What we saw in the Fall Economic Statement
Today in Ottawa, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered the government’s Fall Economic Statement.
In response, CCI President Benjamin Bergen issued the following statement on behalf of our members — more than 150 scale-up technology companies headquartered in Canada.
“Over the past six months, our members have been growing increasingly concerned about the deteriorating state of the economy, with persistent inflation, a looming recession, intensifying global competition, and challenging capital markets.
“When the federal government tabled the 2022 budget in April, we saw cause for optimism, as Minister Freeland announced plans to create a council of economic advisors, a dedicated innovation investment agency, and review the scientific research and experimental development tax credit, with an eye to streamlining the program and encouraging companies to generate and protect intellectual property resulting from their R&D. But since April, we have been waiting to see signs that the government appreciates the magnitude of the current situation and they are responding by putting more substance behind their announcements.
“In today’s Fall Economic Statement, CCI had hoped to hear the kind of urgency befitting this moment, and a clear commitment on the part of the government to ensure that they will work with business leaders to ensure that policy and programs are nimble and responsive to the needs of the economy.
“The government’s new innovation and investment agency should be exactly the sort of entity improving Canada’s innovation outcomes, and it is a shame that the government has not pushed to set this agency up more quickly. We will wait to see the blueprint for the agency in the coming weeks, but we will be disappointed if it does not include a clear mandate which treats data and IP as valuable strategic assets, and supports Canadian companies’ freedom to operate as they compete globally. Moreover, innovators cannot wait an entire year for substantive action on commitments announced in the 2022 budget, including reforms to streamline the scientific research and experimental development tax credit, which should be a key avenue to fund R&D intensive businesses through difficult times. CCI’s policy brief on SR&ED contains six key recommendations, drafted in consultations with high-growth businesses and tax experts.
“One bright spot in today’s Fall Economic Update was the concrete steps to address Canada’s skilled talent shortage; we have been sounding the alarm about this issue, and we would encourage the government to go further, adopting key recommendations from CCI’s Talent & Skills Strategy released in March.
“On behalf of our members — more than 150 growing technology companies headquartered in Canada — the Council of Canadian Innovators is calling on the government to take a more active and urgent approach to managing through this difficult time. Our future prosperity depends on it.”