Ottawa has provided $30 million to date for five superclusters in the $950-million flagship innovation program with an ambitious goal of adding tens of thousands of new jobs and growing the economy by tens of billions of dollars by 2028.
The five-year Innovation Superclusters Initiative, which was first announced in the 2017 budget, brings together “clusters” of private businesses, financiers, and research bodies focused on strategic sectors to collaborate and provide new commercial opportunities for Canada.
When the five superclusters were picked in February 2018 following an open competition, the Liberal government estimated that the initiative would create more than 50,000 “middle-class” jobs and increase Canada’s GDP by $50 billion in the following decade.
Conservative industry critic Michelle Rempel Garner said a full analysis is needed in order to gauge the government’s ability to deliver on its targeted economic results, something she said must be the core consideration for any government innovation program.
“If the government is going to spend a billion dollars on something, they better be able to show those metrics,” she said in an interview.
On Thursday, she sent a letter to the Parliamentary Budget Officer with a request for a breakdown of money spent under the program to date and an analysis of how realistic the targeted outcomes attached to it are.