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BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA)

Submission — BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA)

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Submitter(s): Spothelfer, Pascal

Summary: When reviewing public policies for growing Canada's innovation economy, two issues consistently arise: access-to-capital and access-to-talent. Canadian companies are chronically underfunded, yet our rich lifestyle makes Canada a great place for top global talent to reside. Canadian support for R&D helps to de-risk technologies, improving the potential for investment while stretching the limited cash that our companies have. At the same time, capacity-improvement projects help organizations such as the BCTIA create and manage programs to build the talent base within our communities. Specifically, BC technology companies heavily utilize the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, which the Province of BC further leverages with a Provincial SR&ED tax credit. For our larger companies, the availability of SR&ED can make the difference between maintaining and expanding their R&D activities in British Columbia or transferring them abroad. To assist with R&D and early-stage commercialization projects, BC companies use the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). For the BCTIA, which has a mandate from our members to help build the commercialization capacity in BC, Western Diversification (WD) plays an important role in helping to fund that capacity development. With respect to the federal support programs for R&D, the following are some of our high-level recommendations:

SR&ED

1. Eliminate ownership structure as a criterion to determine cash refundability.

2. Extend the SR&ED program to include early commercialization activities or supplement the SR&ED program with a parallel system to support commercialization.

3. Introduce mechanisms to favour companies that show evidence of commercialization success.

4. Streamline processes and ensure consistent application of policies and regulations.

NRC-IRAP

5. Increase the IRAP budget for more direct support of R&D and innovation.

6. Introduce larger-scale grant categories using funding stages with competitive processes to qualify applicants.

7. Increase IRAP's ability to build regional R&D and innovation-support capacity.

WD

8. Further emphasize WD's mandate of long-term capacity building versus short-term project funding.

9. Improve the transparency of the funding process and eliminate the requirement for ministerial sign-off on all funding projects.

Full submission: PDF Version