July 25, 2020

All brains on deck! Technology crossroad for Team Canada

Some highlights of recent tech announcements shared with the Canadian technology community on 24 July 2020. Updated.

The Financial Post published an article following Minister Bill Morneau’s 17 July announcement of wage subsidy expansions.  Kevin Carmichael’s piece takes on a tech small business lens and compares Canada’s economic response to Germany’s. His quotes from a CATA interview reflect CATA’s messaging during recent meetings with seven MPs and ministers.

Canada’s COVID-19 response still ignores the innovative companies that could power a recovery

“Morneau and Bains will have heard that from every lobbyist in Ottawa, but Grant has a stronger claim than most …. “
After being picked up by media coast to coast, and even internationally, LinkedIn ran the story as an Editor’s Pick highlighting some of the story’s viral uptake.

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Read some of the animated commentary under the LinkedIn Editor’s Pick   

Members have joined in some of CATA’s meetings with the PMO, MPs, ministers and policy makers. We are advocating for a comprehensive science, technology and innovation emergency and strategic response to the current economic crisis. CATA has also proposed simpler eligibility to access proportionate assistance through existing programs and a new fund. 

Watch this space: 

Download North is in production now.  The digital magazine outlines CATA’s recent advocacy journey including prominent business leaders who joined our letter writing campaign. 

Sponsor opportunities available to support advocacy. Email Suzanne.grant@CATA.ca

All brains on deck

This coming week CATA is preparing a 2021 Federal Budget Submission and remarks for the Ontario Legislature Standing Committee on Finance & The Economy.

Share your thoughts on how provinces & Canada can leverage our innovative strengths.  CATA members and friends are welcome to share your comments on response so far and ideas to restart the economy here.

The race is on

Meeting Canada’s innovation potential will, in part, need recognition of the strategic and economic impact the sector can play in a  “future” world economy. Canada has everything to gain, and sovereign IP and talent at grave risk. Germany and South Korea have already made it clear that they are serious contenders in the technology, IP and talent race, each committing hundreds of billions to innovation and pivoting their economies. China recently allocated US$1.4T investment into tech.

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Alberta-  new Science, R&D incentives for innovation

“Alberta is launching new financial programs targeted at its innovation and technology sector less than one year after startups said that slashed tax credits and grants caused investment to leave the province.” Read full Globe and Mail article

In April CATA supported an Alberta’s innovative community letter to Premier Jason Kenny. Congratulations and a big thank you to CATA’s Alberta lead, Mike Ede for his advocacy support and wisdom.

Canada has the technology talent, intellectual property and entrepreneurial drive to lead in the new currency race

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CATA’s proposals have been met with enthusiasm by federal ministers. We’re encouraged by shifts in language and awareness. Our community support and discussions with CRA helped to get the SR&ED program running more efficiently than ever. The tax incentive program was disrupted early Spring with $200M in backlogs.

Over 50 media stories have helped to amplify CATA’s messages to date

We had early discussions with the PMO and they later responded to our business letter campaign by directing messages to both Minister Bains and Minister Morneau. A meeting with finance and ISED ministers and CATA is in the works.  

Let’s all be bold together

 In a recent CIO Association of Canada podcast with host Edwin Frondozo, Minister Bains urged Canada’s innovator CEOs to be bold. He often doubles down on private – public partnerships.  The complexity and breadth of problems, and the future literacy required to comprehend the application of available technologies to address challenges ahead, require informed thinkers at a bigger table. #Let’sGoCanada!

Courageous collaboration

In an era of chaos, leadership takes extra energy, amplification, empathy and creativity. Collaboration is the name of the success game and we see an abundance!

Digital Main Street is one favourite outcome. Grants for businesses to go digital, accelerate tech adoption with a bonus of employment for students hits a sweet spot. We love our main street businesses. This is a great example of how technology can help industries compete.  https://news.ontario.ca/medg/en/2020/06/ontario-and-canada-helping-small-businesses-go-digital.html

Breaking status quo – from procurement to IP qualifiers for financial access

Did we see a glimmer of hope with Minister Bains championing Canada First green tech procurement in this Globe and Mail articleOttawa weighs procurement process as way to champion clean technology? Might the disruption to Canada Made public procurement on the medical front weaken the “it’s really hard” argument against a triple bottom line solution? This is a needed commercialization boost for Canadian tech.

Kudos Minister Bains! We support taking Buy Canadian Tech beyond medical and green tech

TECHNATION is taking on public procurement for Canadian tech, the very premise upon which CATA was envisioned 50 years ago!  We salute and join their efforts in partnership with Shared Services. They are driving a more modernized challenge-based procurement approach. You can register for TECHNATION’s open business intelligence platform, TECH2GOV Digital Marketplace free of charge.


IP literacy supports stronger commercialization and growth for Canada.

A salute to the Canadian Council of Innovators for their leadership culminating in the Ontario government Intellectual Property Action Plan.  The announcement of IP valuation based pivots to financial eligibility is even more encouraging. The $160M allocation via BDC sets a precedent and holds the potential to help hundreds of companies in the near term.

CATA recently held discussions with ISED on linking IP valuation to financial eligibility on a longer term basis. This step is a BIG reason to celebrate as many technology companies struggle to access financial instruments due to backward looking criteria. The future is here. 

Data solution for under-subscribed programs – fast delivery similar to CERB

CATA’s Resilience and Rebound (RR) Fund proposed in April vies for simpler assistance eligibility using available Canadian Revenue Agency audited data. Proportionate assistance will help bring talent back to work and retain sovereign IP as a foundation for bridging to the future. Adoption would provide assistance to help up to 13,000 innovators fuelling 4M jobs. Funds would finance growth expansion and development of new opportunities. They could help bridge stressed COVID19 induced issues for these firms, and help those that need quick cash to respond to opportunities created through the shifting paradigm.

This short-term protective measure would help shore up and restart the innovation and science ecosystem

Celebrating success

We are so proud of Canadian innovators – so many companies are hitting it out of the park! While we look at the ecosystem as a whole and support those slowed down by capital disruption and client cash flow freezes, we also acknowledge success. Medical therapeutics and vaccine developments, agile pivots, pivots for good, problems and opportunities that have ballooned with the pandemic have expedited growth for some and it’s worth celebrating. 

Shopify is seeing e-commerce adoption at 2030 projected rates realized today. They have really stepped up on the leadership front helping out their vendors with simple financing. 

The world and investment dollars are paying more attention to the triple bottom line of health, education, digital and green technologies. Cyber is more important everyday as pandemic chaos is being leveraged for bad.  Sadly IP theft has moved brazenly to our collective critical well being in the theft of vaccine IP. AI, IOT, data, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, connected communities, 5G, quantum computing, micro-electronics, advanced manufacturing and more will continue to drive the future …. technology marches on.

We are especially excited for rural communities and the opportunities the Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan will bring.