March 6, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Sir Terry Matthews, of Wesley Clover International, led a delegation to Queen’s Park today to speak with Ministers of the Government of Ontario in support of high-tech initiatives and opportunities in Ottawa, particularly in the fields of autonomous vehicles and next generation networks.

The aim of the delegation was to brief the provincial government on recent developments in key high-tech industries, and to reinforce the value and economic growth potential these industries offer for Ottawa and Ontario. The delegation provided policy recommendations in support of their objectives, including:

  • Support for Canada’s Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Networks (CENGN), a not-for-profit consortium of industry, academic and research leaders headquartered in Ottawa, to develop a smart infrastructure test bed in Ontario, to foster development and commercialization of networking technologies, and to be a test environment for the new digital economy.
  • That Ottawa be considered as the site for a provincial Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Vehicles, supporting the efforts of the Province to advance development of autonomous vehicles in Ontario.

In addition to Sir Terry Mathews, a champion of technology in Ottawa, the delegation was made up of Ottawa’s leaders in research and development, commercialization, innovation, and economic development, including:

  • Ottawa City Councillors Jan Harder, Allan Hubley, Tim Tierney and Marianne Wilkinson, who have championed Smart City initiatives and the development of the autonomous vehicle industry at City Hall
  • Ritch Dusome, President and CEO, CENGN (Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks)
  • Eric Smith, Head of Government Relations (Canada), BlackBerry
  • John Wall, Senior Vice President and Head, QNX Software Systems
  • Dr. Ruth Rayman, The Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre, National Research Council Canada
  • Sacha Gera, SVP, Cloud Products, GENBAND
  • Allen Lalonde, Senior Innovation Executive and Director, IBM Canada Research and Development Centre
  • Christian Szpilfogel, Vice President, Strategy, M&A Business Development and IPR, Mitel
  • Dr. Philip Church, Chief Technology Officer, Neptec
  • Steve Langford, Vice President, Marketing, Wesley Clover
  • Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa
  • Sylvain Charbonneau, Associate Vice-President, University of Ottawa
  • Cheryl Jensen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Algonquin College
  • Frédéric Thibault-Chabot, Collège La Cité
  • Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa
  • Blair Patacairk, Managing Director, Investment and Trade, Invest Ottawa
  • Jenna Sudds, Executive Director, Kanata North Business Association
  • Chris Cope, Economic Development Officer, City of Ottawa

While at Queen’s Park, the delegation met with:

  • Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
  • Hon. Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
  • Representatives from the Office of the Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science
  • Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth
  • Hon. Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation

The Ottawa Government Caucus, led by Minister Bob Chiarelli, accompanied the delegation in its meetings.


“The members of this delegation share a common vision of Ottawa as a leader in the high-tech sector in Canada and around the world. Together, we are working hard to leverage our strengths on many fronts, and in particular, to develop a sophisticated autonomous vehicle industry and advance next generation networks in Ontario. We look forward to working more closely with the Government of Ontario to fuel innovation and economic development in Ottawa to the benefit of the entire province.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Quick Facts:

  • In November 2016, Ottawa City Council adopted a motion supporting the creation of a Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Vehicles in the Ottawa area, working alongside its many economic development partners.
  • Ottawa City Council also directed staff to work with the Province to approve the testing of autonomous vehicles on Ottawa’s roads, starting in the Kanata North Business Park.
  • There are more than 60 companies in Ottawa that play a role in the fields of autonomous vehicles and next generation networks through software, sensors, data analytics and telecommunications.
  • Last fall, BlackBerry QNX revealed it was investing $100 million and creating 650 new jobs in Ottawa over the next five years.
  • Apple has also opened an office in Ottawa to work on autonomous vehicles.
  • Early this summer, Ottawa will launch the first ever autonomous vehicle test track on active city streets.
  • The test area will be fully equipped with the latest GPS and telecommunications technology, and will be coordinated with City traffic systems and street lighting.