive and providing Indigenous communities with key tools to protect and reap the full economic benefits of their intellectual property, Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Budget 2018 also committed to the creation of the Indigenous Statistical Capacity Development Initiative to support the development and management of Indigenous data and to develop data governance and information management capacity among Indigenous governments, communities and organizations.
Additionally, Budget 2019 proposes key measures to support Indigenous entrepreneurship, including a $100-million Indigenous Growth Fund that will help Indigenous small businesses attract investment and take on more ambitious projects.
Budget 2019 also continues support for existing programs such as Futurpreneur, which will receive a $3-million boost specifically for young Indigenous entrepreneurs.
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