Federal Budget Addresses Science and Innovation

BC Supercluster Initiative

Feb 28th, 2018: Yesterday, the Federal Liberal government presented their third budget and brought forward a number of important measures relevant to the tech industry.

The budget titled “Equality + Growth, A Strong Middle Class” focused on building Canada’s economy and ensuring women are front and center.

Key highlights included:

  • Investment in fundamental research science – an increase of around 25% on current levels
  • Investment in Innovation – increasing investment and streamlining of programs
  • Important measures on IP – including a pilot program for protection against patent trolls
  • Gender equality – with measures to support pay equity and parental leave

According to the Globe & Mail the word “innovation” appeared 364 times in Budget 2017.  This year the word “gender’ appeared 358 times along with some important substantive measures to address gender equality.

The science and innovation word count is not yet complete on Budget 2018 but it is clear that the Federal Liberal Government is doubling down on the importance of both to Canadian competitiveness as a global economic leader. Budget 2018 commits nearly $4B more over the next five years to support science, an additional $700M over the next five years for the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) program along with an increase in the size of projects that can be funded through IRAP from $1M to $10M.

The Budget also brought an additional $500M for Regional Development Agencies which we hope will enable continued funding for high impact accelerators after the expiry of the Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) next year. BC Tech was one of the inaugural CAIP recipients, so we will be studying the detail of the changes over the coming days and weeks!

In addition to the overall funding increase for innovation there is also a streamlining of the number of programs offered and a new Innovation Canada portal to improve the customer experience for companies trying to navigate the funding available.

It was great to see significant funding for female entrepreneurs and the pilot Patent Collective program to offer protection against patent trolls will be welcomed by many.

And finally, we welcome the gender equality and parental leave measures that start to deliver a real impact for working families to encourage and enable women to fully advance their careers.

 

-Jill Tipping, President & CEO of BC Tech