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Corporate Director, Strategic Advisor and former Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

BA, Yale University

Masters of Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford

Masters of Public Administration, Harvard University


John Knubley is a Corporate Director, Strategic Advisor, and former senior civil servant. He is also a Senior Advisor to McKinsey and Longview Communications.

From 2012 to 2019, John served as the Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED Canada). During this time, he led and implemented the Innovation and Skills Plan.

Prior to ISED Canada, John was Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Privy Council Office, Associate Deputy Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities as well as Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Resources. John’s career in public service included time at the Economic Council of Canada and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. 

In 2020, John founded InnovAction Advisory Services. InnovAction provides strategic counsel to organizations across a variety of activities relating to innovation, R&D, sustainability, foreign investment, merger review and regulatory matters. He has experience in working with a wide range of sectors and CEOs.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master’s of Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He also received a post-graduate diploma in Nice, France, from the Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales. 

He serves as a Director of the Ontario Energy Board, the Conference Board of Canada, the Asia-Pacific Foundation, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and Genome Atlantic. He is a Senior Fellow of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the C.D. Howe Institute as well as a member of the Selection Committee of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.