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PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Submission — PriceWaterhouseCoopers

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Submitter(s): Johnson, Joanne

Summary: We have experience with a broad range of programs supporting firms or commercially oriented R&D. We have been engaged by both government and industry associations in undertaking the development of business cases, reviews and evaluations related to these programs. We have tax practitioners across the country dedicated to assisting firms file their SR&ED returns. Finally, we maintain a database of over 500 government programs that we use to advise clients who are seeking financing or other forms of government assistance. Consequently, we have gained experience from a number of perspectives.

In our experience working with government and the private sector, we understand that while R&D is an important enabler in the success of Canadian firms, we also appreciate that the market research and scale up of marketing, sales, production, supplier negotiation, financing and management capacity are critical for translating R&D efforts into commercial success. As is the case with R&D, we have learned that innovation involves taking risks. Furthermore, we understand that innovation often has spill-over effects that benefit other stakeholders more than the investors in the innovation. For example, we produce a number of technology maps for regions in Canada that illustrate how private and public research intensive organizations lead to the creation of spin-off companies. Given the risk involved in innovation, there is a role for government to ensure that firms have the right incentives to invest, and access to key resources to succeed.

The Canadian innovation system has a number of positive attributes. In order to keep pace in the competitive global economy, we believe the most important actions for the greater enablement of successful innovation in Canada involve:

  • Reviewing existing programs to identify opportunities for adopting best practices and simplifying and streamlining program delivery, so as to reduce administrative costs to government and reduce the burden to firms. It is important to recognize that any evaluation will be complicated by a number of factors, including the fact that comparable and appropriate measures of success are often lacking. The identification and implementation of performance measures and tracking tools and processes will take years to provide useful information. Hence, we believe that the lack of widespread performance measures should not inhibit a comprehensive review of programs, but rather be informed by it;
  • Examining and adjusting the SR&ED program (and other policies and programs based on the review noted above), so as to ensure that they are globally competitive and that the difference in tax treatment between small CCPCs and other firms is not so different that they are a disincentive to growth and global success; and
  • Establishing priority areas for Canada and reviewing and revising policies and programs (including procurement policies) to focus on areas of strategic priorities.

Full submission: PDF Version