Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

Ontario’s government is launching an expert panel and online consultation on intellectual property to help protect made-in-Ontario ideas and create jobs and economic growth. The government is working to strengthen the way the province generates and commercializes intellectual property. This includes maximizing commercialization opportunities in the postsecondary education sector, such as for incubators, accelerators and Regional Innovation Centres.

The province’s postsecondary institutions conduct high‐quality research that contributes to Ontario’s innovation‐based economy. This research base is supported by a network of intermediaries designed to help entrepreneurs move from the idea stage through start-up growth. Setting up intellectual property rights, including for new technologies, offers huge potential for sustainable, competitive and long-term economic growth in Ontario.

That is why the provincial government is creating an expert panel, which will deliver a report on how Ontario can maximize commercialization opportunities for the postsecondary sector and its partners. Included in the expert panel report will be an action plan for a provincial intellectual property framework. The panel will look at ways to:

  • Improve the innovation outcomes for the benefit of Ontario’s economy;
  • Promote the creation and commercialization of intellectual property;
  • Review current commercialization capacity inside Ontario’s postsecondary education sector; and
  • Recommend strategies for improved generation and commercialization of research and intellectual property.

“Intellectual property is one of Ontario’s most valuable assets when it comes to growth from innovation, ideas and discoveries,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “That’s why we need to take concrete steps, like this expert panel, to support the commercialization of research and intellectual property in Ontario postsecondary institutions.”

“Our government understands the importance of protecting made-in-Ontario ideas,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We have the best and brightest students right here in Ontario, and they are leading the charge in today’s knowledge-based economy. This expert panel will help us support and protect their ideas so that they can reach their full economic potential.”

Panel members come from a wide range of backgrounds including postsecondary education, industry, technology and innovation, venture capital and investment, and intellectual property law. Members are:

  • Jim Balsillie, retired Chairman and Co-CEO of Research In Motion (now Blackberry), Co-founder of the Council of Canadian Innovators, and Founder and Chair of the Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Dr. Shiri Breznitz, Associate Professor of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Myra Tawfik, EPICentre Professor of Intellectual Property Commercialization and Strategy, University of Windsor
  • Dr. Dan Herman, Vice-President of Strategy and Partnerships, Myant Inc.
  • Natalie Raffoul, Managing Partner of Brion Raffoul Intellectual Property Law

The panel will be asked to deliver a final report to the Ontario government in December 2019.

The online public consultation on intellectual property, which opens today, is intended to bring together a broad range of perspectives. The perspectives gathered from the consultation will be considered in the development of the expert panel’s action plan.