The Government Of Canada’s 2021 Budget Proposes Building An Innovation Economy Of The Future

This article was originally posted on E-TIPS™ For Deeth Williams Wall LLP on April 28, 2021.

On April 19, 2021, the Government of Canada announced its 2021 budget (Budget 2021) with goals to finish the fight against COVID-19, ensure a strong economic recovery, and position Canada for a prosperous future. To accomplish its objectives, the government has set aside funding for proposed expenditures in the areas of intellectual property (IP) and technology.

Budget 2021 will build on the National Intellectual Property Strategy of Budget 2018 by funding Canadian innovators, start-ups, and technology-intensive businesses. This includes providing $75 million for the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to assist high-growth client firms with obtaining access to IP services.

Budget 2021 also proposes to use $90 million to establish the ElevateIP program, which will help accelerators and incubators provide IP services to start-up companies. These direct investments are complemented by the launching of a Strategic Intellectual Property Program Review to conduct a broad assessment of IP provisions in Canada’s innovation and science programming, including both basic research and near-commercial projects.

Alongside its general IP investment plan, the Government of Canada has allocated funding to various technology initiatives in Budget 2021, such as proposing:

  • $5 billion over seven years towards the adoption of clean technology through the Net Zero Accelerator program;
  • $500 million over five years, starting in 2021-2022, and $100 million per year ongoing, to expand the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, which is poised to give up to 2,500 innovative small and medium-sized firms expertise and capital to scale up their businesses;
  • $443.8 million over ten years for the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to support research and innovation in the artificial intelligence sector;
  • $360 million over seven years to launch a National Quantum Strategy that will assist researchers studying quantum technology and establish a secretariat at the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to coordinate efforts in this space;
  • $90 million over five years for the National Research Council to modernize the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre;
  • $400 million over six years to launch a Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy to develop therapeutics and create jobs in the field, including allocating $136.7 million for Genome Canada to deliver mission-driven programming directed at starting the initiative; and
  • $2.2 billion over seven years towards Canada’s life science sector, including allocating resources to support Canadian firms through the Strategic Innovation Fund and creating a Clinical Trials Fund to assist in the research and development of treatments in the health field, including the pharmaceutical sector.

Written by M. Imtiaz Karamat, Osgoode Alumni and Student-at-Law at Deeth Williams Wall LLP.

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