Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

December 03, 2007 10:30 ET

Ontario Chamber Calls for Protection of Intellectual Property

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2007) - In a report issued today, Ontario's premier business advocate calls on the provincial government to get involved in what has traditionally been considered a federal issue.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce argues in "Protection of Intellectual Property: A Case for Ontario", that piracy and counterfeiting transcend jurisdiction, and must be addressed through the collaboration of all stakeholders: government, industry and consumers. In fact, the report contends that the Ontario government has a responsibility to play a key role in the issue.

According to the report, piracy and counterfeiting can be estimated to cost the Canadian economy $22.5 billion, which would translate into a $9 billion problem for Ontario.

"Based on conservative estimates, a $9 billion loss to Ontario's economy is robbing the province of $1.6 billion in lost tax revenue, and about 50,000 jobs," says Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "Add the negative impacts on Ontario's attractiveness to investors, ability to foster innovation and the potential damage to trading relations with our largest trading partner, the United States, and the province is compelled to act."

Using a number of specific industry examples, the report outlines a comprehensive series of recommendations including:

- The Federal and Provincial governments establish an IP Crime Task Force and an IP Inter-ministerial Coordination Council;

- The Federal government strengthen the IP protection legislative framework by, among other things, criminalizing trademark counterfeiting and the intentional manufacture, reproduction, distribution, importation or sale of counterfeit products

- The Federal and provincial governments provide additional funding and training to the Canada Border Services Agency, police, Crown Attorneys and judges to enhance IPR Protection;

- Businesses adopt the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy Supply Chain Toolkit; and,

- All stakeholders work together to generate greater public awareness concerning the impact of counterfeiting and piracy on public health and safety, and the economy.

"Protection of Intellectual Property: A Case for Ontario" can be found at www.occ.on.ca

The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since 1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance & taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS APPLAUD CALL FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION

"GE was founded by Thomas Edison, one of the world's greatest innovators. Innovation continues to drive our global growth today. However, successful innovation is dependent on the protection of the intellectual property that emerges from the creative process. Whether we're talking about electrical products designed and manufactured by GE's Industrial business or movies produced by NBC Universal, we are very concerned by the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated product. Canada has lost its focus on IP protection and is seen as a global laggard in addressing this issue. We must continue to press for better laws and stronger enforcement."

Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada

"The theft of intellectual property and the disturbingly wide trade in counterfeit goods is a very real threat to both consumer safety and our broader economic security. As Canadian manufacturers adapt to major challenges such as the high dollar we need assurance that our investments in new productivity-enhancing processes, technologies and products will be fully protected. Its time for action."

David Patterson, Vice President Corporate and Environmental Affairs, General Motors

"Today's weak rules against counterfeiting and piracy harm all sectors of Ontario's economy by discouraging investment in innovation. The Chamber's report makes a powerful case for stronger IP protection in Ontario, where we urgently need measures to drive innovation and improve our competitiveness. International best practices clearly demonstrate a direct correlation between the protection of IP rights and the level of investment in IP industries. The Chamber is on the right track here and is to be congratulated."

Randy Lennox, President and CEO, Universal Music Canada

"Counterfeiting is a serious threat to Ontario's reputation and our brands internationally, and has directly impacted the wine industry, among others. A stronger IP regime is vitally needed to encourage a continued commitment to scientific innovation in research. I applaud the Ontario Chamber for its report and urge business and government to work together to generate greater public awareness about the impacts of piracy and counterfeiting."

Donald Ziraldo, Chair, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

"From our perspective, IP protection in Canada is very important to the growth of our regional economy. We encourage both business and governments to move quickly on the report's recommendations."

Ross Wells, Chair, Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, and Partner, Gowlings

Contact Information

  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    Amy Terrill
    W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241 or C: (416) 605-8205
    amyterrill@occ.on.ca