We would like to recognize the contributions of Johanne Bélisle in her roles as the Chief Executive Officer, the Commissioner of Patents and the Registrar of Trademarks of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office from September 2015 to September 2020.
Chief Executive Officer (interim)
As our fiscal year came to an end, we witnessed, along with the rest of the world, the global impacts of COVID-19. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) worked in earnest and in deep collaboration with clients, with the intellectual property (IP) professional community and with international counterparts to ensure that the IP system remained operational and resilient through the onslaught of the pandemic. The dedication of CIPO staff was exemplary.
Beyond the COVID-19 response, the 2019–2020 fiscal year was a year of great accomplishment. After 5 years of preparation and hard work, Canada completed its accession to 5 international IP treaties and became fully connected to the global IP system. In 2015, CIPO set out to connect Canada's IP system to the world through accession to 5 international IP treaties: the Hague Agreement, the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty, the Nice Agreement and the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). Canada was the first country to implement all 5 treaties within the span of a single year, as well as the first to accede to the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement on the same day. These treaties will help Canadians get high-quality IP rights more easily in multiple countries and markets and attract investment to Canada. They position CIPO as a premier international IP office and further our efforts to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation.
In 2019–2020, Canada continued to be a constructive voice within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and to collaborate with other IP offices to strengthen the global IP system, promote international harmonization, advance international cooperation and support IP capacity building in developing countries.
Providing quality and timely IP rights is CIPO's raison d'être and our first priority. We introduced a number of online services related to the new treaties, continued to streamline processes and found ways to improve timeliness while maintaining our focus on quality.
As IP experts in Canada, we helped innovators and businesses understand the value of their IP and protect their competitive advantage in Canada and abroad. With the help of our partners, our IP awareness and education program reached start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within key growth sectors and under-represented groups.
IP is a knowledge-based business. Our highly skilled and diverse workforce is the foundation of our success. In the past year, we continued to recruit the best and the brightest as part of a multi-year patent and trademark examiner recruitment campaign.
I am proud of CIPO's contribution to Canada's national IP Strategy, our constant focus on providing clients with quality and timely IP rights, and our contribution to the global IP system as we carried out in 2019–2020 the priorities established in our Five-Year Business Strategy 2017–2022.