Ottawa, May 5, 2022—Canadian tech innovators own only a fraction of the Intellectual property (IP) they create and tend to transfer their patents to foreign firms. Although Canada has made a name for itself as a world-renowned technology research hub, companies must focus on commercializing and scaling their own innovations to shape a thriving homegrown ecosystem and attract high quality foreign direct investment.

This new ICTC study, Context Matters: Strengthening the Impact of Foreign Investment on Domestic Innovation, explores the relationship between intellectual property (IP) development, retention, and commercialization and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the context of other incentive structures such as market access, cost and availability of talent and wages, business density and ecosystem critical mass, private investment opportunities, R&D subsidies, and government regulations.

A key consideration posed by this study is what types of supports are needed to improve Canadian IP development and retention, and spur SMEs to commercialize their research while, at the same time, considering the impact to Canada’s position as an attractive place to do business for international players.

This paper also includes three case studies illustrating various funding and FDI pathways for Canadian tech companies as well as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the Canadian innovation ecosystem in relation to FDI.

“Striking the right balance between FDI and IP protection measures can help support the domestic SME ecosystem, provide access to international channels, and heighten competition. A critical combination for a strong and innovative market economy.” — Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 30 years.

To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was completed with funding from Invest in Canada.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language press release of this report is here.

Researched and written by Faun Rice (Manager of Research and Knowledge Mobilization) and Mairead Matthews (Senior Research and Policy Analyst), with generous support from Xinyi Lin (Data Scientist) and the ICTC Digital Think Tank team.