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Research In Motion

Submission — Research In Motion

Important note: The content of submissions and summaries is the sole responsibility of the person and / or organization having made a submission. The posting of this content does not indicate that the Panel supports or endorses it. Submissions and summaries are posted in the language provided without modification.

Submitter(s): Elliott, Morgan

Summary: Innovation has been at the heart of RIM's. It started off with an idea and a vision of where technology was heading. Once the opportunity was identified, it took a team of people who believed in the concept and were not afraid to invest in the idea. Early in our corporate history, RIM was helped incalculably by the federal and provincial governments. Whether it was the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), Technology Partnerships Canada agreements, or the ongoing benefits derived from the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, public sector support for innovative companies in Canada played a key role in our success.

We believe that Canada's key programs in support of innovation and commercialization can be enhanced to ensure they continue to address changing business models and changing global economic environments. We must also be careful however, to ensure that any changes do not undermine the unique scope or strengths of leading programs like SR&ED. Additionally Canada must address related policy challenges beyond its funded programs if it is to foster more successful companies that are prepared to compete globally.

What are federal initiatives are most effective in increasing R&D? Are the current mix of tax incentives and direct support appropriate? And what gaps are evident in current programming and what can be done to fill these gaps?

We believe that the Government of Canada must provide leadership in fostering an economic climate that encourages business innovation. However, enhancing business R&D expenditures through government tax incentives and direct program support presents a complex policy challenge. While government support is an important element in addressing this R&D and productivity challenge, there are other policies that affect business innovation in less obvious ways.

The recent government measure to amend Section 116 of the Income Tax code may affect R&D spending in Canada, and is an example of a less obvious effect. R&D constitutes a large portion of expenditures for early stage technology companies, and venture capital funding is essential for early stage companies to grow. In its amendment of Section 116, the government removed a tax reporting burden on foreign investors, specifically in the tech and life sciences sectors. From all accounts, the pace of cross-border activity has increased since the changes.

While the issue of R&D support and its desired outcomes is complex, R&D funding and support models are not necessarily the most important part of the solution to address lagging commercialization and productivity. There are myriad indirect issues. An excellent example is the issue of Canada's outdated and inefficient export controls rules as they apply to the ICT industry. We recommend that the government extend their examination in order to encompass other measures that affect private sector R&D activities in Canada.

Through this submission RIM seeks to highlight improvements that require a refocusing of some activities while removing and/or modernizing current policies that inhibit the areas the panel is examining.

Full submission: PDF Version