Ontario Strengthens Intellectual Property Expertise

Postsecondary internships will help protect “Ontario made” innovations, ideas and products

TORONTO – The Ontario government is supporting nearly 900 postsecondary student internships to help businesses, start-ups and new entrepreneurial companies grow and protect “Ontario made” innovations, ideas and products. This includes a pilot project that will help ensure companies build solid strategies for developing and protecting intellectual property.

“This program, the first of its kind in Ontario, will meet the needs of local employers by helping them build solid business strategies that can help protect their intellectual property. It will also ensure postsecondary students gain real-world experience during their studies so they can make an immediate impact in the workforce,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Helping innovators build in-house capacity, knowledge and expertise will allow businesses to unlock the value of made-in-Ontario intellectual property, contributing to Ontario’s economic recovery, resiliency and growth.”

The internships, which include an initial target of up to 100 spaces in the intellectual property (IP) stream, will be offered through Mitacs, a national non-profit organization that builds partnerships to support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

“To support the growth of a resilient and change-oriented economy that sustains the well-being of our communities, we are determined to provide law and business students with the training and opportunities they need to make a meaningful difference in their evolving fields,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Fostering the skills and knowledge needed to promote and protect Made-in-Ontario intellectual property is one of the most important actions we can take to help legal professionals contribute to the economy of the future.”

Today’s announcement is part of Ontario’s $39.5 million investment to create up to 8,000 paid internships and upskilling opportunities for postsecondary students, postdoctoral fellows and recent graduates.

In July 2020, the Ontario government unveiled the province’s first Intellectual Property Action Plan. Informed by an Expert Panel, the IP Action Plan supports all those involved in research, innovation and commercialization, and helps ensure that any economic and social benefits generated by research and innovation remain in Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • Companies with IP assets such as patents, copyrights and trademarks often have higher rates of growth and are important job creators.
  • As announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, Ontario is making a new $1.5 million investment to support:
    • a web‐based IP education curriculum to ensure businesses and innovators understand the value of protecting “Ontario made” innovations, ideas and products
    • the development of a centralized Ontario resource to increase access to IP advice, legal expertise and educational resources
    • the creation of a robust IP policy that will help protect home‐grown ideas and prioritize the commercialization of IP related products to fuel Ontario’s innovation ecosystem


“Ontario is a national leader in the intangible economy and intellectual property development and protection will be crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. We are proud to be working with the Government of Ontario on this important endeavour, which ensures highly trained students, including in business and law, can work and provide their much-needed expertise to Ontario businesses.”

– John Hepburn
CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“We are excited to express our support for the IP internship pilot in Ontario as our IP Innovation Clinic and Mitacs explore this unique opportunity to energize Ontario’s innovation ecosystem. Participation in this pilot will provide the IP Innovation Clinic Fellows with a comprehensive examination of important practical aspects of intellectual property law and technology. Providing IP and commercialization assistance will also help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) scale-up, foster economic growth and ignite an innovative economy. Through its experiential programs in law, IP Osgoode aims to improve the innovation ecosystem, and via these IP internships, we are all uniquely poised to succeed.”

– Professor Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino
Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, Founder & Director, IP Osgoode, IP Intensive & IP Innovation Clinic, Editor-in-Chief, IPilogue & Intellectual Property Journal

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