CEO group asks Freeland to establish DARPA-style federal innovation agency in upcoming budget

OTTAWA — The chief executives of some of the country’s biggest firms are calling for the federal government to set up a new branch like the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which created one of the internet’s early predecessors and helped stimulate the development of autonomous-vehicle technology. 

In a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland ahead of the 2021 budget, the Business Council of Canada (BCC) said adopting a “mission-driven approach to innovation policy” will ensure more research turns into company revenues, and help firms scale up. It also called for a new policy modelled on Germany’s network of applied-science institutes to make better use of intellectual property.

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