Engage today in developing the 2012 ‘Innovation Nation’ Advocacy Agenda: CATA’s Sr. VP, Tax, Finance & Advocacy leads community discussions
June 15, 2012

The 2012 Federal Budget brought some successes and real challenges to Canada’s Innovation sectors. We are providing the community with an opportunity to set priorities and key action items for advancing Canada's innovation and competitiveness performance. Some background and context is provided below:

As usual, a key challenge is SR&ED tax credits.  The changes announced to SR&ED in the Budget represent a huge reduction in critical support for the sector, particularly in light of the CRA's restrictive approaches.

On the other hand, the Budget did include commitments to much needed support for venture funding.

Our Senior Vice President of Tax, Finance and Advocacy, Russ Roberts, and members of the team are on the ground picking up the pulse as part of advancing community thinking, and are communicating the challenges faced by the sector to the politicians and their immediate staff.  The Government appears to be sensitive to the ICT sector’s challenges and its economic potential.

We have concluded that the Budget is still very much a work in progress.  A very important dialogue is now ongoing, and there is a call for and openness to new ideas and approaches.

Dr. Robert’s Advocacy team points to the imperative of the sector needing to synchronize messaging on SR&ED.  There were alternatives that could have improved SR&ED and freed up the funds the Government was looking for to redistribute to direct funding programs - without damaging the support the sector received.

Over the past few months, Dr. Roberts has had the opportunity to put forward your concerns about the CRA's limited concept of eligibility.  We understand that work is being done by the CRA’s SR&ED Directorate to clarify the issues you have raised to us.  Unfortunately, we are still hearing of companies being placed in dire straits, because of being surprised by new CRA practices.

Having analyzed where we are at and our priorities, we have been able to narrow the focus of our advocacy work to: SR&ED (i.e., getting to correct policy on what is supported and how to support a claim); funding programs complementary to SR&ED; and venture capital funding, including crowdfunding.

In addition to a proposal for a new "Transformational Partnerships Program", CATA will be tabling white papers on venture capital support and crowdfunding for open discussion.

++ Call to Action:  Please provide your advocacy guidance and inputs on CATA’s moderated social networks. You can join Dr. Robert’s SR&ED, Tax & Finance Forum at this URL: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/SR-ED-Tax-Finance-Group-3246301/about . Joining this Forum also gains you access to the core CATAAlliance Social media group, comprising approximately 5000 members. Dr. Roberts can be reached by email at ruroberts@cata.ca  Your first step (see below) is to review the White Paper "SR&ED-Where Next?"

SR&ED – Where Next?

The ICT sector took possibly the largest hit of any in the 2012 Budget.  At least $300 - $400 million in ICT support has been lost when one considers the implications of the significant Budget changes to the SR&ED Program, and CRA’s draft policies on eligibility and their new standard for how claims must be supported.

Yet, the ICT sector has a key role in leading the transformation of the world’s businesses and social structures.  In fact, studies indicate that a significant portion of Canada’s lagging industrial productivity is because Canadian companies are failing to adopt ICT solutions within their business at the rate of the U.S. and other countries.

This paper sets out a proposal to show how the ICT sector and Canada can define their roles in this dynamic, and provide Canada with better leverage of the sector's innovativeness and creativity to enhance our productivity.

Go to this URL to review the full details: