With a new year comes new opportunities for Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. In late November, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster submitted its final application to the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative after being shortlisted as one of nine concepts under consideration.
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster positions Canada as a global leader in using the rapid growth of data to advance economic opportunities, and address the industrial productivity challenges, health care opportunities and sustainability issues facing Canada and the world today.
Over a ten-year period, the BC-born consortium anticipates that it will invest more than $1.4 billion to fund over 100 collaborative projects involving more than 1,000 organizations across Canada. Over this time period, the projects will generate a projected $15 billion in GDP and 50,000 new jobs that provide skilled and long-term employment opportunities for Canadians. For more information on the economic benefits, see the Executive Summary.
The consortium includes founding members TELUS, Microsoft, Teck, Change Healthcare, Providence Health Care, and the University of British Columbia. Since being short-listed as one of nine applicants, new members from across Canada have joined, including: Shoppers Drug Mart, Canfor, GE Digital, The Terry Fox Research Institute, University Health Network (“UHN”) – Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, SickKids and over 200 other organizations and post-secondary institutions resulting in over $500 million in committed funding.
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster will advance projects that are guided by defined industry needs across the country, drawing upon capabilities from participants in advanced solutions, using mixed, virtual and augmented reality, data analytics including artificial intelligence and quantum computing as well as leveraging cloud and secure blockchain based technologies.
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster will initially focus on the following industries: health, natural resources, and industrial applications; recognizing the strength of these industry sectors in Canada and the ability for these industries to share knowledge, collaborate on solutions and create world-leading impact.
The Supercluster will initially focus on the following proposed projects:
Secure Health and Genomic Platform – will help build the core data infrastructure required to create advanced cancer treatments personalized to the unique genetic makeup of a patient and improve patient-centric care.
Earth Data Store – will facilitate and improve data collection, sharing and visualization – enhancing confidence in resource sector project planning and assessments for proponents, Indigenous Peoples, government and communities.
Digital Learning Factory – will help facilitate collaboration on the development of virtual environments that enable design, rapid experimentation, and testing of cost-saving approaches to address the most significant challenges in modern manufacturing.
“Our collaboration framework will draw upon expertise and skills from companies, organizations and individuals across Canada,” said Bill Tam, Co-chair of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium. “We aim to tackle opportunities that would not have been undertaken by any company alone, but instead through a collective effort, these projects will have global impact — like advancing cancer treatment with the goal of finding a cure — and to position Canada as a world leader in a number of cutting-edge technologies.”
“The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network supported by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation joins The Terry Fox Research Institute to work with other industry-leaders through this supercluster including LifeLabs and STEMCELL Technologies in the precision health and genomic industries,” said Brad Wouthers, Executive Vice President, Science & Research – UHN. “It is through collaboration that we will achieve the greatest impact, like finding a cure for cancer.”
In addition to economic benefits, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster seeks to more meaningfully and equitably engage Indigenous peoples in the technology sector. “There exists tremendous potential to elevate the innovative insights, ideas and approaches of Indigenous peoples within the technology sector. It is our hope that this supercluster initiative achieves transformation of Canada’s digital landscape, empowering Indigenous innovators across all its focus areas while deepening the sector’s commitment to the meaningful advancement of reconciliation in a digital and connected age,” said Denise Williams, Executive Director, First Nations Technology Council.
It is no surprise, given the regional focus from which superclusters often emanate, that Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is BC-born. British Columbia has a geographic advantage as Canada’s gateway to both Asia — the fastest growing global economy — and the Cascadia Innovation Corridor along North America’s West Coast. Since the 1980s, technology has been booming in BC, resulting in $26 billion a year in generated revenue and making BC one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in Canada. For more information on the geographic benefits, see Deloitte’s full report.
“Canfor signed on as a member of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster after seeing the global reach of the consortium and the sustainable challenges it can address along with other industry leaders like UrtheCast and Teck. As a leader in integrated forestry products with Canadian roots and global reach, it was important to join,” said Don Kayne, CEO, Canfor.
“GE has made multiple investments in BC’s tech community and we are excited by the potential of the supercluster,” says Bram Klijsen, Vice President of Software Engineering with GE Digital. “As a digital industrial company, we’re looking for the best solutions in partnership with other companies to make industrial assets more digital across multiple industries including healthcare, power and aviation and the collaboration with the supercluster will further our efforts.”
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster will create new jobs, new products and new platforms. The products and platforms that will emerge will enable Canadian companies to scale-up, ultimately making Canada more attractive to startups, international talent, and investment. To learn more about Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster visit: