ITAC President participates in virtual round table with Minister of Finance Canada

ITAC participated as one of the stakeholders in the innovation sector in Canada with Minister of Finance for a virtual Pre-Budget Consultation.

CBC News obtained slide show for the federal government’s pre-budget consultations.

Finance Canada is giving business leaders a decidedly gloomy picture of the Canadian economy as part of the department’s pre-budget consultations this fall.

A Dec. 5 slide show, obtained by CBC News, projects weak annual growth of just 1.8 per cent on average until 2029, and cites full-time job losses of 1.9 per cent across Canada so far this calendar year.

The slide show also notes that productivity is slowing, energy-sector investment is in sharp decline, and household indebtedness is at record levels.

None of the data is new but the outlook is shaped in dark terms, with almost no positive economic news expected in the years ahead.

Barriers to innovation

The slide show, which is being shown in every pre-budget consultation with stakeholders, ends with questions about investment and barriers to innovation.

The presentation was given Monday afternoon this week in a virtual session, via software known as GoToMeeting, with Finance Minister Bill Morneau logging on from an Ottawa boardroom to listen to the 16 participants. Some were connected by video, some only by telephone.

Among those offering advice was the vice-president of Google Canada, Sam Sebastian; Robert Watson, the president of the Information Technology Association of Canada; and Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Canadian Council of Innovators. All were chosen by the Finance Department as “stakeholders in the innovation sector in Canada.”

What we’re emphasizing is challenges and opportunities.– Daniel Lauzon, spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The pre-budget consultations began Sept. 26, and involve town halls, web-based public discussions, some on Facebook Live and others on Google Hangout, and surveys along with in-person sessions.

But this year’s consultations include more virtual gatherings of stakeholders, to allow Canada-wide participation rather than local in-person sessions confined to experts available in particular communities.

Morneau spokesman Daniel Lauzon said the slide show was deliberately structured to make clear the challenges Canada is facing in tough economic times.