Funding promised for Canadian accelerators and incubators isn’t at risk despite dropping oil prices making a surplus in the next federal budget less likely, says Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board for the federal government.
Clement says he’s confident the Conservatives will balance the upcoming 2015 budget – and within the budget, the $40 million promised to the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) “will still be there.”
On Wednesday, TD Bank said the Conservatives may need to brace themselves for a $2.3 billion deficit by the end of the year due to plunging oil prices in Alberta, one of Canada’s economic strongholds.
But in February 2014, the federal government made several commitments to the tech sector in the 2014 budget, both for startups and small businesses. One of those commitments was to CAIP, with the government earmarking an additional $40 million in funding for the program. The funding was slated to be spread out over four years, starting in 2015.
“That money for CAIP is still booked,” said Clement in an interview. “A lot of work is being done that has been critical for investment, and it’s important to restore venture capital funding in this country. It took a hit in the recession, but it has come back.”
He added the government is keen to help startups get access to the funding they need, especially as it wants them to stay in Canada to grow their businesses, rather than move to the U.S.
Pointing to his past tenure as the Minister of Industry, Clement added the federal government has also worked to lower the barriers on income tax provisions, which made it harder for U.S. investors to invest in Canadian businesses.
Speaking from Toronto on Wednesday, Clement was promoting the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) hackathon, a contest that will see students and entrepreneurs building an app within 48 hours, using sets of data provided by the federal government.