Executive Summary: PTC 12th Report – April 2009

This report reviews the progress that has been made towards creating a knowledge-based society, the impact of PTC recommendations and determines what themes are important in the future to ensure B.C.’s continued prosperity. It did not introduce any additional recommendations. In preparing this report, the PTC conducted extensive consultations within different ministries of the provincial government to examine the impact on government operations and the progress towards developing a knowledge-based society. For this report, the knowledge-based society is based on three pillars: infrastructure, government services, and the knowledge-based economy.

Infrastructure for a Knowledge-Based Society

Significant progress was made regarding broadband. Some highlights include:

  • 92% of the province now has access to a broadband connection
  • To help bridge the digital divide for First Nations, the provincial government has recently announced over $30 million for broadband connectivity
  • Community Networking Infrastructure Grant Program helped 57 communities to deliver last mile services.
  • BC has the highest rate of high speed connectivity in the country (Canadian Internet Project)
  • BC has excellent networks Government SPAN/BC (aids health and education), BCNET network for research institutions, and PLNET for BC public schools and post-secondary institutions

Government Services for a Knowledge-Based Society

  • Government has instituted annual review process for all IM/IT strategic project expenditures for better integration and alignment.
  • Integrated service delivery through Service BC; overall customer satisfaction rate of 92%
  • 50,000 students taking online courses, 25,000 exams administered in 2007/2008
  • Government has pilot for 1,000 physicians to use Electronic Medical Records that can integrate with Electronic Health Record while protecting patient confidentiality.

Knowledge-Based Economy

  • The technology industry in particular has benefited from Provincial Nominee Program with about over 2,700 nominations, almost 40% of the total.
  • BC has eliminated 163,000 regulations (43%) and reduced corporate income tax by 33%.
  • Aspects of Venture Capital investment in BC have been very strong. Particularly the government’s VCC programs, strong angel investment, and the new BC Renaissance Fund.
  • BC has increased investment in research by 100% since 2001, a total of over $1.5 billion
  • Government encourages clean energy sources by investing $600,000 bioenergy research, providing $25 million to establish and enhance BC’s Bioenergy Network and creating the new $25 million Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund.
  • BC has supported the emerging technology sectors (ICT, New Media and Life Sciences) with research, research facilities and graduate schools. These areas include 7,000 companies, approximately $12 billion in revenues, and employ over 63,000 people.