Province taps ex-Genome B.C. CEO as first innovation commissioner

B.C. innovation commissioner Alan Winter has been appointed to a one-year term for the newly created position | B.C. Genome Sciences Centre

The B.C. government has tapped the former president and CEO of Genome B.C. as its first innovation commissioner.

The province will announce Monday morning (February 5) in Vancouver that Alan Winter is assuming the newly created role as the province’s technology advocate in Ottawa and overseas.

The creation of an “innovation commission” and commissioner were among the requirements laid out in the May 2017 confidence and supply agreement between the BC NDP and the B.C. Greens.

Details of the commission and its leader’s duties were not hammered out when the agreement was revealed.

But according to the province, Winter’s role will include relationship-building with senior government leaders in Ottawa and with B.C.'s tech and innovation network.

He will also facilitate partnerships between the B.C. and Washington state technology communities as part of efforts to develop the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

Winter will be on the job for at least a one-year term, while the government has the option to reappoint him based on performance.

"I want to make sure B.C. companies are at the front of the line for investment and partnership opportunities, both here in Canada and around the world," Winter said in a statement.

"My first priority will be championing Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster, which could provide B.C.'s tech sector with a major boost in federal funding."

In addition to leading Genome B.C. from 2001-16, Winter served as CEO of the New Media Innovation Centre in Vancouver, the president of the ComDev Space Group in Ontario and the president and CEO of MPR Teltech Ltd. in Vancouver.