Ottawa, Canada (September 23, 2020) – An immediate and significant opportunity exists for the federal government to stimulate the economy, rapidly adopt technology solutions that are urgently needed, ensure the recovery of Canada’s technology sector, and create a ‘new normal’ of nimble, agile government procurement integrating cutting-edge innovations into public service delivery, while fueling economic growth.
As Governor General Julie Payette delivers the Government’s intentions for this parliamentary session in Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne, TECHNATION urges the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to adopt the following recommendations.
Canada’s digital economy generates over 1 million jobs, contributes over $120 billion annually to GDP, invests $7.5 billion annually in R&D, and has taken over as the biggest sector driving Canadian economic growth. It’s the leading creator of high-quality, well-paying middle-class jobs, driving year-over-year job gains and wage growth, outpacing other segments of the private sector.
Yet the tech industry, and in particular Canadian’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has suffered significant demand and cash flow challenges resulting from the COVID-19 economic slowdown. Many Canadian technology SMEs, along with their innovative goods and services, are at risk of at best, being swallowed up by multinationals, or at worst, closing their doors entirely. These companies represent quality, high paying jobs in a top growth sector that impacts not only world-leading tech hubs in the Greater Toronto Area, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal, but cities in every corner across Canada.
TECHNATION urges the Government of Canada to include, in its Speech from the Throne, a clear indication that an investment in Canada’s technology sector, and especially its SMEs will be made as it charts the road to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Procurement is one of the biggest and most underrated economic levers of government – the largest purchaser of good and services in Canada. Federal purchasing was estimated at $23 billion in 2017 – making the federal government a powerful buyer with the ability to shift markets, and launch, grow, or salvage businesses.
Yet, Canada’s most promising technology scale-ups and growth companies do not bid for the more than $6.8 billion spent annually on technology projects, because processes are too long, costly, complex, and onerous for their business. This is a long-standing and widely acknowledged limitation for Canada’s technology sector, with many opting instead to do business outside our border.
TECHNATION has presented its Innovation Adoption Program (IAP), which addresses this challenge, to Ministers of the Crown and opposition parties over the past few months.
Our industry strongly urges the Government to signal, in its Speech from the Throne, that it plans to adopt the Program and invest in technology procurement as an economic tool.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for greater investment in our digital infrastructure and demonstrated that government can move quickly to provide solutions to citizens. The valiant work of public servants to implement and deliver on major social programs must be commended. Yet, Canadians expect government to harness the innovative technologies that are already available in the market to offer better services, reduce its environmental impact, allow the public sector to work remotely, and to drive better value for taxpayer dollars.
It is estimated that every one per cent increase in digital adoption, could have a direct $2.5 billion impact on the economy. Investing in digital adoption in government is sound fiscal and economic policy that will drive improved social programs in an environmentally sustainable fashion and support a remote workforce that must deliver these programs.
TECHNATION urges the Government of Canada to signal its intention to make Canada’s digital infrastructure a top priority by investing in digital adoption in its Speech from the Throne.
TECHNATION and its members – leaders in Canada’s technology sector – welcome the opportunity to work directly with the Government of Canada to ensure Canadians can continue to trust in their ability to use technologies safely, securely, and consistently from one region of the country to another. This can be achieved by having the Government of Canada signal that it will take a multilateral approach to technology public policy through its Speech from the Throne.
“This is a time for action. This is a time for bold public sector policy to stimulate the economy and a legacy of COVID-19 stimulus spending that will result in advancing Canada’s digital economy,” TECHNATION President and CEO, Angela Mondou.
“There is an immediate and significant opportunity for the federal government to stimulate the economy and drive the recovery of Canada’s high-growth high-employment technology sector, with the adoption of technology solutions that are urgently needed. Adopting agile and more accessible government procurement as the ‘new normal’, will result in cutting-edge innovation in public service delivery and improved service delivery to Canadians, while fueling economic growth. A win-win for Canada!” TECHNATION President and CEO, Angela Mondou.
TECHNATION is the industry-government nexus for technology prosperity in Canada. As a member-driven, not-for-profit, TECHNATION unites Canada’s technology sector, governments, and communities to enable technology prosperity from coast to coast. TECHNATION champions technology prosperity by providing advocacy, professional development and networking opportunities across industry and governments at all levels; connecting Canadian scale-ups with global tech leaders; engaging the global supply chain; and filling the technology talent pipeline. TECHNATION has served as the authoritative national voice of the $210 billion ICT industry for over 60 years. More than 43,200 Canadian ICT firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more productive, competitive, and innovative society. The ICT sector generates more than 666,500 jobs and invests $7.5 billion annually in R&D, more than any other private sector performer, TECHNATION was formerly the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).