For Immediate Release
August 4, 2017
Canada’s Technology Industry Releases Recommendations for Federal Budget 2018 aimed at Securing Canada’s Place in a Digital World
Ottawa, ON – The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) released its 2018 federal pre-budget submission today titled Securing Canada’s Place in a Digital World.
The submission puts forward 24 recommendations across nine areas on how the federal government can support the continued growth of Canada’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
ITAC’s CEO Robert Watson notes that, “While Budget 2017 was great for the ICT industry, we’re now in a place where we need the implementation of new programs to start delivering outcomes for technology companies.”
ITAC’s 2018 submission calls for specific tweaks to Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit to better meet the needs of fast growing technology companies. Watson notes that, “SR&ED is the federal government’s largest annual investment in R&D, and right now it doesn’t support growing ICT firms as well as it should. For instance, just as companies hit around $3 million in revenue, SR&ED support is dramatically reduced, so the company is strangled for cash just when it needs it most. If two small tech companies want to merge to be more competitive, they will jump SR&ED brackets and take a big hit as well. We should be encouraging companies to grow, not creating incentives to stay small.” The submission also recommends SR&ED administration timelines be adjusted to reflect the more continuous R&D lifecycles of industries like software development.
Another key area of ITAC’s 2018 submission is increasing the federal government’s focus on cyber security. Watson comments that “Cyber security was noticeably absent from the 2017 budget. Considering the massive global attacks we’ve seen over the past year–like WannaCry–increasing cyber security across the economy and society needs to be a frontline priority for government.” ITAC recommends the government launch a new cyber strategy, including the creation of a new national “Chief Information Security Officer for Canada” to convene conversations, increase awareness and resilience across the economy, and be the public champion on cyber security issues for the federal government.
ITAC also puts forward recommendations to help address Canada’s ICT talent gap – including creating new national criteria for post-secondary programs in growing fields like machine learning/artificial intelligence, cyber security and intelligent mobility systems. Watson comments that, “We need to make sure post-secondary institutions are working with industry to identify key learning outcomes in these crucial technology areas. This is about guaranteeing a quality education for students while ensuing businesses will get the talent they need to grow.” ITAC has experience delivering national-scale educational initiatives, including the Business Technology Management (BTM) program, which is currently a full degree program at 23 post- secondary institutions across Canada.
ITAC will present its 2018 Budget recommendations to the Commons Standing Committee on Finance in Fall 2017. CEOs of ITAC member companies will also advance industry recommendations through a Hill Days being planned for October 2017.
ITAC represents over 300 of Canada’s leading ICT firms, and is the national voice of Canada’s ICT industry. ITAC’s membership includes a broad range of small and medium-sized businesses (2/3 of ITAC members), large Canadian companies and most of the global technology leaders.