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The Innovation Strategy

Canada\'s Innovation Strategy acknowledges the importance of the modern 'knowledge economy.' Today more emphasis is being placed on knowledge and the resource that produces it: people. Canada's Innovation Strategy was introduced by Industry Canada on February 12, 2002 to identify the ways Canadians can improve innovative performance across all sectors of society. The purpose of the Innovation Strategy is to transform Canada's economy into a knowledge-based economy. Since its inception, Industry Canada and its partners have organized numerous regional summits and consultations with the business and academic communities, as well as representatives from Aboriginal and youth groups across the country.

Canada's Innovation Strategy is presented in two papers

  • Achieving Excellence: Investing in People, Knowledge and Opportunities recognizes knowledge as a national asset and focuses on strengthening Canada's science and research capacity and its contribution to an innovative society.
  • Knowledge Matters: Skills and Learning for Canadians recognizes people and their knowledge as society’s greatest resource and looks to strengthen learning in Canada and provide an opportunity for all to contribute to the new economy.

According to Canada's Innovation Strategy, innovation is the key to improving productivity. This chart demonstrates Canada's Innovation Performance as determined at the 1999 G-7 summit.The Achieving Excellence section of Canada's Innovation System stresses the application of knowledge to develop new products and services, or new ways to produce or market existing products and services. According to this document, innovation has always been the driving force in economic growth and social development—an improvement of life for all citizens. In the rapidly expanding knowledge-based economy, the need for these innovations is always increasing.

The knowledge based economy has now expanded to include all sectors. Approximately 10 years ago, the knowledge-economy was a term restricted to high-tech sectors, such as the information and communications technology firms in California's "Silicon Valley". This emphasis has shifted to include all areas of industry, from natural resources to manufacturing to services. Accordingly, new innovations can save costs and increase productivity.

The objectives of Canada's Achieving Excellence paper include

  • Developing a common understanding of Canada's innovation challenge
  • Reaching consolidated agreements on national targets to properly coordinate the country's efforts to establish a knowledge-based economy
  • Creating feedback on the proposed strategies for innovation
  • Identifying areas where firms overlap and can collaborate
  • Tracking the progress of innovative programs and report to Canadians on these achievements

The Knowledge Matters section of Canada's Innovation Strategy stresses the value of education and having a highly skilled population. According to the report, the successful countries in the 21st century will be comprised of highly skilled, adaptable and creative citizens. By allowing all Canadians to learn and develop their skills and abilities, the Innovation Strategy plans to create this skilled workforce.

Canada's Innovation Strategy also asserts that a knowledge-based economy means an ever-increasing need for highly educated and skilled workforce in all economic sectors across the country. Also, there is a looming demographic crunch that means the labour force will not be adequate to meet the demands of the country. Highly skilled Canadians are needed to fill these vacated jobs. To meet these requirements, Canada's education system will be strengthened to create highly skilled students.

As such, Knowledge Matters: Skills and Learning for Canadians is the catalyst to create a knowledge-based economy. This is the action plan for all Canadians to move towards the future, to understand the challenges of a transforming society. Meeting these goals requires long-term cooperation between government, academia, industry and society, and sustained efforts from all sectors of the economy and all regions across Canada. Only through these efforts will we create the innovative society envisioned by Canada’s Innovation Strategy.

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