CCI expands across Canada, adding government-relations representatives in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

CCI expands across Canada, adding government-relations representatives in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Toronto, ON, APRIL 12, 2021 — The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) is proud to announce a national expansion with the addition of leading government relations experts in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, to supplement our existing focus on Quebec and federal public policy regarding innovation.

CCI is a national business council representing more than 130 of Canada’s fastest growing companies in the innovation economy, including leading firms commercializing ideas in clean and health technologies, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cybersecurity and fintech. Since 2015, CCI has advocated for strategies and policies which foster a stronger domestic innovation economy led by Canadian-headquartered companies.

“During the economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, our members have looked to CCI as the leading voice to advocate for policies which support scaling technology companies, and we have been speaking to all levels of government about ways to help high-growth companies access the talent, capital and customers they need to fuel their growth,” said Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators. “When the Council of Canadian Innovators surveyed our member companies at the end of 2020, we found that in spite of the economic challenges, scaling technology companies were planning to grow their workforce by 24 per cent in 2021. These knowledge-based companies with a proven track record of growth can be the backbone of a post-pandemic recovery.”

While COVID-19 has been challenging for all Canadians, it has made us more reliant on digital technology and innovative solutions. We can be certain that the Canadian economy of the future will be more data-infused and technology-dependent than the world we’re leaving behind. Now is the time for all Canadian governments to be working hand-in-glove with the leaders of Canada’s most innovative companies to develop a prosperity strategy for the 21st century data-driven economy.

CCI’s practice leads in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia will be led by Dana O’Born, director of strategic initiatives, who also leads CCI’s national advocacy efforts. Tessa Seager in B.C., Bronté Valk in Alberta, and Alanna Sokic in Ontario join Pierre-Philippe Lortie, who has been CCI’s practice lead in Quebec since 2019.

“In 2020 it became clear that we needed to expand our team to enhance our advocacy at the provincial level, as the provinces’ economic policies are vitally important for the post-pandemic recovery,” Benjamin Bergen said. “On behalf of CCI member companies, I’m thrilled to welcome Bronté, Alanna and Tessa.”

Tessa Seager, CCI’s practice lead for British Columbia, brings a wealth of experience as an intellectual property lawyer and government relations consultant based in Vancouver. She holds a Juris Doctor from UBC and a Master of Political Management from Carleton University. Tessa has worked with clients to influence policy, access funding, navigate complex regulatory environments and manage political risk.

Bronté Valk was, prior to joining CCI to become practice lead for Alberta, a senior associate with Alberta Counsel, an Edmonton-based government relations firm advocating government for policies to support small businesses, teachers and other interest groups. Bronté is also one of the founding members of the Alberta Chapter for the Public Affairs Association of Canada, currently serving as Events Chair. She has already begun working with CCI member companies and Alberta innovation organizations to foster a conversation on the role of technology-based companies in the Alberta economy.

Alanna Sokic, CCI’s practice lead for Ontario, is an experienced government relations professional who most recently led the cannabis practice at Global Public Affairs in Toronto. At Global, Alanna worked on complex public affairs campaigns, assisting clients through challenging and complicated issues at all three levels of government. Alanna also volunteers with Equal Voice — most recently as Chair of the Toronto Chapter — and the Canadian Jewish Political Action Committee.

About the Council of Canadian Innovators

The Council of Canadian Innovators was created in 2015 by Canada’s most successful technology CEOs to ensure their voice was heard in the public policy development process because for far too long, Canada’s public policy regarding innovation has been dominated by foreign multinationals and other actors whose primary purpose is not to create economic growth in Canada. Currently, the Council is composed of more than 130 CEOs leading high-growth companies. The Council is chaired by Jim Balsillie, retired chairman and co-CEO of Blackberry, and John Ruffolo, Founder & Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, and Founder of OMERS Ventures. A full list of CCI’s membership can be viewed here: https://directory.canadianinnovators.org.

Media Contact: James McLeod — jmcleod@canadianinnovators.org

CCI is Canada’s 21st century business council, advocating for our country’s high-growth, innovative companies. Visit CanadianInnovators.org to learn more.

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