Canada’s Ocean Ambition: Shaping the next phase of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

By: Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Almost four years ago, I made a significant change in career direction to be able to be part of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster journey. As I reflect on the last four years, it has been an amazing journey so far.

We set out with a big ambition, to change the way ocean business is done in Canada, to build an ocean economy that was more collaborative, digital, sustainable, inclusive and world-leading.

The journey has been both a rewarding and challenging one with a few bumps along the road as we built the team and processes while we were working to build the membership and project pipeline; lots accomplished in a short period with help and patience from our members and our stakeholders and I hope you share in my excitement as we reflect on where are today: a fantastic team of OSC employees that are passionate about the future of our country, our planet and the ocean economy and a tremendous membership that is working hard across the country and increasingly around the world to build solutions that are tackling climate change, decarbonizing shipping, increasing worker safety, providing more sustainable seafood and better monitoring our environment.

The world is paying attention to what we are doing in Canada, and we had an amazing opportunity to stand on the world stage at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where we participated in a panel on revitalizing our ocean economy on World Ocean Day with Whitney Johnson (Ocean Sustainability, Salesforce), Andrew Hudson (Water and Ocean Governance, UNDP), and Martin Koehring (World Ocean Initiative, Economist Impact). We also spoke in Portugal as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. I talked about our story to tell in my blog in June and the need for us to continue to increase our ambition, and that is what gets me incredibly excited about where we go from here.

As you are aware, the overall rebranded Global Innovation Cluster program was renewed in the April 2022 budget. We have worked hard all summer, pulling together our renewal application for submission on September 29th.

As Canada continues to develop the Blue Economy strategy, we as a Board and OSC stakeholders have been thinking about our ambition for the future size and potential of the Canadian blue economy and what the OSC’s role is in helping to achieve this. How do we continue to grow companies, increase collaboration, stay connected, increase our pool of skilled and diverse workers, and make sure the world knows about our impressive capabilities in Canada? How do Canadian companies continue to play leadership roles in the future of energy, transport and seafood? How do we continue to increase our data sharing to ensure we are making the best decisions for our country and world? How does the ocean economy make a much more significant contribution to our Canadian GDP than it does today?

We also look forward to getting our artificial intelligence programming started as part of the pan-Canadian AI strategy. Combining Canada’s strengths in artificial intelligence with our knowledge of the ocean will provide many opportunities for companies to build solutions that leverage the power of AI and data.

I hope you will take the time to join us at one of the six locations we will be visiting in the month of September to talk more about the OSC’s ocean aspiration for Canada and our programming areas and role going forward. The OSC was built based on member input, and we want to continue to make sure we are supporting our members. We would love to hear from you as we think about the role the OSC can play in the future of our Canadian ocean economy and our planet.

I hope you had a wonderful summer. My daughter was celebrating her 13th birthday this summer, so it has been a busy one for us, making her transition to being a teenager as memorable as possible.

Please do not hesitate to reach out at any time with questions or feedback, and I look forward to seeing many of you in September.

Kendra MacDonald
CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster