Shawn Dhue is an IPilogue Writer and a 2L JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.
In anticipation of Canada’s federal election on September 20, 2021, it is relevant to research the federal parties’ platforms as they relate to intellectual property (IP), innovation, and technology. In this post, I will look at the platforms of the Liberal Party of Canada (“Liberal Party”) and the Green Party of Canada (“Green Party”). Make sure to check out my colleague Claire Wortsman’s post investigating the platforms of the Conservative Party of Canada and Canada’s New Democratic Party.
The Liberal Party of Canada’s 2021 Federal Election Platform
Three main points involving technology and intellectual property stick out in the Liberal Party’s platform for the upcoming election:
1.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to confirm if he supports the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver.
As more progressive election parties and groups push to support the TRIPS waiver and request that wealthier countries relax their IP protection laws to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is shared globally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to comment. In May 2021, Trudeau said that he supports sharing vaccines globally and that he will consider waiving IP rights. However, this was the last time Trudeau spoke publicly about the matter, and he has yet to acknowledge it while campaigning. Three days after his comment, Cooperation Canada published a letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to support the waiver and help countries like India and South Africa combat their COVID-19 outbreaks.
2. The Liberal Party plans to create ElevateIP, an initiative “to help innovators access expert intellectual property services, with $90 million over two years, and another $75 million over three years for a similar Industrial Research Assistance Program for high-growth firms.”
The Liberal Party sees this investment as supporting small businesses, innovators, tech start-ups, and more. The Liberal Party acknowledges the value of IP and states that they would love to see the economy use the IP community for growth opportunities. As such, they plan to support ElevateIP with a Strategic Intellectual Property Program Review, which will assess this initiative and help programming from the start of research to near-commercial projects. This initiative is said to ensure Canadians reap the benefits from the IP and tech industry.
3. The Liberal Party plans to renew the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy.
In 2017, the Canadian government pledged $125 million for the world’s first nationwide Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy. The strategy aims to foster a more collaborative AI environment by attracting AI researchers to the country. Additionally, the Liberal Party hopes to advance national initiatives in the AI community to help society better understand the implications of AI. Renewing this strategy would bring Canada to the forefront of the global AI community.
The Liberal Party’s platform includes a few more noteworthy points. The Liberal Party hopes to provide $1.4 billion to support small business technology needs and connect those small businesses with younger people looking for tech careers over four years. The platform also speaks to helping large-scale energy technology projects by providing them with $1 billion over five years. Lastly, the Liberal Party plans to create the Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy in British Columbia during their next term, with an estimated cost of $35 million.
The Green Party of Canada’s 2021 Federal Election Platform
The Green Party has yet to release a full election platform. Leader Annamie Paul says that circumstances are different this election and anyone who wants to see the Green Party’s platform can “search the internet for her party’s existing climate policies.” For the party known to be environment-focused, Paul states that not much has changed since the 2019 election. Paul reiterated this statement when British Columbia’s heatwave claimed multiple lives earlier this summer.
With this, three noteworthy points emerge from the Green Party’s platform as they relate to IP, innovation, and energy:
1.The Green Party plans to increase renewable energy development programs in First Nations communities, aligned with the UNDRIP principles of self-determination.
This point intersects with several issues, including economy and affordability, Indigenous affairs, and energy. The Green Party hopes to partner with Indigenous communities to revamp the east-west electricity grid to transmit renewable energy from one region to another. This initiative will create renewable energy for First Nations communities at a lower cost than building a new grid in areas without access to these energy sources.
2. The Green Party plans to invest in comprehensive training programs to repurpose the skills of industrial trades workers for jobs in the renewable energy sector.
The Green Party hopes that this plan will provide skilled workers in Canada with secure employment opportunities.
3. The Green Party hopes to implement an energy efficiency retrofit program for all buildings.
“Energy efficiency retrofitting” upgrades a building’s energy-consuming system. Retrofitting could involve improving light fixtures, windows, doors, ventilation, or insulation to make buildings more energy and economically efficient. The Green Party hopes to create a program to make sure buildings around Canada can help fight the climate crisis.
The Green Party still has time to release a new, expanded platform within the coming weeks.