Canada: A Nation of Innovators

Building a Nation of Innovators

Building a Nation of Innovators

The multi-year Innovation and Skills Plan is Canada's response to this new reality, redefining the innovation ecosystem. The Plan builds on Canada's innovation strengths and addresses areas of weakness along the innovation continuum: from people and skills, through to fundamental and applied research, building innovation ecosystems, commercializing ideas and starting-up companies, to exporting and scaling-up globally competitive companies across all sectors of the economy. At it's very core, the Innovation and Skills Plan builds around Canada's competitive advantage: its people.


Budget 2019

In a challenging global economic environment, Canada's economy remains sound. Since November 2015, targeted investments and strong economic fundamentals have contributed to creating over 900,000 new jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest levels in over 40 years (Chart 1). In 2018 alone, all employment gains were full-time jobs.

At 3 per cent growth, Canada had the strongest economic growth of all G7 countries in 2017, and was second only to the U.S. in 2018. Recently, growth in global economic activity has slowed more than expected. At home, growth in the Canadian economy was softer at the end of 2018.

Despite these challenges, the Canadian economy is expected to strengthen over the second half of 2019, and to remain among the leaders for economic growth in the G7 in both 2019 and 2020.

Innovation Canada

At Innovation Canada, we back innovators.

From funding to expert advice to driving new collaborations, our flagship programs and services are designed to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy.

We back possibilities. Through programs like the Innovative Superclusters Initiative. We back big ideas. Through programs like Innovative Solutions Canada. We back game changers. Through services like our Clean Growth Hub.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) works with Canadians in all areas of the economy and in all parts of the country to improve conditions for investment, enhance Canada's innovation performance, increase Canada's share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace. We are the federal institution that leads the Innovation, Science and Economic Development portfolio.


We are the only Canadian bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. At BDC, we know business owners. We’ve been working with them for close to 75 years. We know their challenges and we understand their needs. And we want them to grow and succeed.

We support small and medium-sized businesses in all industries and at every stage of growth with money and advice. We are the Business Development Bank of Canada. We are BDC.

Connect to Innovate

The Connect to Innovate program will invest $500 million by 2021, to bring high-speed Internet to 300 rural and remote communities in Canada. In these communities, challenging geography and smaller populations present barriers to private sector investment in building, operating and maintaining infrastructure.

Digital Skills for Youth Program

Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) connects underemployed recent post-secondary graduates with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations where they can gain meaningful work experience to help them transition to career-oriented employment.

Strategic Innovation Fund

The Strategic Innovation Fund's objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada. Specifically, it serves to simplify application processes, accelerate processing, and provide assistance that is more responsive and focused on results.

Intellectual Property Strategy

The Government of Canada is investing $85.3 million over five years to help Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access intellectual property (IP) through a comprehensive IP Strategy.

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was built on the ideals of thinking big and investing in areas that matter to Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has ensured Canadian researchers have the tools — the cutting-edge labs, facilities and equipment — they need to push the frontiers of knowledge in all disciplines, and to contribute to the full spectrum of research — from discovery to technology development.

Innovation Superclusters Initiative

The Innovation Superclusters Initiative is investing up to $950 million to support business-led innovation superclusters with the greatest potential to energize the economy and become engines of growth. Through a small number of high-value, strategic investments this initiative is co-investing with industry in bold and ambitious proposals to strengthen Canada's most promising clusters and build superclusters at scale.

Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative

VCCI will leverage private sector and other capital to inject a total of over $1.5 billion into the VC marketplace, growing Canadian companies and supporting thousands of middle class jobs.

Accelerated Growth Service

The Accelerated Growth Service (AGS) helps growth-oriented Canadian businesses to expand by helping them access the key government services they need to grow, such as financing, exporting, innovation and business advice.

By providing businesses with the essential hands-on support they need most, AGS will result in more Canadian businesses expanding, becoming more competitive, and creating high-paying jobs in our communities.

Tracking progress and results: The Innovation and Skills Plan

The government has developed the Innovation and Skills Plan to grow the economy, create middle-class jobs, and provide Canadians with the skills they need to succeed. The Innovation and Skills Plan includes a commitment to deliver and communicate meaningful results to Canadians. The target descriptions, indicators, progress bars, and other information found below track progress towards reaching the goals established under the Innovation and Skills Plan.

Accessible Technology Program

The Accessible Technology Program is investing in hardware and software solutions that help Canadians with disabilities overcome barriers that come in the way of their full participation in the workplace.

Clean Growth Hub

Get advice from our team of experts from across government who can help you find and understand what programs and services may be right for you. Whether you're in the early stages of research, conducting technology demonstration or growing your business and exporting, the Clean Growth Hub can point you to the support that fits your needs. Services are available to firms of all sizes in the clean technology space and across all sectors of the economy.

Connecting Canadians

Connecting Canadians helps households in rural and remote areas get access to high-speed Internet and participate in the digital economy. The program supports private investment to extend and enhance broadband service in areas where low population density would otherwise make this uneconomical. Through the Connecting Canadians program, the Government of Canada is working with Internet service providers (ISP) and other stakeholders across Canada to make high-speed Internet (5 Mbps) available to thousands of households in rural and remote parts of the country, some for the first time.

Digital Literacy Exchange Program

The Digital Literacy Exchange program will invest $29.5 million to support initiatives that teach fundamental digital literacy skills to Canadians who would benefit from participating in the digital economy. The program aims to equip Canadians with the necessary skills to engage with computers, mobile devices and the Internet safely, securely and effectively. Project funding will be available from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Economic Strategy Tables

The Economic Strategy Tables are a new model for industry-government collaboration, focused on turning Canadian economic strengths into global advantages. The Tables are chaired by industry leaders and will set ambitious growth targets, identify sector-specific challenges and "bottlenecks", and lay out an actionable roadmap to achieve their goals. Learn more about the on-going work of each Table by clicking on the links below.

Canada's Regional Development Agencies

Canada's Regional Development Agencies (RDA) work closely with businesses and innovators in their regions to fuel economic growth that creates more well-paying middle-class jobs for Canadians.

Benefits of superclusters

  1. Supercharging Canada's job market with more than 50,000 new jobs

  2. Increasing Canada's GDP by more than $50 billion over 10 years

  3. Innovation everywhere in every corner of Canada

  4. New partners innovating together

  5. Superclusters will grow regional economies

Innovation for a Better Canada

The innovation race is on! A bright future for Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators starts with access to programs, services and tools that push ideas forward, create jobs and grow the Canadian economy.

Innovation for a Better Canada

At its most basic, innovation is about making things better in ways that benefit everyone. Innovation isn't always based on technology. Any idea can be transformed into a simple solution that results in new products or services. Innovations can create entirely new jobs, markets and industries that never existed before. And they can give existing industries a new lease on life by making them more productive and efficient.

Innovation can save lives as well as improve them. Insulin—a Canadian innovation—has not only saved the lives of millions of people worldwide with diabetes; it has also allowed the vast majority of people living with diabetes to enjoy a better quality of life and longer life expectancy.


The first two years of CanCode proved to be a huge success reaching over 1.3 million students and over 61,000 teachers, and still counting! We are pleased to announce that we are extending CanCode to build on that success.

Innovative Solutions Canada

Innovative Solutions Canada is a new program with over $100 million dedicated to supporting the scale up and growth of Canada's innovators and entrepreneurs by having the federal government act as a first customer. Twenty participating federal departments and agencies will set aside a portion of funding to support the creation of innovative solutions by Canadian small businesses.

Connecting Families

The Connecting Families initiative is investing $13.2 million over five years, starting in 2017-2018 to help bridge the digital divide for Canadian families who may struggle to afford access to home Internet. With this funding, Computers for Success Canada has developed a secure online portal that will enable eligible Canadian families to access high speed Internet service packages for $10 per month from participating Internet Service Providers.

Computers for Schools

Computers for Schools (CFS) refurbishes donated digital devices and distributes them to schools, libraries, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous communities as well as eligible low income Canadians across Canada. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada leads this program for the federal government, working with provincial and territorial governments, not-for profit organizations as well as the private and volunteer sectors. The program has helped extend the useful life of computer equipment, reducing the overall environmental impact of electronic waste. Youth also benefit from paid, practical work internships where they can develop more advanced digital skills.

Procurement programs and initiatives

Initiatives to improve government procurement and support innovation and Aboriginal businesses.

Women Entrepreneurship Strategy

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do, it's good for the bottom line.  

That's why the Government of Canada is advancing women's economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.


Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world – to create a more innovative Canada