611. Canada would like to thank the United States for drafting the communication for this agenda item, that Canada is pleased to co-sponsor, as well as other Members that are sharing their views on the topic of women and IP. Canada would also be pleased so share some of our recent experiences during today's discussion. The Government of Canada is committed to fostering gender equality and advancing women's economic empowerment. Over the past several years, Canada has launched a number of national strategies to help fulfil those commitments, including the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which is a comprehensive, whole-of government plan to help women grow their businesses through access to financing, talent, networks, and expertise.
612. With respect to IP, Canada recognizes the importance of fostering gender equality and advancing women's economic empowerment in the IP system. Canada is committed to strengthening the evidence-base for gender equality and recognizes the importance of gender equality analyses and sex-disaggregated data in responding to the specific needs, experiences, and interests of diverse groups of women and girls, men, and boys, and fostering equal outcomes. In 2017, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) published a report titled Women's Participation in Patenting which examines international patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty by Canadian applicants. On methodology, the analysis leverages work produced by WIPO to develop a gender dictionary based on the inventor's name data field. The report found that Canada has seen little change in the percentage of female inventors in the last 15 years, even while global percentages continue to grow. CIPO continues research in this area to develop a measure focused on better understanding gender distribution in patent activity.
613. More recently, in 2019, Statistics Canada, in collaboration with the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and CIPO, conducted the IP Awareness and Use Survey. This was the first survey of its kind to examine IP in Canada and would help to better understand how Canadian businesses use IP for economic purposes. In the survey population, 85% of businesses reported that the primary decision maker was male, compared to 15% that reported a female primary decision maker. However, relatively speaking, there was little difference in behaviour with respect to the use of the IP system. For instance, 60% of enterprises with female primary decision makers were familiar with IP, in comparison with 57.5% of enterprises with male primary decision makers. Figures for familiarity with patents were also similar between enterprises with female versus male decision makers. In addition, 4.2% of enterprises with female primary decision makers have an IP strategy, in comparison with 3.8% of enterprises with male primary decision makers. Moreover, 14.7% of enterprises with female primary decision makers engage in strategic activities related to IP, in comparison with 12% of enterprises with male primary decision makers.
614. In collaboration with WIPO, CIPO holds an annual Technical Assistance Executive Workshop to provide capacity-building to IP officials as well as a forum for exchange between participants. The 22nd annual workshop held in 2019 focused on women in IP. Training, forums, and discussions were provided through the lens of women in the IP field. Furthermore, a full day was dedicated to discussing global efforts towards advancing gender equality and women empowerment in the global IP sphere, including in the Government of Canada's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
615. The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy also complements Canada's national IP Strategy, which works to strengthen Canada's innovation ecosystem to help Canadian companies grow to scale. A number of initiatives developed under the IP Strategy have been tailored towards assisting women innovators, including the IP Awareness and Education Program. Through this programme CIPO has hosted a variety of IP events specifically targeting women entrepreneurs in partnership with womenfocused organizations. CIPO has also partnered with organizations that support women entrepreneurs in order to increase their knowledge and effective use of IP.
616. In 2020, through its IP Awareness and Education Program, CIPO also hosted a variety of IP events specifically focused on women entrepreneurs, in partnership with organizations such as Women Enterprises Organization of Canada. CIPO also hosted three webinars in 2020, including as part of Start-up Canada's International Women Day, and with the Indo Canadian Chamber of Commerce. CIPO also hosted mentorship programmes with Women in Communication and Technologies, the Business Development Canada team supporting women entrepreneurs, and Women Business Enterprise. In addition, CIPO is partnering with various business and technology organizations that support women entrepreneurs across Canada. Through these collaborations, CIPO's regional IP advisors deliver seminars and webinars on IP-related topics such as IP foundations and IP strategy, and hold individual meetings with women entrepreneurs.
617. With respect to international engagement on women and IP, Canada recently co-sponsored a WIPO Committee on Development and IP project proposal entitled "Increasing the Role of Women in Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Encouraging Women in Developing Countries to Use the Intellectual Property System", which focuses on assisting women in developing countries to utilize their innovative and entrepreneurial potential by encouraging and supporting them in using the IP system. In particular, the project assists and supports women innovators to broaden their awareness and knowledge of the IP system, and encourage their advancement as inventors and entrepreneurs by creating or expanding women inventor support programmes and other mentoring and networking opportunities and events.
618. Canada would be pleased to discuss any of these projects and initiatives with any interested Member and looks forward to a further exchange of views with TRIPS Council Members on this important topic.