Speech Article from  Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Archived - Investing in Commercialization Partnerships Funding Announcement for Communitech Corporation for the Open Data Exchange (ODX)

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Speaking Points

The Honourable Tony Clement,
President of the Treasury Board

Waterloo, Ontario

May 19, 2015

Check Against Delivery


Good morning.

I'd like to begin by thanking Peter Braid for that introduction. And, of course, I'd like to thank OpenText for hosting us here today.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize a couple of my colleagues – Stephen Woodworth, the MP for Kitchener Centre, and Harold Albrecht, the MP for Kitchener-Conestoga. Thank you gentlemen for taking the time to join us today.

I would also like to recognize Karen Ellis, Deputy for FedDev Ontario, as well as the Vice-President of Business Innovation and Community Development, Alain Beaudoin.

Open Government is a growing international movement. It requires giving citizens free access to public information in formats that are easy to use.

The release of government data and information for unrestricted reuse by Canadians and Canadian businesses, creates jobs by fuelling creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Open data—from both public and private sources—are adding a new dimension to big data analytics and giving rise to novel, data-driven innovations.

Businesses are finding new ways of segmenting markets and raising productivity.

Consumers are gaining insight into what they buy, where they go to school, and how they get around, such as the use of mobile apps that use open data to show the flow of traffic and public transit.

More than 40 countries—from every region of the world and at every stage of development—have established open data initiatives. These nations are opening up all kinds of data sets to promote economic development and spark innovation.

In Canada, I can tell you our Government is committed to leading Open Data initiatives focused on stimulating the digital economy.

We have made great strides at the federal level, but the real value of open data lies in combining datasets from all levels of government, private industries, academia, and elsewhere.

And we are delivering on our Open Data commitments, outlined in Canada's Action Plan on Open Government, by:

  • Ensuring the continued release of high-value datasets.
  • And stimulating the "app" economy by supporting Open Data "appathons."

This year our Canadian Open Data Experience event became the largest appathon of its kind in Canada, attracting more than 1,300 participants from all over the country.

The digital economy has motivated government to release vast amounts of public data, but there remain real challenges to accessing that data in a way that can generate insights, ideas, products and services to truly benefit society.

That's why in 2014, the Government of Canada introduced the idea of an open data institute.

We know we need to tap into the tremendous commercial opportunity represented by open data ─ $3 trillion in possible economic development globally according to McKinsey & Company.

It's time for Canadians to seize the opportunity of open data.

So today, I'm honoured to announce our Government's $3 million investment to assist Communitech Corporation in creating the Open Data Exchange.

This non-repayable contribution is delivered through FedDev Ontario's Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative, which supports business-led partnerships with a focus on globally-competitive products and services.

The project is expected to incubate 15 data-driven companies, and create approximately 370 jobs, 70 of which will be direct technology jobs.

ODX, as it will be known, will create a central and national open data marketplace.

It will be responsible for aggregating large datasets, informing the development of interoperability standards, and catalyzing the development and commercialization of new data-driven apps.

Specifically, ODX will commercialize open data by surfacing and providing the marketplace where data can be traded to satisfy market needs and wants.

It will also allow companies to augment their current capabilities and products or build out net new capabilities and products.

ODX is a public-private-academic partnership that will serve all of Canada. It will work with private sector partners through demonstration projects to build real world applications.

It will also help create the next generation of technology companies to engage in the open data economy.

We have entrusted the success of this project to the very capable and experienced team behind Communitech, but also in the hands of their project partners, which include OpenText Corporation, Desire2Learn and the University of Waterloo.

ODX will leverage the Canadian Digital Media Network by participating in events and workshops, such as the Canadian Open Data Experience, and will lead demonstration projects with businesses so that other companies can see the potential of open data.

This presents a great opportunity for Canada to be a global leader in the information age.

It will result in new products, new companies, talent retention, high-quality jobs, prosperity, increased competitiveness and productivity for Canada.

This institute is the first of its kind in Canada. And it will be located right here in Waterloo.

Waterloo is a thriving economic region. And as Peter keeps telling me, one of the best places in the country. Thank you Peter for your commitment to this project.

With a strong innovation culture, this region provides access to knowledge, networking services and support for start-ups to established, global companies.

From innovation clusters to research institutes, from post-secondary institutions to government agencies, Waterloo shows the success that comes from collaboration.

As I mentioned already, Canada is committed to strengthening a truly global open data movement and exploring ways to use collaboration and technology to build future prosperity.

Next week, Canada will be hosting the world in Ottawa at the third International Open Data Conference. More than one thousand attendees from across the globe will gather to share ideas on how to enable the data revolution.

I'm excited to speak with this mix of open data experts, government and private sector representatives, and members of civil society.

As Canada stands poised to turn 150 years young, the Government of Canada is taking steps to ensure Canada is taking full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age.

For example, the Government`s Digital Canada 150 strategy represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring Canada can take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age.

The Government of Canada looks forward to seeing how ODX will support a pan-Canadian open data innovation community that will help incubate the next generation of data-driven companies.

Thank you.

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