Alan Winter
Credit: Courtesy of government of B.C.

B.C. innovation commissioner Alan Winter

Alan Winter tasked with championing the province’s technology sector at home and abroad

Alan Winter is coming to the aid of B.C.’s tech sector. In Vancouver on February 5, Premier John Horgan, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and Bruce Ralston, minister of jobs, trade and technology, announced Winter’s appointment as the province’s first innovation commissioner.

The new commissioner’s mandate will include advocating for B.C.’s fair share of federal innovation-related program funding; championing the province’s tech sector in Ottawa and abroad; promoting B.C. as an investment location; and expanding market opportunities by connecting B.C. tech companies with national and international partners, according to the government.

“Alan Winter’s breadth of senior leadership experience in the biotech and information technology fields makes him the ideal ambassador for our tech and innovation sector,” Ralston said in a statement.

Winter outlined plans for his one-year term, which may be renewed based on performance. “I want to make sure B.C. companies are at the front of the line for investment and partnership opportunities, both here in Canada and around the world,” he said. “My first priority will be championing Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, which could provide B.C.’s tech sector with a major boost in federal funding.”

The B.C.-based Digital Technology Supercluster is one of nine finalists for the Innovative Superclusters Initiative, which will see as many as five industry-led consortia receive non-repayable federal funding from an investment pool of up to $950 million.

Winter, who holds a PhD in physics from Queen’s University, served as president and CEO of government agency Genome British Columbia from 2001 to 2016. He was also founding president and CEO of the Vancouver-based New Media Innovation Centre and president and CEO of MPR Teltech Ltd., the Burnaby-headquartered technology firm that spun off semiconductor maker PMC-Sierra and communications equipment manufacturer Sierra Wireless.

Federally, Winter’s past roles include chair of the Communications Research Centre Canada and deputy chair of the Council of Science and Technology Advisors.