Ottawa commits $300 mln to VC funding of Canadian digital companies

The federal government has unveiled a comprehensive new strategy called Digital Canada 150 aimed at allowing Canadians to take full advantage of digital opportunities. As part of the strategy, Industry Canada will through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) provide $300 million in venture capital funding for digital companies. An additional $200 million has been earmarked to support small and medium-sized businesses with their adoption of digital technologies.


Harper Government unveils plan for Canada’s digital future

Digital Canada 150 sets clear goals for a connected and competitive Canada

April 4, 2014 – Waterloo, Ontario – Industry Canada

Industry Minister James Moore today unveiled Digital Canada 150, an ambitious path forward for Canadians to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. Digital Canada 150 encompasses 39 new initiatives that build on our government’s successful measures for a more connected Canada. It is based on 250 submissions that were received from more than 2,000 Canadians who registered to participate in online consultations held over three months in 2010.

There are five key principles guiding Canada’s digital future:

Connecting Canadians
Protecting Canadians
Economic Opportunities
Digital Government
Canadian Content
Under Digital Canada 150:

Over 98 percent of Canadians will have access to high-speed Internet at 5 megabits per second—a rate that enables e-commerce, high-resolution video, employment opportunities and distance education.
Canadians will have confidence their online transactions are secure, their privacy is protected, and their families are safe from cyberbullying and other online threats.
We will work to secure the communications networks and devices that connect Canadians from foreign threats, which will protect the privacy of families, businesses and governments.
Wholesale domestic wireless roaming rates will be capped and wireless companies that break the rules will be penalized.
Significant new investments will be made to help small and medium-sized businesses adopt digital technologies and to provide digital companies with access to venture capital.
Canada will be a leader in the use of digital technologies and open data, making it even easier for Canadians to access government services online.
New measures to promote Canadian content online will enable Canadians to better celebrate our national story and what it means to be Canadian.

Digital Canada 150 is the result of extensive consultations with industry, businesses and individual Canadians. It is designed to be inclusive, capable of responding to the demands of fast-changing times, and able to provide Canadians with the tools, the protections and the skills they need to fully embrace the opportunities of a digital future.

Quick facts
The Government of Canada will provide $305 million to extend and enhance high-speed Internet services to a target speed of 5 megabits per second for 280,000 Canadian households in rural and remote areas.
Canada’s world-leading anti-spam law comes into force July 1, 2014, to protect Canadians from malicious online attacks.
Digital Canada 150 provides important funding, $36 million in total, to repair, refurbish and then donate computers to public libraries, not-for-profit organizations and Aboriginal communities, giving students access to the equipment they need to take part in the digital world.
Through the Business Development Bank of Canada, the government will invest $300 million in venture capital for digital companies and $200 million to support small and medium-sized businesses with digital technology adoption.

“We now live in a digital world. What connects us today are the Internet and new technologies that have created tremendous opportunities for Canadians to communicate with each other and businesses to compete globally. Our government’s top priorities are jobs and economic growth. Digital Canada 150 is a plan to take full advantage of the digital economy as we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2017. It’s the next step to build our nation and connect Canadians to each other.”

– James Moore, Industry Minister
“Digital Canada 150 will shape the course of our country for years to come. It is an important plan that will position Canadians for success in the new economy, providing jobs and economic growth, accelerated innovation, access to new markets and greater choice for consumers.”

– Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Waterloo
“In the digital age, our future depends on harnessing the power of open data, and Digital Canada 150 is a plan to help Canadians do just that. Through open government initiatives and online tools such as apps, open data makes it easier for the public to access government services and saves time and money through facilitating daily tasks.”

– Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board
“Taking full advantage of digital technology is an ongoing priority for Canadian Heritage and its portfolio organizations, which play a vital role in the cultural, civic and economic life of Canadians. As Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 draws closer, we will provide opportunities to promote Canada’s history. Digital Canada 150 will help these activities to extend their reach and enrich the experiences of Canadians as they celebrate their history and heritage.”

– Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
“A digital society is the most fundamental change we will experience in our lifetime. Digital Canada 150 lays the foundation for a connected and competitive Canada.”

– Mark Barrenechea, President and CEO, OpenText
“Notably, Digital Canada 150 recognizes that technology and innovation are drivers of economic growth. By providing access to venture capital and support for the adoption of technology, this strategy will help small and medium-sized companies grow more quickly, leading to new jobs and increased productivity across the country.”

– Iain Klugman, CEO, Communitech
“The information and communications technologies industry is one of Canada’s key economic drivers, generating $155 billion in revenues each year, contributing $67.2 billion to the annual GDP and accounting for over 570,000 jobs. With Digital Canada 150, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to this increasingly essential industry. It is a solid plan that will ensure Canada is able to take advantage of the enormous global opportunities ICT presents and will help make us a world leader in ICT adoption.”

– Karna Gupta, President and CEO, Information Technology Association of Canada
“We cannot properly know and understand our stories, our history and each other unless we can connect with each other. This is the necessary starting point for everything else.”

– Anthony Wilson-Smith, President, Historica Canada
“Canadians are already avid users and producers of online services and content. This strategy will accelerate digital adoption and technological innovation among Canadian businesses, which is essential if we are to remain a global economic power.”

– Chris O’Neill, Managing Director, Google Canada
“Congratulations to the Government of Canada and Industry Minister James Moore on Digital Canada 150, which provides an exciting roadmap for prosperity in a transforming world. Cisco is passionate in our belief that innovation and technology will dramatically improve the lives of Canadians and are essential in driving future economic growth and success. We applaud the government for its vision and look forward to working with them in executing Digital Canada 150.”

– Nitin Kawale, President, Cisco Canada
Associated Links
Speech: Digital Canada 150 Launch
Digital Canada 150 website
Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry

Media Relations
Media Relations
Industry Canada

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock