FREDERICTON (GNB) – Job creation and innovation will be the provincial government’s focus and priority, said premier-designate Brian Gallant.

In addition to his role as premier, Gallant will be sworn-in on Oct. 7 as minister responsible for innovation and chair of a jobs board that will coordinate job creation activities across the provincial government.

“Creating jobs, opportunity and growing our economy will be our government’s top priority,” Gallant said.

As part of the innovation agenda to be led by the premier, the provincial government will work to accelerate the growth of innovation-based entrepreneurship and create the conditions for the commercialization of current and future research in the province’s universities and research centres.

“Two of the country’s largest venture capital deals in recent history happened in New Brunswick, yet our exports in information and communications technology (ICT) remain below the national average,” Gallant said. “There lies great opportunity in the intersection between innovation and the economy. If we aim to get our ICT exports up to the Canadian average, we could potentially inject tens of millions of dollars into our economy.”

The New Brunswick Jobs Board will be part of the Executive Council Office. In addition to the premier as chair, the board will be made up of all ministers and deputy ministers of economic departments as well as the chairs and CEOs of related agencies and crown corporations. The board will set policy on jobs, establish targets for job creation and hold government agencies and personnel accountable for meeting the objectives.

“Our approach represents better coordination, more accountability and consistent and measureable results,” Gallant said. “Combined with renewed and reorganized economic development capacity as well as investments in innovation, commercialization and workforce skills development, we will be on solid footing to embrace the economy of tomorrow right here at home.”