Canadian tech’s essential #Budget2024 primer

Plus: Montréal startup community’s bid to save Notman House fails.

Budget 2024 delivered substantial updates for Canada’s innovation sector. BetaKit parsed through the over-400-page document to find what matters most to those in the ecosystem: please enjoy our 2,500-word budget overview, broken out by section with an executive summary.

BetaKit is also digging into specific budget commitments with deeper looks, like Kelsey Rolfe’s open banking reaction from industry leaders. Expect more deep dives in the coming weeks.

Despite the budget’s scope, much of the response across Canadian tech has been focused on the federal government’s plan to partially fund more than $53 billion CAD in net-new spending over five years through changes to capital gains tax measures. Lobby groups such as CCI are drawing up battle plans to have the policy reversed, with hundreds of tech leaders having signed an open letter asking the same. A cohort of tech leaders met with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Friday to air grievances, which you can read more about here and listen to commentary from CCI President Ben Bergen immediately following the meeting’s end on The BetaKit Podcast.

Like with the budget, BetaKit will keep you informed of every fast-paced development. If there’s additional reporting you’d like to see from BetaKit on #Budget2024, shoot me an email!

Thanks for reading on and ‘til next week, 

Bianca Bharti

Newsletter editor


Payments Canada reveals no Real-Time Rail until at least 2026

In a statement last week, Payments Canada interim co-CEO and chief delivery officer Jude Pinto indicated that the last component of the Real-Time Rail (RTR) payment system, the clearing and settlement build, will continue in 2024, followed by initial testing in 2025 and industry testing in 2026.

Pinto did not disclose when Payments Canada hopes to ultimately launch the RTR, promising only to disclose more details “in the coming months.”

(Read more)

Community-led bid to buy back Notman House unsuccessful

A community-led offer to buy back Montréal startup hub Notman House was not accepted by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Investissement Quebec, BetaKit has learned.

The proposal, spearheaded by real-estate startup Guiker, was outbid by another party, according to Guiker CEO and founder Nan Hao and co-founder Gabriel Sundaram. The identity of the party, the value of the potential transaction, and their plans for the historic building are not yet known.

“We are disappointed. Notman House was always an ambitious project and as we saw with all the comments and posts over the last few weeks one that had an immense impact on the startup community,” Sundaram, who helped spearhead the community-led offer, wrote in an email to BetaKit.

(Read more)

Business leaders urge feds to require public pension funds to invest at home

Last month, an open letter by 94 current and former business executives, organized by Montreal investment management firm Letko, Brosseau and Associates, called on the government to change the rules governing homegrown pension funds to encourage them to invest more in Canada.

“There’s something wrong if the pensions don’t want to invest here,” said Stéfane Marion, National Bank of Canada’s chief economist and strategist. “Countries that succeed are those that are able to attract private capital to [their] shores. We need to be better at that in this country.”

But detractors of the proposal, and the pension funds themselves, say introducing local investment rules would compromise pensions’ mandates to provide secure retirement income for Canadians.

(Read more)

As tech talent crunch persists, Indeed’s Iain Hamilton on how companies can fill seats faster

Recent data from Indeed found that as of the end of January, 27 percent of tech jobs in Canada remained open for 60 days or more.

To Indeed’s VP of software engineering Iain Hamilton, it’s an intriguing time in the tech industry.

Despite a less favourable economy, the thirst for tech talent hasn’t waned. In fact, Hamilton said the economic landscape has resulted in fewer individuals actively seeking new opportunities, leading to a tight talent pool, and challenges for businesses looking to fill roles.

(Read more)

What Alberta Innovates learned from sending 50 local startups to SXSW

Last month, Alberta Innovates sent a delegation of 50 local tech startups to the conference. This wasn’t the delegation’s inaugural trip; an initial foray in 2023 catalyzed millions of dollars in deals for the startups involved.

According to Tim Murphy, vice president of Alberta Innovates’ health division, the crown corporation had a clear objective going into this year’s conference.

Murphy, who joined the Alberta delegation this year, sat down with BetaKit to talk about Alberta Innovates’ strategy for the 2024 SXSW delegation, how the experience went, and the impact it’s hoped to create for the province’s tech sector.

(Read more)

Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

VAN – Well Health acquires 10 clinics from Shoppers Drug Mart
RCH – UniUni – $69M CAD
KW – Vidyard – $21M CAD
TOR – Swtch Energy – $37.4M CAD
TOR – Contango closes $5M for Blackchain x AI fund
TOR – DMZ – $500K CAD 
MTL – Eocycle Technologies – $25M CAD

The BetaKit Podcast

#Budget2024 emergency pod

“The reality is this government cannot execute.”

Sound the alarm! Matt Roberts (CMD Capital) and Ben Bergen (CCI) join for an emergency #Budget2024 podcast to discuss the capital gains tax increase, Minister Freeland’s Friday meeting with tech leaders, and the level to which politics are intersecting with innovation policy.

B|K: The BetaKit Newsletter is powered by Osler

Osler releases multi-year study of 450+ Canadian VC and growth equity financings

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP has released its third annual study of 486 anonymized venture capital and growth equity financings from 2020–2023, valued at approximately US$8 billion, providing data and insights for founders, entrepreneurs, investors and advisors contemplating transactions this year and beyond.

Join members of Osler’s Emerging and High Growth Companies Group May 1, 2024, at 12 p.m. ET, for a special one-hour virtual event when they provide insights and analysis from this important report.

Register for our Deal Points Report event

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti is the newsletter editor at BetaKit, where she spearheads coverage and analysis of tech news in related products. Before BetaKit, Bianca covered the nexus of markets, industries and policy in a variety of formats as a reporter for the Financial Post. There, she won silver in SABEW's 2021 Best in Business Journalism Awards in the personal finance category for one of her pieces. In her free time, she enjoys swapping her reporter hat for a baseball cap to hit up some hiking trails with her dog. She also weirdly loves debating monetary policy.

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