Province Takes Steps to Ensure All Ontarians Benefit from Local Research and Innovation
July 17, 2020
The Ontario government announced a made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan to help ensure the tremendous social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province. In addition, the government unveiled the second round of research projects approved and supported through the $20 millionOntario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Through these efforts, researchers will be working to find ways to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.
Details were announced today by Premier Doug Ford, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, at Medical Innovation Xchange in Kitchener.
"Our researchers and entrepreneurs are leading the charge against COVID-19 with made-in-Ontario solutions and ground-breaking research and clinical trials for vaccines, treatments, rapid testing, and modelling," said Premier Ford. "Through this action plan and research fund, we want everyone in the province to benefit from this trailblazing work and ensure Ontario is recognized as the best place in the world to carry out research and develop new technology and innovative processes."
"Research and commercialization across all sectors are more important than ever to combat COVID-19 and to help with the post-pandemic economic recovery," said Minister Romano. "That is why our world-class postsecondary and research institutions need to know that we have their backs by supporting Ontario-based research and leading the way towards economic recovery, resiliency and prosperity."
The government is strengthening Ontario's intellectual property (IP) position through the Intellectual Property Action Plan. The plan will drive the province's long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing IP generation, protection, and commercialization.
The government is also creating the Special Implementation Team on Intellectual Property (SITIP), which will be comprised of the IP experts who previously served on Ontario's Expert Panel on Intellectual Property. The team will provide advice on the implementation of the Intellectual Property Action Plan, including the commercialization of research and IP in the province's postsecondary institutions and innovation centres to ensure that Ontario is open for jobs and open for business.
Work with postsecondary institutions and research institutes to strengthen mandates related to commercialization entities within their organizations;
Strengthen Ontario's IP literacy by developing standardized, web-based basic and advanced IP education curriculums;
Create a centralized provincial resource entity that will increase access to sophisticated IP expertise; and
Develop a governance framework for organizations supporting entrepreneurial and innovation activities, which incorporates IP considerations.
"Ontario is home to some of the brightest and most innovative people and businesses in the world, and it's critical that we leverage that advantage globally, while ensuring we keep the value of homegrown ideas in the province for the benefit of Ontarians," said Minister Fedeli. "This Action Plan will drive our economic competitiveness and support businesses and innovators as they create the made-in-Ontario solutions that will be essential to our economic recovery."
The postsecondary, research and innovation sector will also take a leading role in Ontario's economic recovery and future prosperity. As part of its strategy to strengthen the research and innovation economy, the Ontario government is funding an additional 20 proposals that were submitted in response to the government's $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. In May, 15 projects were announced as part of the first round and they are focusing on areas such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences. The government is also committing funding to help commercialize the Rapid Research Fund projects here in Ontario, ensuring that taxpayer-funded research benefits Ontarians first.
"I am pleased to chair Ontario's Special Implementation Team on Intellectual Property," said Jim Balsillie, retired Chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion. "The foundation of Ontario's post-COVID economic recovery and future prosperity will depend on the province's ability to position our economy for success in a global marketplace driven by IP and data. Through the Intellectual Property Action Plan, Ontario has the opportunity to build an ecosystem that advances IP education and expertise as well as strategic support for our innovative companies, ensuring valuable intellectual property generated in the province will be commercialized for the benefit of Ontario's economy."
The postsecondary education sector is a key source of research, innovation and commercialization, making it one of the leading contributors to Ontario’s productivity and economic growth. Forty-three per cent of all research in Canada is undertaken in Ontario with an economic impact of $85.2 billion since 2011.
The government created an Expert Panel on Intellectual Property in May 2019 to provide advice on the commercialization of research and IP in Ontario’s postsecondary institutions and recommend strategies for improved generation and commercialization of research and IP. The panel submitted itsreportin February 2020.
The $20 million Rapid Research Fund was created as an immediate response to engaging the research community on ways to fight COVID-19. Where relevant, a portion of these funds will be used to cover costs associated with licensing and commercialization, including patenting of the valuable IP generated by successful projects to ensure any economic outcomes from these proposals benefit Ontario’s economy, workers and researchers.
As part of its summer consultations, the government will seek feedback from colleges, universities, research institutes and other key partners to explore how best to support researchers and ensure that discoveries made in Ontario benefit Ontarians and the Ontario economy.
According to a recent Canadian Intellectual Property Office report, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aware of or holding registered IP rights are more likely to have expanded, or intend to expand, to domestic and international markets. The report also finds that just two per cent of Canadian SMEs hold at least one patent.
The Ontario government has an existing memorandum of understanding with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) to provide non-medical manufacturing companies with free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19.