Oct 18, 2021

How the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry can help businesses innovate

After over a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and sacrifice, Canadians are seeing the benefits of their efforts to stop COVID-19. The pandemic is not over, but we can now look beyond COVID to plan for our future. Now, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is writing “mandate letters” to members of the Cabinet with policy priorities that will support growth of the Canadian economy.

In a digital world, Canadians are connected as never before. Our educated workforce and advanced digital infrastructure give Canada a strong starting point to be a leader in the global digital future, but our competitors are on the move.  As virtual activities increase, businesses and their customers must be confident that their data is protected. We also must help companies innovate to meet the digital needs of the world.

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry should:

  • Re-introduce privacy reform legislation in the next Parliament to set a single national standard for privacy protection, preventing a patchwork of provincial rules. 
  • Work with the Minister of Health to implement the biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy to attract investment and grow the domestic industry
  • Expand investments in broadband through the Universal Broadband Fund. Enable more access to 5G internet in rural and remote communities that will support job creation outside urban centres and help spur innovation and economic activity in remote communication. This includes reducing barriers to access for municipal-owned infrastructure, ensuring alignment with provincial broadband programs, and creating a single door for broadband funding.
  • Prioritize the allocation of additional Spectrum through measures such as accelerating the timing of spectrum auctions, increasing the quantity of spectrum available, and subsidizing rural deployment. This is important for Canadians all over the country to have access to wireless services and benefit from deployment of 5G networks, utilize the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and for Canadian businesses to remain globally competitive.
  • Continue with investments in low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite capacity to support the last stretch of coverage in very remote regions where it is economically infeasible to build wireless and wireline infrastructure or expand services.  
  • Increase investments in cybersecurity by enabling businesses to write off cybersecurity-related investments to encourage investment and improve security. This should include software, education, training, services, certification and equipment in the same year those investments are made. 
  • Introduce programs, funding and incentives including grants and tax rebate programs on an ongoing basis for technology adoption and digitalization in businesses of all sizes and across all sectors to improve Canadian productivity and competitiveness. This should have a particular emphasis on supporting SMEs invest in secure and reliable digital technologies and platforms.
  • Expand and expedite the allocations to enhance Canada’s competitive advantage in innovation such as AI, cybersecurity and digital health. Streamline the application and reporting processes for these programs to reduce the administrative burden on Canadian companies, in particular for SMEs.
  • Ensure ongoing investment in areas of Canadian comparative technology advantage such as auto-tech, AI, encryption, and IoT enabling technologies.

To see all 21 of our mandate letters to ministers, click here.

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