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Highlights of Canada’s Budget 2021-2022

April 30, 2021

PROMPT highlights the investments made by the Government of Canada’s in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, cybersecurity and digital technologies as a whole. Innovation in all its forms is inherent in the budget tabled by Justin Trudeau’s government. This item quotes information and communication technology highlights from the Government of Canada’s 2021-2022 Budget.

 

Teaching kids to code

The 2021 Budget proposes to provide $80 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to help CanCode reach an additional 3 million students, with a greater focus on sub-groups.as well as an 120,000 more teachers.

 

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Opportunities for businesses and young workers provided by Mitacs

The 2021 Budget proposes to provide $708 million in funding over five years, beginning in 2021-2022, to Mitacs to create at least 85,000 work-integrated learning internships that provide on-the-job learning and provide businesses with support to develop talent and grow.

 

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Supporting innovation and industrial transformation

The 2021 Budget proposes to provide additional funding of $7.2 billion over seven years, on a cash basis, beginning in 2021-2022, and $511.4 million thereafter to the Strategic Innovation Fund.

 

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Renewing the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Artificial intelligence is one of the most important technological transformations of our time. Canada has research communities, its own homegrown talent, and a diverse ecosystem of start-ups and growth companies. These Canadian innovators, however, need Canadian investment to ensure that our economy benefits from the immense growth opportunities this sector will provide. By leveraging our position of strength, we can also ensure that Canadian values are integrated into widely used global platforms.

 

The 2021 Budget proposes to provide $443.8 million over 10 years, starting in 2021–22, to support the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. This assignment includes the following:

 

$185 million over five years, starting in 2021–22, to support the commercialization of artificial intelligence innovations and research in Canada.

$162.2 million over 10 years, starting in 2021–22, to attract and retain top university talent across Canada, including in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. These programs will be delivered by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

$48 million over five years, starting in 2021–22, for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to renew and enhance its research, training and knowledge mobilization programs.

 $40 million over five years, starting in 2022–23, to provide dedicated computing capacity to national artificial intelligence institutes in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.

 $8.6 million over five years, starting in 2021–22, to advance the development and adoption of artificial intelligence standards.

 

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Launching a national quantum strategy

Quantum technology is at the cutting edge of science and innovation today, with huge potential for commercialization. This emerging field will transform the way we develop and design everything from life-saving drugs to next-generation batteries, and Canadian scientists and entrepreneurs are well positioned to seize these opportunities. But they need investment to compete in this rapidly growing global market.

 

The 2021 budget proposes to provide $360 million over seven years, starting in 2021-2022, to launch a national quantum strategy. The strategy will amplify Canada’s significant strengths in quantum research and expand our quantum-ready technologies, companies and talent, as well as strengthen Canada’s global leadership in this field. This funding will also create a secretariat within the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to coordinate this work.

 

The Government will provide further details on the rollout of the strategy in the coming months.

 

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Revitalizing the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre

Canada is a world leader in photonics, the technology that generates and harnesses power from light. It’s the science behind fibre optics, advanced semiconductors and other cutting-edge technologies, and Canadian companies have a long history of providing this expertise to the world. The National Research Council’s Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) provides photonics research, testing, prototyping and small-scale pilot fabrication services to academics and small, medium and large photonics companies in Canada. Its aging facility, however, puts these research and development activities at risk.

 

The 2021 Budget proposes $90 million in funding over five years, on a cash basis, beginning in 2021-22, to the National Research Council to retool and modernize the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre. This would allow the centre to continue to support Canadian researchers and allow Canadian companies to grow and support high-skilled jobs.

 

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Supporting the Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Since its launch in 2017, the Innovation Superclusters Initiative has helped Canada build successful innovation ecosystems in important sectors of the economy. Building on the strength and breadth of their networks, superclusters have been able to quickly realign their activities and have played an important role in Canada’s response to COVID-19. For example, the Digital Technologies Supercluster allocated resources to projects that used digital technologies and artificial intelligence to facilitate faster and more accurate diagnosis, treatment, and care for patients with COVID-19.

 

To ensure that these superclusters, which have made urgent investments in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19 as well as other investments, can continue to support innovative Canadian projects:

 

The 2021 Budget proposes $60 million over two years, starting in 2021–22, for the Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

 

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Promoting Canadian intellectual property

As the most educated country in the OECD, Canada is filled with innovative and enterprising people with great ideas. These ideas are valuable intellectual property, from which immense opportunities for growth emerge. Building on Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy announced in the 2018 budget, the government proposes to further support Canada’s innovators, start-ups and technology-based companies. The 2021 Budget proposes:

 

$90 million over two years, starting in 2022–23, to create an intellectual property enhancement program, which helps accelerators and incubators to provide start-ups with access to intellectual property experts.

 

$75 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, for the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, to enable its high-growth client companies to access the services of intellectual property experts. Helping Canadian businesses grow and succeed.

 

Direct investments would be complemented by a strategic review of intellectual property programs, which will be implemented. It should consist of a broad assessment of the intellectual property provisions in Canada’s innovation and science programs, from basic research to projects related to products on the path to commercialization. This work will ensure that Canada and Canadians benefit fully from innovation and intellectual property.

 

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Improve data collection on cybersecurity threats

As our society becomes more digital, the government must continually assess emerging cybersecurity threats and ensure that the government can respond and protect Canadians and Canadian businesses.

 

The 2021 Budget proposes to provide $4.1 million over five years, starting in 2021–22, and $1.0 million ongoing, to Public Safety Canada to continue the cybersecurity and cybercrime investigation program.

 

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