“Spend on the Future” -- CATA Supports Prime Minister’s Call for Stimulus: Canada’s high-tech alliance urges focus on knowledge and service economies: “invest in ourselves”
November 24, 2008

Ottawa, November 24, 2008  --  Today’s call by Prime Minister Harper for an unprecedented fiscal stimulus is supported wholeheartedly by Canada’s largest high-tech community, said John Reid, President of the 33,000  member Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA).  Mr Reid stated today that the fear of a recession is driving the economy into a tailspin, and extraordinary measures are needed to deal with the deflationary pressures on business.  “Our companies are captives of a global downturn,” said Mr. Reid, “and we think that Canada should act together with other nations to avert a global crises.  At the same time, we have to be good stewards of the Canadian commonwealth, and fix the problem at home.

 “This means increased spending to keep employment high and incomes stable.  It means creating confidence in our citizens, that the future is under our control.  We have to break the cycle of a collective decision to save-and-wait.  We need people confident enough about their future, to continue to spend.”

 Mr. Reid urged the government to take the opportunity to “spend on the future”. 

 “We can make this a brilliant opportunity to build up knowledge infrastructure at a  very affordable investment level,” stated Mr. Reid.  “We can build physical structures like networks and computer centres, and just as importantly, we can invest in assets that never drop in value  -- the education of our workforce.  We have a tremendous mis-match in the Information and Communications Technology skills sets we need for our economy today; this is our chance to invest in ourselves.”

 Among the specific programs that CATA is advocating, are:

 -          Support for Women In Technology, a program to reinforce the ability of women to rise to their optimum level in the knowledge economy;

-          Support for a transition to the service economy in many sectors such as automotive, through programs such as the Networked Vehicle Foundation;

-          Support for export programs to countries such as China, to reverse the balance of payments flow between the countries.

 “CATA’s proposals are aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Federal Government's initiatives to promote the knowledge economy, and  to better lever the results in economic growth and in the employment of skilled workers in Canada” added Mr. Reid. 

CATA EVP Barry Gander noted that a move to the service economy is a step in a sustainable direction:  “Services are more recession-resistant than industries.  They also offer the top-paying jobs, and currently make up three-quarters of our economy.  We export half of our service sector production globally, spreading the risk away from reliance on one major trading partner, as is the case with other sectors.

 “We also support measures to encourage the Public Sector to “Govern Smarter”, and today we will be making some major recommendations based on a new poll of CATA members.

 CATA urged the government to pay immediate attention to the revision of its major support program for high tech, the SR&ED program.  CATAAlliance has argued that the SR&ED program needs to be much better integrated with other tax measures and that the legislation itself needs updating and improvement if the tax system is to be a fully effective tool for promoting innovation by Canadian businesses in all sectors.  CATA’s SR&ED campaign is based on research reports and analysis developed through on-line consultations and Roundtable discussions that were carried out throughout the summer on how to improve the SR&ED tax credits.

Other measures that CATA has successfully advocated include the development of a global strategy on commerce.  These measures are an integral part of the CATAAlliance, Innovation Nation platform, entitled "Setting the Gold Standard" -- Technology Agenda for Canadian Growth Aims at Building on Success -- Adoption Will Help Ensure Canada's Prosperity."  CATA’s Innovation Nation Platform calls for:

  1. Developing a National Brand for Canada based on Regional Advantages;
  2. Creating an Service Industries Strategy for Canada, linked to strategic approaches to government procurement, supply chains, outsourcing, exports, and increased international mandates;
  3. Responding to the Flat World of global competition with the removal of trade barriers, provision of support to equal the playing field for Canadian competitors and investment in the infrastructure needed to preserve and expand market strength;
  4. Maintaining the best practice aspects of Canada's SR & ED tax incentive program;
  5. Attracting, retaining and training best talent;
  6. Fostering executive leadership for industry growth, including a commitment to lifetime learning;
  7. Developing the IT capacity of women and encouraging women to join the technology market and enrol in technology-related studies;
  8. Creating best practices for Public Safety and National Security with an eye to protecting privacy, including fostering the growth of the advanced security sector; and
  9. Advancing measures to speed ICT adoption by the public and private sectors, particularly for small to mid sized (SME) businesses.

For further information please contact:

John Reid , President
Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)
jreid@cata.ca   

(613) 234-6091 

Or visit:    www.cata.ca