Creating good jobs in health research and innovation
Since we announced, a few weeks ago, our plan to strengthen public universal healthcare systems, I've been meeting with healthcare workers and students here in Ontario, in Nova Scotia last week, later this week in British Columbia, and whoever I meet with, from personal support workers to nurses to doctors to medical students, they all share the same goal as we do, providing the best possible care for Canadians. This is what mattered during the pandemic and what matters today, keeping people healthy, making sure they have access to the care they need.
We have announced major investments and are also working with the provinces and territories to develop bilateral agreements that will deliver real improvements to healthcare services and real improvements for people. Increased access to family doctors, reduced wait times for appointments and procedures, improved mental health and addictions care, and a modernized system that will allow you to securely share your medical information with your healthcare team.
In under three weeks, we've now signed agreements in principle with over half the provinces and territories, including Ontario which was one of the first. We signed with Manitoba just on Friday, and this morning, we announced another agreement in principle with Alberta. These agreements take us all one step closer to making the real improvements that Canadians deserve and we fully expect the rest of the provinces and territories to make this step with us very soon.
Now, making sure Canadians have the best possible healthcare also means we're leading on research, on developing life-changing treatments, and in strengthening our ability to make the vaccines and medicines people need today. This is exactly why we're here. AstraZeneca is making a major investment to expand the research and development hub here in Mississauga, and it'll continue its important research on cancers, on COVID-19, and chronic kidney diseases amongst many, many others. The company will also create a new hub to research rare diseases, and with tomorrow being Rare Disease Day, it couldn't be timelier. This expansion will create 500 more good middle class jobs here in the GTA.
AstraZeneca is making this announcement in Canada because we have the talent, expertise, and scientific ecosystem a leading company like AstraZeneca is looking for. We have the hospitals that are on the forefront of care and research. We have world class universities with the best scientists and researchers, and especially, we have talented, well-educated, and driven workers. Over the past few years, our government has been making continued investments to strengthen this competitive advantage.
Pascal was talking a little bit about the various aspects that makes Canada a good place to invest for a research intensive, high technology company. To name just a couple of them, he talked a lot about data, and that's a cornerstone of what we're building into our health systems for the future. We know that having reliable access to your own health information, to make sure that if you show up at an emergency room, the local doctor will be able to see what tests you've had recently, who your specialists are, and what you've been treated for as necessary, but also making sure we can share data in secure and responsible ways right across the country to make sure we know what's happening, what works best, and how we can better support Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Data is extremely important, but how we deal with data is extremely important as well. That's where Pascal talked about A.I. Canada is one of the world leaders on artificial intelligence. Researchers like Geoffrey Hinton here in Toronto, Yoshua Bengio in Montreal, and others across the country including Rich Sutton in Edmonton, demonstrated the power and impact of artificial intelligence, and that application to the pharmaceutical industry is key.
Another one people don't necessarily think of is the intersection with quantum computing. We know that the amount of computing power required to even begin to simulate clinical trials in a way that's going to show promising paths is massive. Well, a few weeks ago I was here in Toronto for an announcement around a quantum computing company that is able to do in a few seconds what would take an ordinary computer about 9,000 years. The kind of computing power that's being developed in Canada will have huge applications, including here in the biotech sector.
So, we're really pleased to continue to see global interest and confidence in what we're doing here, but mostly in what Canadians are doing here, because across the country, we're not just building a critical capacity to produce vaccines and therapeutics. We're building a whole ecosystem. We're expanding our research network across universities, hospitals, and research centers. We're investing in innovations in high performance tools and new facilities so Canadian researchers can continue to make breakthroughs the whole world needs, and we're building a more resilient future for our healthcare systems and for Canadians.
And when global companies are looking at being able to develop drugs and solutions that’ll work right around the world and the full diversity of the planet, what better place to come than Canada where we understand that that diversity is a huge advantage here at home that also allows us to lead around the world.
So, I want to thank Pascal, Marc and Kiersten again, as well as everyone involved in today’s very good news. Companies like AstraZeneca know that Canada is a great place to invest and innovate. Our government is continuing to work to attract important and strategic investments like this one, and we will continue to make our biotech sector even more dynamic and develop our home-grown talent.
Our government is working so that scientists and future scientists can build a real career here at home while making a real difference around the world. We're building, together, a healthy and resilient future, and we're building an economy that works for all Canadians.
Thank you very much, dear friends!