Tony Clement talks about his government’s priorities in building a digital economy

Minister of Industry Tony Clement gave an update today on the government’s progress toward a digital economy strategy. In a keynote address at the International Institute of Communications Canada conference, Clement highlighted how the government has been moving forward in shaping an environment where information and communications technologies (ICT) and digital innovation can flourish.

While an official digital economy strategy isn’t expected until spring 2011, Clement told conference attendees about five priority areas where the government is focusing its efforts:

  • a world-class infrastructure;
  • business adoption of digital technologies to boost productivity and innovation;
  • a digitally skilled workforce;
  • successful Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to the world; and
  • Canadian content on all digital platforms.

A major aspect of infrastructure efforts was announced, when Clement told the conference that the government aimed to auction off the wireless 700 MHz spectrum by 2012. He also announced that another round of consultations on the 2500 MHz spectrum will be held early next year. Clement also announced that personal communications services and cellular fee rates have, for the moment, been frozen at their current levels.

Clement also spoke about the 25 Knowledge Synthesis Grants on the Digital Economy, which were awarded to scholars at 15 different universities across Canada and totalled $500,000. The Minister hoped that these grants could help identify research opportunities in the digital economy.

“The Harper government has a clear vision of what Canada can achieve,” said Minister Clement. “By 2020, we see a country that boasts a globally competitive digital economy that is driven by innovation and enhanced productivity and generates enduring prosperity.”