Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the privilege to speak in the House today about the legislative reforms to intellectual property that accompany this particular piece of legislation.
I would note that I will be splitting my time with the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook this afternoon.
Our government unveiled Canada's first national IP strategy earlier this year, on April 26, World IP Day, after two years' worth of consultations. I know this is not exactly the most rivetting topic to consider this afternoon, but it is really important for businesses, and particularly businesses in Whitby. As a member of the INDU committee, the industry committee, I think it is really important to highlight some of these initiatives in the second BIA.
The objective of Canada's IP strategy is to help Canadian entrepreneurs better understand and protect intellectual property in order to strategically access and grow to scale. Business leaders from my riding of Whitby understand the importance of a strategy.
Jason Atkins, the CEO of 360insights, a great company in Whitby, has said that “IP is a critical component for businesses to scale, especially to a global level. If we want to create well-paid jobs in our country, we need to look at businesses with a global lens and leverage IP to compete globally.”
Also, Isaac Wanzama, founder and strategic senior strategist at geekspeak Commerce in Whitby, has said that “Intellectual property is the lifeblood of any innovation ecosystem, that is certainly true in Canada. As entrepreneurs, if we aren’t protecting the investments that we are make in our tech research, whether AI or genetics, then we’re not only doing a disservice to our businesses but to the Canadian economy as a whole. But, it’s not always that we don’t want to, often it’s because the process is difficult to understand and even if you can understand it, very expensive. Canada’s new IP Strategy, which aims to educate, simplify and reduce associated costs for startups and innovative businesses is a welcomed announcement.”
Innovative businesses in my riding are clearly excited about our government's plan. The IP strategy sets out to help businesses get the information and confidence they need to grow their businesses and take risks. It will help spur Canadian innovation and boost Canadian presence in the global marketplace through three key areas. It will increase IP literacy through IP awareness and educational programs, offer strategic IP tools for growth, and implement legislative amendments to strengthen Canada's IP system.
Today, I want to focus my remarks on the specific initiatives that will help improve IP awareness and education among Canadian businesses and innovators.
Along with a strong and effective IP framework in place, Canadian businesses must also, first and foremost, recognize and understand the importance of IP use in order to succeed in a global marketplace. They need to be able to understand how to protect their IP and use it effectively.
The statistics on Canadian businesses' IP awareness and use, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, are of concern. We know that small and medium-sized companies with IP in Canada are 64% more likely to be high growth companies and four times more likely to export, yet only 10% even hold some form of formal IP. Further, 83% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses have indicated that IP was not relevant to their business when citing the reasons for not seeking IP rights. This is why, along with the other legislative changes we are bringing forward, we are also expanding our efforts in IP literacy.
The IP strategy is built on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's IP awareness and education efforts that are already in place across the innovation ecosystem to ensure that innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and creators recognize the value of IP.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office, CIPO, will continue to build on current learning tools and resources, and also develop new educational resources to better equip innovators and businesses with the knowledge they need to succeed.
The CIPO has a team of IP advisers located across Canada who work directly with companies and innovators to deliver seminars and participate in innovation and business-related events, such as StartupCanada's Canadian export challenge.
Over the last year, the CIPO has delivered 150 seminars across the country, reaching over 1,900 participants through its IP awareness and education program.
The CIPO will be increasing the number of its initiatives over the next year, which will include hosting up to 60 seminars on advanced topics, such as IP commercialization and strategy and enforcement, and is increasing accessibility to these sessions by offering webcasts and developing e-learning modules.
Our government will also conduct a survey to better understand how Canadians understand and use IP, including groups that have been traditionally less likely to use IP, such as indigenous entrepreneurs and women. The results of the survey will help us meet the needs of under-represented groups and help ensure that our efforts to support innovation are inclusive of all parts of our society.
In addition to CIPO's outreach efforts to businesses, our government will create a new team of IP experts to ensure that IP is considered across federal government programs. Program officers will have access to expert knowledge and capacity to address IP issues and help guide recipients to improve their IP knowledge and savvy.
The IP strategy also sets out funding for IP legal clinics to help businesses understand their IP needs, facilitating access to IP professionals for advice, while also enabling students to learn more about intellectual property.
A strong and robust IP strategy is a key driver for getting companies to grow in scale, create better jobs and spur innovation. We must ensure that all the proper elements are in place for Canadian companies and innovators to grow and that they have an environment where they can innovate and develop.
This consists of an effective education and awareness program and strategic tools, which are necessary components to legislative amendments tabled in the budget implementation act. This will help Canada to become a more strategic user of intellectual property to fuel innovation and economic growth.