We are a Business Council for the 21st Century Economy

The Council of Canadian Innovators is the 21st century business council exclusively focused on helping high-growth Canadian technology firms scale-up globally. The Council’s mandate is to optimize the growth of Canada’s innovation-based sector by ensuring Canadian tech and public-policy leaders are working together to improve Canada’s innovation outputs.

What we care about

We advocate for policy that spurs innovation and helps domestic tech companies gain greater access to talent, capital and customers.
Access to Talent

We believe high-skilled talent is the jet-fuel Canadian companies need to reach new heights.

Access to Capital

We believe that Government investments into innovation should be directed towards high-growth firms

Access to Customers

We believe Government has a role in helping scaling technology companies access more customers

Canada doesn’t have a start-up problem, it has a scale-up problem; CCI exists to address this and help Canadian-based companies reach new global heights

In the media


2018 Ontario Election Innovation Highlights

The Council of Canadian Innovators asked the four main political party leaders in Ontario how they would help domestic innovators scale up their companies and access more talent, capital, and customers in the 21st century innovation economy, if their party is elected on June 7, 2018.


Ottawa turns to U.S. tech giants too often: internal government memo

"Far too often, Canadians watch IT contracts get handed out to foreign multinational companies when highly qualified domestic companies here in Canada are overlooked because the current procurement process favours incumbents and doesn't foster enough new entrants into the process," says Benjamin Bergen, executive director of CCI, to CBC News.


Meet the chairs

Jim Balsillie
Chair of Council of Canadian Innovators

Jim Balsillie (B.Comm. Toronto, FCA Toronto, MBA Harvard) is a former Chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), a Canadian company he scaled from an idea to $20 billion in sales globally.

He is a co-founder of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) based in New York City and Council of Canadian Innovators based in Toronto. He currently chairs the Board of Directors of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. He is also the founder of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Arctic Research Foundation.

Mr. Balsillie was the only Canadian ever appointed to US Business Council and the sole private sector representative on the UN Secretary General’s High Panel for Sustainability. He is the only Canadian member of the US Council on Competitiveness and an internationally renowned voice on innovation strategy, competitiveness and international economic policy. His awards include: several honorary degrees in Canada, Mobile World Congress Lifetime Achievement Award, India’s Priyadarshni Academy Global Award, Time Magazine World’s 100 Most Influential People, three times Barron’s list of "World’s Top CEOs".

John Ruffolo
Vice-Chair of Council of Canadian Innovators

Mr. Ruffolo is the Chief Executive Officer of OMERS Ventures, the venture arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s leading pension funds. OMERS Ventures invests in early to late stage companies in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications sectors. In addition, he is also the Executive Managing Director with OMERS Platform Investments, the innovation investing arm of OMERS.

Mr. Ruffolo serves as a board member of both Hootsuite and D2L (Desire2Learn). He is the Chairman of OMERS Energy and serves on the Member Council of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). John is the co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators. He also serves as a board member of OneEleven and Communitech, respectively, both leading innovation hubs in Canada. John is the Vice-Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and is a board member of Canadians for Clean Prosperity and The Next Big Thing Foundation. He is a member of the Toronto chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Mr. Ruffolo was a Partner at Deloitte, as well as the Global Thought Leader, the Global Tax Leader and the Canadian Industry Leader for Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice. He was also a member of the firm’s Tax and TMT Global Leadership teams and a member of Deloitte’s Board of Directors. A chartered accountant, Mr. Ruffolo was formerly a partner with Arthur Andersen LLP and has also spent time as an instructor for both the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and York University’s Schulich School of Business, from which he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration.

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