Government & Policy
Ottawa supports assistive technology in BC
VANCOUVER – The federal government announced it will
provide $340,000 to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
for the development of a Medical and Assistive Devices Commercialization
This new office will expand the services of BCIT’s Health Technology
Research Group and enhance ongoing research and development activities.
It will allow health technologies to be marketed across Western Canada
by providing detailed business planning to innovators and developers.
“The work done at BCIT is a catalyst for the development and
commercialization of innovative health technologies, and is helping to
improve the lives of people with physical disabilities,” said Dr. Rey
Pagtakhan, federal minister of Western Economic Diversification. “BCIT
staff and researchers should be commended for their continued innovation
“As a polytechnic institution, BCIT remains focused on applications and
commercialization,” said Dr. Jim Reichert, BCIT vice president. “We will
build our bench strength in this area thanks to this significant support
by Western Economic Diversification Canada. The funding of a
commercialization office allows us to put even greater effort forward.”
Western Economic Diversification Canada is the federal department
mandated to support economic diversification in communities across
Western Canada through activities that promote and assist innovation,
entrepreneurship, and sustainable communities. Funding for this project
was provided for in the March 2004 federal budget.
B.C. Institute of Technology’s Health Technology Research Group (HTRG)
promotes the growth of the B.C. and Canadian medical and assistive
For more than 12 years the HTRG has engaged in the development and
evaluation of medical and assistive devices (technology designed for
people with physical disabilities).
Core competencies are in prototype development (including engineering,
industrial design, electronics, plastics) and product evaluation
(including gerontology, biomechanics, human factors, epidemiology).
The HTRG has a core research staff of eight full-time and seven
part-time employees. The group also draws upon BCIT’s teaching faculty
and staff for specific expertise as needed. The group works with unique,
world-class facilities and equipment, including the Dr. Tong Louie
Living Laboratory for state-of-the-art product evaluation and focus
groups, and the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology
that Enables (CREATE) for prototype development.
Clients include a wide variety of private sector device development
companies, academic institutions, industry associations and government
Since 1990, BCIT’s HTRG has actively participated in the growth of the
medical and assistive device industry in B.C. and is an active member in
the Canada West Health Innovation Council’s (CWHIC) business plan
development for this industry. Clients and partner organizations all
have the common goal of developing commercially successful medical and
The new medical and assistive device commercialization office will work
with past and existing clients of BCIT to assist them with the
development of commercialization plans including independent market
research, business plan development and access to investment.
The commercialization office will consist of a team of technology
transfer personnel, resources and systems. The commercialization office
will be a prototype that may be used by the Medical Device Innovation
Network, under development by CWHIC, with potential for an expanded role
or the creation of satellite operations across Western Canada.
The Technology Centre is the applied research and technology transfer
office of BCIT. Through this centre, BCIT conducts contract applied
research and development for industry in a wide range of technical
For more information about the new medical and assistive device
commercialization office, contact Nancy Paris-Seeley, Director, Health
Technology Research Group, BCIT Technology Centre, at 604-432-8754.