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Innovation across the Nation: Highlights from provincial and territorial 2018 budgets

Innovation across the Nation: Highlights from provincial and territorial 2018 budgets

What you need to know about the 2018 Quebec and Ontario Budgets
Innovation Across the Nation: Highlights from Provincial and Territorial 2018 Budgets
April 11, 2018
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Highlights from Provincial and Territorial 2018 Budgets

Last month, the Ontario and Quebec governments released their 2018 budgets. The budgets contained big announcements like free childcare for preschoolers and large tax breaks for families, seniors, and homeowners.

A closer look, however, makes it clear that both budgets also contain important investments related to innovation and technology, which are worth paying attention to. Most provinces and territories* have also released their budgets and they too contain new investments to spur innovation.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the key announcements from across the nation:

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Alberta

  • Tax Credits: The government announced $60 million a year to extend both the Alberta Investor and the Capital Investment Tax Credits through to 2021-2022. A new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, capped at $20 million per year, was also announced.
  • Post-Secondary Education: Budget 2018 provides $6 million to invest in 3,000 new technology-related post-secondary program seats, which will grow to $43 million per year by 2022-2023. It also provides new scholarships that grow to $7 million per year by 2022-2023 to support innovation in life sciences, clean tech, and health care.
  • Climate Leadership Funding: As part of the government’s $5.3-billion strategy to advance climate leadership initiatives over the next three years, budget 2018 announced that $521 million will be spent to support innovation and technology development.

British Columbia

  • Post-Secondary Technology Programming: $11 million in annual funding, starting in 2020/2021, was added to the government’s existing $100-million plan to expand post-secondary training in computer science, information technology, and engineering.
  • Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit: The popular tax credit, which was scheduled to end this year, was extended for five years to August 31, 2023.
  • Carbon Tax Revenues: A portion of the revenue generated from the carbon tax will go towards new green initiatives to support innovation in order to meet the province’s climate targets.

Manitoba

  • Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit: The government changed the existing tax credit by eliminating the $15 million revenue cap for eligible corporations and lowered the investment minimum from $20,000 to $10,000. The goal is to allow more companies to access the credit, while also allowing for smaller investments by shareholders.
  • Green Fund: Funded by the province’s new $25-a-tonne carbon tax, the budget introduced a new $40 million climate and green fund that provides the necessary funds to implement the province’s “Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.” A key component of this strategy is to invest in Manitoba’s clean tech companies and develop a globally competitive clean tech cluster.

New Brunswick

  • Enhancing Economic Competitiveness: The government will invest over $40 million in 2018-2019 to further innovation. The innovation agenda includes initiatives to grow the number of innovators in the province, scale startups, develop an innovation ecosystem through innovation labs, and invest in Smart Province Initiatives.
  • Government Internship Program: To help retain young New Brunswickers, the government will invest $1.3 million in an internship program to hire recent graduates into the civil service and train them in innovative practices.
  • Atlantic Fisheries Fund: As part of a seven-year partnership with the federal government, the New Brunswick government will invest $3.8 million in 2018-2019 to support new products and technologies, encourage modernization, and enhance partnerships between industry and science in New Brunswick’s seafood sector.
  • Support for Post-Secondary Education: Over the next four years, the government will provide $50 million to keep post-secondary education affordable, invest in skills training, and pursue R&D opportunities.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Seafood and Agri-food: In partnership with the federal government and with a focus on innovation, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced that it will provide $10 million to help meet the global demand for seafood products. The province will also invest $14.8 million, in addition to the $37 million provided by the federal government, into its agri-food and agriculture industry to attract talent and develop innovative practices.
  • Film and Television: The government will continue its annual $4 million investment in the province’s film Equity Investment Program that was doubled last year.
  • Skills Development: The government will invest $6.1 million to support youth in employment and career- related activities and continue to provide funding to Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador to give female high school students work experience in science and engineering careers they may consider in the future.

Nova Scotia

  • Innovation Equity Tax Credit: The government intends to introduce a new Innovation Equity Tax Credit by January 1, 2019. The new credit will be more narrowly focused to reward angel investors than the existing tax credit and will have a threshold similar to other Atlantic provinces.
  • Rural Internet: A new $120 million arm’s length trust was announced to work with the private sector to expand and improve high-speed Internet service in rural areas over the next 10 years.
  • Supporting Innovation: $20 million was added to the Nova Scotia Research Trust; $3 million for the Centre for Ocean Ventures Entrepreneurship; $3 million for a new Building Tomorrow Fund to support agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture sectors; $2.5 million for the Innovation Rebate program; $1.7 million to expand Graduate to Opportunity; $500,000 more for incubators and accelerators; and $485,000 to create a market-readiness program for startup companies.
  • Innovation Hub: The government will invest $11 million to create an Entrepreneurship, Discovery, and Innovation Hub in Saint Mary’s University.

Northwest Territories

  • Skill Development: A priority of the NWT government is to foster lifelong learning, skills development, training, and employability. To close the skills gap and respond to industry needs, the budget announced $1.4 million to establish a support team to implement the government’s Skills 4 Success plan.

Nunavut

  • (Forthcoming)

Ontario

  • Industry-University Partnerships: $132 million will go towards programming to support post-secondary students. This includes efforts to promote work-integrated learning opportunities, new partnerships between employers and post-secondary institutions, and investments in STEM education.
  • Skills Training: To close the skills gap, the government announced $30 million to enhance the capacity of colleges and universities to work with employers to ensure that students have the right skills to secure a job. The government will also invest $63 million to create the Ontario Training Bank, which will serve as a one-stop shop for employers, job seekers, and workers to access skills training.
  • Modernizing Apprenticeships: The government announced a new plan to modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship system. Over the next three years, $170 million will go towards a series of initiatives to improve Ontario’s skilled trades.
  • Post-Secondary Infrastructure: To ensure that the province’s universities and colleges are equipped with the right space and technology to deliver quality education, the province will provide more than $3 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years. It will also increase the College Equipment and Renewal fund from $8 million to $20 million per year to provide colleges with cutting-edge technologies.
  • Business Competitiveness: The province will renew, enhance, and extend the Jobs and Prosperity Fund with an increase of $900 million over the next 10 years. The fund aims to create over 70,000 jobs and create more than $9 billion in private sector investments.
  • New Economy Fund: The province will invest $500 million over 10 years in a New Economy Fund to invest in advanced manufacturing, information and communications technologies, life sciences, and clean tech. The government estimates that the fund will create 20,000 jobs and attract $5.7 billion in investments as a result.
  • Venture Technologies Fund: To help high-potential, fast-growing firms to scale into world class companies, the government has created a new $85 million fund over the next 10 years, which will create 5,000 jobs and attract $250 million in investments.
  • Transformative Technology Partnership Fund: This fund, worth $50 million over 10 years with an expected outcome of 3,600 jobs and $1 billion in new investments, is targeted at growing companies working on artificial intelligence, 5G wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, advanced computing, and quantum technologies.
  • Cybersecurity Talent: Following the province’s investments in the 2017 budget, the government announced an additional $64 million over three years to enhance existing practices and to attract cybersecurity talent.
  • New Investments in AI: The province will invest an additional $30 million in the Vector Institute and will provide $15 million to NextAI to support Toronto’s growing AI ecosystem. The government will also invest $10 million to create a Centre of Excellence in Health Care Artificial Intelligence.
  • Data Strategy: Recognizing the ever growing importance of data, the government announced it is exploring a Data Strategy for the province that will look into how to reap the many benefits of big data, while protect the public interest and privacy.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy: The budget revealed that the government is also exploring an IP Strategy focused on three themes: supporting the generation and ownership of higher quality patents; educating Ontario firms on IP; and defending Ontarian entrepreneurs. The government is also looking into possible tax incentives to support the creation of IP.
  • FinTech Support: Ontario will establish a new FinTech Accelerator Office to advance the province’s fintech strategy. It will help businesses navigate the regulatory requirements, access support programs, and connect and form partnerships domestically and globally.
  • Agri-Food Innovation: The province has renewed a 10-year agreement with the University of Guelph, investing more than $700 million to ensure Ontario’s position as a global leader in agri-food education, research, and innovation.
  • Tax Credits: The government announced enhancements to the Ontario Researchand Development Tax Credit and the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit, as well as the extension of the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit to include film and television websites purchased or licensed by a broadcaster.

Prince Edward Island

  • Investment Grant: A new Small Business Investment Grant will give companies a 15 percent rebate on business investments up to $25,000. This will result in a savings of up to $3,750 for Island companies to help them reinvest and grow.

Quebec

  • Digital Economy: An additional $1 billion by 2022-2023 has been earmarked to implement the Quebec Digital Strategy, bringing the funding for the strategy to $1.9 billion. New funding includes: $260 million for promoting the use of computer programs and acquiring technological equipment for primary and secondary schools; $95 million for establishing a virtual campus for higher education; $116.3 million to broaden the tax credit for film and television production, as well as a new credit to support the digital transformation of print media; $194.2 million to modernize technology used in the justice system; and further funding to support the digital transition of government services, the construction sector, and the tourism industry.
  • 2018-2023 National Workforce Strategy: Over the next few weeks, the government will present a new strategy to ensure that workers and employers are prepared for the challenges presented by demographic change and rapidly developing new technologies. New funding will go towards better understanding current and future workforce needs and ensuring that workers have the skills needed to compete in the new economy.
  • Investment Tax Credits: As part of its Digital Strategy, the government also announced $241 million in tax credits to accelerate private investment. The credits include increasing and extending the additional capital cost allowance to support the acquisition of cutting-edge technologies, and broadening the tax holiday for large investment projects to include development of digital platforms.
  • Leadership in AI: The government announced that it will provide $60 million to support the SCALE.AI supercluster initiative – this is in addition to the $100 million it contributed last year. To further cement Montréal’s global leadership in AI, the budget provides $5 million to support the creation of the World Artificial Intelligence Organization: a new intergovernmental forum to regulate the use and development of AI.
  • Two-Year Competition: Recognizing the success of the supercluster initiative in bringing together industry leaders and associations from different fields to form innovative partnerships, the Quebec government announced that it will provide $60 million over two years to a launch a call for projects. The goal is to encourage similar cross-industry collaborations that result in large-scale, innovative, and transformative projects that the government can promote and invest in.
  • Biofood: $349 million over five years will be spent on a series of investments to support the province’s biofood sector. The new plan is centered on six initiatives to spur investment in biofood production and processing, training new workers in the industry, and helping businesses implement responsible practices.
  • Clean tech: To support the implementation of a new action plan for growth and clean technologies, the province will provide $72.5 million to make clean tech industries more competitive. The province will also partner with Cycle Capital Management to establish a new venture capital fund, targeted at $300 million (of which $50 million is from the province), to invest in clean tech startups.
  • Life Sciences: An additional $52.5 million will be invested in Quebec’s Life Sciences Strategy, which was launched in May 2017. Funding will go towards promoting access to research data, supporting centres of excellence, funding the Accelerating Collaborative Health Fund, and investing in the Montréal Clinical Research Institute.
  • Fintech: A centre of excellence in financial technologies was established as part of the 2017 Quebec budget. This year the government is providing an additional $9 million over five years to spur the development of the industry in Quebec.
  • Innovation Hubs: $33 million will go towards new initiatives to support accelerators and incubators, including programs at HEC Montréal, Inno-Centre, and the Mouvement des accélérateurs d’innovation du Québec. The government also announced that it will soon unveil its action plan on entrepreneurship,which will include the creation of 18 regional innovation hubs, for which a call for tenders has already been launched.
  • Venture Capital: Quebec’s budget will provide up to $61.5 million to support Teralys Capital’s candidacy for the federal government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative.

Saskatchewan

  • Technology Start-up Incentive: A new incentive was introduced that provides investors with a tax credit equal to 45 percent of qualifying new investments. Eligible startups must have less than 50 employees and be either developing new technologies or applying existing technologies to create new products and services.
  • Value-Added Agriculture Incentive: To encourage business investment, the budget included a new 15 percent tax credit for new or existing value-added agriculture facilities that make a minimum capital investment of $10 million to expand productive capacity.

Yukon

  • Innovation Hub: In partnership with Yukon College, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CoSpaces, YuKonstruct, and the Yukon Development Corporation, the Yukon government announced $1.9 million in funding for a new innovation hub that will open later this year and promote an entrepreneurial culture of innovation and commercialization.

For media enquiries, please contact Coralie D’Souza, Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.