Advocacy Leadership

Paul Johnston, past President & CEO, Precarn, Community Innovation leader and CATA National Commentator shares his thoughts on how to advance Canada's innovation and competitiveness rankings with CATA CEO, John Reid.

Major Industry Group advances Working Agenda for a newly proposed Minister of Science, Technology & Business Innovation
Ottawa, On...CATAAlliance (cata.ca) a recognized champion of Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship has tabled a Working Agenda for the elected Liberal government as part of a recommended consolidation of the Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Minister of Industry into a Minister of Science, Technology and Business Innovation.

CATA CEO, John Reid, said, “ We need 21st Century leadership for improving Canada’s business innovation performance and this must begin at the political level. Now is the time to pivot to the future.”

Reid added, “A newly refocused department and Minister can and should lead and facilitate discussions with Cabinet colleagues, the provinces and municipalities about making business innovation one of the keystones of Canadian economic policies. The New Minister would have a shared responsibility with Finance’s economic development portfolio in order to assure proper evaluation, integration and evolution of mandates. Key investment criteria and evaluation criteria should include the demonstrable potential of the investment instruments to promote the growth of Canadian business for the full potential of the Canadian economy.”

CATAAlliance has already released a White Paper on Canada's Innovation leadership: Others do better as part of its Competitive Innovation Nation Campaign that aims at moving Canada to number one ranking in innovation and competitiveness. Canada's rankings lag behind many other nations and much has been proposed to reverse this trend. The White Paper research was combined with a Video Sharing Channel for Advocacy Leadership where community leaders were challenged to present their best guidance.
Reid noted, “ A good starting starting point for 21st Century leadership is for the new Minister to address a Working Agenda of key items and guidance put forward by entrepreneurs, innovators and concerned citizens.”

Working Agenda: New Minister of Science, Technology & Business Innovation

First, the elected government should consolidate the Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Minister of Industry into a Minister of Science, Technology and Business Innovation (Done)

Second, an effective SR&ED Dispute Resolution approach should be adopted, paving the way for a more effective SR&ED incentive program, as one of the keys to driving Canadian innovation excellence.

Third, the new Minister with Cabinet colleagues should initiate discussions with the provinces to match or beat SEC regulations related to crowdfunding that enable startups to raise up to $50-million from anyone. Whereas, U.S. crowdfunding markets are closed to only U.S. incorporated companies, set out to make Canada a single market and global hub for crowdfunding.

Fourth, similarly the new Minister with Cabinet colleagues should work towards having all provinces copy or better the B.C. Angel Investor Tax credit that returned $2 in provincial tax revenue for every dollar of tax credit.

Fifth, a capital gains exemption should be created for Founders and early stage employees who reside in Canada, followed by the creation of an open and global Canada Seedling Market, aiming to attract best global investors and startups that incorporate in Canada.

Sixth, the federal government should commit 10 percent of its procurement spend to startups (i.e., new businesses that are less than three years old). All provincial and municipal governments and government concession businesses should then be challenged to do the same.
Seventh, New York State's Startup New York tax exemptions should be seen as a match or beat business model to fuel startups and business growth. In the same vein, we should match or beat the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.Overall there should be a focus on adopting global best practices for improving Canada’s low innovation and competitiveness rankings.

CATA CEO, John Reid, concluded, “Our big goal is a shared community approach to cultivating every advantage and eliminating every barrier to enterprise growth and competitiveness, a goal that is vital to realize the improvements that will let Canada rank amongst the highest performers as a competitive innovation based economy.”

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Advocacy Leadership

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CATAAlliance is an active participant in the formation and delivery of government framework tax policies, regulations and activities that are critical to the success of Canada's high-tech industries. Your corporate guidance and participation are needed…


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CATAAlliance is an active participant in the formation and delivery of government framework tax policies, regulations and activities that are critical to the success of Canada's high-tech industries. Your corporate guidance and participation are needed and appreciated as we can leverage the industry voice to be both clear and accurate for maximum effect.

In many respects CATA is a political party, the party of the Canadian high tech industries. Similar to a political party, our Platform is built from Policy Planks linked to Specific Recommendations which will ensure success for Canada in the global economy. We actively encourage all of Canada's political leaders to better understand and embrace what it takes to create a knowledge based Canada.

As we receive feedback and direction from the membership, recommendations are continuously updated and then communicated to decision makers as part of ongoing advocacy.

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    "Growing small-mid market organizations in Canada is critical to the health of the economy. This is where employment opportunities have and continue to be created. In the absence of salaries, pension, benefits, and other short incentives to attract Talent these organizations rely on stock options. Options that carry no promise of payment. Taxing stock options will only raise the stakes in an already high stakes game. "

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    CEO notes on Cloud 1st for Canada: This "gCloud" (Government Cloud - you can use the name smile emoticon ) solution is very interesting and worth pursuing. Having worked on large scale centralization projects such as Shared Service I learned one very important lesson. You must have firm commitment at the "Political Levels" who in turn will instruct their DMs and ADMs to get on-board and make it happen. Shared Services went through many false starts and failures due to resistance from government deartments. As the tenture of the governing party sunsett so did the push to move forward. These types of government initiatives although extremely cost effective are not "sexy" for the electorate. So the ruling party will concertraite on the electorate's low hanging fruit not government adminstration initiatives. We now have a young government that is more open to 21st century solutions; it is the ideal time to get the government engaged.
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    Alex Leyn comments, " As a serial entrepreneur that intimately understands on my own and my interpid start-up employees skin how the negative impact these proposed changes will have in an already financing-disadvantaged Canadian start-up environment, I strongly support the *no change* approach advocated here. This has to be stopped, period."

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