This is a guest column from the Council of Canadian Innovators. Founded in September 2015, The Council of Canadian Innovators is the 21st century business council uniquely made up of CEOs from Canada’s fastest growing technology companies and is exclusively focused on helping high-growth Canadian technology firms scale-up globally. The Council’s mandate is to optimize the growth of Canada’s innovation-based sector by ensuring Canadian tech leaders and public-policy leaders are working together to shape Canada’s innovation agenda.

DISCLAIMER: CCI received survey responses from the Ontario Liberal Party and the Ontario NDP. Having not received responses from the Ontario PC Party or the Green Party of Ontario, CCI has chosen to include their limited publicly available statements on the innovation economy in this document. Sources are available upon request.

The Council of Canadian Innovators asked the four main political party leaders in Ontario how they would help domestic innovators scale up their companies and access more talent, capital, and customers in the 21st-century innovation economy, if their party is elected on June 7.

Innovative tech firms are the fastest growing job and wealth creators in Ontario. Nationwide, 47 per cent of new jobs in Canada are being created by high-growth small and medium-sized companies, while 46 per cent of Canada’s GDP is generated by scaled, large firms.

Access to Highly-Skilled Talent

CCI asked each party leader how their government would help Canadian scale-ups access more talent and what measures would their government take to help retain more highly-skilled talent in Ontario?

Liberal Liberal Party of Ontario Logo

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to invest $132 million over the next three years in “innovative college and university programming that strengthens partnerships with employers and gives students more experiential learning opportunities.” They say this will increase the number of STEM graduates by 25%.

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP is committing to create 27,000 “new paid co-ops and internships that will allow students to graduate with real-world experience” and redistributing $57 million from the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to “create opportunities in the trades.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

The PC Party of Ontario is committing to “fill the skills gap by increasing access to apprenticeships and reforming the foreign credential recognition process to help qualified immigrants come to Ontario.”

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

As of June 1, 2018, the Green Party of Ontario has not commented on access to highly-skilled talent during this election.

Access to Capital

CCI asked each party leader what is their position on these programs? How would their government work with the innovation community to enhance these programs? How would their government help Ontario-based scale-ups access more capital so they can commercialize their products and scale their businesses around the world?

Liberal Party of Ontario LogoLiberal

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to invest an additional $900 million into the $2.7 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund (JPF) to replenish the fund and allow for the creation of new streams to “better serve innovative startups and scale-ups.” Within the JPF, they plan to create an $85 million Venture Technology Fund to help “fast-growing firms leverage their talent and commercialize their products and intellectual property.” They also plan to create a $50 million Transformative Technology Partnerships Fund to “accelerate the development and commercialization of transformative technologies such as AI, 5G wireless communications, and advanced computing” within the province.

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP is not committing new funds to the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Instead, they plan to redistribute the remaining funds within the JPF to support “opportunities in the trades” and a new stream within the fund to “promote manufacturing research and development.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

The Ontario PC Party is committing to eliminate the Jobs and Prosperity Fund but would maintain regional economic development funds. The incentives they would give businesses in Ontario include reducing “business taxes and red tape.”

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

The Green Party of Ontario is committing to redirect annual business support program funding towards “cleantech innovation, advanced manufacturing and bio-products.” They say they would “stop subsidizing businesses that pollute and instead provide incentives to work towards clean products.”

Access to Customers

CCI asked each party leader how their government would improve procurement policies to help Ontario-based scale-ups access more customers and sell more into the government?

Liberal Party of Ontario LogoLiberal

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to develop “new government purchasing rules for technology and digital services to make it easier for digital suppliers to do business with government.” They commit to reviewing government procurement practices to “identify ways ministries and agencies can devote a portion of all procurement toward innovative solutions from small businesses.”

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP believes the “the best way a government can support a small and growing business is by buying their goods and services.” They are committing to “work to provide greater procurement opportunities for small and scaling sized businesses with the goal of awarding a third of government procurement contracts to these businesses.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

The Ontario PC Party is committing to “centralize government purchasing.”

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

The Green Party of Ontario is committing to “change government procurement rules to support low carbon products and services.”

Tax Policy

CCI asked each party leader what they plan to do to the corporate tax rate and how they plan to keep Ontario’s business climate competitive with other jurisdictions, in particular the United States? What are their plans for Ontario’s R&D tax credits?

Liberal Party of Ontario LogoLiberal

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to maintain the current Corporate Income Tax (CIT) at 11.5 per cent while committing to “increase both of Ontario’s R&D tax credits to encourage investment and commercialization.”

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP is committing to increase the Corporate Income Tax to 13%. They would do this by increasing the CIT by one percentage point in 2019-2020 and 0.5 percentage points in 2021-2022. They will “maintain the one-third reduction to small business corporate income tax rates.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

The Ontario PC Party is committing to reduce the Corporate Income Tax to 10.5 per cent, as well as reducing the Manufacturing and Processing rate by one percent and reducing the 3.5 per cent small business tax rate by 8.7 per cent.

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

The Green Party of Ontario would increase the Corporate Income Tax to 13 per cent.

Protecting Ontarians Data

CCI asked each party leader what their positions were on the data-driven economy and if their government would develop a provincial data privacy strategy. What are their views on data ownership, privacy and protection, and what are their thoughts on regulating large, multinational technology companies that collect and sell user data?

Liberal Party of Ontario LogoLiberal

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to “exploring a Data Strategy for the province” that will help ensure that the people of Ontario are able to “reap the significant benefits from responsibly using publicly funded data generated here, while protecting the public interest.” They are also committing to introducing a “Citizens’ Digital Privacy and Consent Charter to give people the appropriate protections, ownership and control of their data as they use technology and social media platforms.” They note that this would apply to areas falling under provincial jurisdiction.

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP acknowledges that the “digital landscape is constantly evolving, and it is important to ensure that measures are in place to protect and educate consumers about their right to own, manage and protect their own data.” They believe that “no company should be able to collect or sell user data without the explicit consent of users.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

As of June 1, the Ontario PC Party have not commented on data privacy or Ontario’s data-driven economy.

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

As of June 1st, the Green Party of Ontario have not commented on data privacy or Ontario’s data-driven economy.

Helping Ontario’s Innovators Scale-Up

CCI asked each party leader what measures would their government enact to prevent publicly-funded Intellectual Property (IP) from leaking out of Ontario? Would their government commit to doing an economic study on the impacts of Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) in the knowledge-based economy on the domestic technology sector? Finally, how would their government work with domestic innovators to develop strategies that help high-growth companies scale-up globally?

Liberal Party of Ontario LogoLiberal

The Ontario Liberal Party is committing to developing a “strategy to help Ontario firms protect and leverage their intellectual property” and will “explore doing a study on the impacts of FDI in the knowledge-based economy on the domestic technology sector.” They would also continue to support the competitiveness of Ontario’s high-growth sectors while “helping companies commercialize the intellectual property resulting from R&D.”

Ontario NDP logoNDP

The Ontario NDP is committing to develop a “cluster strategy focused on bringing together all actors within a strategic regional industry, such as local small and medium-sized businesses, large anchor organizations, their suppliers, local colleges and universities, and all levels of government.” They say this would enable strategies to be designed that would focus on “maintaining publicly funded intellectual property for the benefit of Ontario’s economy and understanding the impacts of foreign direct investment in the knowledge-based economy on the domestic technology sector.” They are also committing to “create an advisory panel on the innovation economy made up of domestic business leaders, experts and workers” to guide the government in “expanding Ontario’s innovation economy and home-grown innovation leaders.”

PC party of Ontario logoPC

As of June 1st, the Ontario PC Party have not commented on Ontario’s innovation ecosystem or working with domestic technology scale-ups.

Green party of Ontario logoGreen

As of June 1, the Green Party of Ontario have not commented on Ontario’s innovation ecosystem or working with domestic technology scale-ups.

Founded in September 2015, The Council of Canadian Innovators is the 21st century business council uniquely made up of CEOs from Canada’s fastest growing technology companies and is exclusively focused on helping high-growth Canadian technology firms scale-up globally. The Council’s mandate is to optimize the growth of Canada’s innovation-based sector by ensuring Canadian tech leaders and public-policy leaders are working together to shape Canada’s innovation agenda.



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