Quinte Region Requires a Dedicated Innovation Strategy to Support, Retain and Grow Our Health Science Sector:
Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce
Bay of Quinte ON, August 16th, 2016: At a time when the province is trying to address the major challenge of fiscal sustainability, The Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce are suggesting a different approach to fixing the province’s health care system and putting patients first. In a report released today, the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce (QWCC) and the Belleville Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is calling on the provincial government to turn its focus from budget cuts to empowering the health care system to become an economic and productivity driver that is responsive to emerging innovation being developed in our own backyard. The report, Adopting Our Advantage: Supporting a thriving health science sector in Ontario, is the third in a series of health policy reports and is part of the OCC’s year long Health Transformation Initiative.
We, in the Quinte Region understand the important role that innovation plays in improving the way that products and services are delivered. This is particularly true if we are to improve our regional Health Care System. The Chamber network therefore is calling on the government to open the doors to the wealth of talented researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs in the health space. We can do a better job of empowering these innovators and connecting them with health care providers, so that all points in the health sector are working together to improve patient care. The appointment of a Chief Innovation Strategist by the government of Ontario begins that conversation, and many of the solutions in the report will continue us down that path.
“In order for the government to receive a return on its investments in research, and patients in the Quinte Region to gain access to the kind of innovations that will improve their quality of life, there needs to be a unified strategy to support Ontario’s health science sector.” said Suzanne Andrews, General Manager, Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. “Today we are not supporting our own discoveries. If we were able to change that, it would have a great impact on our provincial economy, on our provincial health industry and on our local health care system.”
The provincial government invests a significant amount of money into research funding, education and seed development funds. However, if the companies that emerge from this environment are unable to access the markets or resources they need to scale their business, they are more likely to leave the province causing Ontario taxpayers to lose out on our investment.
“With innovation being identified as a priority at both the provincial and federal levels, now is the time for government to adopt a cohesive strategy to address the challenges facing this sector.” said Bill Saunders CEO of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, “We need to take hold of the opportunity presented by our strengths in health sciences that will lead to a self-sustaining, vibrant health economy.”
“If we can establish an integrated system that has a collective vision, the potential rewards for Ontario are great,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “A lack of focused investment in the province’s home-grown innovation will only lead to missed opportunity.”
The report's recommendations suggest a cohesive approach to health care that would make it easier to capitalize innovative health science start-ups, attract and retain experienced talent, and provide market access to the public health care system. For this to take place, Ontario requires a dedicated vision for health science innovation, one that recognizes our competitive advantages and makes use of our single-payer system as an economic driver.
The full report can be viewed at https://quintewestchamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/OCC-HTI-Adopting-Our-Advantage.pdf