CCI’s Response to the 2022 Federal Budget
Today, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the federal government’s 2022 budget. On behalf of Canada’s innovation and technology leaders, CCI President Benjamin Bergen issued the following response:
“This is an innovation budget through and through, with a clear focus on supporting Canadian innovators, bolstering intellectual property generation, driving clean economic growth, and doubling-down on Canada’s fastest-growing sectors in the years to come. It’s good to see Canada dusting off old playbooks to update its economic strategies.
The fingerprints of Canadian innovators are present throughout this budget. Scale-up companies have been calling for improvements to the way Ottawa incentivizes research, development and commercialization. The examination of a patent box regime to keep IP in Canada, and new funding for our domestic cybersecurity, clean and health technology sectors to drive economic growth are also all measures that address outstanding asks from innovators.
There is a lot of new spending, new programs, and new commitments in this budget — the most this sector has seen since the early years of this government. To ensure Canadians see a meaningful return-on-investment for all new dollars allocated, the government should move quickly on its plan to create a permanent Council of Economic Advisors to guide current and future economic policy development and review. This is especially important for the success of the new Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency, which will require new frameworks and policies to ensure it doesn’t become just another granting agency of the Government of Canada, and instead propels Canadian innovation globally. The building of economic and innovation capacity within the public service is absolutely critical to the success of many pillars of this budget.
Canada’s innovation and tech ecosystem is facing a massive talent crunch, as highlighted in CCI’s recent Talent & Skills Strategy. Recent announcements by this government regarding changes to the Global Talent Stream help address some outstanding challenges facing Canada’s immigration system and its innovators. But more should be done to increase access to skilled-talent for Canadian innovators, including easing pathways to Permanent Residency (PR) and getting more people trained and upskilled to meet the needs of high-growth firms. We hope to see more movement on this file in the year to come.
We would have also liked to see a greater focus in this budget in digital adoption and streamlining procurement so more Canadian technology companies can sell into the government, which is a massive validator for future global exports, especially in cybersecurity.
Fortunately, this budget creates many new opportunities for the government to engage deeply with Canada’s technology and innovation ecosystem. Specifically, Canada is at the midway point of its National Cyber Security Strategy which is due for an update to reflect Canada’s post-pandemic cyber posture. This budget also includes a review of digital currencies including cryptocurrencies and stable coins. For both initiatives it is critical that the government engages deeply and regularly with Canada’s cyber and fintech firms to move the dial on these important files.
After years of pandemic budgets and temporary programs focused on keeping Canada afloat, it’s welcome news to see fiscal prudence and long term planning back in the government’s economic playbook. Canadian innovators are pleased to see what Budget 2022 lays out, and are keen to play a meaningful role in setting up the frameworks, policies and strategies required to fuel Canada’s economic growth in the global innovation economy for years to come.”