Today marked the third budget for Prime Minister Trudeau’s government. With big new investments in research and science, as well as the creation of four national strategies, Canada delivered on several prior innovation commitments.
Here are six things you need to know from #Budget2018:
- A Large Investment in Research and Science: Following the recommendations from the 2017 Fundamental Science Review, Budget 2018 proposes nearly $4 billion in new initiatives to support the work of Canadian researchers. This includes $1.7 billion over five years to Canada’s granting councils and research institutes, $1.3 billion over five years for investments in the laboratories, equipment, and infrastructure, and $540 million over five years to transform the National Research Council into a centre for research excellence and collaboration. According to Universities Canada, this budget marks the largest investment in science and university research in Canadian history.
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs: The government announced a new strategy to support women entrepreneurs, including providing $1.4 billion over three years in new financing for women entrepreneurs through the Business Development Council (BDC) to help scale their businesses into global companies. In addition, $105 million was committed over five years through Regional Development Agencies to invest in women-led businesses and coordinate a series of boot camps across Canada for promising women entrepreneurs.
- National Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy: The government announced a series of measures to support a new IP strategy to help Canadian entrepreneurs understand, protect, and gain access to IP. With a total budget of $85.3 million over five years, the plan will include initiatives to pilot a patent collective, develop expertise in IP law within Canada’s innovation community, and create an IP marketplace.
- Simplifying Business Innovation Programs: Over the next two years, the government will streamline its business innovation programs into four “platforms”: (1) the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), (2) the Strategic Innovation Fund, (3) the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, and (4) Regional Development Agencies. IRAP will receive $700 million over five years, and $150 per year ongoing to support projects, business research and development projects, up to a threshold of $10 million. Regional Development Agencies will receive an additional $400 million over five years on an accrual basis to support the Innovation and Skills Plan across Canada.
- National Cybersecurity Strategy: The government committed $507.7 million over five years to fund a new National Cybersecurity Strategy. The plan will create two new government bodies: the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity, which will become the unified body for expert advice and support for cybersecurity-related matters, and the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit, which will help law enforcement with cybercrime investigations.
- Harnessing Big Data for Research: A $572.5-million Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy will be launched to provide greater access to advanced computing and big data resources to researchers across Canada. The Minister of Science will consult with stakeholders this year to discuss how to develop the strategy, with the goal of creating a simpler but more effective system that positions Canada as a global leader in cutting-edge science and research.