Editorial - 24-12

Guest Contributor
July 30, 2010

With more than 2,000 submissions to its Digital Economy Strategy consultations, the federal government has an excellent opportunity to mount a major offensive against the nation's weak productivity and commercialization performance. Information and communications technologies (ICT) lie at the heart of virtually every industry sector and improving their penetration and performance is the holy grail of innovation policy.

The handful of submissions profiled in this issue of RE$EARCH MONEY represent just a small fraction of the advice government must dig through as it seeks the best and most realistic ideas and recommendations for moving forward. It's a massive task but an essential one, given the growing gap in ICT uptake and adoption between Canada and competing nations.

The Council of Canadian Academies took the unprecedented step of spearheading an expert panel (rather than responding to government suggestions), focusing on the enterprise element of the digital economy. Its recommendations (an IRAP for ICT and catalytic government procurement) are deadly accurate in pinpointing the problems and offering modest yet effective actions to address them.

CANARIE and other support organizations have also weighed in, recommending ways to boost ICT capacity and engage industry to grow homegrown industries that either produce ICT products and services or stand to benefit from their adoption.

It's now up to Industry Canada to develop a workable strategy and institute measures for its successful implementation.

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