National Tech Industry Association Pleased to See Serious Investments on Cyber and Digital Government in Federal Budget 2022
Mississauga, ON, April 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TECHNATION, Canada’s leading technology association, is pleased to see increased investments in cyber and digital government in today’s 2022 Federal Budget. The Association has long advocated for government to significantly enhance federal investments in cyber security as Canada’s current level of investment is not sufficient to secure our economy, critical infrastructure, or government enterprises.
TECHNATION is pleased to see the commitment of $875.2 million over 5 years to address cyber threats. Cybercrime (ransomware) and nation state actions are the two most prevalent threats to our country right now. The need to prioritize cyber security measures – for government, businesses and individuals alike – is critical. This additional funding will help the Government of Canada secure its own enterprise and lead by example.
However, the Government of Canada must also improve collaboration with Canada’s tech sector, infrastructure, and reporting mechanisms. Just spending money will not be enough; Government also needs to mobilize the innovation potential of our strong domestic industry, especially leading-edge Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in cyber.
While we appreciate the Budget 2022 proposes to provide $17.7 million over five years for the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to establish an academic research programs on cutting-edge technologies, the tech sector would rather see a program to allow Canadian scale-up cyber companies to supply the government. Contracts are more important to our cyber industry than grants.
While we appreciate the commitment to accelerating and expanding digital government services to Canadians and COVID-19 has demonstrated this is critical, we do have concerns over the continued expansion of the Canadian Digital Service (CDS). We look forward to clarification of CDS’s responsibilities with respect to the services it provides, especially relating to other jurisdictions in Canada.
We are pleased to see $30 million over four years for the Coordinated Accessible National Health Network (CAN Health Network) for made-in-Canada technologies, building upon the CAN Health Network and the expansion to Quebec, the Territories, and Indigenous communities.
While we are pleased to hear the additional measures to help bring high-skilled immigrants to Canada, the tech sector needs workforce development as a national priority. This includes a meaningful focus on the talent crisis that exists now; clearly identified ways to recruit international tech talent; and investment into remote learning opportunities. Finally, a focus on ensuring the development of leading-edge tech like cybersecurity and AI talent as a strategic priority.
We are pleased to see both the additional funding to the innovation clusters as well as the new innovation agency. Canada’s tech sector is an economic engine that will create jobs of today and tomorrow. However, for both the clusters, the new agency as well as initiatives to grow the semi-conductor capacity in Canada, it is critical that industry is at the table with government and especially the design of this new agency is done in a collaborative approach that includes tech industries of all sizes.
However, we do have some concerns including the continued introduction of a Digital Services Tax. Canada has seen increased threats of action from Washington and should not be surprised if this comes to fruition. This can be avoided by working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) multilateral process.
Canada must have the right digital, data, and technology-driven policies in place that can support Canadian businesses and ensure they succeed in the new global economy. The Government of Canada needs to enhance engagement with industry-experts to develop a focused approach for industry/ government collaboration and tech policy co-creation.
The government should aggressively target growing Canada’s digital and data-driven economy through a clear, integrative national strategy. This means a coherent approach that combines Canada’s digital transformation agenda with an economic development lens fueled by Canada’s innovative technology businesses that are creating the jobs of today, and tomorrow.
To see the full list of recommendations to the Federal Government through our Pre-Budget Submission here.
Angela Mondou, President & CEO, TECHNATION Canada:
“Given the uncertain times Canada and the world is facing right now, it makes sense that this Federal Budget has focused on key issues like increasing defence spending or bolstering the rising housing crisis. We are pleased that this Budget saw significant cyber investment that will help keep the nation secure. However, we must not underestimate the critical role the technology sector is and will continue to play in managing the uncertainty.”
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