A new year, extraordinary possibilities – remarks from CEO, Sue Paish

2021 is already shaping up to be an extraordinary year. Healthcare professionals are working diligently to treat COVID-19 patients and carrying out ambitious and vital testing, screening and vaccination programs. At the same time, leaders across industry and government are partnering like never before to find new ways to keep Canadians safe and healthy through the pandemic, fuel our economic recovery and create a bright and resilient future for our country and for all Canadians.   

Improving the health and safety of Canadians, enabling the digital transformation of key economic sectors and training Canadians for skilled positions in the digital economy is at the heart of what we do every day at the Digital Technology Supercluster. The impact of our collaborative efforts with Members and Associates are captured in our recently released Economic Impact Report.

Here are a few highlights from our report that illustrate the exciting potential of the Digital Technology Supercluster:

The Government of Canada knows that keeping Canadians healthy and safe is an absolute priority and, at the same time, recognizes that a successful economic recovery requires ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors. Knowing this – early in the pandemic the federal government established the Industry Strategy Council, bringing together the leaders from the 2017 Economic Strategy Tables and charged the Council to provide guidance, advice and insights for Canada’s future economic strategy.

In December, the Council released its first report- Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity for All Canadians, –  which outlined recommendations to support the recovery and growth of key sectors anchored by four pillars:

  • Become a digital and data-driven economy
  • Be the environmental, social and governance world leader in resources, clean energy and clean technology
  • Build innovative and high-value manufacturing where we can lead globally
  • Leverage our agri-food advantage to feed the planet

The Council’s first recommendation is precisely what we’re all driving as a Digital Technology Supercluster community. Our strategy also aligns with the Council’s advocacy for public and private investments in its Restart, Recover and Reimagine approach – helping Canada navigate the continued journey through the pandemic in the many months ahead and recover and restart the economy successfully.

Late last year, the federal government also issued its ambitious Fall Economic Statement focused on supporting Canadians during and beyond the pandemic while investing in an inclusive and sustainable recovery. Much of what is included in both the Fall Economic Statement and the Industry Strategy Council report supports what you have done together with the Digital Technology Supercluster over the past two years. Your contributions to keeping Canadians safe and healthy has been critical to Canada and shows the ability and power of Canadian industry to move quickly and advance your many and varied projects.

Of course, our projects cross many sectors from natural resources and retail, to aerospace and training. And while the sectors and focus areas of the projects are diverse, the common thread through all is that you are proof of the power of the combination of collaboration and drive. We have seen outcomes and tremendous impacts from many of your projects and the rave reviews they are receiving across the board. For example,

  • Point-of-Care Ultrasound for COVID-19: this project is deploying and implementing handheld ultrasound devices for rapid COVID diagnosis with a special focus on remote and rural settings.
    • Outcome: Faster, more accurate diagnosis leading to better care and results
  • XrAI: Led by 1Qbit, this project is harnessing the power of machine learning to help clinicians more easily identify lung abnormalities in chest x-rays
    • Outcome: Faster and more accurate diagnosis of lung conditions, especially in small, rural or remote areas
  • Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Inspection: this project is enhancing maintenance and inspection through a specialized augmented reality engine
    • Outcome: Streamlining maintenance and inspection not just in the aviation industry, but across natural resources, health and industrial sectors, empowering engineers to use real-time data to generate real-time solutions  
  • Project ACTT-Access to Cancer Testing and Treatment in Response to COVID-19: This technology is improving access to testing and screening for cancer patients by providing a simple blood test as an alternative to more invasive surgical tissue biopsies. 
    • Outcome: Faster diagnosis and support for patients undergoing treatment resulting in improved health outcomes for cancer patients.   

And we’re just getting started!

Sue Paish
CEO, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster