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Making digital technologies more accessible to Canadians with disabilities

$22.3-million program will help Canadians with disabilities fully participate in the digital economy

December 6, 2017 – Ottawa

As a result of a new $22.3-million program, more Canadians with disabilities will have access to the digital tools they need to fully participate in society and get access to the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today launched the Accessible Technology Program, a new program that, over the next five years, will co-fund innovative projects to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.

The Internet is an important gateway to developing and maintaining professional, social, economic and cultural networks within the digital economy. However, many Canadians are still not taking full advantage of these benefits—not by choice, but because of significant barriers to accessing technology and the Internet. These barriers are particularly concerning for persons with disabilities, who already face limitations to their full participation in the workforce.

The current level of support for the development and distribution of accessible technologies is insufficient given the needs of Canadians with disabilities. While mainstream technologies typically decrease in price and become more readily available, the opposite is true for assistive and adaptive devices, since they must be customized to the unique needs of their users.

The Accessible Technology Program will help overcome these barriers, reduce the costs associated with developing assistive and adaptive technologies, and help address the employment challenges persons with disabilities face. This will help ensure that they can be more independent and get the well-paying middle-class jobs they want.

This program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

 

Quotes

“Despite new assistive and adaptive technologies that empower persons with disabilities to participate in the workforce, we still see a technology gap in our communities. That’s why I’m pleased to launch the Accessible Technology Program. It will help us address this technology gap and give all Canadians an equal opportunity to obtain the well-paying middle class jobs of today and tomorrow. Innovation is only successful when we can all participate.”

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

Quick Facts

  • Assistive and adaptive technologies include screen readers, alternative keyboards, refreshable braille displays and various software and applications.
  • Private sector firms, not-for-profit organizations and research institutes can apply.
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Navdeep BainsMaking digital technologies more accessible to Canadians with disabilities

Investments made in Ontario will lead to cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technologies

Minister Bains announces $15.5 million for Toronto-area companies, which will result in less pollution and healthier communities

August 8, 2017 – Brantford, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Ontarians will benefit from new jobs created by innovations that power electric vehicles and reduce plastics in the environment, thanks to a $15.5-million investment by the Government of Canada.

This investment in six Toronto-area companies will create well-paying middle-class jobs as a result of the new business opportunities generated by the development of technologies that lead to less pollution and healthier communities.

The announcement was made today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The investments include:

  • $3.8 million for Electrovaya Inc. of Mississauga to develop safe and long-lasting electric batteries for commercial vehicles, contributing to the prevention of climate change;
  • $3 million for BionX International Corporation of Aurora to develop a smaller, more powerful lightweight propulsion system to improve its award-winning e-bike systems;
  • $2.7 million for 3E Nano Inc. of Kitchener to create a new window coating to make buildings and vehicles more energy efficient, reducing energy consumption;
  • $2.2 million for GreenMantra Technologies of Brantford to develop new ways to convert recycled plastics into new products, resulting in less waste sent to landfills;
  • $1.9 million for Peak Power Inc. of Toronto to improve the energy storage capacity of batteries, ultimately reducing costs for businesses and greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • $1.8 million for Vive Crop Protection of Toronto to create environmentally friendly products and technologies that increase farm efficiency and productivity.

These projects are being funded through Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which works with Canadian companies to bring early-stage clean technologies to market.

Investments in clean technology are part of the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Quotes

“Our government’s investments in clean technology reflect our commitment to protecting the planet. But they also point to a clear and strategic direction for economic development through innovation. That’s because innovations in clean tech will lead to products and services that have an impact on all sectors of the economy. And clean tech has the potential to create thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada.”

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

“From transportation to waste management, these companies demonstrate the strength and range of Ontario clean tech. Sustainable Development Technology Canada is proud to partner with these entrepreneurs to get their new technologies to the marketplace and deliver real environmental and economic benefits to all Canadians.”

– Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada

“We are thrilled that SDTC will provide a portion of the capital necessary for this important project. This pilot plant will enable us to scale up our patent-pending process for sustainably reusing of one of the world’s least recycled plastics.”

– Kousay Said, President and CEO, GreenMantra Technologies

Quick Facts

  • To help clean technology firms grow, the Innovation and Skills Plan includes investments of nearly $1.4 billion in new financing on a cash basis, starting in 2017–18. This new financing in the form of equity investments, working capital and project finance will be made available to clean tech innovators through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
  • Budget 2017 also commits $400 million to recapitalize Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s SD Tech Fund, which supports the development and demonstration of early-stage clean technology projects.
  • Canada is committed to growing the economy while meeting carbon-emissions targets. The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, developed with provincial and territorial partners, outlines how Canada will drive innovation and growth while reducing carbon pollution.
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Arevig AfarianInvestments made in Ontario will lead to cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technologies

Canadians deserve affordable, high-quality wireless service with dependable coverage in town and out

Consultation launched for 600 MHz spectrum auction to support high-quality networks and business opportunities for all regions

August 4, 2017 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The surging popularity of smart phones is fuelling increased consumer demand for quality wireless mobile services from telecommunication service providers.

In remarks delivered at the Canadian Telecom Summit in early June, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, highlighted the Government of Canada’s commitment to encouraging the advancement of telecommunication services by focusing on the three things that matter most to Canadian families and businesses: high-quality networks, broad-reaching coverage and affordable prices. The Government is following up with the launch of a consultation on proposals to auction spectrum. The 600 MHz auction will improve wireless mobile services in both rural communities and urban centres.

Minister Bains announced the consultation today, signalling that the Government looks forward to hearing from interested Canadians, as well as telecommunication service providers and consumer groups. He added that Canadians need improved wireless service to participate in the digital economy, expand their businesses and learn new skills, which create new opportunities and build stronger communities.

Low band spectrum, such as the 600 MHz band, is well suited to carrying signals over long distances. It is also less affected by building structures than higher frequency bands, making it ideal for next-generation wireless services in both urban and rural settings.

By increasing access to spectrum for mobile services, the Government is also supporting future economic and creative breakthroughs that will position Canada as a global centre for innovation and create more jobs and business opportunities.

Quotes

“When it comes to telecommunications, Canadian consumers deserve the very best. At a time when middle-class Canadians are concerned about both the availability and the rising cost of these services, our government will encourage more private sector competition and investment in services that have become essential in a digital economy. Making this spectrum available for commercial mobile services has the potential to benefit millions of Canadians in both urban and rural areas. Canadians deserve improved coverage, service quality and affordability, as well as the economic benefits and opportunities for all regions of the country provided by increased access to wireless spectrum for mobile services.”

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

Quick Facts

  • Through this consultation, the Government is proposing measures to support competition and encourage investment in wireless services.
  • Interested parties will have until October 2, 2017, to comment on the proposals outlined in the Government of Canada’s consultation paper.
  • Canada’s networks rank second among those of G7 countries for average wireless connection speeds.
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Arevig AfarianCanadians deserve affordable, high-quality wireless service with dependable coverage in town and out

Minister Bains celebrates Canadian technology on border-crossing self-driving car

July 31, 2017 – Windsor, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Canadians and Americans working in the auto sector will benefit from new jobs and business opportunities as emerging technologies lead to the development and production of self-driving cars.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, witnessed the demonstration of a vehicle that has the ability to take over driving, monitor the surrounding environment and inform the driver where and when human interference is needed.

This cross-border event demonstrated innovative technology that goes beyond human driver assistance to partial and conditional automation. This marks a milestone in the development of self-driving cars.

Canadian company Magna and U.S. supplier Continental collaborated in demonstrating this technology.

This initiative is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year effort to create jobs for the middle class.

 

Quotes

“Today’s demonstration is an important example of how our ongoing cross-border cooperation is advancing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. Our government is committed to creating good middle-class jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. By continuing to work with the United States, we will equip our citizens with the skills they need to design and build the cars of the future on both sides of the border.”

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

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 allocated $50 million over five years for work with key partners to examine new and disruptive transportation technologies.
  • Canada produces a vehicle every 14 seconds. That is 2.4 million vehicles a year, which has an enormously positive impact on our economy and contributes $18.2 billion to our GDP.
  • Along with Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, Ontario is part of the largest automotive manufacturing cluster in North America and produces 29% of light vehicles within that cluster.
  • This cluster is successful because of the integrated nature of the American and Canadian automotive supply chain. In fact, it is estimated that automotive parts produced in Ontario or Michigan can cross the border up to six times before the finished vehicle is ready to roll off the assembly line.
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Arevig AfarianMinister Bains celebrates Canadian technology on border-crossing self-driving car

Canada’s Entrepreneurs and Innovators Will Benefit from the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan

Plan will create jobs, skills and new businesses opportunities for middle-class Canadians

July 14, 2017 – Montréal, Quebec – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Entrepreneurs and innovators in this country will benefit from the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a comprehensive strategy to turn more promising ideas into market-ready innovations. Putting Canada at the forefront of innovation will create thousands of middle-class jobs, generate new business opportunities and equip Canadians with the in-demand skills they need for the well-paying jobs of today and into the future.

That was the message delivered by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, during Startupfest, an annual conference attended by entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and business mentors from across the country.

Under the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government is supporting the growth of small and medium-sized businesses by encouraging the public and private sectors to collaborate in bringing more early-stage research to market. Specifically, the Government is investing in:

  • Initiatives, such as the $1.2-billion Strategic Innovation Fund and $950-million Innovation Superclusters Initiative, to increase business investment in research and development, which accelerates innovation and creates highly skilled jobs.
  • Faster access to top talent from all around the world, under the Global Skills Strategy, which will support the scale up of high-growth Canadian companies and keep the jobs they create in this country.
  • A program that supports small businesses interested in having the federal government as a first buyer and early adopter of their innovations.
  • Venture capital funding for high-growth firms.
  • Simpler, more coordinated access to business innovation programs administered by the federal government.

By providing more direct support for innovation activities, the Government can play a key role in creating industries that never existed before as well as new companies that will be globally competitive. And as these companies grow, they will create more middle-class jobs for Canadians.

 

Quotes

“Where innovation happens is where many of the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow are created. That’s why our government is making the smart and responsible investments to encourage more innovation by Canadians, especially the hard-working entrepreneurs and small business owners who form the backbone of our country’s economy. They create the well-paying jobs that often equip Canadians with the in-demand skills they need for future jobs. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada.”

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

Quick Facts

  • Small and medium-sized businesses employ 90 percent of the private-sector workforce and account for about 40 percent of GDP.
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund is a $1.2-billion investment to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy.
  • The $950-million Innovation Superclusters Initiative will support up to five dense areas of business activity that accelerate Canada’s global advantage in highly innovative industries such as advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health/biosciences, clean resources as well as infrastructure and transportation. Superclusters have high concentrations of talent that drive the innovation activities that create middle-class jobs.
  • The Global Skills Strategy provides high-growth firms facing skills shortages in specific areas with faster access to the highly skilled international talent they need to scale up and grow.
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Arevig AfarianCanada’s Entrepreneurs and Innovators Will Benefit from the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan