Feds Reveal Canada’s Role in WEF-Promoted ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

Feds Reveal Canada’s Role in WEF-Promoted ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’
World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab delivers a during a session of the WEF annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 17, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
Noé Chartier

Additional details of Canada’s participation in a World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative to streamline regulations across countries in order to speed up the coming of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” have been revealed through a request for information submitted by Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis.

Lewis submitted questions to the government in October pertaining to Canada’s involvement in the “Agile Nations” network, a project of the WEF and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The MP received a response dated Dec. 7 from the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and provided a link to it on her Twitter account on Jan. 18.
“In Nov 2020 while Canadians were distracted by COVID, the Liberal govt signed a World Economic Forum-initiated Charter. The Agile Nations Charter will facilitate agile ‘rule-making’ outside of Parliament. Why the secrecy?” Lewis tweeted.

Other countries involved include Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The TBS’s Inquiry of Ministry document obtained by Lewis says the WEF and the OECD also invited corporations to take part on the discussions surrounding the establishment of the Agile Nations Charter.

Those include Facebook, IBM, German industrial giant Siemens, Sherlock Biosciences, financial tech company Suade Labs, Volvo Group, and Wingcopter.

The charter, which is not legally binding, was signed by the participating governments in November 2020.

It says that technological breakthroughs are heralding a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and that a “more agile approach to rulemaking” will help new innovations “drive economic growth and address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”

In other words, streamlining regulations will allow the proliferation of new technologies, which the WEF identifies in its charter toolkit as gene editing, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and autonomous vehicles.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers the potential to change lives around the world for the better. But to realize this potential, a new approach to governance is needed,” says the WEF toolkit.

The WEF wants to speed up the regulating processes, and says the “COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this transition in some areas – driving the adoption of digitally-enabled ways of producing goods or providing services in a world where physical interaction becomes less possible.”

The charter says the OECD and the WEF have an observer status, but it is not limited to observing, as they may “make proposals for inclusion in the work programme; and ... participate in other activities.”

Canada’s Involvement

What does it mean specifically for Canada?

The TBS says participation in the Agile Nations Charter involves supporting the development of work programs, engaging with partner countries, and taking part in specific projects.

Canada is involved in seven of those projects, and TBS says there are no extra costs involved for the participating agencies and departments, with the funds coming out of their normal operating budgets.

MP Lewis asked for specific details on the “Digital Credentials” project, which pertains to the use of digital ID.

The TBS says the objective of the Canada-led project is to increase “global reliance on digital trust technologies” and “aims to support international collaboration on solutions to foster interoperability of these technologies.”

Charter members are working on a pilot project to “test the use case end-to-end, from the issuance of the digital credentials to a user’s digital wallet, to the use of those digital credentials to obtain services and/or complete transactions” and also use in crossing borders between participating countries.

This project is spearheaded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

It appears to be similar to another WEF initiative that Canada also takes part in, the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KDTI).

Details about that program were revealed in October, also through an Inquiry of Ministry request submitted by Lewis.

Transport Canada indicated that the project, which also involves the Netherlands, had been delayed due to the pandemic. The Epoch Times contacted the department to get a status update.

Innovation Canada is also responsible for the “Consumer Connected Products” project which relates to cybersecurity and the internet of things, or consumer products which can connect to networks.

The aim is to promote internationally-recognized security requirements for those products to help protect consumers.

Health Canada is involved in a project to facilitate the marketization of digital health devices, and TBS is working on two projects related to experimental and forward-looking approaches to regulation.

The WEF recently held its annual meeting in Davos, where Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Trade Minister Mary Ng participated in discussion panels.

Media relations teams from Global Affairs, Finance, and the Privy Council did not respond to inquiries regarding Canada’s involvement at the summit, and apparently didn’t issue a press release about the event.