Innovation Employment Grant will provide a refundable tax credit

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on July 1, 2020

On Monday, June 29th, the United Conservative Party of Alberta launched its Recovery Plan with a commitment by the premier to “implement sector-specific strategies to drive diversification, including in agriculture and forestry, tourism, technology and innovation, aviation, finance and financial technology, and creative industries.”

On May 5th, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce provided a list of recommendations to Alberta’s Economic Recovery Council about protecting jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing strategies for long-term recovery.

Amongst them include developing the innovation superclusters of the future and the reimagining and diversification of our revenue mix.

Chief critiques of the government in the past have touched on its freezing of the investor tax credit program for technology-based industries. Justin Brattinga, the press secretary for the Minister Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir, attributes reducing the corporate tax rate to attracting business and investment.

Premier Kenney recently moved the reduction of the corporate tax rate on job creators to 8 percent, effective as of July 1st, and ahead of schedule by one-and-a-half years.

With the promise to reduce business tax rates further and engage in red tape reductions, the government hopes to reverse the 20 percent business tax hike of its predecessor, which they admit will not happen overnight.

With an expected drop in corporate revenue from $5.8 billion to $4.1 billion, the government expects an additional 55,000 jobs by 2022, with an annual investment of $4 billion, beginning in 2023.

Minister Fir: “Our strategy emphasizes diversification”

Minister Fir recently spoke with The National Telegraph on its investment growth strategy that focuses on six areas and addresses concerns, highlighted by its opposition and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m excited about all of it,” says Minister Fir. “We stood up for the innovation capital working group that was tasked with looking at new ways and best practices for attracting investment for potential tech startups.” 

“Because of COVID-19, there’s been a bit of a delay in releasing that report along with which of the recommendations we’re going to implement. As a government, we value the tech industry as we believe it helps drives diversification.”

On technology and financial technology, Minister Fir states she is most excited about the developments to come. “Our government often gets criticized for being overly focused on one or two sectors, and that simply is not true. 

“We don’t believe in energy or the environment, energy or technology, because it can be all of the above, and that’s what our strategy emphasizes.

As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, its newly unveiled Innovation Employment Grant will provide a refundable tax credit to companies that invest in research and development.

Alberta’s Chambers of Commerce approve Recovery Plan

Yesterday, the Edmonton Chamber of Council approved of the government’s recovery plan, with Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, stating this was “a strong step in the right direction [that] shows that the Province has been listening to the concerns of our job creators.”

“This plan will make Alberta businesses more competitive and give a much-needed boost to investor confidence.”

In a statement by the chamber, they articulate:

“Many of the Chambers’ advocacy recommendations are acted upon within Alberta’s Recovery Plan, including continued leadership on internal trade, accelerating the Job Creation Tax Cuts, investing in infrastructure, and a new measure to boost economic diversification. The Recovery Plan also places a keen focus on enhancing Alberta’s Environmental, Social and Governance reputation with international investors, highlighting Alberta’s ability to be a leader in both sustainable resource development and combatting global climate change.”

Dr. Sandip Lalli, President & CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, also commented on the plan, arguing that it “has the right focus by placing innovation at the heart with growth in our base industries.”

“As we look to see how this recovery plan is implemented, we will continue to double down on a public policy that forges an inclusive future for all Albertans, where vibrant business and vibrant community thrive.”

Minister Fir on Bizconnect: Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired Recovery Plan

Over the past couple of months, Bizconnect has conducted provincial-wide panels to connect Albertans to the necessary resources for their businesses and provide the platform to give the government feedback and suggestions. 

Minister Fir states, “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from our fellow Albertans, and doubled staff to ensure sufficient responses to the initial backlog of emails. The daily updated, Frequently Asked Questions section and the email link for sector-specific guidelines helped our constituents immensely during the height of COVID-19.” 

Speaking to some of the inquiries, Minister Fir was inspired by the incredible entrepreneurial spirit of Albertans.

“I’m reminded of it when I talk to folks about their hard work and can-do spirit. Hearing some of the steps taken small businesses to survive was awe-inspiring. Their ability to try different things and to be creative, but most of all, to be caring for their workers, reminds me daily why I am proud to be an Albertan.” 

“Their dedication to the safety of its customers and employees ensured a successful relaunch throughout the province,” says Minister Fir, who concluded by stating, “better days are ahead for Albertans,” amidst the launch of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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