Earth Day has us asking questions about cleantech tax credits

Plus: Canada risks falling behind in AI race.

Budget 2024 has passed but BetaKit is still exploring its implications. With the ongoing capital gains tax brouhaha, Josh Scott ran the numbers to explain how tech founders, funders, workers, and firms will be impacted by the changes. 

On the issue of tax changes, I’ve been digging through the new and not-so-new cleantech measures the Liberal government detailed in the budget. Net-new, there’s a proposed Electric Vehicle Supply Chain tax incentive, giving eligible companies a 10-percent credit if they invest in multiple different segments of the supply chain. That, along with more details on previously announced clean energy credits, seems to be Ottawa’s answer to the hundreds of billions US President Joe Biden earmarked nearly two years ago to supercharge his country’s clean energy manufacturing.

The credits, unveiled between Budget 2021 and Budget 2023, will be retroactive to their enforcement dates, with legislation expected to be introduced sometime between now and the next budget for all of them. “Passing the major economic investment tax credits into law will secure a cleaner, more prosperous future for Canadians today, and tomorrow,” the budget states.

Beyond the question of when they’ll actually get implemented, I have a bunch more for which I’m seeking answers. Will these credits meaningfully help Canadian tech companies scale? Or will they benefit international companies more, like with the $15-billion Honda EV investment we saw PM Justin Trudeau champion this week? Are they enough in comparison to the US’ whole-of-government approach? 

I’m looking for people to talk cleantech. My inbox is open: tell me who you want to hear from.

Thanks for reading on and ‘til next week, 

Bianca Bharti
Newsletter editor


Sanctuary AI reveals seventh-generation robot it calls “analogous to a person”

The newest iteration of Phoenix comes less than a year after Sanctuary AI unveiled its sixth-generation robot, which was recently recognized by TIME as one of 2023’s best inventions. It also comes less than 16 months after its fifth-generation robot was first commercially deployed at one of Canadian Tire’s commercial facilities.

The seventh-generation robot includes improved human-like range of motion, as well as improvements in uptime—meaning the time it can operate without issues, visual perception, and tactile sensing to increase the capability of the system to perform complex tasks over longer periods. It includes improvements to hardware such as reduced weight and power consumption.

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Tech hub watch: Genesis loses its CEO, Edmonton Unlimited welcomes a new one

Edmonton Unlimited has announced the appointment of Tom Viinikka as its new CEO. Viinikka will assume the role on May 15, taking over from Launa Aspeslet. According to a January report from Taproot Edmonton, Aspeslet was named the organization’s interim CEO after Catherine Warren departed the role that month.

In a separate leadership shuffle, Newfoundland and Labrador startup hub Genesis is parting ways with president and CEO Michelle Simms.

Simms, who announced her departure in a LinkedIn post on April 22, will serve in the role until May 24. She has worked at Genesis since 2002, and was named president and CEO in August 2016. She said she is leaving the role to pursue a new opportunity, but has yet to disclose where that will be.

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Boom and goConfirm launch new products from experienced #CDNtech leaders

Founded by Shopify alumni Robleh Jama, CEO, and Krishna Satya, CTO, Boom is looking to inject energy into remote work meetings with camera personalization tools. Meanwhile, goConfirm, a Toronto-based identity-verification platform founded by former Wave CEO Kirk Simpson and early Wave investor Peter Carrescia, has released a new tool that can vet suspicious emails and texts.

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Zafin founder and CEO joins latest slew of #CDNtech executive turnover

After over 20 years at the helm, Zafin founder Al Karim Somji is joining a growing list of executive turnover in Canadian tech after being acquired by Nordic Capital in February.

Charbel Safadi, who previously served as the banking platform’s group president, will take over as CEO immediately, while Somji will continue to serve as a “substantial stakeholder” and member of the company’s board.

Zafin’s leadership transition is just one of many recent executive leadership changes BetaKit has noted in 2024.

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Report: Canada must close its talent gap or risk falling behind in the AI race

Even as public- and private-sector organizations in Canada are turning their attention to artificial intelligence, almost half feel their staff are not adequately prepared to use it, according to a new report from Deloitte Canada’s Future of Canada Centre.

“What our research and experiences are telling us is that even though there are a lot of positives when it comes to the research that is happening in academia [in Canada] when it comes to AI, when you actually have to apply that in the context of industry, there is a gap,” Jas Jaaj, managing partner of AI and data at Deloitte Canada, told BetaKit.

“The primary driver, when it comes to this gap, is boiling down to talent,” he added.

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BetaKit launches new program for Innovation Leaders

We are pleased to announce BetaKit Innovation Leaders, a new program designed to provide Canada’s top innovation organizations with exclusive programming and insights.

BetaKit Innovation Leaders will benefit from exclusive programming streams, tailored insights, and increased visibility of their work across the ecosystem through our partner offerings. Most importantly, their investment will help expand our coverage of Canadian tech and innovation, benefitting our readers and the sector at large.

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Changemakers: Did the SEC just help Manifest Climate scale?

Greenhouse gas levels are at an all-time high, more than a million species face extinction, and we currently use more of the earth’s resources than we can renew.

If that’s not enough to keep you up at night, the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US just made climate reporting mandatory for public companies, following repeated commitments from Ottawa to introduce mandatory climate-related reporting requirements for Canadian companies as well.

To regulators, these changes present an opportunity to advance global climate goals and mitigate investor risk.

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Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

KW – Descartes Systems Group acquired Aerospace Software Developments
HAM – Inference Labs – $2.3M
TOR – Forcen – $8.35 CAD
TOR – Interac acquires exclusive Canadian use of Vouchr’s platform
TOR – GroupeX Solutions acquired by HR Path
OTT – Versaterm to acquire Integrated Computer Systems

The BetaKit Podcast

Wealthsimple and Koho CEOs talk productivity, entrepreneurship, and financial innovation

“I think it would be a mistake if we make Canada even less competitive at such an incredibly important moment in time for us to embrace competition and productivity.”

Michael Katchen (Wealthsimple) and Daniel Eberhard (Koho) join BetaKit editor-in-chief Douglas Soltys for a wide-ranging conversation on Canada’s productivity, entrepreneurship, and competition crises. Financial innovation, open banking, Real-Time Rail, and capital gains taxes might also come up. Recorded live at INNOVATEwest.

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

Feature image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Igor Kyryliuk.

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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