The Council of Canadian Innovators was created in 2015 by Canada’s most successful technology CEOs to ensure their voice was heard in the public policy development process. Innovation experts say that one essential element in sustained regional growth is the presence of significant concentrations of homegrown high-growth scale-ups. Companies that scale from millions to billions provide the most returns to national economies. For far too long, Canada’s public policy regarding innovation has been dominated by foreign multinationals and other actors whose primary purpose is not to create economic growth in Canada.

Currently, the Council is composed of more than 150 CEOs leading high-growth companies headquartered in Canada. The Council is chaired by Jim Balsillie, former Blackberry Co-CEO and John Ruffolo, Founder & Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, and Founder of OMERS Ventures.

Our history



In September of 2015, former Blackberry Co-CEO Jim Balsillie speaks to a group of CEOs from Canadian technology companies during an event organized by OMERS Ventures, which was founded and led by John Ruffolo. Balsillie’s message to the group was that the federal government was setting policy which would impact technology companies, but Ottawa was not listening to Canadian tech companies. Out of this meeting, the seeds for CCI are planted.

In October, the Liberal Party wins the 2015 federal election on a platform which includes a promise to hike taxes on employee stock options, a policy which would severely harm scale-up technology companies’ ability to recruit skilled talent. This served to underscore Balsillie’s message about policy being created without consulting with domestic tech companies and acted as a galvanizing force.


CEOs begin a public relations and government relations campaign, penning opinion pieces and writing letters to the Minister of Finance. Ultimately, in response to pressure from the tech sector, the Liberal government revised the policy to exempt most scaling technology companies from tax hikes on employee stock options. Bill Morneau, who was finance minister at the time, remarked, “I heard from many small firms and innovators that they use stock options as a legitimate form of compensation, so we decided not to put that in our budget.” This proved to many CEOs on the sidelines of the CCI movement that advocacy worked and was essential for updating Canada’s economic playbook for the 21st century innovation economy.



Benjamin Bergen hired as executive director as the first employee of the Council of Canadian Innovators. CCI begins working with then-Immigration Minister John McCallum, consulting with scaling technology companies. The result of this work would be the Global Talent Stream, which greatly reduced visa processing times for skilled workers coming to Canada — one of CCI’s first clear policy wins for members.


CCI brings around 50 CEOs to Ottawa for the first CEO Summit, which includes meetings with key federal ministers and civil servants and exposes CEOs to in-person advocacy firsthand.



The federal government announces the Global Skills Strategy, which includes the Global Talent Stream pilot part of theTemporary Foreign Workers Program. CCI is selected as the only non-governmental referral partner to the program.



CCI continues to establish itself as a leading voice for prioritizing homegrown Canadian technology companies through strategic public policy, including the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, ongoing federal government budget proposals, and the Sidewalk Labs project proposed for Toronto.



CCI Expands to Quebec with a dedicated provincial affairs lead, followed by Alberta in 2020, B.C. in 2021.



CCI becomes a vital voice for Canadian tech during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for improvements to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which proved to be inadequate for high-growth Canadian technology companies. Ultimately this advocacy focuses on the creation of the$250 million Innovation Assistance Program, which provided urgent capital to highly innovative technology companies, who did not qualify under other existing programs.



CCI Launches the Innovation Governance Program to train prospective board members with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively provide corporate governance oversight in scale-up Canadian technology companies.


CCI entrenches regional advocacy —galvanizing Alberta tech to sound the alarm on regulatory overreach of software engineers, and Quebec tech coming together to push back against overly onerous French language legislation. CCI is also an active voice of homegrown innovation in the Ontario general election.



CCI hosts its first Capital Summit in Toronto, bringing together leading Canadian institutional investors and a CEOs of high-growth technology companies


The Government of Canada announces significant changes to Canada’s economic immigration streams, including a digital nomad strategy and a high potential tech talent stream, in response to CCI’s ongoing advocacy. Many of the policy changes were directly mirrored in CCI’s 2022 Talent and Skills Strategy.


CCI takes a leadership role in the federal government's review of the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit, pushing for policy changes that provide maximum benefit to scale-up companies.

CCI makes government procurement a national priority as a key tool for governments to support innovative technology companies.

Our Board

Our Team


Join a team of of professionals working at the intersection of public policy and leading-edge technology, on behalf of Canada's most dynamic, high-growth technology companies.

Director, Government Affairs (British Columbia)

Vancouver or Victoria, B.C.
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The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) is a national business association representing over 150 of Canada’s fastest-growing technology-intensive companies. Companies within CCI’s portfolio are market leaders in their verticals and commercialize their technologies in over 190 countries, generating between $10M - $750M in annual recurring revenue. CCI’s member companies are all headquartered in Canada and collectively employ over 52,000 Canadians from coast to coast.

CCI was created in 2015 by the leaders of Canada’s most innovative companies to reorient Canada’s economic strategies towards supporting domestic scale-up companies to aid in their pursuit of becoming engines of Canada’s future economic prosperity. CCI works closely with our members and leaders within federal and provincial governments to develop economic strategies that increase access to talent, capital, and customers for homegrown firms, all while updating Canada’s economic playbook for the 21st century economy. Since 2015, CCI’s advocacy has led to government improving the way businesses access international talent, patent their inventions, and navigate the global data-driven economy. In 2020, CCI established a more formal advocacy presence in B.C. with boots on the ground to support its growing membership base in Vancouver and Victoria. CCI quickly mobilized tech leaders to advance priorities including the creation of an B.C. IP Strategy and Technology and Innovation Strategy. Today, local CEOs work closely with government officials to reorient B.C.’s economic strategies towards supporting high-growth companies headquartered in the province.

CCI is a peer network of Canadian business leaders and innovators who look to CCI’s leadership and membership for strategic advice and foresight, expert navigation of federal and provincial governments, and for connections to other innovators and institutions that can assist them in scaling their businesses worldwide.

Today, CCI is headquartered in Toronto and has staff located in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Montreal. CCI is established as a not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors, with Jim Balsillie, retired chairman and co-CEO of BlackBerry, serving as Chair, and John Ruffolo, founder of OMERS Ventures and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, serving as Vice-Chair. Both are also co-founders of CCI.


Reporting to the Vice President, Strategy and Advocacy, CCI’s B.C. Director will work closely with the B.C. government to advance CCI’s priorities and will work to ensure the government’s policies, regulations, and legislation reflect the needs of our members. CCI’s B.C. Director will be responsible for increasing the visibility of CCI in B.C., identifying opportunities for collaboration and dialogue between CCI’s members and the Government of British Columbia, cultivating and managing relationships with government officials, media, and stakeholder groups, and working to achieve CCI’s provincial advocacy priorities.

CCI’s B.C. Director will work on a wide range of public policy files and will be expected to immerse themselves in discussions taking place within the provincial government, so they become a resource to CCI’s membership. On any given day, CCI’s B.C. Director could be participating and advancing ideas in discussions on a variety of topics, including but not limited to procurement modernization, talent and skills development, data and privacy regulations, sectoral strategies, digitizing government, data and privacy regulations, and intellectual property frameworks. CCI’s B.C. Director will also be expected to become familiar with B.C. business support programs, tax regime, and immigration systems.

CCI’s B.C. Director will be expected to connect regularly with members of the media, at times acting as official CCI spokesperson on certain topics, and providing on-record statements to media communicating CCI’s position.

CCI’s B.C. Director will work closely with CCI’s Director of Member Success in developing membership recruitment strategies and ensuring CCI’s suite of member services are meeting the needs of current and prospective members of the council.

Essential Duties:

• Design, coordinate and execute a Government of British Columbia engagement strategy that supports member CEO advocacy;

• Abide by all provincial and federal lobbying rules and regulations;

• Organize discussions and forums between B.C. innovators and public-policy leaders related to the priorities of CCI and its membership;

• Assist in the education of CCI members regarding provincial and federal government business support programs;

• Develop a strong understanding of members' businesses, market landscapes and industry trends;

• Monitor current and upcoming provincial legislation and regulations that have an impact on B.C.’s innovation sector, and when necessary, coordinate industry responses to government measures and decisions;

• Contribute to the planning and execution of CCI’s national advocacy agenda, including large-scale advocacy events attended by senior government officials, policy makers and politicians;

• Support the Director of Member Success with the planning and execution of CCI’s regional growth initiatives, including business development in B.C. as well as onboarding of new CCI members;

• Support CCI’s Manager of Content and Communications in the development of media products, including opinion pieces, newsletters, budget submissions, and reports.

• Grow and maintain relationships with members of the local media by developing and delivering strategic and effective media pitches that advance our advocacy efforts;

Desired Skills and Competencies:

• A deep understanding of the Government of British Columbia and parliamentary processes will be essential to your success in this role;

• A strong understanding and passion for growing Canada’s innovation sector;

• The ability to work independently and telework collaboratively with a small team and thrive in a fast-paced environment;

• The ability to work at the pace of the private sector, responding to the needs of the innovation community and tech sector while meeting government deadlines;

• Consistently maintain a high level of professionalism with CCI membership, the Board of Directors, government officials and other key stakeholders;

• Attention to detail and with superior organizational skills;

• A self-starter with the ability to work independently with minimal oversight;

• The ability to think outside the box, be resourceful and solutions orientated;

• Be part of a highly driven, dynamic, inclusive team with energetic personalities.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary range $105,000 – $125,000 CAD

Education/training spend $2,500 per year

Generous benefits including dental & medical coverage

Parental leave benefits

CCI provides employees 3 weeks’ vacation each year, in addition to a summer closure in July of one week, and a winter closure of two weeks, totalling six weeks off during the year

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