The federal budget was released yesterday and now all the speculation over where the money will flow is over. Justin gave the obligatory dissatisfactory Liberal remarks while the finance minister Jim Flaherty espoused the virtues of balancing the books by 2015.
We know $1.5 billion is going towards research and development at universities and $305 million will upgrade broadband service in rural and northern areas. A host of other highlights tackle youth joblessness, First Nations wastewater, violence towards aboriginal women and a more.
But what about the Canadian tech sector? Nothing huge changed in terms of federal money going towards tech, but there were some highlights, including a new open data initiative.
Budget 2014 saw incentives trending slightly upward against a backdrop of flat-line or “hands-off” spending overall. “There were no cuts to current federal incentive programs, which pump an estimated $12 billion per year into our economy, and there were no major new incentive programs of broad application to the economy as a whole,” said Funding Portal CEO Teri Kirk. “Rather, this Budget provided for some very finely tuned programs targeted at select regions—Atlantic Canada; select sectors—automotive and forestry; and select organizations—research universities and startups.”
Here’s a few incentives of yesterday’s budget that can be applied to the tech industry, as listed by the Funding Portal:
1. $363M over three years for Jobs and Skills Training
This Budget included four new measures to support internships, apprenticeships and new jobs:
a) Funding for Interns
- $40 million over two years for 3,000 internships for post-secondary graduates. The two designated delivery agencies are the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
- $15 million per year re-allocated from the Youth Employment Strategy for up to 1,000 internships within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- The Funding Portal Concierge Service assists applicants to apply for funding provided by these programs.
b) Funding for Accelerators and Incubators
- $40 million over four years for the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), bringing total federal funding for CAIP to $100 million. Accelerators and incubators play an important role in training entrepreneurs and helping aspiring companies grow into investment-grade venture corporations.
- CAIP is part of the Government’s Venture Capital Action Plan and aims to provide support to business accelerators and incubators across the country.
- The Funding Portal partners with many of Canada’s incubators and Accelerators, including MaRS, RIC Centre, Advantage Mississauga, Invest Ottawa and others, and provides its state-of-the art funding Search Widget at no cost to assist incubating companies to source government funding programs and private investment. If you are an accelerator or incubator and wish to host the Funding Portal Search Widget on your website, simplycontact The Funding Portal at 1-855-850-FUND (3863).
c) Funding for Apprentices
- $100 million in interest-free loans for apprentices registered in Red Seal trades through a new Canada Apprentice Loan.
d) Funding for new Jobs
- Up to $15,000 per person for training costs under an updated Canada Job Grant. Eligible businesses will receive funds to train unemployed and under-employed Canadians for new or improved jobs and are willing to contribute one-third of the total training costs.
2. $2.2B in annual tax relief for micro Businesses
- The business tax rate is reduced to 11% for businesses with income of $500,000 or less, providing an estimated $2.2 billion/year in tax relief for these micro-businesses in 2014.
3. $1.6B to support Post-Secondary Research
- $1.5 billion over 10 years to create the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
- The Funding Portal works with leading Canadian universities and hospitals to assist them to find and apply for funding from government programs. Click here to learn more about the York University ~ Funding Portal University Partnership.
- $46 million per year to support the post-secondary granting councils, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Indirect Costs Program.
- $8 million over two years to expand the Mitacs Elevate program, which becomes responsible for delivering all federal support for postdoctoral industrial R&D fellowships.
The other interesting piece to come out of the new federal budget was the government’s commitment to increased access to open data. The budget included cash for a new “Open Data Institute”, which will work with governments, academic institutions and the private sector to solve challenges facing Open Government efforts and realize the full potential of Open Data. These partners will work on development of common standards, the integration of data from different levels of government and the commercialization of data, allowing Canadians to derive greater economic benefit from datasets that are made available by all levels of government.
“This is a strategic investment in Canada’s ability to lead the digital economy,” said Dr. Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of CDMN. “Similar to how a common system of telephone exchanges allowed world-wide communication, the Open Data Institute will help create a common platform to share and access datasets. This will allow the development of new applications and products, creating new business opportunities and jobs across the country.”
Participating in its creation was The Canadian Digital Media Network, the University of Waterloo, Communitech, OpenText and Desire2Learn.