Like most states on the American side of the Great Lakes, Ontario maintains your typical economic development agency. Expectedly, it works to lure companies, attract investment, generate jobs, and otherwise pump up the province's prospects for growth. One major distinction from similiar operations in the U.S. seems to be that those Canadians spell labor with a 'u.' As in, we have a strong labour force.
But the province, unlike most states, also staffs a Ministry of Innovation. And that suggests government leaders there embrace the notion that competing in the 21st century requires organizations, strategies, and ways of thinking that are fundamentally different from those deployed in the Industrial Era.
Think of Orwell's Ministry of Truth, where old poems are rewritten to represent the new ideology. Radically different moves and language are essential to the rise of any transformative regime, good or bad.
Clearly the region's old institutions have lost traction in the modern era considering the decades of job loss, budget breakdowns, and other troubling trends.
So, in a knowledge economy where big bold ideas seem to be the lucrative new raw materials, what better public platform to establish than a Ministry of Research and Innovation. What better post to establish than Minister of Innovation.
At a time when traditional economic development missions feverishly try to adapt tax cuts, job training programs, and corporate relocation packages, and hand pick pet industries like life science, energy innovation, or homeland security, at least a segment of Ontario governance seems to be pursuing a much more systemic, holistic, and distinguishing approach.
Here's why the Ministry of Innovation was established, according to the agency website:
"Places that invest in innovation, that stroke the creativity of people, that market their ideas most effectively will become the home to the most rewarding jobs, to the strongest economies and to the best quality of life. We want Ontario to be that place where innovation is inevitable.
"The Ministry of Research and Innovation was created to focus on the government’s commitment to innovation as the driver of growth across all sectors of the economy."