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Making Ontario Stronger One Innovation At A Time

Archived Backgrounder

Making Ontario Stronger One Innovation At A Time

The Ontario Innovation Agenda provides a roadmap to ensure that the province has a winning economy in the 21st century

The agenda calls for better use of our existing strengths, identifies key opportunities for Ontario, and outlines the kind of environment Ontario must create to drive innovation.


The McGuinty government has made innovation a priority. In fact, it is part of the government's five-point plan on the economy.

Ontario recognizes that, to compete globally, the government must focus on areas where the province has the research and business strengths to dominate high-growth global markets. For that reason, the Ministry of Research and Innovation will focus its investments, policies and programs to stimulate innovation and attract investment in three priority areas:

  • Tackling climate change through bio-based, environmental, alternative energy and clean technologies;
  • Conquering disease through life sciences, biotechnology, advanced health technologies and pharmaceutical research and advanced manufacturing
  • Advancing the digital universe through new digital media and information & communications technologies.

The government has also made the environment and clean technologies an area of focus. Both are a central part of the recently announced Next Generation of Jobs Fund.

Clean technologies and the bio-economy

Clean technologies are new technology and related business models designed to provide superior performance at lower costs, and greatly reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts. The bio-economy refers to the use of renewable and recycled resources from agriculture and forestry as replacements for fossil fuels.

Interest in clean technologies and the bio-economy is exploding worldwide. According to the CleanTech Network, the Cleantech segment was in fourth place for overall venture capital investment worldwide for the fourth quarter of 2006. In North America, cleantech captured 10 per cent of the $6.2 billion invested overall.

Advanced health technologies

Technological innovation in the health sector is helping patients by creating new medical devices and drugs, health at home initiatives, and medical and surgical procedures. 

Pharmaceutical research and manufacturing

With 25 research and academic hospitals employing 10,000 scientists, clinical investigators and other researchers conducting $850 million in research annually, Ontario is the largest hub of biomedical activity in Canada and the fourth largest biomedical research centre in North America.

The Biopharmaceutical Investment Program, part of the government's Next Generation of Jobs Fund, is a $150-million fund designed to secure global mandates for biopharmaceutical R&D and advanced manufacturing.

Digital media and information & communications technologies

Digital media and information and communications technologies (ICT) are a set of economic activities that produce digital information including text, audio, and computer graphic material that can be retrieved through a variety of channels.

Ontario is home to over 5,000 ICT companies, ranging from homegrown global giants like Nortel Networks, Mitel Networks, Research in Motion and Open Text to foreign multinationals like IBM, Alcatel, Cisco Systems, Dell, Ericsson, Microsoft, Siemens, Motorola and McAfee.

The province's entertainment and creative cluster is the third largest in North America by employment after California and New York.  Over the past five years, nearly every film nominated for a special effect Oscar has used technology developed in Ontario