Alberta government creates group to explore attracting investment to tech following cuts

Jason Kenney, Travis Toews, Alberta
Premier Jason Kenney and Cabinet are sworn in at Government House, in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Pictured is Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. (Photo by Alberta Government)

The Government of Alberta announced on Wednesday that it has created a working group of experts to advise Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) government on how to incentivize investment into the province’s tech and innovation sector.

The government eliminated the Alberta Investor Tax Credit earlier this year.

The group is made up of seven committee members from Alberta’s tech, business, academic, and financial communities. It has been tasked with developing options on how to attract new investment for local early-stage technology companies.

The government offered little direction for the committee but has already highlighted flow-through shares as one possible course of action. Flow-through share programs are a tax-based incentive that allows corporations to pass eligible expenses along to shareholders, which can then be deducted from income. These types of shares have been most generally used in resource sectors like mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Alberta’s Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir, reportedly told The Calgary Herald, which first reported on the working group, that many involved in Alberta’s tech sector have suggested flow-through shares could also work for the tech industry.

The announcement of the committee, and focus on trying to attract investment to Alberta, comes after the UCP government made significant cuts to the tech sector as part of sweeping provincial cuts laid out in its budget. The government eliminated the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC), a move many leaders in Alberta’s tech ecosystem have expressed concern over, stating that it will have a major effect on attracting investment.

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The provincial government also eliminated four other tax incentives, the Capital Investment Tax Credit, the Community Economic Development Corporation Tax Credit, the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit (SR&ED).

The new committee is being co-chaired by Joseph Doucet, dean of the Alberta School of Business, and Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta. It also includes Susan Anderson, president and CEO of Cannonball Capital, Derrick Hunter, president and CEO of Bluesky Equities, Cory Janssen, co-founder and CEO of AltaML, Kristina Milke, co-founder of Valhalla Private Capital, and David Vankka, partner, managing director and portfolio manager at ICM Asset Management.

The Government of Alberta has allotted a $50,000 budget for the committee, which will cover travel costs, external advisers, stakeholder consultations, and other expenses. The group is expected to submit a final report on its findings by February 28.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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