The return of innovation to a ministry with an economic vocation

Feb 26, 2024

Bill 44 of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy

On February 7, Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon presented Bill 44—An Act to amend mainly the Act respecting the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation with respect to research to the National Assembly of Quebec.

The bill essentially aims to return government responsibilities for research and innovation to a ministry with an economic vocation. Indeed, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) would resume responsibilities related to the Chief Scientist and the three Quebec research funds, namely Health, Nature and Technology and Society and Culture. The bill also provides for their merger into a single entity: the Quebec Research Fund.

The government responsibility for innovation has, over the decades, traveled from one ministry to another, when it was not split among several. Indeed, the first political initiative in innovation was the presentation of “Bill 6—Scientific Research Council Act” by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Gérard D. Lévesque in 1966. However, this bill died on the Order Paper following the call for elections.

In 1983, with the Act to promote the advancement of science and technology in Quebec (L. Q. 1983, c. 23), the Science and Technology Council was permanently created and was under the aegis of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The three research funds of the time, the one for the training of researchers and research assistance (FCAR), the one for health and the last one on agriculture, fisheries and food were under the aegis of the Ministries of Education, Social Affairs and Agriculture, Fisheries and Food respectively. It was in 1999, with the creation of the ministère de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (L. Q. 1999, c.8) that all innovation bodies were grouped under the same ministry.

In 2001, the funds were somewhat redefined, except for the health fund. The FCAR fund becomes partly the Nature and Technology Fund and partly the Society and Culture Fund, which also includes the Quebec Social Research Council.

Innovation is transferred to a ministry with an economic vocation in 2003 with the creation of the ministère du Développement économique et régional et de la Recherche (L. Q. 2003, c-29), which subsequently became the ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation in 2006 (L. Q. 2006, c.8).

In 2013, with the creation of the ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (L. Q. 2013, c. 28), innovation returns to a ministry with an educational vocation. And here we are in 2024 with Bill 44 proposing a new move!

For a detailed analysis of the impact of Bill 44 and to be well equipped to follow parliamentary debates, do not hesitate to contact us!