We’re in the second half of 2017 and you know what that means – it’s time to start thinking about the 2018 Canadian budget and how it may affect the Canadian ICT industry.
Last year, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) provided the federal government with 28 recommendations for its Innovation Agenda, many of which were addressed. Now ITAC is back with 24 specific recommendations across nine core areas that the organization feels the Canadian government still needs to address.
“While Budget 2017 was great for the ICT industry, we’re now in a place where we need the implementation of new programs to start delivering outcomes for technology companies,” said Robert Watson, ITAC CEO, in a statement. ITAC will present these recommendations to the Commons Standing Committee on Finance this fall.
Here are the nine areas that ITAC suggests the next budget should focus on regarding the ICT industry:
- Accelerate Capital Cost Allowance to expand ICT infrastructure – ITAC focuses on making this program for telecommunications products better reflect current costs and to encourage network expansion.
- Innovate the SR&ED Program – Updating this program could help small companies to scale and would better align it with current R&D cycles in the tech sector.
- Invest in 5G – The next generation of wireless networks is closing in, and ITAC suggests the time is now for Canada to invest in this technology. It points to how the faster transmission speeds could support the development of connected devices (Internet of Things), smart cities, and autonomous vehicles, as just some examples of the benefits of investing in 5G.
- Invest in cybersecurity – Security is an ever growing concern, and to start, ITAC believes that there should be an externally focused Chief Information Security Officer for Canada that could act as the bridge between the public, business community, and government on cybersecurity issues.
- Introduce a ‘smart infrastructure lens’ for new infrastructure investments – This would consider smart city technologies for new infrastructure investments, including the new Canada Infrastructure Bank. It would require applications to evaluate opportunities to leverage connected technologies and data in new infrastructure projects.
- Institutionalize digital government approaches across the Government of Canada – Further improve upon the digital adoption by the federal government itself. ITAC suggests actions such as expanding the funding for digital experiments.
- Implement 21st century procurement recommendations – ITAC believes that updating the federal procurement process is ‘mission critical’ to building a modern digital government.
- Talent development – ITAC suggests that the government should work with the industry to develop national standards for post-secondary programs in emerging technology fields such as AI, cybersecurity, and intelligent mobility systems.
- Support and sustain digital innovation in healthcare delivery – ITAC suggests creating sustainable funding for digital health projects with the provinces, particularly in telehealth.