A recently announced “action plan” from Quebec Premier Jean Charest will help boost the productivity of Montreal’s information and communications technology sector, according to Pierre Root, director general of ICT group, TechnoMontreal.
Root said the announcement was met favourably by the ICT cluster of Montreal, as it will also boost the sector’s international status.
“The government of Quebec announced measures to help the manufacturing sector with a total of $620 million over the next two years,” said Root.
Michel Guay, chairman of TechnoMontreal’s board of directors, said the ICT sector has been “severely tested” since the 2001 technology bubble.
“(The ICT sector) has had to deal with many challenges. In collaboration with associations and all three levels of government, TechnoMontreal’s role is precisely to identify these challenges and find ways of implementing solutions,” he said.
Root said the measures announced by the Quebec government have two primary objectives; helping the manufacturing sector in Quebec counter the effects of the rising Canadian dollar, and to increase the international profile of these businesses.
“The way this relates to the ICT sector is there are incentives in the program itself to help companies raise their productivity, and in that respect there’s a number of partners in the ICT cluster who, with the application of information technology, help the companies gain productivity,” said Root.
Root added the action plan is viewed as something that will increase business for the ICT sector, specifically in areas where the companies are providing software or different applications that have improved productivity in the manufacturing area.
“Within that ICT cluster we do have manufacturing companies as well, so these are mainly electronic component manufacturers or manufacturers that build telecommunications equipment,” said Root. “So in the ICT cluster itself there’s a number of companies who will benefit from the program.”
As for the impact this action plan will have on procurement, Root said the Quebec government has committed to making a concerted effort to buy local first.
“There’s going to be incentives for companies to integrate electronic business solutions in their business model, and then the buy local aspect comes into play because the ICT cluster that is providing solutions for these companies will benefit from that,” he said.
Included in the action plan is the establishment of technology transfer centres which will be subsidized by the Quebec government, he added.
“These technology transfer centres are usually established within a college or university and the technology transfer is something that’s close to the heart of the ICT cluster,” said Root.
“There are new incentives and new budgets for these centres which are very important in ensuring that we get more employees out there and will help to augment our labour force,” he added.
“(The Quebec government has) announced enough funding over the next three years for 10 technology transfer centres,” said Root.