Gerri Sinclair named BC’s new innovation commissioner

Gerri Sinclair

Gerri Sinclair has been appointed as British Columbia’s new innovation commissioner. Sinclair replaces Alan Winter, who completed his term with the Government of British Columbia on February 4.

“Sinclair’s distinguished career as a leader in innovation makes her precisely the right person to champion our tech sector.”

Sinclair’s role will be primarily to advocate for the province’s technology sector. As an innovation commissioner, she will be responsible for supporting the implementation of innovation and technology-related priorities and initiatives. Sinclair will also be responsible for supporting the province’s economic recovery following the impacts and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s critical that we focus on innovation to help us rebuild our economy from COVID-19 and make us more resilient to future challenges,” said Adam Olsen, interim leader of the BC Green Party. “As our new innovation commissioner, Dr. Gerri Sinclair will be a significant asset to the province and I welcome her to the role.”

Sinclair is a former managing director at Kensington Capital, and has held executive positions with Microsoft and BC’s largest credit union, Vancity. She also served as executive director of the digital media program at the Centre for Digital Media, a multidisciplinary graduate institution based in Vancouver.

The incoming innovation commissioner was also the founding director of the Excite Lab at Simon Fraser University, and was the founder and CEO of NCompass Labs, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2001. She has also served as president of the British Columbia Premier’s Technology Council.

RELATED: Outgoing innovation commissioner says British Columbia needs to create innovation hubs

The position of innovation commissioner was created by the province in 2018 and is a part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Green Party caucus to promote innovation in the BC economy.

The term of the BC commissioner is one year. The individual is expected to drive initiatives under the province’s Technology and Innovation Policy Framework, the Emerging Economy Task Force, and the previous innovation commissioner’s final report and COVID-19 recovery efforts.

In May, outgoing commissioner Winter released his final report on how the provincial government can help BC tech and support innovation across all of the province’s sectors. Some of Winter’s recommendations to the government included establishing innovation precincts and emerging technology clusters, leveraging federal funding in a more significant way, and encouraging the creation and protection of intellectual property.

“I have long believed a strong innovation commissioner would be invaluable in helping B.C.’s tech sector advance. It is of particular importance now, given our collective challenge of economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19,” said Andrew Weaver, member of the legislative assembly for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “Dr. Gerri Sinclair’s distinguished career as a leader in innovation makes her precisely the right person to champion our tech sector and help BC to capitalize on our strengths to build a thriving 21st-century economy.”

Image source Wikimedia Commons.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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