Media Contacts

Stephen Smart

Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
778 389-6202

Rodney Porter

Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6508

Susan Danard, UBC Public Affairs
604 312-0845


Premier’s Chief Advisor: Innovation Network
Terms of Reference


British Columbia has one of Canada’s most vibrant innovation ecosystems, with the B.C. tech sector growing rapidly and B.C.-grown talent in high demand in Canada and around the world.

But we aspire to do more.

We want to ensure that we are retaining and attracting the innovation talent we need today and for the economy of the future.

We want our post-secondary institutions to provide graduates with an education that includes the skills needed to grow B.C.’s innovation economy.

We want to ensure that our public research institutions are accessible to B.C. companies and partner with them to develop innovative solutions and technologies.

We want B.C. to be the go-to market for partners in the United States, Asia and beyond.

We want to ensure that B.C.’s key innovation clusters are recognized, and attracting investment to British Columbia.

And, we want to leverage our unique place in the world, as North America’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and the Canadian hub in the Cascadia Corridor.

To do this, we want to transform the B.C. innovation ecosystem into an innovation network – a network that is collaborative, coordinated and supported, and can compete with innovation centres around the world.


  • The Premier has appointed Santa J. Ono as the province’s first Chief Advisor: Innovation Network. He will report directly to the Premier.
  • Prof. Ono will join the Premier’s Technology Council as a member.
  • To undertake this role, Prof. Ono will work closely with the Premier’s Technology Council, the BC Innovation Council, the BCTech Association, LifeSciences BC, DigiBC and the Clean Tech CEOs Alliance and also with partners across B.C.’s innovation network, such as innovation-driven companies spanning economic sectors, research agencies, industry and business associations, and post-secondary institutions and associations.


Prof. Ono will work with partners throughout the province to establish B.C.’s Innovation Network. He will:

  • Recommend strategies that will attract talent to support the continued growth of the tech sector.
  • Work with B.C. post-secondary sector partners to collaborate with industry on talent development and research.
  • Identify promising policy and program changes to spur further innovation, including policy, business incentives, government procurement and immigration.
  • Promote B.C.’s key innovation clusters to ensure they are recognized in B.C., Canada and around the world.

Link to all regions of the province to ensure that all British Columbians are able to participate in the promise of the innovation economy.


Later this year, Prof. Ono will convene key stakeholders in B.C.’s innovation network at a forum in conjunction with the #BCTECH Summit.

  • The forum will identify current successes in talent development, cluster strengths and opportunities, and research-to-innovation models. Importantly, the forum will serve as the launch for further consultations and sector analysis.
  • The Premier will be updated on an ongoing basis and findings will be presented at #BCTECH 2018.

Particular focus through the course of the year will include:

  • Talent:
  •  Develop and implement strategies to attract talent.
  • Ensure alignment of tech sector needs and post-secondary training and education.
  • Promote successful entrepreneurship programs.
  • Develop best practice for immersive, experiential learning.


  • Research & Innovation:
  • Identify programs and corresponding investments to meet industry demand.
  • Work with industry, post-secondary institutions and research agencies to encourage research that meets industry needs and supports innovation and a smooth transition to commercialization and export markets.
  • Assess B.C.’s innovation pipeline, with specific focus on incubation and acceleration supports and the resources required to scale successful BC based companies.


  • Superclusters:
  • Undertake a gap analysis to ensure innovation clusters are best positioned to compete globally.
  • Identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration.
  • Identify focused investment opportunities to promote innovation clusters.

It is anticipated that Prof. Ono’s efforts to bring together stakeholders across B.C.’s innovation network will spur new and productive collaborative partnerships between industry and post-secondary institutions, such as on curriculum design, work integrated learning, and joint research.

Throughout the course of his work, Prof. Ono will pay particular attention to promoting the success of Indigenous youth, B.C.’s connections with the Asia Pacific and the burgeoning Cascadia Corridor.

Media Contacts

Stephen Smart

Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
778 389-6202

Rodney Porter

Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6508

Susan Danard, UBC Public Affairs
Cell: 604 312-0845