2020-2021 Annual Report
An agile and high-performing organization

For CIPO, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need, as well as our ability, to be agile and adaptable in the face of adversity. At a moment's notice, the majority of CIPO employees were required to begin working from home. They quickly adapted to new tools, new processes and new ways of working. Owing to their dedication, professionalism and hard work, CIPO continued to provide uninterrupted IP services and support to clients during uncertain and difficult times.

An agile, healthy and inclusive workforce

CIPO is in the midst of a multiyear project to recruit and train new examiners across all lines of business. In 2020−2021, 8 new patent examiners were hired in our mechanical and electrical engineering divisions, as well as 11 new trademarks and industrial design examiners. At the onset of the pandemic, examination trainers and trainees made use of available IT solutions to host and take part in web-based modules and virtual meetings, and successfully transitioned from full-time, in-class training to virtual learning. This quick transition enabled a seamless continuation of our training program and schedule.

For new trademarks and industrial design examiners and TMOB decision-makers, the length of the training program was reduced by approximately 50% and introduced a continuous development component. This modernized approach to training allows the Office to better meet the needs of new employees, while bringing them to full productivity sooner. Training of new examiners will continue to be delivered virtually for the duration of the pandemic, and where possible will continue beyond. As CIPO continues to modernize its training approach, the lessons learned during the pandemic will be used to improve future delivery by creating an enjoyable and robust learning experience.

The uncertainty and stress caused by the pandemic has highlighted, more than ever, the importance of employee well-being and mental health. CIPO is committed to supporting its employees during difficult times with initiatives being led by CIPO's champion of mental health and wellness. Throughout the year, we maintained regular and frequent communication with employees to mobilize, empower and equip them with the knowledge and resources to take care of their well-being and mental health.

CIPO also recognizes the importance of diversity in creating an engaged, productive and inclusive workplace that best serves the needs of our stakeholders. In 2020−2021, the role of CIPO's champion of diversity, inclusion and accessibility was created with a diverse portfolio including topics related to visible minorities, LGBTQ2+, women, Indigenous peoples and accessibility. CIPO continued to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion through virtual activities celebrating National Indigenous History Month, Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month, Latin American Heritage Month, National AccessAbility Week, International Women's Day, International Day of Pink, and Pride Season, amongst others.

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally impacted the way we work, forcing us to adopt new tools and ways to collaborate, and adapt our perspectives on telework. As we await our new post-pandemic world, CIPO has temporarily paused its workplace modernization initiative to redirect resources toward its COVID-19 response strategy, easing of restrictions measures, staff re-integration efforts and change management.

Sound financial stewardship

CIPO is committed to management excellence and sound financial stewardship. Long-term financial planning enables CIPO to make informed decisions regarding strategic investments and help establish realistic goals that improve efficiency and productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a significant level of uncertainty in projecting future revenues. Using advanced forecasting and a assessment of its financial position, CIPO is adjusting its strategy to account for future market conditions, IP filing changes, and impacts on productivity. Our budgeting and forecasting processes will continue to adapt as we continue to adjust to our new realities.