Remarks: A non-partisan path forward

Remarks from Michael Wernick to the Canada 2020 4th Annual Indigenous Economic Development Forum

November 27, 2019 (The Westin Ottawa)

Kwe Kwe, Tan’si, Ullakuut, Bouzhou, Bonjour and Good Morning.

Let me also begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territories of the Algonquin peoples of this part of Turtle Island, and by thanking Elder Venra who helped us get today’s gathering started in the right way.

I also want to thank Canada 2020 for the invitation to join today’s dialogue, and acknowledge the many wonderful speakers and panellists gathered here today, many of whom I have had the honour to meet along the path I have taken. 

The diversity of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, their history and their present realities, is such that it is rare that any statement holds true for all. Rather it is weaving or braiding those diverse experiences and realities together that brings us closer to finding common ground and a way forward.  That is the great service Canada 2020 is providing to us today.

All I can offer in the next few minutes is to share, with great humility, some reflections from my own journey, suggest where that common ground may be found, and propose a menu of specific actions that could be taken. My contention is that we have an opportunity right now for a non-partisan agenda that would make a tangible difference.

My own journey with Indigenous issues began in 1985, as the desk officer at the Department of Finance for Indian and Northern Affairs, and for the next 34 years I returned many times to the path of Indigenous issues, always as a servant of the Crown, always in the executive branch of the federal government.  Half of my career I worked for red governments and half of it for blue.

Pulling together the biography you have in front of you, that traces my journey it jumped off the page that along the way there were some big setbacks, when exciting breakthroughs stumbled and collapsed at the last step, disappointing not just the government of the day – but also the Indigenous leaders who had taken great risk to work collaboratively rather than sit back and reject. 

The 1987 Constitutional Conference chaired by PM Mulroney, the Charlottetown Accord, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Gathering Strength response, the Kelowna Accord, the First Nations Education Act, the First Nations Governance Act.  These events have reinforced a view I often heard, and still do, in some circles of punditry and politics that Indigenous issues are intractable, and that the career of every Minister and every National Chief will ultimately end badly.  

I reject that view.  Along the way there have also been important breakthroughs. The entrenchment of constitutional protections in sections 25 and 35 of our Constitution just one generation ago (I was in the crowd on the Hill that rainy day in April) has changed the power balance and opened up a path that runs not through legislatures but through the courts. More than 20 Supreme Court rulings have established a body of law and principles such as Honour of the Crown, duty to consult, duty to diligently implement, and concepts of Aboriginal title and Metis rights that have real impact. The law has created leverage and opportunity for Indigenous peoples here in Canada that no other Indigenous peoples in settler countries have achieved.  

In particular the 26 modern treaties addressing land claims or self government or both have given communities and people meaningful tools to regain a degree of sovereignty and build a better future.

I especially want to lift up the Inuit leaders, past and present, who have built something unique in the world over the past 20 years, and the Yukon First Nations who left the Indian Act and achieved self government a generation ago.

These agreements, as well as dozens of litigation settlements, were in part intended to address some of the most egregious wounds created by our troubled history, which was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission in 1996.  In some ways they can never be enough, but by acknowledging and facing up to the past they have allowed at least some healing and freed up energy and effort toward shaping the future.  Among them I would note the residential schools settlement and more recent settlements related to childhood experiences, the apologies for forced relocations, the settlements of the Lubicon and Bigstone Cree claims, the creation of the Qalipu First Nation, the Paix des Braves in Quebec.  

This is not to overlook the flaws and imperfections in how many of these initiatives have been implemented, or to deny that there is so, so much more left to do. 

I do contend they illustrate that with good will, mutual respect and courage, common ground can be found and progress achieved  – but also that the quest for the perfect and pure can be the enemy of the good and may needlessly prolong misery.

Each success creates hope and momentum, and concrete lessons that can carry forward to new successes. Emulating and spreading success stories is often the most effective approach to creating positive change in the world.

Our history tells us that there is no reason for Indigenous issues to be caught up in divisive party partisanship.  Each of the eight Prime Ministers and ten Ministers I have served – yes I started and ended with a Trudeau – has in his or her own way attempted with personal commitment and at some political cost to tackle the profound challenges of what we now call reconciliation and each has seen achievements and setbacks along the way.  I can also say have seen the best and the worst from provincial governments of all stripes, red, blue and orange.

So my assertion is that there is ample room right now for a non-partisan or multi-partisan agenda here in Ottawa, and indeed an urgent need for an intergovernmental agenda bringing together all governments in our federation. 

Given the high failure rate of grand scale broad spectrum political initiatives like the Charlottetown and Kelowna Accords, and of some of the more targeted structural reforms, it seems to me that the best approach is one of relentless step by step change, working together, and that a good place to start in 2020 is in fact economic reconciliation.  

Whether you come from the red, blue or orange camps in national politics, or from the pragmatist or ideologue camps in Indigenous politics, from the public or private sector, no one wants a future of poverty, unemployment and dependency. There are many good practices and ideas we can quickly build on, especially if we speak directly and honestly with each other.

To paraphrase someone I admire who spoke to Canada 2020 earlier this year – there are no blue ideas or red ideas or orange ideas  – just ideas, good and bad.

I don’t think it has anything to do with majority or minority government: many of the big initiatives that failed in the past were initiated by majority governments and some important successes were achieved by minority governments.

I do think it has to do with common ground. I can see at least five areas on which to build.

The first point of common ground should be to say more often to each other that there can be no broad progress in any community anywhere on social, health and justice outcomes if there is no economy.  People want a degree of personal autonomy, they want jobs and opportunity to build something for themselves and a future for their families, whether it is a career, a home, a retirement nestegg, or a business. 

Communities need an economy that will generate revenues to pay for services and that can be monetized to finance infrastructure.  The government in self-government means collecting revenues and accounting for their use, not dependency on transfers. 

The second point of common ground, conversely, should be that in 2020 economic growth must be sustainable and must be inclusive.  Indigenous peoples knew this before the rest of us began to catch on and catch up. We must ensure economic and infrastructure projects in and near Indigenous communities are held to the highest standards of environmental impact and that these communities are leading, not following, the great energy shift under way.

I would add under the social dimension of sustainability that we must be vigilant not to see the historic inequality between indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians morph into a new form of inequality among Indigenous Canadians.

Third, and this may be contentious for some, we know that economic outcomes are hugely affected by the quality of governance. I am a big fan of the 2012 book Why Nations Fail and the compelling case it makes for inclusive governance.  We must chart a course where we do not end up with everyone working for Indigenous governments and their state owned businesses, but nor do we end up with unaccountable oligarchs. 

Fourth, the ingredients of activating economic growth and activity are the same for everyone – land and resources, location, access to supply chains and markets, access to start up and patient capital, people and their skills and talents, and a blend of innovation and entrepeneurship.  Indigenous economies are not exempt from the principles of economics.

Fifth, there is no single economic growth strategy or toolkit that will work for all Indigenous peoples.  We have to be moving on all fronts. There will have to be very specific approaches for Inuit and Metis and we will have to pay much greater attention to the half of Indigenous people who come to study, work and live in non-Indigenous communities but often have profound ties, including voting rights, in their home communities.

The good news is that there is a diversity of opportunity spreading into new sectors and industries –  natural resource extraction and processing, ecotourism cultural tourism, cultural creation, clean energy, broadband infrastructure, selling into procurement supply chains, environmental monitoring, air and bus transportation of people, use of drones for surveying or wildlife monitoring, shipping and logistics, introducing airships and hoverbarges to replace failing ice roads, cleaning up orphan wells and contaminated sites, removing old munitions, greening of military bases, building and maintaining housing and community infrastructure, hosting data and server farms in secure locations, selling directly into Amazon and Alibaba.

We know that for many communities despite the opportunities there are all too many obstacles and impediments in the way.  Location, scale, lack of capital, lack of skilled labour, lack of reliable infrastructure, lack of broadband – these are still all too common and require focus and effort.

We also know that some key obstacles are created by the unique legal underpinnings of most Indigenous communities.  As short as that path would be, and perhaps it is worth a shot, I do not think we will ever see consensus for a simple one page bill that says “the Indian Act, 1951 is repealed, effective five years from Royal Assent”.  Because there is not going to be an easy consensus about what will follow, not just in Parliament, but in Indigenous politics. What happens after exit?

Since the big breakthrough in 1982 all of the subsequent constitutional rounds failed. We have only managed two exit strategies to date. One road is the modern treaty. The other is the workarounds that are optional, not mandatory. Many in this room will be familiar with at least one of them (though perhaps by acronym): the First Nations Land Management Act, the First Nations Oil and Gas Act, the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act, the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and its creations the First Nations Tax Commission and the First Nations Financial Authority. 

However, If we are candid, most First Nations leaders in fact want to retain three essential legal features of the Indian Act – inalienable communal land, shielding from provincial laws of general application, and exemption from taxation of income earned on reserve.  

That is understandable, but it does mean there is no simple version of a successor regime, and it will mean extra work to create winning conditions for economic activity.  The good news is that this is quite achievable.  I personally think there is a potential third exit strategy – of updating the historic treaties with new constitutionally protected side agreements and implementation agreements – but that is a big topic for another conference another day.

My own view has long been that the way to get rid of the Indian Act is the Jenga strategy – you know the game where you have a pile of logs and you pull one out, the another, then another until eventually the structure just collapses.  If we pull more communities out one by one by concluding modern treaties and increasing take up of tools like the First Nations Land Management Act, and if we pull out just a few more pieces of the Indian Act regime, we get closer to the day when it comes crashing down.  Perhaps we are closer than we know.

So I want to close by putting forward some very specific initiatives, that would move us forward. My focus is on creating economic activity, and I am setting aside for now some other important aspects of our broader reconciliation journey. I speak for no-one but myself.  Here are twelve specific things we can do.

  1. to Premiers Kenney, Moe and Pallister – uncertainty about Aboriginal title is pulling back economic growth in your provinces. So let’s clarify who owns what across the West and let’s expand the Indigenous land base to its rightful dimensions.  Premier Kenney gave a really important speech to the Peter Lougheed dinner last week and spoke of a can-do, get it done Western sprit.  So, why not work with your two colleagues and sign a pledge right now to complete, within the next five years, the Treaty Land Entitlements that were promised more than a century ago.  To paraphrase the late Gord Downie – we are behind by a century.  Your governments control most of the Crown Land. and you own the natural resources.  Don’t hide behind the federal government. 
  2. to the same three Prairie Premiers I would also say – it is time to stop kicking the can down the road of Metis claims and hiding behind the courts. The Metis have been here a long time, they are recognized in the Constitution, and they aren’t going anywhere.  Let’s start by convening a Summit in 2020 bringing together the three Premiers, the Prime Minister and the Metis Nation and then keep at it.
  3. to all Premiers – you jealously guard jurisdiction over securities markets and incorporation – so you could make it a filing requirement that a company above a certain size can’t be listed on the stock exchange, unless it has published publicly its plan for economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and updates it every year.
  4. to both the federal and provincial governments who procure billions of dollars of goods and services – the tools you now use for Indigenous participation sound good but in practice they are puny and underpowered – table scraps for small business – it is time to take the more successful American models used there since the 1970s, and put in place much more robust and ambitious procurement levers.  They should look more like the best in class benefit agreements with a focus on real reportable and binding commitments to training and employment of young people.
  5. how about closing the next First Ministers Conference by signing a pledge to work together and get every single Indigenous community on good quality broadband within five years. And not just one computer in the band office or school – real connection for students in their own homes and for businesses to join the world of digital commerce.
  6. to the federal government, commit that within five years you will turn over all the funds collected as “Indian Moneys” to First Nations Governments or trust funds run by First Nations. Pass a one page bill now to repeal the Indian Moneys sections of the Indian Act five years from Royal Assent. That will create some urgency and inject several hundred million dollars of working capital and pull one more log out of the tower. Google Allan Clarke’s paper in Policy Options on this one, or go and see him. He is here today.
  7. Bear with me, but in practice there is an impediment to securing insurance and financing, a deterrent to investment, and a source of disputes about cleanup because of perceived legal uncertainty about who owns the infrastructure grids, buildings and houses on reserves – the band or the Government of Canada.  The only people who benefit from this confusion are lawyers.  Find a passing bill, and tack on a short amending provision that says something like “unless set out elsewhere, community buildings and infrastructure are the property of the band government”.
  8. Not all businesses behave well and there is a need for consequences.  There is a lack of teeth in the ability of First Nations governments to enforce their own laws because the maximum fines they can levy are far too small – just 1000 dollars for many matters. That could easily be amended with a few short lines to up to 10 or perhaps 50 or something like 100 thousand for environmental offences. 
  9. All governments know how important good infrastructure is to economic growth. It is often a centrepiece of their economic gameplans. One of the biggest obstacles to catching up on badly needed infrastructure is that both Indigenous governments and my old department usually work on a pay-as-you-go, all cash, basis with very little use of other financing tools.  The federal government could spin off a new Crown Corporation by 2021 – a First Nations Infrastructure Corporation – modelled on the one in BC, one that has the entire toolkit to tap into financial and capital markets, a board with a First Nations majority, and a relentless focus on building things.  If we can’t get political buy in for a national one, then set up some regional ones and build experience.  At the same time let’s rapidly scale up the use of the First Nations Finance Authority, which has proven it works.
  10. there is a great opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs to grow big scale businesses that operate and maintain buildings for others – whether they are housing or community facilities. Because these buildings wear out roughly twice as fast on reserve as off reserve it takes twice as much money to maintain the stock. We need a few First Nations owned companies modelled on Brookfield to take the risk and administrative load off small band governments, extend asset life and improve environmental performance.
  11. to First Nations leaders I would say there are two thorny problems that impede economic development that the Government of Canada cannot tackle – you are the only ones who can. It will take time and require a lot of political courage. One is overlapping assertions of Aboriginal title, which is pretty much all of them.  These are familiar in British Columbia, where I think we have to admit after thirty years of well meaning effort that the BC Treaty Commission has essentially failed to find a way to deal with overlapping claims. Every time a modern treaty was reached it was litigated by the neighbours, in front of Canadian courts.  We need a dispute resolution panel based on international relations practice that will arbitrate overlapping assertions or mediate co-management and sharing agreements. The AFN could take the lead in consulting and designing such a panel and make a proposal by June of 2021.
  12. The other is land tenure and land allocation within reserves.  This is a subject no one wants to talk about. Back in 1951 the Government of the day tried to increase security of tenure for individuals without breaking the common property model and moving to the fee simple model.  In many parts of the country people began to use certificates of possession, while in others there are various forms of custom allocation. The result sixty eight years later is all too often a mess, and one that not only holds back economic development but will over time create growing division and inequality within communities.  No federal government is ever going to grasp this nettle. The AFN should set up its own Land Reform Commission and make a proposal by 2022 on how to update the land tenure legislation that underpins all those communities yet to achieve full self government, starting with an overhaul of the certificate of possession regime.

And of course, there are many more pragmatic things that can be done to address access to capital, to build a skilled workforce and to grow more entrepreneurs and business leaders.  I can’t touch on them all.  You have sone very qualified people coming up later in this conference.

I am quite sure some people may not like some or indeed any of my proposals. Fair enough. Make your own. I know from experience some people will argue I am just making a more comfortable Indian Act and we should wait for a bigger reform – but I would say after nearly seventy years it is time to fix what can be fixed and move on from there.

What I really hope you will take away is a message of optimism and a greater sense of ambition. That there is ample common ground for an agenda of economic reconciliation. That there is no reason for it to be derailed by partisan politics or minority Parliaments. 

After 34 years on this road, my core belief is that what we call Indigenous Issues can and will yield to good policy, good governance, and good administration. Relentless pragmatic changes, one step at a time. will take us further along the path to a much brighter future.

People have earned the right to a sense of scepticism. Trust can be difficult to build and is quick to crumble. But pessimism and defeatism It is not what Canada is all about. Not in 2020. Not ever.

Thank you. Merci, Nakurmik. Meegweetch.

What We Heard: Report from “Canadian Grown” the Canada 2020 Cannabis Conference

A snapshot of Canada’s cannabis sector, one-year later

Executive Summary

Over the course of the final frantic days of the 2019 federal election campaign, more than 200 industry leaders, educators, and policy makers gathered to discuss Canada, Cannabis and the economy at Canada 2020’s Canadian Grown. The pace of development in this sector has been ground-breaking for Canada.  Other jurisdictions around the world are now using Canada’s regulatory and economic framework as a model for their industries.  Canada and the cannabis industry is disrupting more than policy circles around the G7 and the globe – Canada is creating  new jobs, new supply chains and economic opportunity in this burgeoning economy at home.  The one year anniversary of recreational cannabis is a good opportunity to review and reflect on what went well and where the opportunities lie. The second year in Canada promises to be just as exciting as the first – Phase II will witness the entry of edible products and other industry product innovations to the Canadian marketplace.  Public perception of the industry is generally positive although consumers want to know more about products and economic contribution to the Canadian economy and their local economies.  

Canada 2020 in partnership with Genome Canada, hosted Canadian Grown on the one year anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada.

The anniversary afforded the opportunity to gather industry, educators and policy makers alike to the two day event in Toronto, ON.  According to Statistics Canada and industry experts at Canadian Grown, it is estimated more than 5.9 million (or 16.7%) Canadians are regular users of recreational cannabis and more than 9,000 Canadians are now directly employed in the sector.  This doesn’t include additional economic benefit numbers which trickle down (and up) from the sector.  This one year old sector has contributed more than $8.2 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  in 7 months in 2019. 

There is still much work to do in many divergent policy areas.  The retail rollout has not been uniform across Canada and this presents challenges of supply, customer access, marketing and advertising, growing capacity and taxation.   There remain questions about the future of the medicinal sector and patient care issues.  Research, development and intellectual property remain a key focus of industry players as well as recruitment and retention of highly skilled workers. The black market for illegal product and illegal selling activity is also a focus of government and industry. 

Overall, Canadians have a positive outlook on the some aspects of the industry in most regions of the country. More than 76% of Canadians surveyed by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Cannabis were either accepting or somewhat accepting of potential new jobs created by the industry in their home community. Canada 2020 was pleased to work with Genome Canada to produce this timely and informative industry event.  Canada 2020 will be hosting a Policy Lab in the late fall of 2019 to continue the conversation started at this ground breaking event.

Prepared for Canada 2020 by Chris Smillie / Furthermore


The path to recreational cannabis legalization in 2018 was fairly well worn by the medical cannabis regime with roots back to an Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2000 and two decriminalization attempts in 2003 and 2004 in the House of Commons by successive Prime Ministers.  An unscripted political decision made by the newly minted Leader of the Liberal Party Justin Trudeau made in a park in Kelowna, BC in the summer of 2013 ultimately did become the law of land October 17, 2018.  Health Canada became the regulator and licensor for the recreational market as the policies, procedures and processes were already functional and sufficiently robust in the medical regime.  

The Federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation was struck in mid-2016 by the Prime Minister with a mandate founded on two principles – public health and public safety. These principles were implemented with a view to the long term and did not take into account any functional regulatory thinking on marketing or advertising. The Task force consulted with industry, other jurisdictions and Canadians writ large over a 5 month period.  After some consideration there was a conscious choice made to keep the medical and recreational markets separate at the outset of the process. 

The Task Force did not address or forecast short or long term economic impact of the industry or take any economic considerations into account.  The Task Force operated without the benefit of a breadth of academic research on much of the subject matter as in Canada cannabis was an illegal substance and the country lacked a breadth of clinical information on the substance. Similarly, even as elimination of the illegal market was part of the justification for legalization, the Task Force did not study this issue or make recommendations to stem growth.  

The original mandate of the Task Force did not address issues of full amnesty; however the government did implement a pardon regime for Canadians with simple possession convictions with Bill C-93 in early 2019. According to some stakeholders like Cannabis Amnesty and some political leaders, Canada has a record of disproportionate and unfair prosecution and charges on certain populations.  Advocacy work for expungement continues as the pardon regime may be inadequate for many Canadians who want to travel, sit on corporate boards as directors or volunteer with children’s organization. Recreational legalization means Canada is also afoul of some international treaties which makes conversations difficult across diplomatic channels but the industry views this as the cost of innovation and economic leadership. 

Discussion Themes

This conference was attended by large Licenced Producers, industry experts/commentators, and some academia and public policy makers.  The following are a series of themes and ideas presented at the conference. 

Public support, and Canada’s “first mover advantage”

According to data presented in the plenary session, the Canadian public is fairly supportive of legalization, the industry writ large, and potential local jobs associated with this industry.  Overall, Canadians have a positive image of the industry and are open to local investment and related job opportunities at home.  In addition, Canadians want their local governments to create the conditions for economic success in their local communities.   Canadians are not clear on overall economic benefits the industry contributes but are open to learning more about this issue. From the data presented it was evident consumers could be interested in more information on Phase II products.  Most regions are positive overall as to Canada’s status as a global leader in the cannabis sector.

Provided by Business of Cannabis
Provided by Business of Cannabis
Provided by Business of Cannabis

Canada has a one year head start on building cannabis industrial infrastructure, raising investor capital and breaking ground in research in this sector. The investing climate is strong in the Canadian cannabis industry because of the first mover advantage.  Cannabis investors around the world have flocked to Canada but it is forecasted this could change with more jurisdictions moving towards legalization and liberalization. In addition, the awakening of the US market is going to reshape the capital market landscape and have potential impact on the Canadian industry. Many American states have moved to legalize cannabis in both the recreational and medicinal markets  Furthermore, if there is a Democratic administration elected in 2020 in the United States (with a more liberalized approach to cannabis) it could alter financial markets and capital flow globally in the industry. 

“Phase II” could further complicate the situation as more finished cannabis products are being brought to market.  These products have higher economic production value than Phase I products and thus the economic risk is greater if competing with product from the United States or elsewhere. Investment in manufacturing processes and partnerships with food and beverage companies have increased the stakes in Canada’s industry if first mover advantage is not captured in a reasonable timeframe.  Health Canada is responsible for approving Phase II products and that process is underway.   The move by the United States to remove “hemp” from the farm bill could be detrimental to the industry in Canada and create greater economic risk for all stakeholders.

Retail, and reaching consumers

Canada’s Cannabis retail landscape is not uniform. Each province has unique rules and regulations concerning consumption age and retail administration.  In Ontario, Canada’s largest market by population, there are only two dozen retail outlets and one online retailer.  In Alberta, by contrast, there are 65 retail outlets.  There were three major threats facing the retail industry identified by various experts at the Canadian Grown event:

  1. Lack of access to product for consumers;
  2. Lack of product variety;
  3. “The Black Market”   

In Ontario, municipalities held a vote to participate in or opt out of the retail system and permit potential cannabis retail outlets in their respective jurisdictions. The entire Ontario marketplace is served online by the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS). Some participants had concerns about licencing and inspection being overly difficult for small industry participants. 

Research and Development / Intellectual Property

Research and Development in the Cannabis sector is in its infancy.  Given the complicated nature of Intellectual Property rights in the sector there is natural tension between public and private funding models for research and product development.  Process patents for Phase II products will certainly be a growing challenge over the next number of years. 

The industry is focused on models of data gathering, plant breeder rights and inherent challenges of dealing in a global IP marketplace.  Some members of the audience championed a collaborative approach to patient tracking and IP collaboration. Others championed a model similar to the pharmaceutical industry.  

There was consensus amongst some panelists that the challenges associated with the “drug” classification of CBD products were of concern and also Phase 1 products themselves.  One LP indicated “regulatory fees” charged by Health Canada as a key irritant for medium and large size LPs and acted as a disincentive to increase product lines for consumers in the short to medium term. 

The largest hurdle for the industry identified were filing and approval timelines with regulators for a new product.  These act as disincentives for new product applications for consumers. 

Some others listed in no particular order but discussed as barriers for R&D:

  1. Integrations with other industry players like food and beverage companies
  2. Intellectual Property issues  across borders for products and processes  
  3. Clinical trial delays and export of trials to other jurisdictions 
  4. Crop changes and integration into agriculture /large scale outdoor growing 
  5. Manufacturing process changes subject to new regulatory review
  6. Labour Market issues – attraction and retention of researchers and skilled workers
  7. Rule clarity around integration amongst educators, researchers and industry / product ethics like advertising and branding 
  8. Edible “Phase II” rules 

Patient Care, human health care, genomics and cannabinoids

Cannabis has the potential to play an important role in health care delivery in Canada however introducing a new class of medical treatment into any established system can be disruptive for patients and providers.  In addition, the launch of the recreational market is most likely is skewing the true numbers of Canadians whom are seeking cannabis for a medical purpose.  The most frequent self-reported reason for self-administration of cannabis are: sleep disturbances, chronic pain, and HIV. 

Specialist referral rates are low from General Practitioners for cannabis related care as only a very small number of GPs are actively participating in referring patients to cannabinoid solutions. However, those that are referring patients are doing so very often.  The Canadian Medical Association is urging a public health approach and increased reviews for efficacy, safety and quality on CBD products making a health claim. 

Will the recreational marketplace displace the medical cannabis regime?  The medical cannabis regime is currently in a five year review period.  In four years the merits of the system will be examined and a determination will be made as to the viability of the medical system.  This was a topic of concern for those on the panel and no consensus was reached. The provision of medical advice is a key element for the care and well -being of Canadians.  Dosing issues and interaction(s) with other medications patients may consume at the same time as cannabis are of key concern to the medical and patient community. 

Key Policy Questions

  1. Should Canada continue with the medical cannabis regime now that all consumers and patients have access through a retail network?
  2. How does the industry convince more medical professionals to prescribe cannabinoids for patients? 
  3. What does black market enforcement look like? Who takes the lead?  What is realistic?
  4. What should the future of the retail system look like? 
  5. Is the licensing and enforcement regime functioning properly?  Does it promote innovation? 
  6. What kind of public awareness/alert campaign should accompany Phase II products?  
  7. What should governments do with taxes and fees collected from the industry? 
  8. Is taxing medical cannabis fair? 
  9. Should veterinarians have access to the medical cannabis market for our pets?
  10. Should cannabis containing products which make a health claim be subject to a “drug like” review process?
  11. What is the ongoing role of medical practitioners and patient care processes for cannabinoids?  
  12. How does Canada train, attract and retain the highest skilled workers for this sector? 
  13. What does the future of advertising and marketing look like in this sector? 

Next Steps

Canada 2020 is pleased to host a one day policy lab in the late fall of 2019. More details to follow. 


BNN Bloomberg

Canada 2020, “Canadian Grown Conference proceedings and program”

Canadian Medical Association “Cannabis Fact Sheet”

Globe and Mail Report on Cannabis, “Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, July 28th to July 30th, 2019, n=1000, accurate 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20”

Government of Canada, “Federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation”

Statistics Canada, “Cannabis Stats Hub”

An open letter to Canadians from Canada’s female First Ministers

To all Canadians –

Of the more than 300 first ministers in our country’s history, only 12 have been women 

We are these women. 

More than half of Canadians are women and girls, but women, in all their diversity, continue to be underrepresented in every level of politics. This is especially true in our most senior leadership roles. As of today, we have no female first ministers (prime ministers or premiers) in Canada. 

We are a nation rich in diversity, talent, intellect and creativity. We are also a nation facing many pressing challenges. To meet these challenges, we need the very best from Canadians. All Canadians.

We must finish the work started more than a century ago when women pushed for their right to vote, to stand in elections, and to represent Canadians. We must be vigilant in protecting and extending what we have already accomplished. We must finally achieve the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of political life, from community activism to elected representation. 

Over the past few months, we have shared our stories through Canada 2020’s No Second Chances podcast, providing a perspective on some of the barriers women face in politics. Today, we come together to identify what needs to change if we want to see more women lead. 

We need more women, and a greater diversity of women, in politics. This won’t happen naturally. Political parties must make the recruitment and nomination of female candidates a priority. We call on all current First Ministers and all party leaders to put measures in place to recruit more women. This must go beyond setting targets; parties must make fundamental changes to these processes. We will never achieve parity in any legislature, or in positions of power, until we achieve gender parity among candidates. For women and girls to aspire to be leaders, they need to see themselves in positions of power now, and learn about the often forgotten history of women’s leadership in our politics.

We must raise the level of political discourse in Canada. To have free and comprehensive debate, we must treat each other with civility, respect, and dignity, regardless of partisan or policy differences. We call on all members of all legislatures, the Speakers of our legislatures, House Leaders, and party leaders to insist on a higher standard of political discourse, making politics a place that is more welcoming to everyone. We call for this civility to be reflected in how news about politics is reported, analysed, and discussed. Canadians — all of us — must hold ourselves to a higher standard in which misogyny, sexism, racism, hatred, and violence have no place in our politics. 

Barriers that prevent women’s political participation must be removed. We have made progress towards a fairer, more equitable society, but the work is not yet done. We must continue to push to close gender gaps in Canada. Investments in childcare are particularly important. We call on all jurisdictions to continue to take action to improve the status of women and girls, in all their diversity. 

We have led different political parties and we do not agree on how to solve all of our policy problems. Diversity of opinion in our politics is a strength, not a weakness. 

Emily Murphy once said, “Nothing ever happens by chance; everything is pushed from behind.” To women who think they just aren’t ready, we say to you that entering politics was one of the best things we ever did. Put your name on a ballot, and give it a go: you will create a future full of Second Chances. 

Until we achieve the full and equal participation of women in politics, we will not reach our full potential as a nation. Generations of Canadians before us have pushed for the inclusion of women in politics, and it is time that we too rise to this challenge. 


Chers Canadiens et Canadiennes : 

Sur les plus de 300 premiers ministres de l’histoire de notre pays, seules 12 ont été des femmes

Nous sommes ces femmes.

Plus de la moitié des Canadiens sont des femmes et des filles, mais les femmes, dans toute leur diversité, continuent d’être sous-représentées à tous les niveaux de la politique. Cela est particulièrement vrai dans nos rôles de direction les plus élevés. En ce moment, nous n’avons pas de femmes premiers ministres (fédérale ou provinciales) au Canada.

Nous sommes une nation riche en diversité, talent, intelligence et créativité. Nous sommes également une nation confrontée à de nombreux défis pressants. Pour relever ces défis, nous avons besoin du meilleur que peuvent donner les Canadiens. Tous les Canadiens.

Nous devons mettre fin à l’œuvre commencée il y a plus d’un siècle, lorsque les femmes ont fait pression pour obtenir le droit de vote, de se présenter aux élections et de représenter les Canadiens. Nous devons être vigilants dans la protection et l’extension de ce que nous avons déjà accompli. Nous devons enfin parvenir à la pleine et entière participation des femmes dans tous les aspects de la vie politique, depuis l’activisme communautaire jusqu’à la représentation par élection.

Au cours des derniers mois, nous avons partagé nos histoires à travers le balado No Second Chances (Pas de deuxième fois) de Canada 2020, offrant un panorama de certains obstacles auxquels les femmes sont confrontées en politique. Aujourd’hui, nous nous réunissons pour identifier ce qui doit changer, si nous voulons voir plus de femmes diriger. 

Nous avons besoin davantage de femmes, et d’une plus grande diversité de femmes, en politique. Cela ne se produira pas tout seul. Les partis politiques doivent faire du recrutement et prioriser la nomination de candidates. Nous demandons à tous les premiers ministres actuels et à tous les chefs de parti de mettre en place des mesures pour recruter davantage de femmes. Cela doit aller au-delà de l’établissement d’objectifs ; les partis doivent apporter des changements fondamentaux à ces processus. Nous ne réaliserons jamais à la parité dans une législature, ou dans des positions de pouvoir, jusqu’à ce que nous ayons atteint la parité entre les sexes chez les candidats. Pour que les femmes et les filles aspirent à être des leaders, elles doivent réussir à se percevoir dans des positions de pouvoir. 

Nous devons élever le niveau du discours politique au Canada. Pour avoir des débats libres et vigoureux, nous devons nous traiter mutuellement avec civilité, respect et dignité, indépendamment des divergences partisanes ou politiques. Nous faisons appel à tous les membres des législatures, les leaders des différentes chambres, les présidents des législatures, et les chefs de parti pour qu’ils insistent pour qu’on améliore le discours politique, pour que la politique devienne un endroit plus accueillant pour tout le monde. Nous demandons que cette civilité se reflète dans la façon dont les nouvelles sur la politique sont rapportées, analysées et discutées. Les canadiennes et les Canadiens — nous tous — doivent s’en tenir à des normes de conduite plus élevées qui excluent toute misogynie, tout sexisme, racisme, toute haine et violence.

Les obstacles qui empêchent la participation politique des femmes doivent être éliminés. Nous avons fait des progrès vers une société plus juste et équitable, mais le travail n’est pas encore achevé. Nous devons continuer de faire pression pour combler les écarts entre les sexes au Canada. Les investissements dans les garderies revêtent une importance particulière. Nous demandons à toutes les instances de continuer à d’examiner la situation des femmes et d’adopter des mesures concrètes fondées sur les effets potentiels sur les femmes et les filles, dans toute leur diversité.

Nous avons dirigé différents partis politiques et nous ne sommes pas d’accord sur la façon de résoudre tous nos problèmes politiques. La diversité d’opinion dans notre politique constitue une force plutôt qu’une faiblesse.

Emily Murphy a dit un jour : « Rien n’arrive jamais par hasard ; tout est poussé par l’arrière. » Aux femmes qui pensent qu’elles ne sont tout simplement pas prêtes, nous disons que l’entrée en politique a été l’une des meilleures choses que nous n’ayons jamais faites. Mettez votre nom sur un bulletin de vote, et voyez ce que ça donne : vous allez créer un avenir plein de Deuxièmes chances.

Tant que nous n’aurons pas atteint la pleine et égale participation des femmes à la politique, nous ne réaliserons pas notre plein potentiel en tant que nation. Des générations de Canadiens avant nous ont fait pression pour l’inclusion des femmes en politique, et il est temps que nous aussi nous nous relevions ce défi.

Très sincèrement,

Six Examples of Inclusive Innovation in the 2017 Federal Budget

Canada 2020 released Volume One of its Innovation Project Towards an Inclusive, Innovative Canada in February, 2017. Its authors, Mike Moffatt, Hannah Rasmussen and David Watters examined innovation in Canada through various sectors, and how to measure it. Moffatt and Rasmussen developed Ten Big Ideas to Drive Innovation in Canada.
In writing this volume, Moffatt and Rasmussen wrote that their mission is:
“to increase innovation in Canada by creating a set of Big Ideas, which, if enacted, would have measurable results, whose benefits would be well understood, and that would increase the economic well-being and personal autonomy of the middle class and those working hard to join it.”
With this mission in mind, we examined the government of Canada’s 2017 federal budget and found six examples of inclusive innovation.


From the budget:
Successful cover3clusters like the ones in Silicon Valley, Berlin, Tel Aviv and the Toronto-Waterloo corridor contribute significantly to both regional and national economies.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest up to $950 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to be provided on a competitive basis in support of a small number of business-led innovation superclusters that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth. The competition will launch in 2017 and focus on superclusters that enhance Canada’s global competitiveness by focusing on highly innovative industries such as clean technology, advanced manufacturing, digital technology, health/bio-sciences, clean resources and agri-food, as well as infrastructure and transportation.
Our Analysis:
This is an interesting idea – in Towards an Innovative, Inclusive Canada, Moffatt and Rasmussen were also thinking about driving innovation through superclusters. They suggested that academia and research could play a role in driving innovation. In one of their Ten Big Ideas to Drive Innovation in Canada, they proposed creating research clusters of knowledge in universities. Here is their recommendation:
The federal government should fund the creation of a network of cluster research centres across the country at universities within the geographic area of the cluster that would be required to provide a yearly set of deliverables to maintain their funding.
In addition, Moffatt and Rasmussen suggested thickening labour markers in medium-sized cities, outside of major urban centres and clusters like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. They suggested the government had an opportunity to grow clusters in medium-sized cities which would allow for the emergence of clusters in these cities.


From the 2017 Budget:
To support the continued growth of Canada’s innovative companies, Budget 2017 proposes to make available up to an additional $400 million through the Business Development Bank of Canada on a cash basis over three years, beginning in 2017–18, for a new Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative that will increase late-stage venture capital available to Canadian entrepreneurs (late-stage venture capital is typically offered to young, established businesses with sales and revenue, in order to help the businesses grow).
With funds leveraged from the private sector, and depending on the proposals received, this investment could inject around $1.5 billion into Canada’s innovation capital market.
Our analysis:
As we traveled the country for our research groups, one comment we heard repeatedly was a lack of Canadian investment by way of venture capital for Canadian companies.
However, there is another side to investment in Canada’s emerging companies, and that is cultural. One participant in our Financial Services roundtable in Toronto talked about the cultural barrier to innovation – that is an adversity to taking risks.
Following our Financial Services roundtable in July 2016, Moffatt wrote in our innovation report, “A concern was raised that Canadian investors and managers may be too risk averse to be full participants in a highly innovative industry. As one participant put it, “[In Canadian MBA programs] there’s not a lot on how to take risk … . In [New York], the mentality of grads out of the U.S. is to take risks. There’s an acceptance that if you do that and fail that’s OK. In Canada, there’s stigma around failure.”
A suggestion was made that foreign investors from countries with higher appetites for risk, such as China, may be able to fill some of the financial (but not necessarily managerial) gaps.
It’s Canada 2020’s hope that the additional $400M outlined in the government’s federal budget will spur investment from other sectors also.


From the 2017 Federal budget:
In recognition of the importance of research excellence and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, approximately 25 Canada 150 Research Chairs will be created to attract top-tier international scholars and researchers to Canada and enhance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for innovation, science and research excellence. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $117.6 million over eight years for these new chairs, funded with resources within the existing Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.
Our analysis:
As part of their 10 Big Ideas to Drive Innovation in Canada, Moffatt and Rasmussen created the concept of a ‘Canada 150 Goals’ and ‘Canada 150 Prizes.’
They wrote that innovative thinking can solve some of the more difficult social and economic problems the country faces, such as a lack of safe drinking water and substandard housing on First Nations reserves, a persistently large gender wage gap and growing rates of fentanyl and other opioid addiction.
The suggested the use of goals and prizes, which we have adapted from both the XPrize Foundation and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Their Recommendation was that the federal government identify a set of measurable national goals, the Canada 150 Goals. In addition, the federal government should create a set of Canada 150 Prizes, with large cash prizes for projects that will help meet these goals.


From the budget:
As announced in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement, the Government will launch a Global Skills Strategy to facilitate faster access to top global talent for companies doing business in Canada that are committing to bring new skills to Canada and create more Canadian jobs.
The Global Skills Strategy will set an ambitious two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for global talent.
Building on funding announced in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement, Budget 2017 proposes to provide an additional $7.8 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, to implement a new Global Talent Stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as part of the Global Skills Strategy.
Also under the Global Skills Strategy, the Government will introduce a new work permit exemption for short-duration work terms. The short-duration work permit exemption will apply for work terms of fewer than 30 days in a year—or for brief academic stays—and will be used for short-term, inter-company work exchanges, study exchanges or the entrance of temporary expertise.
Our Analysis:
Participants at our Financial Services roundtable noted the difficulty of bringing in foreign expertise in their sector. Indeed, we were told that if there are talent (or cultural) gaps in the system, immigration might offer an answer.
However, one roundtable participant noted that it takes so long to bring executive-level talent into Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that a candidate will have typically moved on to other opportunities by the time their application is approved.
Canada 2020 is happy to see that continued improvements have been made to this program, and hopes that it will bring more talent into Canada in the future.


From the budget:
Budget 2017 supports innovation in key growth industries—clean technology, digital and agri-food—with new measures that will improve access to financing, encourage investment, support the demonstration of technologies and build the capacity necessary for Canadians to take advantage of growth opportunities and create good, well-paying jobs.
Budget 2017 includes a particular focus on the clean technology sector, proposing more than $2.2 billion, on a cash basis, to support clean technology research, development, demonstration and adoption as well as to accelerate the growth of clean technology companies. This includes making available nearly $1.4 billion in new financing on a cash basis over three years, starting in 2017–18, through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
Our analysis:
Moffatt writes in Canada 2020’s report Towards and Inclusive, Innovative Canada that Canada is one of the world’s leaders in the production and use of renewable energy. In 2012, renewable energy represented 17 per cent of Canada’s total energy supply. This was a dramatic increase from a decade earlier. In addition to supplying Canadians with electricity, renewables play an important role in our trade with the U.S. Several provinces are net exporters of hydro-generated electricity to the U.S.
Members of Canada 2020’s Clean Technology and Renewables roundtable, held in August, 2016 in Vancouver, would likely applaud this financial support, but would probably re-iterate the need to grow companies beyond the initial stages.
One participant at our roundtable felt that government financing programs were quite useful for the ear¬ly stages of product development, but not for obtaining financing for commercialization. He said that “Sustainable Development Technology Canada is terrific for early stage innovation,” and cited government support through the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive, the National Research Council Canada, the Industrial Research Assistance Program, and others.
“There’s a lot of baked-in support before it gets to commercialization. There is help from the public sector to get across the ‘valley of death.’” he said. Then he added, “But when you get to the first market entrant, there is not a lot of debt financing or private capital. These companies are light on assets, so banks won’t lend to them. So companies, even if they do make it across the ‘valley of death,’ do not have the necessary assets or financing to commercialize.”
From the budget:
To ensure that young Canadians are well prepared for the way digital technologies will impact future jobs all across the labour market, Budget 2017 will invest $50 million over two years to support organizations delivering digital skills training to girls and boys from kindergarten to grade 12.
Our analysis:
In Towards an Inclusive, Innovative Canada, Moffatt and Rasmussen suggest that early education include numeracy, before moving to digital skills and coding. As one of their 10 Big Ideas to Drive Innovation in Canada, Big Idea 7 is to Create a National Numeracy program that introduces numeracy skills in early childhood education.
They quote a 2012 study by the Conference Board of Canada that found that 55 per cent of Canadian adults had inadequate numeracy skills. Also, inadequate numeracy skills are higher in marginalized groups, such as Aboriginal people in Canada and immigrants. A person with inadequate numeracy skills may be unable to function well in an innovative Canada as low numeracy skills are linked to unemployment, low wages and poor health.
Moffatt and Rasmussen write, “Poor numeracy is a massive challenge for Canada’s innovation agenda and our goal of encouraging economically inclusive innovations.
The goal for this big idea is to build on measures proposed and/or put in place by other countries struggling with the same numeracy issues in order to eradicate inadequate numeracy among adults and children, and to create more positive attitudes towards numeracy in Canadian society.”

Download Towards an Inclusive, Innovative Canada

Malmström: Progressive Trade Policy in a More Protectionist World

Cecilia Malmstrom
The following is the full text of a speech given by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on CETA, the EU and Canada and progressive trade at a Canada 2020 event on March 21, 2017.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Je vous remercie pour l’amitié européo-canadienne et je suis heureuse d’être là.
It is indeed important to be here. In an age when rising populism and protectionism poses a threat to our open societies, there has never been a more important time to defend progressive trade policy.
Today I’d like to talk about what we mean by that; and how Canada and the EU can be partners in pursuing it.
Canada and Europe see eye-to-eye on many issues. We have a similar philosophy on domestic issues, such as the need to provide and protect public healthcare. We face common challenges, such as climate change or terrorism. Something we will remember tomorrow, the anniversary of the terror attacks which struck Brussels, the city where I live.
Yet our relations have long been defined by commerce. Many of the earliest settlers here were attracted by the spoils of trade. Beaver furs were sought after in Europe and exchanged for the European manufactured goods that were much in demand here.
This trade opened up the incentive to explore the new continent and help its nascent economy develop and grow.
It even found its way into the language: the name “Ottawa” itself, the city and the river which flows from the mountains of Québec, may come from the Algonquin word for “trade”.
Today, trade – in products, services, ideas – is still a way of engaging with the wider world, to mutual benefit; engaging for peace, prosperity and progress. This is the vision we put forward in our trade for all strategy: responsible trade policy that is effective, transparent and based on values. It is the vision we are taking forward as we pursue a progressive trade policy, in a programme of over 20 trade negotiations.
The EU and Canada are natural allies. The EU is the world’s biggest trader and is Canada’s second biggest trading partner.
To the EU, you sell over 40 billion Canadian dollars’ worth of goods from agriculture to zinc not to mention 17 billion in services like engineering or finance.
And from the EU you buy products and services of all kinds: medicines from Belgium, tulips from The Netherlands and hockey pucks from Slovakia.
Beyond trade, we also share many values: democracy, the rule of law, and the right of governments to provide public services such as healthcare.
The EU-Canada deal we have just agreed, known as CETA, ends 99% of tariffs, opens up markets like services, and public procurement and supports investors.
Now that we have completed ratification at EU level, the provisional application of CETA is imminent. And there are benefits for both sides.
Each extra tariff reduction, each extra bit of market access, means on one side, an exporting company that can compete; and, on the other side, a consumer — or a business, or a public authority — who gets a better deal.
A shopper seeing lower prices on the supermarket shelves. A business that can compete better in global value chains. A health service that can pay less for its supplies or a public authority that can buy more efficient clean technology to fight climate change.
Meanwhile, every extra investment by a European company in Canada can help a European company to grow while creating jobs over here.
EU-owned affiliates already employ nearly 400,000 workers in Canada. To believe in progressive trade policy is to recognise trade can bring benefits for both sides.
But it must be responsible and sustainable. The fur trade that furnished Canada’s fortunes many centuries ago was ultimately not sustainable. The hunting of beavers for their fur made the animal endangered, while the struggle for control of supplies and hunting-grounds eventually led to all-out war.
Trade should not mean a race-to-the-bottom on standards, or come at the cost of the environment. The EU’s trade strategy Trade for All sets out how a responsible trade policy can be effective, sustainable, transparent, and based on values. In Europe, as in this country, people expect the food they eat, the products they buy, to be safe, and to meet democratically-set standards and rules.
So we have been clear that nothing in CETA will undermine those standards — or public services. Both parties can still use environmental or labour criteria in public procurement, if they want. Neither party can undercut or fail to implement labour or environmental standards merely to attract trade or investment. Public services stay public unless a municipality or province decides differently.
And we resolve investment disputes in an open court with qualified judges, avoiding the conflicts of interest that could in turn jeopardise the public interest.
More than just protecting standards, trade deals can promote them. CETA is an exemplar of what we can achieve here. In the EU-Canada trade deal, both parties agree to implement multilateral environmental agreements such as the Paris climate change deal as well as international labour rules on issues like equal pay, collective bargaining and employment discrimination.
They agree to promote sustainable forestry and fisheries alongside initiatives like corporate social responsibility, eco-labelling, fair trade, and recycling.
We take a similar approach with the rest of the world, promoting sustainability and good governance: in our bilateral talks when granting unilateral trade preferences and through our detailed work with countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The success of CETA will help us take that agenda forward. It is a model for progressive trade that promotes values. A template to shape globalisation. As we seek open trade, we should ourselves be open. If anything gives trade policy a bad name, it’s secrecy.
But we have nothing to be ashamed of, as we act on behalf of our citizens. This is why we have started to publish as much as we can of the details of trade negotiations.
Why we include civil society both as we negotiate trade deals -to get their input and publishing detailed reports- and implement them.
Progressive trade policy should — must — be transparent. A truly progressive trade policy also recognises, and supports, those who are left behind. Over recent years, the labour market has seen significant changes. While some benefit, others see wages stagnate, or face unemployment. These changes are mainly caused by technology – but trade has also played a role.
We should help those who have not been able to adapt with infrastructure, education, training and skills. And this is an area where we – also in the EU – need to do more.
And finally, progressive trade policy means championing trade that is fair and rules-based. The multilateral framework of the World Trade Organisation, the WTO, has for a long time safeguarded global trade a power source for rising global prosperity that helps lift millions out of poverty, setting and defending those global rules we have jointly agreed upon.
Yet some recent rhetoric seems to put that in question. The US administration seems to favour bilateral relations over multilateralism. And some of the proposals we have seen floated, such as a border adjustment tax, could be at odds with WTO rules. Countries should be able to protect themselves from distortions and unfair trade practices. But that has to be done within the framework of the WTO. Global rules mean everyone playing fair, by a consistent, predictable and transparent rulebook.
That is why we want the upcoming WTO Ministerial in Buenos Aires to succeed, and are working with partners to achieve that success and to show that the multilateral organisation is still important.
That is why Canada and the EU are working together to take investment courts to the multilateral level. The response is positive – many countries want to work with us on this.
There is, sadly, nothing inevitable about progress. As Alice Munro put it, from the perspective of people in Victorian England, it must have been impossible not to believe that people would inevitably become more civilised, more rational, more humane, with humanity’s greatest mistakes behind it.
Yet the turbulence and terror of the twentieth century lay ahead. In the words of another famous Canadian: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. We should not take any of these things for granted. We should fight to maintain the system that has guaranteed prosperity and progress.
Turning away from open trade, or the multilateral structures that underpin it, would come at great cost. Declining trade would cost jobs – 31 million of which in Europe depend on exports. Raising tariffs would put up consumer prices – particularly affecting the least well-off.
And rising protectionism could threaten the open societies and open economies that have brought freedom and opportunity to the people of Europe, Canada and the world. In an age when some want to rebuild walls, reimpose barriers, restrict people’s freedom to move we stand open to progressive trade with the world.
Between them, the EU and Canada account for almost one dollar in five of the world’s trade. And that we have agreed a new trade deal, our most ambitious and progressive ever, should send a powerful signal to the world. As other doors may be closing, ours will remain open.
This is a programme we are taking forward in over 20 negotiations: from Mexico to Japan, Mercosur to ASEAN, and others. And, if anything, we’ve seen partners giving more priority and more resources to these talks in recent months. By engaging with the world in this progressive trade policy, we can shape globalisation, rather than submitting to it.
We can make trade a vehicle for our values, protecting and promoting them. And we can safeguard the prosperity and progress, the freedom and opportunity that trade has brought.
The European Union is happy to have Canada as a partner in that struggle.
Thank you.

Dr. Danielle Martin: Six Big Ideas To Improve Health Care For Canadians

Canada 2020’s Senior Associate Reva Seth spoke to Dr. Danielle Martin about her new book Better Now: Six Big Ideas To Improve Health Care For All Canadians ahead of her sold out talk at the Telfer School of Business in Ottawa on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.

Dr. Danielle Martin's book is Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians
Dr. Danielle Martin’s latest book is Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians

Reva Seth:  Danielle, congratulations on an incredibly interesting and important book – the more Canadians can join in a shared conversation on what the future of our country’s health care should look like – the better.  Six Big Ideas is the perfect way to kick off a dialogue on health care in 2017. 
So let’s start with the basics, what are your 6 Big Ideas in this book?
Dr. Martin: All the big ideas are about making changes to our health care system that will improve health without spending a whole lot more money, and without giving up on the value of fairness that underpins Medicare.
Canadians believe in the fundamental principle that access to health care should be based on need, not ability to pay, and we should be proud that we have built a system around that principle. But to deliver on the promise of universal health care, we need to do better. There are real challenges in the system, so I propose 6 things we can do together to meet those challenges:

  • Big Idea 1 is about ensuring relationship-based primary health care for every Canadian
  • Big Idea 2 is focused on bringing prescription drugs under Medicare
  • Big Idea 3 talks about reducing unnecessary tests and interventions in health care
  • Big Idea 4 is about reorganizing the way we deliver health care to reduce wait times and improve quality
  • Big Idea 5 talks about implementing a basic income guarantee for basic health
  • Big Idea 6 looks at how we can scale up successful solutions across the country so that all Canadians will benefit from innovation in health care.

Reva Seth: I have to go to straight to Big Idea 2 -that we still don’t cover the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians, a dangerous reality given that more and more Canadians are working freelance, contract or are self-employed.   How did we get here?
Dr. Martin: Well, the exclusion of prescription drugs from medicare is really an accident of history.
When medicare was developed in the 1950s and 1960s, physicians provided the bulk of health care and hospitals were the typical care setting – now things are very different.
As more and more Canadians age, we’re seeing that they want to live and stay well at home. They want to receive treatment during the day when it’s needed, but they want to manage chronic conditions at home, not in the hospital.
This also applies to Canadians in other age groups. For example, we know that nearly one–third of Canadian adults and youth live with at least one chronic condition.
Canadians believe in the principle that access to health care should be based on need, not ability to pay. That principle needs to be extended beyond doctors and hospitals to include universal access to a publicly-funded formulary of essential medicines.
Reva Seth: It has been reported that 94% of Canadians say national health care is a point of pride – which suggests that with 2017 also being our country’s 150th, there is untapped interest in getting more Canadians engaged in shaping the future of health care.   What can those of us who are not in the medical profession do to support the recommendations you suggest?
Dr. Martin: The kind of change will be driven not only by politicians but by regular Canadians and their families, and by people like me who work in the health care system. It’s going to take a concerted effort by doctors, nurses and other providers to change the way we do our work in order to deliver better, more consistent care.
Patients also have an important role to play, and I talk about some of the ways they can participate in the book. I have also put a toolkit on my website for people who want to take action:
Reva Seth: How about medical schools? What are your thoughts on the role (and current effectiveness) of how medical schools are used to implement these changes? What would you like to see more of?
Dr. Martin: Medical education has changed a lot since I was in medical school. We are increasingly training our students and residents to see that they have a role in the system, which is so important. We can’t just go to work as doctors, see the patients on the list, and go home.
Physicians need to take a leadership role in solving health system challenges – indeed every one of the ideas in this book requires commitment and participation on the part of the medical profession. I think we are beginning to understand how to prepare our trainees for that shifting role, but there is always more to do.
Much of that links to a culture change that has to happen within the medical profession so that we don’t see ourselves as outside the system but as embedded in it.
Reva Seth: I’m always up for a health hack or short cut so I have to ask as a Doctor – and as a super busy (and effective person) – I have to ask: what’s the one health hack or daily must do you recommend.”
Dr. Martin: Brush your teeth. Your future self will thank you!
Reva Seth: Great advice Danielle, that’s a lesson still lost on my kids. 

Open Government in Transition

A Pan-Canadian Conversation on Open Dialogue and Open Data

Last April, Canada 2020 and PubliVate co-sponsored CODF 2016, a two-day conference in Ottawa on Open Government and Open Dialogue, co-chaired by former Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, and Ontario Deputy Premier Deb Matthews.
The co-chairs also hosted a private Delegates’ Dinner to discuss Open Government with senior officials from across the country, who discussed their governments’ approaches to Open Government. While everyone agreed that using digital technology to liberate data was essential, there was a shared sense that this is only a first step and that the challenge now is to put this resource to work—what one participant called “leveraging” the data.
Our conference theme of “Open Dialogue” provided the perfect backdrop for this discussion. Presenters offered some stimulating examples of how multi-stakeholder engagement processes can be combined with Open Data to support informed policymaking, better transparency and accountability, and product innovation; and this, in turn, provoked our dinner delegates to consider the implications for Open Government.
Now Canada 2020 is building on the conference and dinner with a cross-country consultation process led by Don Lenihan to identify and examine innovative initiatives where federal, provincial, or territorial governments are successfully leveraging Open Data through Open Dialogue to achieve Open Government’s goals.
The process includes a one-day, intra-governmental roundtable in participating federal-provincial/territorial capitals with about invited 25 participants, including senior and elected officials, as well as representatives from academia, civil society, and the private sector.
So far, events have been held in the Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, and Nova scotia, with others planned for Nunavut, BC, Alberta, Ontario, PEI, and Ottawa in January and February. More governments are expected to confirm their participation shortly.
An intergovernmental roundtable will follow in Toronto next March with reps from all participating governments, and about 10 other invitees. Together, they will review a draft of a final report. The final report will be published on the Canada 2020 website and circulated to all participants, as well as to our 15,000 subscribers.
A second national conference on Open Dialogue will follow. Policymaking in the Digital Age: Open Dialogue Meets Big Data will be held in Ottawa on April 26th – 27th. The conference will be co-chaired by Matthew Mendelsohn, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Results and Delivery), who is heading the Government of Canada’s initiative on “Deliverology.” A second co-chair will be named shortly.
Further information on both the cross-country roundtables and the conference will be posted on this site as they unfold.
Thank you to our partners:

Open Text


2016: In Review

2016-lookbackOver the past 12 months, we’ve expanded the dialogue around progressive politics in Canada, brought thousands of progressive thinkers together, and we’ve produced original research around innovation.
See some of our favorite moments from all these events and initiative in this highlight video:

Don’t have time for the video? Take a look at this impressive list of Canada 2020’s activities in 2016, complete with links to photo galleries:

  • We hosted discussion on foreign policy at our 2016 Ottawa Forum.
  • We hosted a Global Progress book launch, and The Prime Ministers Reception at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.
  • We focused on open government, open dialogue and transforming the way policy is made in the 21st century at our Canadian Open Dialogue Forum.
  • We tackled climate change at the Global Energy Outlook 2016, where we hosted a discussion with Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr and Daniel Yergin.
  • During the North American Leaders’ Summit, we hosted a panel discussion with Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, her Mexican counterpart Rafael Pacchiano-Alamán.
  • We hosted progressive leaders from more than 20 countries in Montreal to talk about inclusive prosperity, diversity, innovation and digital democracy at Global Progress 2016.
  • At a time when federal, provincial and territorial decision-makers prepared to re-negotiate a New Health accord, we hosted, in partnership with the CMA, the Health Summit: A New Health Accord for All Canadians.
  • We celebrated the day Women were included in the definition of Persons under the law in Canada at our Women in the House: The Person’s Day Panel.
  • We convened leading innovators, entrepreneurs and risk-takers to talk about the building blocks of Canada’s innovative future at our Third Annual Canada 2020 Conference: The Innovation Project.
  • We deepened the conversation around the actions government can take to “nudge“ our health system into a new paradigm – one focuses on personal care, new technologies and lowering the cost curve at the 2016 Health Innovation Conference.
  • We got an inside look at the U.S. Presidential elections from Sasha Issenberg, who was embedded in the Trump campaign, at our free public event What Just Happened? Inside the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.

But that’s not all… In June, we launched our multi-phased initiative, The Innovation Project at our one-day conference, Canada’s Next Big Challenge: Being Innovative. Through this project, the Canada 2020 team traveled to seven Canadian cities coast to coast to host roundtable discusions with key sector stakeholders. While the first phase of this project concluded at our annual conference, and with Canada 2020’s 10 Big Ideas to Drive Innovation in Canada by Mike Moffatt and Hannah Rasmussen, we look forward to continuing the conversation on innovation in 2017.
In October, we launched the Canada 2020 podcast Brief Remarks, where co-hosts Jennifer Robson and Rob Silver reveal the behind the scenes world of federal politics in Canada.
Whether you were on our stage, attended our events in person as a delegate or via our live streams, thank you. Thank you for helping to make 2016 an outstanding year for Canada 2020 – by far our most ambitious year yet. Your support and participation in the past year helped us accomplish great things.
We also want to thank our sustaining partners and event sponsors. We couldn’t have done any of this work without your support.  Thank you.
Here’s to an even more successful 2017!