Federal Budget 2016
R&T Parks ready to move forward on Innovation Agenda
Ottawa - Canada’s Research & Technology parks (R&T parks) welcome the government’s 2016 budget, Growing the Middle Class, and its commitment to develop a new vision for Canada’s economy with an Innovation Agenda over the course of 2016 and 2017.
Canadian R&T parks are locally-driven clusters of innovation that link industry with government and academia. Canada’s 26 R&T parks house an estimated 1,800 companies and 65,000 knowledge-based workers. R&T park clients are among the most innovative and growth-oriented companies in Canada and an important source of job growth. These companies offer the best connections to academic institutions and the greatest insight on what is needed to drive applied research to market. Our membership is diverse and touches on every region and economic sector in Canada. Sectors of focus include biotechnology, life sciences, information and communications technology (ICT), electronics, energy, biochemical, environmental, and advanced manufacturing with domestic and multinational companies located in the R&T parks.
The R&T Parks economic value to Canada is growing from its current $4.3 billion annual economic impact. Canada’s R&T parks are focused on providing support for SMEs: 75% have an accelerator, 71% of companies in R&T parks have their headquarters in the parks many of them small businesses, almost 50% of the companies are exporters, and 45% of companies plan to expand by adding new locations. This integrated innovation network holds the potential to accelerate economic growth in Canada and diversify the Canadian economy in new and exciting directions. In partnering with the government, we expect to make significant investments in the next 5 years along with our clients.
The government’s budget provides a good start to an economic environment where the R&T Parks can flourish and companies can grow their businesses in Canada. This budget enables us to start the process to achieve the economic outcomes the government is seeking. In order to make progress on economic outcomes, the R&T Parks required two key items from the federal government: a) capital infrastructure investment; and b) policy development. This budget provides a solid foundation towards both.
We were pleased to see the government’s support for innovation networks and clusters, and helping high impact firms scale-up. The government’s commitment to $800 million over 4 years starting in 2017 will enable the R&T Parks to gear up for a multiyear effort on innovation infrastructure.
Additional investments in budget 2016 towards the granting councils, a cluster mapping portal, IRAP, youth employment, accelerators, photonics), and improved trade can have a beneficial impact on our members and the Canadian economy in the years ahead.
We look forward to working with the government on an Innovation Agenda in 2016 and beyond.