“I am the first premier with a science background,” he told fDi from his high-rise meeting room suite in Chicago, where he was leading the Ontario delegation to the BIO conference in April. “I am passionate about this subject.”

The Ministry of Research and Innovation will make targeted investments in innovation to promote creativity in schools, businesses, cultural institutions and government. “We want to foster a culture of innovation in which we move beyond celebrating instances of innovation and instead make it inevitable,” Mr McGuinty said.

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The provincial government has pledged nearly $1.7bn over the next five years to support research, commercialisation and outreach programmes. “We like to say we are putting our money where our minds are,” the premier said.

The life sciences sector generates more than $10bn in annual revenues and employs 40,000 people in more than 800 companies in Ontario.