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Minister Bell Unveils Technology Sector Strategy

BURNABY - Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell launched the B.C. government's strategy to create and support jobs in the province's fast-growing technology sector today.

"Technology is one of eight key sectors we identified in 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan', but it's doubly important in that technology supports all of the other sectors through product and service innovations that allow them to grow and create jobs," Bell said. "Technology enables growth in all sectors and growth means jobs for B.C. families."

As jobs in the technology sector continue to grow twice as fast as any other, B.C.'s Technology Strategy predicts by 2014 there will be over 100,000 high-tech jobs supporting British Columbian families.

In order to build on that momentum and support the sector, the strategy focuses on four key action items:

  • Accelerate technology commercialization and adoption.
  • Build on regional strengths to create new opportunities.
  • Develop talent for a knowledge-based economy.
  • Expand markets for British Columbia's technology

The strategy builds on the competitive advantages and investments in B.C.'s main technology subsectors, which include clean technology; information and communication technologies; wireless, digital and screen-based media; and health and life sciences.

"Building a knowledge-based society is key to the future of British Columbia - and British Columbians, " said Greg Peet, chair of Premier's Technology Council. "This strategy will strengthen and diversify the province's economy by encouraging the formation and growth of companies in B.C.'s vibrant technology sector."

The new $7-million BC Commercialization Voucher Program will connect small and medium-sized companies from a variety of key sectors and regions throughout the province with cutting-edge researchers in B.C.'s post-secondary system. Those collaborations will help get the most innovative products to market faster.

"The development and commercialization of technology is crucial for communities throughout this province," said Minister of State for Multiculturalism John Yap. "The sector provides innovative solutions that make B.C. competitive and bring jobs to communities both big and small."

"To compete globally, it's more important than ever that we continue to strengthen the network of resources that support innovation, the development of highly skilled talent and the commercialization of technology products and services right here in B.C.," said Jill Leversage, board chair of the British Columbia Innovation Council. "BCIC and initiatives such as the BC Commercialization Voucher Program help technology entrepreneurs accelerate their ideas from concept to the marketplace."

The B.C. government also plans to develop a second program, Productivity BC, to help companies increase cost efficiencies, production scalability and business sustainability.

In addition, a new government procurement program will help businesses commercialize their ideas and get new products into the marketplace quickly and efficiently.

Learn More:

B.C.'s Technology Strategy:

Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan:

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Two backgrounders follow.


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
250 356-7104


BC Commercialization Voucher Program

What is it?

  • The BC Commercialization Voucher program will provide vouchers in amounts of $15,000 or $50,000 to support the commercialization of technology products, services and processes.
  • This new program is targeted toward technology and knowledge-driven businesses in British Columbia in provincial priority areas identified under 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan', including Technology, Forestry, Mining, Natural Gas, Agrifoods, Tourism, Transportation and International Education.
  • The program provides companies that operate from a British Columbia base with access to the unique knowledge and expertise available at the province's post-secondary institutions.
  • Details about the program will be posted on the BC Jobs Plan website in late September.

Who can apply?

  • Qualified B.C. enterprises with an applied research and development question can apply to work with a qualified graduate student expert that is registered in a B.C. post-secondary research institution.

When does the program start?

  • The first program intake is expected in early October.


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
250 356-7104


Key B.C. technology subsectors

Clean technology includes power generation, energy efficiency, transportation and industrial processes. This subsector includes more than 200 young companies, generates $2.5 billion in revenue and provided 8,400 jobs in 2011, with $650 million in combined payroll. B.C. has the third-largest clean energy sector in the world, behind California and Germany, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Information and communication technologies and wireless comprises more than 6,000 companies undertaking software publishing, computer manufacturing and systems design, engineering services, and wired and wireless communications. B.C. has more than 500 wireless technology businesses alone, which generate revenues of more than $1 billion. The subsector provides 46,000 B.C. jobs.

Digital and screen-based media companies include more than 600 firms involved in areas such as interactive design; digital entertainment and games; digital film, animation and special effects; mobile content and applications; and e-learning. The sector employs about 16,000 people and has $2.3 billion in annual sales. The global video game market alone is projected to grow to $76 billion by 2013.

Health and life sciences companies produce medical devices, biopharmaceuticals, bio-products and process innovations. B.C.'s biopharmaceutical cluster alone comprises more than 90 companies and is the seventh largest in North America. Bioproducts are created using renewable resources and biological processes, and include biofuels, bioenergy, biomaterials, and everyday household or industrial products, with an estimated global market of $200 billion.


Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
250 356-7104