An Open Letter from Canada's Tech Leaders



Oct 5, 2019

Canadian Tech Leaders Call on Parties to Show Their Innovation Strategies 

Today, CEOs from Canada’s fastest growing, technology-intensive companies called on the main Canadian party leaders to release economic strategies this election that advance innovative domestic companies by increasing their access to skilled talent, strategic capital and new customers, both in Canada and around the world. In an open letter, signed by over 110 technology CEOs from across Canada, business leaders offered to work with all parties in this election to address the challenge of wealth creation and lagging productivity in Canada by retooling the government’s economic toolkit for the 21st century economy. 

“Canada doesn’t have a start-up problem, it has a scale-up problem, and therefore it has a wealth creation problem” says Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), the national business association whose membership of over 100 CEOs issued the call to the political party leaders on Saturday. “When less than one percent of Canadian firms ever scale beyond 500 employees, it’s clear Canada needs an updated economic strategy that enables domestic innovators to rapidly scale globally in the 21st century economy. Without such a plan, Canada’s national prosperity is at risk.”

In addition to calling for strategies that address the gaps Canadian innovators face accessing talent, capital and customers, CCI’s membership is also calling on the federal parties to outline their plans for managing the digital economy and develop a national data strategy that addresses the economic and non-economic effects of the data-driven economy.

“Canadian innovators have long called on the federal government to develop a national strategy that recognizes data as the most valuable asset in today’s economy and develops legislative and regulatory frameworks that allow Canadian businesses to grow and scale in the global data-driven economy,” says Bergen.

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About the Council

The Council of Canadian Innovators was created in September 2015 by Canada’s most successful technology CEOs to ensure their voice was heard in the public policy development process because 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. Today, the Council is composed of over 100 CEOs leading high-growth, Canadian-based companies in the Cleantech, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Healthtech, and ICT sectors, and is chaired by Jim Balsillie, former Chairman and Co-CEO of BlackBerry, and John Ruffolo, Founder of OMERS Ventures. A list of CCI members can be found here:

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