2021−2022 Annual Report
An agile and high-performing organization

In order to provide excellent service, CIPO must remain agile and adapt to the growing demand for IP rights, the increasing complexity of technologies and evolving expectations of clients. While process and technological transformation will be important enablers in achieving our goals, CIPO's dedicated workforce and sound financial stewardship will remain the foundation upon which we build success.

Developing a skilled and robust workforce

As part of its recovery plan for trademarks, CIPO onboarded its largest cohort of trademark examiners to date, with 49 new employees. Following an intensive classroom training of 10 weeks and a coaching period of 3 months, these new trademark examiners will contribute to a gradual but steady decrease of our trademarks backlog and an eventual return to optimal turnaround times. CIPO also onboarded 5 new industrial design examiners and 31 new patent examiners in the biotechnology, organic chemistry, electrical and mechanical disciplines. Through the Federal Student Work Experience Program and the Post-Secondary Co-op/Internship Program, CIPO hired 80 students and provided them with enriching work experiences. These new employees, recruited from across Canada, are bringing to CIPO the diverse skills and perspectives required to create a robust and skilled workforce that will allow us to meet the future with confidence.

Beyond awareness of mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented disruptions and challenges, emphasizing the importance of well-being and mental health. CIPO is committed to the well-being and mental health of its employees and strives to provide them with the tools, resources and workplace conditions to promote them. In 2021–2022, CIPO launched an initiative called Beyond Awareness: 13 Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Workplace. The goals of this initiative are to raise awareness of psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, obtain employees' perspectives on well-being and mental health issues in the workplace and influence CIPO's culture in a positive and meaningful way. More than 300 CIPO employees participated in awareness sessions on psychological risk factors in the workplace. Through a series of dedicated workshops, CIPO also identified the psychological risk factors of greatest concern for CIPO employees and established an action plan tailored to the needs of individual branches. Throughout the year, CIPO underscored the importance of well-being and mental health through regular communications and the sharing of resources, tips and tools with employees.

Recognizing diversity as our greatest strength

More than a question of respect and equality, diversity in the workplace allows different perspectives to be brought forward, fosters innovation and, ultimately, allows us to provide better services for Canadians. CIPO is actively working to bring greater diversity to its leadership ranks by removing barriers in its recruitment, development and promotion practices and by fostering a workplace culture that is free from racism and discrimination.

In 2021–2022, CIPO promoted and took part in a number of awareness events that celebrated our diversity. In June 2021, CIPO recognized and celebrated Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples during National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day. Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on , provided an opportunity for CIPO employees to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. In August 2021, Pride Week allowed us to witness how far we have come in respecting and celebrating the true diversity and beauty of the 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and the work that remains to be done. As part of Black History Month in February, CIPO welcomed 2 guest speakers to deliver a thought-provoking presentation on the experiences of Black employees in government. In March 2022, to recognize International Women's Day, women at CIPO were given the opportunity to share stories on how they are breaking biases and championing workplace diversity, encouraging our employees to challenge the bias and spark change.

We live in a nation that values linguistic diversity. To recognize Canada's 2 official languages and rich linguistic heritage, CIPO celebrated Linguistic Duality Day on . In March 2022, CIPO participated in a number of events and activities, including Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, celebrating the French language and its many expressions. To help strengthen employees' second language skills, CIPO encouraged participation in its Official Languages Development Program and Informal Language Mentoring Program and shared a number of online apps, tools and resources.

CIPO is committed to ensuring an accessible environment for all employees and clients. In 2021–2022, CIPO employees completed a course on accessibility that provided them with the knowledge and tools to ensure our products, services, programs and environment are accessible to everyone, notably people with disabilities.

In February 2022, CIPO held a forum with its managers on the theme of "Respect, diversity and inclusion: Change starts with the heart!" During this virtual event, guest speakers helped CIPO managers understand the ripple effects of micro-aggressions and shared insights on how to become a more inclusive leader. CIPO employees also received training on harassment and violence prevention in the workplace that taught them how to recognize, report and address harassment and violence in our work environment.

Preparing for our new normal

At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, a majority of CIPO employees shifted to remote work. In a matter of days, CIPO employees adapted to a new environment, new work tools and new processes and continued to provide uninterrupted IP services to clients. The pandemic forced a change in workplace culture that would have normally taken years to achieve and highlighted the importance of being agile to succeed as an organization. As restrictions eased, CIPO, in collaboration with ISED, began preparing for the "workplace of the future," initiating a plan for a hybrid workplace model that will be flexible, modern, healthy and inclusive. While CIPO has long valued work–life balance and has offered telework or alternative work arrangements when operational requirements allowed, our new workplace model will feature greater teleworking capacity and will balance employees' preferences with operational needs. Our employees will be supported with the necessary work tools and an office design that will promote a healthy, collaborative and connected work environment.

Maintaining financial stewardship

As a special operating agency of the Government of Canada, CIPO's operations are financed entirely by revenue from clients. CIPO is committed to management excellence and sound financial stewardship and, in 2021–2022, received an unqualified financial audit opinion for the 27th consecutive year. Having not increased its fees since 2004, CIPO initiated a review of its fee structure and launched a public consultation on proposed fee increases to better understand the impact on clients, Canadian businesses, IP agents and domestic and international stakeholders. The fee review will ensure CIPO's long-term sustainability and will allow the organization to continue serving clients with excellence and efficiency.