Federal Budget 2017 offers focus on Innovation and Clean Technology

By March 23, 2017General, SR&ED

The Liberal government delivered the 2017 budget yesterday, with a focus on initiatives related to innovation and clean technology. One major feature is the creation of Innovation Canada (ear-marked up to $950M over five years to stimulate innovation hubs or “Superclusters”).

On the SR&ED program specifically, there does not appear to be any significant changes at this time. The government plans to undertake a “whole-of-government review” of business innovation programs, within which the government will review the SR&ED program “to ensure its continued effectiveness and efficiency.” No timelines or indications of how this will be assess were provided.

The Innovation and Skills Plan will focus on growth in six technology-centric sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health and bio-sciences and clean resources, as well as infrastructure and transportation. Superclusters (strong relationships between the private sector, post-secondary and research institutions) are envisioned to drive R&D for “commercial outcomes with application in the real economy.”

Various allocations were announced to develop clean technologies across multiple streams (including: Clean Growth Hub, multiple government departments, the Sustainable Development Technology Fund, and $570M over three years to provide working capital for clean tech firms).

For more information, please see the Budget, including page 43 for an overview of the Innovation and Skills Plan and page 95 for details on “Canada’s Innovation Economy: Clean Technology, Digital Industries and Agri-Food.”