Small biz seeks SRED improvements in federal budget: IT World by Nestor E. Arellano: CATA Comments
March 27, 2012

The Scientific Research & Experimental Development program is so complicated that more consultants than tech businesses are benefiting from it according to one economist.  

For instance, Roberts said, many businesses who were previously eligible for SRED found they could not avail of the program last year. “CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) appears to have raised the bar last year without effectively communicating it to businesses,” said Roberts.

He also said that CRA documentation requirements for SRED are not constructed to deal the way many technology businesses operate. The documentation requirements are geared towards traditional scientific research and development programs that involve a “specific team targeting a specific problem,” said Roberts.

“SRED lending is focused on the micro level when in reality today, a tech venture may have integrated teams that could come from different businesses,” said Roberts.
 
Move towards grant system

SRED at the moment is so complicated that many businesses resort to hiring consultants to help them navigate the documentation maze, said David MacDonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The non-partisan institute for social and economic justice recently released its own alternative to the federal budget of 2012...



R&D council and IT procurement

CATA also supports the recommendation by the Federal R&D Review Panel that an Industrial Research and Innovation Council (IRIC) be established to oversee the development of programs and funding.

“We definitely need an overall leadership to manage programs and funding for research and development. A council will provide the oversight and accountability needed,” said Roberts of CATA.

The tech business group also called for enhanced programs related to government procurement of IT products and services. “We would like to see policies that direct various departments of government to look at Canadian sources first when purchasing IT products and services,” Roberts said.

 
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