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Industry Minister, CEOs and Mayors Probe Path to Canada’s “Smart Community” Future

 

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Leaders weigh options for a “New National Dream”: an Intelligent Nation

 Industry Minister James Moore with Governors Oct 6 14

OTTAWA, October 7, 2014 — Thirty leaders of major corporations, mayors and opinion-leaders met with Industry Minister James Moore, to present a way forward for the creation of a nation of “Smart Communities”.

 

Smart Communities are those that use the latest digital technologies to transform and connect all sectors and related smart applications into a consensual vision and strategy for sustainable prosperity and when they do this within a strategic framework they may also be called Intelligent Communities.

 

“The leaders among these Smart Communities also lead in economic, social and environmental initiatives and they do it within an overall strategy that blends smart applications together,” said i-CANADA Chair Bill Hutchison. “The use of these interacting applications, running on high-speed networks, helps Smart Communities generate more high-end knowledge jobs, investment, innovation and economic growth than other communities.”

 

“The i-Canada Alliance has a vision closely aligned with one of our government’s key goals: to position Canada for long-term success and prosperity in the digital era,” said Industry Minister James Moore. “Digital Canada 150 is our strategy for ensuring Canadians have the skills and opportunities they need for success in the global economy, and our businesses have access to the digital tools they need to boost productivity, develop their companies, and capture growing markets at home and abroad. I look forward to further discussions with i-Canada in support of our shared priorities for Canada’s digital future.”

 

Brenda Halloran, Mayor of Waterloo, stated that “collaboration is a cornerstone that can help move the vital Intelligent Communities agenda forward.” Waterloo is a winner of the international Most Intelligent Community of the Year Award, a prestigious prize that hundreds of global cities compete for each year.

 

John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto, added that he was very pleased that this year Toronto with Waterfront Toronto won the global Intelligent Community of the Year prize: “Our plan at i-CANADA is to encourage enough Canadian communities to win the Smart and Intelligent Community international awards such that Canada’s national economic and innovation measures rise more quickly and impact our national results,” he said.

“Canadians have demonstrated leadership on the international stage,” said Dan Mathieson, Mayor of Stratford, Ontario. “”We have been in the winners’ circle in the Intelligent Community event, and the very act of focusing on becoming a Smart Community has helped us unite, share best practices and grow more rapidly in the digital space.”

 

“This is an arena where Canada can win,” stated Minister Moore. “This year Canada had three of the world’s Top 7 finalists for the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year: Winnipeg, Kingston and Toronto – who ultimately won the 2014 top prize. We win by competing, and by competing cooperatively.”

 

The i-Canada Governors Council considers that pursuing the growth of Smart/Intelligent Communities will significantly amplify the benefits and speed of achieving the government’s Digital Canada 150 goals. As the spearhead of the national trust for Canada’s Intelligent Communities, the leaders in today’s meeting are urging the Canadian government to help foster the creation of conditions under which national transformational benefits can be achieved at an ever increasing rate in the same way that technology change is accelerating exponentially. “It will happen through our communities, large and small, urban, rural and remote,” said Mr. Hutchison. “After all, a Smarter Community provides a better ecosystem for business, universities, research and innovation and the growth of knowledge employment. And a nation of Smarter Communities provides a market for our companies from which they can be better competitors for a larger share of global markets.”

 

Mr. Hutchison chaired a working group similar in design and goals to today’s proposal that gave birth to CANARIE twenty years ago. It involved leaders from all provinces with Industry Canada as the important federal partner. CANARIE went on to gain an impressive international reputation for CANADA and it continues as a key player on the global scene of high speed research and education networking. “A similar Intelligent Communities strategy for Canada would be of immense benefit for expanding the economy and our national innovation index, engaging with government, transacting business, keeping cities safe, and establishing the best possible environment for families and individuals,” concluded Mr. Hutchison.

 

 

The Urban Context

This is the world’s first “urban century”, when more than half of humanity lives in cities, a figure that will jump to 60% by 2030 and 66% by 2050. Communities large and small, urban and rural, now produce 80% of innovation, energy usage, and emissions. Two-thirds of global GDP comes from the top 750 cities alone and almost three-quarters of this economic activity occurs in the services sector, where knowledge is the principle ingredient. To create an advanced Smart Community, two factors must be exemplary: technology and its adoption, at the economic, environmental and social levels. Digital technologies are vital as the foundation, and their adoption then provides 90% of the benefit.

 

About i-CANADA

i-CANADA is a not-for-profit organization led by a Governors Council of 60 of Canada’s CEO’s, Mayors and opinion-leaders who are our leaders in digital transformation. They appreciate the benefits and the necessary social effort of creating more world-leading Smart/Intelligent Communities. Many of them and their Mayors are already global leaders in urban transformation and some, like Waterloo, Stratford, Calgary, Fredericton, Quebec, Winnipeg, Kingston and Toronto with Waterfront Toronto have all won international awards.   After establishing i-CANADA from the Atlantic to the Pacific over the past four years the Council has embarked on a new goal: To have 150 Canadian communities in the process of transformation to Intelligent Communities by the end of 2017: 150 communities by the 150th anniversary of Canada. To accelerate action on this goal, i-Canada is looking for partner companies and communities interested in facilitating a national plan in which all players will contribute to a revitalized “New National Dream”, which will address:

 

  • A roadmap that seizes the opportunities offered by an increasingly global and connected economy;
  • Open communications systems, featuring equal right of access by all providers and users; and
  • A national initiative that brings together our leaders to establish agreement on national goals and processes for reaching those goals.

 

A list of the executives at the meeting with the Minister is available. For more information on i-CANADA go to: http://icanada150.ca/   or contact: Barry Gander, Co-Founder, i-CANADA Barry.gander@sympatico.ca