Strategic Innovation Fund

November 17, 2022

This question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, in November 2020, the federal government announced a targeted $250-million investment over five years to support Canada’s innovative intellectual-property-rich firms. This was to be administered through the Strategic Innovation Fund.

You may recall that I recently shared my concern about Canada’s worrisome IP challenges, so you won’t be surprised that I fully support the intention of this initiative. However, two years later, a recent report in The Logic revealed that no funds have yet been deployed.

Senator Gold, when will Canadian companies start to receive this funding, incentivizing them to strengthen their IP portfolios, which is crucial to their global competitiveness?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Thank you for your question and for recognizing the historic initiative — the first ever — Intellectual Property Strategy introduced in 2018, with investments of over $250 million. Budget 2021 invested $90 million to create ElevateIP, a program to help accelerators and incubators provide startups with access to intellectual property expertise. The government is finalizing the structuring of this program with leading business accelerators across the country so as to provide maximum effectiveness for this program.

Moreover, Budget 2021 also invested $75 million to the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to provide high-growth client firms with access to expert intellectual property services through IP assist; indeed, many companies are already benefiting from that assistance.

On the issue of the timelines, senator, I’ll make inquiries with the government and report back to the chamber as soon as I have an answer.

Thank you, Senator Gold. A further question perhaps that you could give to the government. They recently announced that Nokia will receive $40 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund. However, the IP generated from that investment will flow to Nokia’s head office in Finland. While there are no restrictions on the transfer of IP for foreign companies, this is not the case for Canadian companies.

Senator Gold, why are the Strategic Innovation Fund funding terms for IP transfer different for Canadian companies versus foreign companies? Is there not a concern that these restrictions will strategically disadvantage Canadian companies?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Thank you. I’ll certainly add that to the questions I pursue with the government.

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