Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announces proposals under the $950-million Innovation Superclusters Initiative in Ottawa on Thursday. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

‘Supercluster’ tech groups to share up to $950M in federal cash

It’s part of a high-tech collaboration to foster growth and create jobs

OTTAWA — Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has named five technology groups that will each get a piece of up to $950 million in what the government calls its “superclusters” initiative, a high-tech collaboration strategy aimed at fostering growth and creating jobs.

— The Digital Technology supercluster in British Columbia will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors like health care, forestry, and manufacturing;

— The Protein Industries supercluster in the Prairies will work on making the country a leading source of plant proteins;

— The Ocean supercluster based in Atlantic Canada will use innovation to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy;

— The Scale AI supercluster in Quebec will work on building intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics;

— The Advanced Manufacturing supercluster in Ontario will connect technology strengths to manufacturing industry to prepare for the economy of tomorrow.

The supercluster concept is designed to bring together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to generate forward-looking, job-creating ideas and innovation.

“What is a supercluster? It is a made-in-Canada Silicon Valley that will create tens of thousands of jobs — that’s what a supercluster is,” Bains said Thursday as he unveiled the winners in Ottawa.

“It’s about collaboration as well. Look at this room — we have academia, business, you have small business and large business, and we have government — working together, promoting collaboration, supporting our supply chains and also developing and nurturing skills and knowledge and making sure that we pass that knowledge from one generation to another.

“Superclusters — it’s a job magnet.”

The government is planning on not only a stronger, innovation-driven economy as a result of the initiative, but at least more than 50,000 jobs, he added.

Thursday’s announcement ends a nine-month contest central to the Liberals’ so-called innovation agenda.

Last fall, the government narrowed a field of about 50 applicants to nine finalists.

The money will be distributed over five years to the winners, which will be required to match the federal funding they receive, dollar for dollar.

The Liberals faced criticism over its plan, including concerns over the government picking winners and losers, but Bains defended it by saying the superclusters will be led by industry.

The government hopes the leverage from its $950-million commitment will help unlock business investment in research and development as a way to lift the economy.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Teck Trail earnings down in 2017

The company reports almost double the profit in 2017, but Trail grosses were down

Call is out for Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year

The nomination period is open now and until April 20

Accident backs up traffic near Trail Canadian Tire

Regional Fire Chief Dan Derby says crews have responded to a few accidents lately

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

B.C. family first to receive reimbursement for life-altering arthritis drug

Effective medication used to treat rare form of juvenile arthritis costs $19,000 a month

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

IIO: Kamloops RCMP did not have to report shooting

The IIO is not investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Kamloops in 2017

No smoke alarm, faulty cord contributed to fatal B.C. fire

Faulty electric cord and power source connected to space heater believed to have caused flames

Most Read