It has been almost a month since the end of the Canadian Federal Election 2021 on Sept. 20. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was re-elected but again only won a minority of seats in the House of Commons. Will the Liberal Party keep the promises on improving technological development in their third term? How will the promises affect the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program in the future? Let us do a quick recall.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the Liberal Party released their detailed plan “Forward for Everyone” for the 2021 election, which included plenty of information on the further development of Canadian technologies. Although Trudeau needs to cooperate with opposition legislators to govern in the third term, it is important to recall those statements to see if the Liberals will partner with innovators to create a better Canada.
CARPA stands for the Canada Advanced Research Projects Agency, a similar agency as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States. The objective of the agency is built to promote new research and ideas and keep them within Canada. The Liberal Party believes that CARPA will become the bridge between the government and private companies to help them create new skilled job positions. The initial endowment of the agency will be $2 billion.
In 2017, the government launched the $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which was the world’s first national AI strategy. Now the Liberal Party decides to move forward through further support on artificial intelligence innovations and research. The government will continue collaborating with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) to attract more academic talents in the related fields.
Speaking of academic talents, the Liberal Party also promises a $75 million/year fund for colleges and universities to improve research. The plan hopes to connect schools with businesses to help put innovations into action. Moreover, they also intend to add 1,000 Canadian Research Chairs to support graduate research with a specific focus on improving gender and racial equity. The government wishes to reinforce Canada’s world-leading research capabilities in social, natural, and health sciences.
Finally, the Liberal Party announced a reform on the SR&ED program. They stressed the need to reduce red tape and other distractions for a better and easier application process. The government decided to raise the expenses on innovation and R&D to make the program more generous to applicants who have new inventions, improve productivity and create more positions in the job market.
Overall, it is appreciated to witness the effort from the Liberal Party to continue focusing on research and development. The plan itself is heading in the right direction for keeping Canada competitive in the 21st-century world economy. However, it lacks more useful details and as a consequence, it is still difficult to summarize how the plan will benefit SR&ED in the future. Let’s keep an eye on it.