Historic Reform of Funding Programs: Budget 2018 Highlights

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third budget, tabled on February 27th, 2018, forecasted a deficit of $18.1B for fiscal 2018, with deficits projected to decline gradually to $12.3B by 2022.

Budget 2018 confirmed the announcements made in the 2017 Fall Economic Statement to reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by January 2019. There were no proposed changes to the corporate income tax rates or to the $500,000 Small-Business Deduction Limit for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs); however, Budget 2018 introduced a $50,000 threshold on passive income held in corporations. The small business deduction limit will be reduced by $5 for every $1 of investment income above the $50,000 threshold and will be reduced to zero at $150,000 of investment income, at which point the business owner will lose the Small Business tax rate and will be taxed at the general corporate rate.

Following a review of all innovation programs across 20 federal departments and agencies, Budget 2018 proposed a “historic reform of business innovation programs.” Overall funding will increase but the total number of business innovation programs will be streamlined by up to two thirds. The initiatives proposed in Budget 2018 include:

Research & Innovation

  • $700M over 5 years, starting in 2018, to enable the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to support projects up to a new threshold of $100M.
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) will move away from supporting smaller projects to allow for more focused support for projects over $10M.
  • The Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) will be consolidated within Innovative Solutions Canada.
  • $85.3M over 5 years, starting in 2018, to support a new Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy aimed at helping entrepreneurs understand and protect their IP and get access to shared IP. Further details will be revealed in the coming months.
  • Five regional high-tech innovation superclusters were announced in February 2018 to receive $950M over 5 years in non-repayable funding.

Business Growth

Small business & Startups

  • $4.6M over 5 years, beginning in 2018, for Canada’s Start-up Visa Program, which provides permanent resident immigration status to innovative global entrepreneurs with business growth potential in Canada. As announced in July 2017, this program will be made permanent in March 31, 2018.
  • $115M over 5 years for the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy through regional development agencies.
  • $1.65B over 3 years for women entrepreneurs through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
  • Regional development agencies may take on more responsibilities for accelerator and incubator support such as the Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program.
  • The Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative was launched this past year to increase the availability of late-stage venture capital to support the growth of innovative Canadian firms.

Export

  • The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service will amalgamate programs administered by Global Affairs Canada including CanExport, Going Global Innovation, Canadian Technology Accelerators, and Canadian International Innovation program.
  • $10M over 5 years, starting in 2018, to renew the Canadian Technology Accelerators Program for helping high growth tech companies grow in key U.S. markets.
  • $10M over 5 years, starting in 2018, to connect women with expanded export services and opportunities through the Business Women in International Trade Program.

Skills Development

  • Additional $448.5M over 5 years, starting in 2018, for the Youth Employment Strategy’s Canada Summer Jobs program to double the number of work placements and modernize the strategy in the following years.
  • $19.9M over 5 years, starting in 2018, to pilot an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, to provide a $3,000 grant for each of the first two years of training in Red Seal trades.
  • $46M over 5 years, starting in 2018, for a new Pre-apprenticeship program for underrepresented groups.
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