In an open letter to Justin Trudeau last week, CATA proposed a solution to rapidly assist some 12,000 Canadian businesses that conduct research and development through the federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) funding program. The solution proposed is two-fold: First, accelerate the release of the backlog of $200 million in current SR&ED applications. Second, allocate a *Resilience and Rebound* fund of CA$3.6 billion to provide zero-interest loans (with forgivable portions) for companies that have proven track records. Using tax data from the SR&ED program means firms are pre-qualified and the fund would be administered through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
If no action is taken action now, the Canadian technology sector infrastructure built up over decades risks being crippled as creative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the country disappear, said Paul LaBarge, chairman of CATA and a founding partner of LaBarge Weinstein LLP, in the open letter from April 7.
“We need our most innovative tech companies to lead a rebound when we emerge from this COVID-19 emergency,” LaBarge said in a statement last week.