Canada's digital technology supercluster could create 50,000 new jobs

Jan 11 2018, 2:19 am

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is planning to create 50,0000 new jobs and invest $1.4 billion over the next 10 years, according to a release.

The group of at least 225 members includes TELUS, Microsoft, Teck, Change Healthcare, Providence Health Care, and the University of British Columbia.

The consortium hopes to fund more then 100 collaborative projects, with more than 1,000 across Canada, to generate $15 billion in GDP.

The BC-based group was among nine concepts invited to apply to the federal government for funding under its new supercluster strategy.

In the release, Bill Tam, co-chair of the consortium, said they want to draw upon expertise and skills from companies, organizations and individuals across Canada.

“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,” he said. “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 supercluster also wants to engage First Nations people in the tech sector “more meaningfully and equitably.”

Denise Williams, Executive Director of the First Nations Technology Council, said there is “tremendous potential” to elevate the innovative insights and ideas of Indigenous peoples.

“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,” she said.

The supercluster plans to focus on three projects to begin with: a secure health and genomic platform, an earth data store, and a digital learning factory.

The health platform would “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.”

Meanwhile the earth data store would “improve data collection, sharing and visualization – enhancing confidence in resource sector project planning and assessments for proponents, Indigenous Peoples, government and communities.”

And the learning factory would “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.”

The federal government is expected to choose up to five supercluster concepts to share nearly $1 billion in funding by the end of March 2018.

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Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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