KO staff participate in Canada’s Innovation Strategy consultation process

On Thursday, June 6, Dan Pellerin and Brian Beaton participated in the Thunder Bay Innovation Summit hosted by FedNor. This event proved to be a well organized and well attended event bringing together a wide cross section of business, industry, academic, government and organizations from across the region. The format provided everyone with the opportunity to contribute to the four challenges set out in the document “Achieving Excellence” as they relate to Northwestern Ontario: * creating new knowledge and bringing it to market more quickly * developing skills for the new economy * setting the right business and regulatory environment * strengthening communities across Canada. Ensuring that First Nations, remote and rural communities are recognized as leaders in innovation was a key purpose in participating in these summits. The challenges facing these communities and the people who live and work in these environments demand innovation and respect from all sectors. The majority of the Canadian population, industry, corporate and government sector continue to enjoy the benefits obtained through the contributions and sacrifices made by First Nations, remote and rural communities. A fair and equitable balance of resources and services must be available for the people in these communities to ensure their innovative and sustainable existence is maintained and appreciated by the rest of the country. The detailed report from all 35 summits will be posted on the Innovations Strategy web site under Publications and Reports. In conjunction with these sessions, FedNor hosted a Small Business Info-Fair with displays from a variety of Federal government departments along with local organizations such as NADF and some municipalities. The Rural Innovation Summit was hosted by the Rural Secretariat in Portage la Prairie. This gathering opened on Thursday evening with a challenging presentation by Arthur Bull who recognized that rural Canada is already the most innovative environment in the country. The workshop format the next day involved smaller working groups attempting to contribute to the questions presented in the Workbook for Rural Participation. This session seemed to be more of a sharing and collecting of information on the successes and challenges that exist in the rural sector across the country. I hope the authors of the final report will be able to provide some recommendations that can contribute the formation of government policy that will support the continued development and strengthening of the innovative qualities of First Nations, remote and rural communities across the country. The challenge still exists to make sure every individual and every community in Canada has the opportunity to contribute to the development of the policies and programs that will support Innovation in all communities across the country. The DO-IT-YOURSELF KIT on the Innovation Strategy web site provides a guide for everyone to contribute to this process. Please consider taking a look at the web site and sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Better still, get a group of people together to work through the information and provide a community perspective on local opportunities and needs. Of course, access to broadband connectivity sure would make it easier for everyone to participate in this effort. GET INVOLVED ... MAKE SURE FIRST NATIONS, REMOTE AND RURAL COMMUNITIES ARE INCLUDED IN THIS IMPORTANT PROCESS!!