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Ottawa, Nov. 15, 2016— Canada’s capacity to compete through innovation will depend on how well business, government and post-secondary education institutions can collaborate to cultivate a pool of next-generation talent. In a new report released today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce outlines recommendations for all three sectors that lay a path to creating a workforce that can not only adapt, but lead in a changing economy.

“Disruptive technology is becoming the new norm, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. If Canada is to compete and thrive in a constantly-changing economy, our workforce will need to have adaptive skills and the opportunity for continual learning. A shift like that will require business, government and learning institutions to work hand-in-hand,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Innovation is rarely accomplished through breakthroughs, but instead through painstaking work and effort over a long period. Canada’s innovation economy will require many resources, but none as important as its people.”

The launch of this report is timely, as the government takes a step in the right direction in its efforts to launch a new innovation agenda. The fact that the government’s recognizes that innovation goes further than just technology by having six focus areas is particularly positive. Properly anchoring the innovation agenda to business sector priorities will require an ongoing and open dialogue with employers on what their needs are, and how to prepare the next generation of students to take on these challenges.

Canada’s success as an innovative nation relies on its people being skilled and highly qualified. “The range of talents, and educational backgrounds, necessary to create innovation is broad.  We need world leading scientists, technologists, and even tradespeople.  Canada needs basic research and applied industry-driven research.  We need outstanding business leaders and entrepreneurs. Polytechnics, universities, and colleges each have a critical role to play in developing this talent.   This report sets out an inclusive vision of the talent needed to innovate,” said Dr. Glenn Feltham, Chair of Polytechnics Canada and President and CEO of NAIT in Edmonton.

“This report contains recommendations for business, government and post-secondary institutions, because it is clear that building a innovation driving workforce isn’t the responsibility of any one sector or institution, but very much a group effort,” said Mr. Beatty. “By aligning our efforts, we can build the workforce that will allow Canada to surpass its competitors. We’ve already got the right people, we just need to give them the right tools.”

Click here to read the report.


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

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G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce