High Tech Delegation Urges Industry Minister: Adopt Measures for 'Competitive Fast Track'
February 04, 2008

Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance

CATA's Lunch with Leaders series discusses Commercialization opportunities in Canada's Most Promising Sector

Canada’s ICT business and academic leaders met with Industry Minister Prentice to brief him on the growth prospects for Canada’s most promising sector. Included in the leadership group are: Don Smith, CEO, Mitel, Dr. Brendan Quine, President, Thoth Technologies, Andrew Maxwell, Director, Canadian Innovation Centre, Eli Fathi, President, Orbit IQ, Charles Cazabon, Vice President, BDC Venture Capital, France Cyrenne, Partner, Accenture, Andrew Moffat, President, Keshet Technologies, Paul de Grandpre, President, Prolity, Eileen MacDonald, COO, GS1, Alisdair McLean, VP Programs, PlascoEnergy Group, Alex Beraskow, Managing Partner, IT/Net Consultants, John Reid, President, CATAAlliance, Barry Gander, EVP CATAAlliance, and Joanne Stanley, VP CATAAlliance


OTTAWA, February 4, 2008... In a private lunch with Industry Minister Prentice, leaders from the information and communications technology and services sector (ICTS) described a rapidly growing industry which could be Canada's most promising sector. The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) hosted the private luncheon session with the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry; the mix of industry representatives came from the private sector, academic, and non-profit organizations. They described measures that would help accelerate the commercialization ICTS in Canada and improve its commercial viability in global markets.

"As part of advancing our Innovation Nation Platform, CATA initiated this dialogue to focus on the commercialization opportunities in the ICTS sector. The general synopsis of industry experts is that Canada does not seem to have a technology strategy and we need to get one fast," says John Reid, President, CATA.

The sector is growing so quickly that it is being restricted by declining enrolment in science and technology programs at Canadian universities. An untapped female workforce, and the strength of the Canadian dollar, are a few of the other challenges the Canadian ICTS sector has had to face in recent years. They also noted that Canadian businesses have difficulty in gaining home-grown business from federal departments. Unfortunately, many companies do not receive recognition for their innovative technology in Canada until it has obtained credibility in the U.S.

With their experience and understanding of the ICTS sector, the informative luncheon gave the group the opportunity to solidify the importance of ICTS as an enabling technology and skill for Canada's advancement in other sectors.

Technology's latest obsession with social networking has industry leaders looking for future employees in the generation "X" and "Y" categories. All attendees agreed that companies need access to bright, young talent for the ICTS sector to prosper and that social networking tools like Facebook are possible avenues through which they can be targeted. While the Canadian market will grow with young blood, greater commitment from the government in procuring Canadian products was also identified as necessary for its continued development.

With the group's recommendations and exciting new ventures like Northern Light's latest Mars lander project, Canada's ICTS sector is certainly promising. Government officials and industry experts plan to continue an on-going dialogue to foster Canada's potential as an ICTS leader. A meeting will be held next week with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology