Coffee Briefing, April 20, 2021 – A federal budget recap, and more

Coffee Briefings deliver our entire audience –  the IT administrators and channel partners as well as the C-Suite – a complete news package with the latest headlines, interviews, and social media chatter. These briefings drop on Tuesday mornings. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada reporter Pragya Sehgal with files from editorial director Alex Coop.

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In case you missed it

The recent tech news that we maybe didn’t get to yet, or it’s the news we’ve reported on and feel is worth resurfacing.

It’s budget time – what’s in it for tech? 

Yesterday, the Government of Canada unveiled $101.4 billion in new spending. Budget 2021 supports investments in infrastructure, including public transit and trade infrastructure, and supports firms, particularly SMEs, in innovating and investing in technology.

The 2021 federal budget reveals the government’s intention to develop and promote a digital economy with the hiring of a new Data Commissioner and added investments in cybersecurity. Time to break it down:

  • The federal government says it will implement a three per cent Digital Services Tax on revenue from web giants that are dependent on Canadian content. The new tax should take into effect this summer. It’s estimated that this will increase the revenue by $3.4 billion over the next five years.
  • $7.2B over seven years to the Strategic Innovation Fund to support high-growth businesses in accessing the capital.
  • Canada will invest up to $4 billion in the Canada Digital Adoption Program which will help up to 160,000 small and medium-sized businesses buy and adopt the new technologies they need to grow. This program will train 28,000 young Canadians.
  • The federal government also proposed to invest in the next phase of the pan Canadian artificial intelligence strategy.
  • $34 million over five years for the CIO’s office “to ensure that the Office of the Chief Information Officer has the necessary resources to provide strategic direction and leadership in the areas of information management, information technology, security, privacy, and access to information across the Government of Canada.
  • The government committed $1 billion over six years for the universal broadband fund to accelerate access to high-speed internet in rural and remote communities. [More on federal budget 2021]
Early reactions

Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators:

Bergen says the council was pleased to see an increased dedication to the Strategic Innovation Fund as well as the $500 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $100 million per year ongoing, to NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

A digital service tax is also a welcome addition, but Bergen says CCI was disappointed by the lack of commitments made in fintech:

“We are disappointed by the lack of commitment for financial innovation and a framework for open banking in Canada, especially after a round of industry consultations and promising signals from the government. Canada is home to some of the world’s most promising fintech companies, and Ottawa can support them by introducing regulations that allow for increased competition and delivery of innovative and affordable services to Canadians.”

Startup Canada announces two partnerships

Startup Canada recently announced that it’s partnering with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) and Okwaho Equal Source, which the entrepreneurship organization says is aimed at supporting, and amplifying Indigenous-led programming in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

NACCA, the umbrella organization for a network of 59 Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) across Canada, and Startup Canada have partnered to work together to support Indigenous entrepreneurs who are looking to start or grow a business. As part of this memorandum, Startup Canada says it will welcome NACCA as a key voice in a number of their flagship programs, including Startup Women and Startup Gov as government roundtable guests, webinar speakers, and mentors.

Okwaho Equal Source and Startup Canada are launching an Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Business Ecosystem Project. Led by the Okwaho team, the six-month community-based research and development initiative aims to introduce entrepreneurship support and business development elements of the Startup Canada Community model to Indigenous communities. Startup Canada says the goal is to launch the very first ‘Indigenous Startup Community’ in Canada this year. The project is being supported through the Startup Canada Community Empowerment Fund, with partners UPS, Mastercard Canada, and Sovereign Insurance. [Read more about the two partnerships here]

ICYMI – IT World Canada

VMware says Dell split means ‘increased freedom’ [Full story]

Dell Technologies is spinning off its 81 per cent equity ownership of VMware, a move the virtualization firm says will provide itself with “increased freedom” without sacrificing the benefits of their strategic partnership.

Budget breakdown: Where are provinces and territories investing in tech and innovation? [Slideshow]

Candian provinces and territories tabled their respective budgets over the last few months, with high investments in healthcare, economic recovery and strategies to fight the pandemic, while projecting years of post-pandemic deficits at the same time. 

Microsoft buys Nuance for $19.7 billion

Microsoft has purchased Nuance Communications, an AI and healthcare software provider, for US$19.7 billion, the biggest acquisition since it bought LinkedIn for US$26.2 billion in 2016.

ICYMI – IT Business Canada

Twitter rebrands ad suite, talks platform safety [Full story]

Twitter has responded to requests from advertisers to simplify by rebranding its ad product offerings and consolidating more than 22 individual format names into five advertising categories with a suite of features that can be applied across them. 

Previous product names will be phased out over the next few months. Twitter is also enhancing Ads Manager to further improve the experience.

Three of Shopify’s top execs are leaving the company, CEO says [Full story]

The company’s chief technology officer, chief legal officer and chief talent officer are exiting Shopify because of “individual reasons,” Shopify’s chief executive officer Tobias Lutke noted in an April 14 blog post.

Telus and Quebec government announce $30 million internet expansion project [Full story]

Telus and the Quebec government announced a joint $30 million investment to expand high-speed internet access for residents in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.

ICYMI – Channel Daily News

Canadian enterprise password manager adds secrets management [Full story]

A Toronto enterprise password management provider is expanding into the field of machine secrets management with the launch of a new product and an acquisition.

Dell launches Inspiron 16 Plus laptop [Full story]

The Inspiron 16 Plus is a high performer in Dell’s Inspiron lineup. It’s equipped with Intel’s 11th-gen Core-H processors, which boast faster clock speeds at the cost of power consumption compared to the non-H variants. The processor is flanked with up to the Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, and up to 2TB of PCIe SSD storage.

Aruba announces new advancements to Aruba ESP with Silver Peak SD-WAN integration

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is integrating its ClearPass Policy Manager offering with the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform to try and address the new security challenges brought on by the growing work-from-anywhere market.

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Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the river Yamuna on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing fanatic who also loves to prepare delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 647.695.3494.

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