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Home Policy Articles: Science & Technology

New developments in science and technology affect every aspect of our lives. From the food we eat, to the way we communicate, to new conceptions of human life, science and technology policy helps to shape new knowledge every day. This policy area considers debates around technological subjects such as internet access, e-governance, and the way our economy is affected by technological advancements. As well, scientific developments such as genetically modified food, genetic engineering, and nuclear power cause much controversy.

This section of will keep you up-to-date on the latest developments in science and technology policy.



A Survey of the GM Industry in Saskatchewan and Western Canada

This collaborative report presents the findings of a survey of interest groups who are concerned with genetically modified food. It draws conclusions about the genetically modified food industry and biotechnology sector in Saskatchewan and western Canada.

Archetypes of the Network Age: Articulating the New Public Service Reality

This publication is a report based on a forum hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in October 2003. This forum was held to discuss international security concerns, border initiatives and the increasing incidence of identity theft and identity fraud.

Biometrics: Implications and Applications for Citizenship and Immigration

This publication is a report based on a forum hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in October 2003. This forum was held to discuss international security concerns, border initiatives and the increasing incidence of identity theft and identity fraud. In particular, participants at the conference highlighted the need to strengthen the integrity of Canadian documents pertaining to identity, immigration, citizenship, and travel; the use of biometric technology in identity documentation was a focus of the forum.

Biotechnology and Food for Canadians

This article by Alan McHughen attempts to demonstrate the positive aspects of what is generally referred to as genetic modification (GM) in order to counteract what McHughen calls “misinformation, misunderstanding and confusion about this technology.” Among the examples of benefits the author details: leaner meats and cooking oils with lower saturated fat contents, as well as plants that can be protected from diseases. McHughen also details the goals and techniques of biotechnology research, especially in light of concerns regarding possible hazards of genetic modification. Though the article does not cover all points extensively, it does offer references for further reading in order to provide what is termed “real information for a real informed choice.”

Canada’s Innovation Agenda: Where are we Going?

The key conclusion of Where are we Going? is that innovation in the Canadian economy is important because it is increasingly the key factor in generating wealth. This conclusion comes from a Public Policy Forum-led roundtable discussion on the issue of innovation in the knowledge economy. Roundtable participants – including private sector CEOs, deputy ministers, university presidents, and heads of research institutes – were tasked with exploring innovation in the Canadian economy.

Could Nuclear Energy Be Our Salvation?

Allan Evans discusses the many ways he believes Saskatchewan could benefit from the development of nuclear power, he also addresses common public fears that surround this development.

Facing the Science Challenge: Recruiting the Next Generation of Public Service Research Scientists

Averill, Lopes and Dale argue that scientific excellence is essential to the business of government and to the well-being of Canadians. On a daily basis, government officials rely on scientific research to make decisions that will affect Canadians’ health and safety, and to ensure the economic competitiveness of businesses operating in Canada. However, the authors reveal that the Government of Canada’s cohort of research scientists is one of the oldest.

Generic Pharmaceuticals and Sector Development: Industry Chanllenges and Potential Solutions

With the emergence of the global economy, Canada has had to determine a course of action to maintain its production and economic stability.

Genomics, Health and Society: Emerging Issues for Public Policy (1)

This collaborative paper takes an extensive look at the developments in genomics and their potential implications on society. The many issues this paper discusses include genomic and healthcare, genetic medicine, ethical challenges to genomics, the patenting of genomic developments, impacts on the developing world, and the need for government to stay informed to ensure sound policy.

Government of Mauritius E-Government Master Plan: Human Resources Development and Awareness Considerations

In Government of Mauritius E-Government Master Plan, author David Brown provides recommendations on how the Government of Mauritius can move forward on implementing the e-government element of its Cyber Island Strategy. While the report may seem unorthodox given other Public Policy Forum publications, Brown explains that Mauritius requested the Commonwealth Centre for Electronic Governance assist it with the development of the plan, and the latter contracted the Public Policy Forum to provide information on the human resources elements of the Strategy.

Innovation and the Transport Sector in Canada

According to David Brook and David Zussman, authors of the Public Policy Forum report Innovation and the Transport Sector in Canada, innovation is important because it is increasingly the key factor in generating wealth. Furthermore, Brook and Zussman state that innovation plays an integral role in Canada’s transport sector because safe, efficient, and accessible transportation is a pre-condition for the movement of people and goods in an economy. To consider the key barriers to innovation in the transportation sector, as well as ways to overcome these barriers, the Public Policy Forum brought together a roundtable of transport sector experts; this report is a summary of the discussion that took place.

Innovation Challenge Paper No. 1: The Road to Global Best: Leadership, Innovation, and Corporate Culture

This article by Brian Guthrie and Jacek Warda identifies ways that Canadians can respond to the recently published federal document titled Canada’s Innovation Policy. These include: creating ‘innovation audits;’ establishing a more tangible link between shareholder value and innovation investment; challenging employees to be the best in their respective fields (not only for those residing in Canada, but elsewhere); and, fostering a a global vision to govern innovation and drive all corporate activity. This vision, or “roadmap”, would be built on a “10-year national vision and grounded in Canada’s technological and market strength.”

Innovation Challenge Paper No. 2: The Road to Global Best: Leading Innovation Through R & D

This article by Brian Guthrie and Jacek Warda looks at ways to ensure that targets established by the federal government for research and development (R&D) are met. The authors suggest strategic investment, the adoption and adaptation of new technologies, the creation of an “innovate Canada road map,” and perhaps, most importantly, the defining of targets not only related to R&D but to innovation in general. Canada has specific areas in which it is competitive. The authors suggests that the trick, as such, will entail being selective in choosing the areas of investment, as it is unlikely Canada will be able to outspend its competitors .

Innovation Challenge Paper No. 3: The Road to Global Best: Tweaking the Tax System to Support Innovation

This article by Jacek Warda looks at Canada’s tax system in relation to innovation. He argues that the Government of Canada could foster innovation by reaching beyond its customary commitment to research and development (R&D).

Innovation Challenge Paper No. 4: The Road to Global Best: Making Commercialization Happen

This article by Brian Guthrie and Jacek Warda tries to identify ways through which innovation can be translated into value. It concentrates on several different aspects of innovation that could lead to improvement: improved collaboration with communities (notably universities); improving the ability of small- and medium-sized enterprise’s to grow; the creation of a national innovation centre; the establishment of entrepreneurship programs; and, commercialization based on Canada’s strengths (natural resources, transportation technology).

Making Innovation Happen: Prospects for Research-Intensive Pharmaceutical Firms in Canada (Updated)

This article by Goshu Gebremichael and Jacek Warda argues that innovation in the pharmaceutical industry contributes both to the Canadian economy and the improved functioning of Canada’s health care system. According to their research, Canada leads the G7 countries vis-à-vis the annual growth rate in pharmaceutical innovation. Gebremichael and Warda thus measure innovation efforts and outline the factors for success they deem necessary to maintain a proper innovation-friendly climate. These include enforcement of patent laws and an excellent research infrastructure.

Networking Canada's Innovation Networks

This document by the Conference Board of Canada recounts the main discussion points and objectives of a September 5, 2001 meeting held under the heading of “Networking Canada’s Innovation Networks” and co-hosted with the Canadian Technology Network (CTN) and the National Research Council (NRC). The main goal of this meeting: to outline initiatives that could strengthen links among networks, which could, in turn, increase “the performance and international competitiveness of Canada’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).” Conference participants believe networking can consolidate the resources available to SMEs, and raise productivity.

Pursuing Excellence Through Connectedness: Canada's Quest for Global Best

This article by Natalie Gagnon, Goshu Gebremichael and Brian Guthrie analyzes Canada’s performance on the Connectedness Index. (Developed by the Conference Board, the Index it measures the use of information and communication technologies – referred to as ICTs – to increase productivity). The Index consists of four main factors: availability, price, reach, and use.

Roundtable on Canada’s Knowledge Economy: New Models for Health Innovation Chateau Cartier Report

As the Public Policy Forum publication The Views From Leaders points out, there are a series of proposals – from efficiency measures to user fees – aimed at ensuring the sustainability of Canada’s health care system. This report explores another concept for health care sustainability.

Sustainable Development Framework for Science and Technology: Social and Cultural Dimensions For the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on Science and

In this paper Sherri Torjman and David Minns explain the central elements required for "sustainable development research" frameworks in the area of science and technology.

The Economic Contribution of the Nova Scotia Life Sciences Sector

This Report by Pedro Antunes discusses the general economic impact of both the life sciences sector and biotechnology, specifically as they affect Nova Scotia. Antunes begins by explaining that the recent boom in the life sciences sector can be attributed, both to the completion of the Human Genome Project, and also, to Canada’s aging demographic.

The Most Radioactive Man on Earth

Allan Evans advocates for the development of nuclear power sources in Saskatchewan.

Vendor Engagement Strategy Consultations

The Government of Canada is rethinking how it provides information technology services and infrastructure to government departments and agencies. David Brown and George Kourakos explain that the establishment of the Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB) is a central feature of this initiative. In the summer of 2004, the ITSB asked the Public Policy Forum to conduct consultations to prepare a strategy to establish an ongoing dialogue with ITSB’s vendors (providers of goods and services).