Cabinet shuffle sees Navdeep Bains step down after five years leading Ottawa’s innovation agenda

    Navdeep Bains in Toronto in August 2020.
    Navdeep Bains in Toronto in August 2020. The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov

    Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains ended a five-year run as federal innovation minister Tuesday, after signalling he wouldn’t run in the next election. His exit prompted a small cabinet shuffle, with former foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne, a former corporate lawyer, taking over the industry portfolio.

    Bains has been this government’s only minister for industry and innovation, overseeing those portfolios from the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals first formed government in late 2015. Innovation-economy executives and former top officials in Ottawa credit him with spearheading a new and more coherent industrial policy that extended beyond the ministry’s traditional auto and aerospace focus to growing sectors like software and cleantech. Champagne takes over from Bains in the midst of crucial regulatory work on data, privacy and competition, and assumes responsibility for a portfolio of expanded business-support programs—on which the government is set to rely for the post-pandemic recovery.

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