The Canada Media Fund (CMF) thanks the Government of Canada and particularly the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the Honourable James Moore, for announcing in the Budget that the CMF will receive funding support on an ongoing basis starting April 1, 2011.
“This is a very significant commitment,” declared Louis Roquet, Chair of the CMF’s Board of Directors, “one that will enable the CMF to truly play its part in Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy by providing ongoing funding support for the creation and promotion of content for all Canadians on the platforms of their choice.”
The Government’s contribution of $100 million, combined with the funding the CMF receives from Canada’s cable and satellite distributors, will enable the CMF to provide over $350 million to the television and digital media industry in 2011-2012.
“With the help of this commitment, the CMF will continue to drive innovation and to support Canada’s creative talent in contributing to our competitiveness in the global marketplace for content,” stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the CMF. “This is most welcome news for the industry as a whole.”
Canada’s technology and digital media sectors stand to reap some major benefits from today’s budget, as laid out on the Government of Canada’s Action Plan site. In addition to the above announcement regarding the Canada Media Fund, and as stated on the Action Plan site (meaning I did not write any of the following, I grabbed it from the Government), the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan sets the stage for the Digital Economy Strategy to make Canada a leader in the creation, adoption and use of digital technologies and content. Budget 2011 measures include:
- Providing $80 million in new funding over three years through the Industrial Research Assistance Program to help small and medium-sized businesses accelerate their adoption of key information and communications technologies through collaborative projects with colleges.
- Announcing $60 million over the next three years to promote increased student enrolment in key disciplines related to the digital economy.
The digital economy is woven into the fabric of our modern economy. Digital technologies power activities in all areas of the economy, from manufacturing and transportation to advanced telecommunications and Web-based services, and provide a platform for all sectors to be more innovative and productive. Leadership in the creation, adoption and use of digital technologies and content will help Canada to increase its world-class standard of living.
In the summer of 2010, the Government held nationwide consultations to seek the views of Canadian industry, creators and consumers on how Canada can build a globally competitive digital economy by 2020. Budget 2011 sets the stage for the release of Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy later this spring by introducing new measures focused on accelerating adoption of information and communications technologies at small and medium-sized businesses, preparing students for careers in the digital economy, and building Canada’s digital content through the Canada Media Fund.
As Canada enters the digital age, the small and medium-sized businesses that drive our economy have an opportunity to maximize their growth potential by adopting information and communications technologies. Colleges, with their linkages to local industry and access to cutting-edge technology and skills, are ideally placed to develop technological solutions that respond to the challenges faced by small and medium-sized businesses. The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program has experience in working with colleges and innovative small and medium-sized businesses.
To support the development of Canada’s digital economy, Budget 2011 announces $80 million in new funding over three years for a pilot initiative, delivered through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, to support collaborative projects between colleges and small and medium-sized businesses to accelerate their adoption of information and communications technologies.
In addition, as part of the Government’s effort to strengthen Canada’s research advantage, Budget 2011 announces $53.5 million over five years to support the creation of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs. Some of these new research chairs will be active in fields relevant to the Digital Economy Strategy. The Government is also renewing the Community Access Program for an additional year.
The ability of Canadians to effectively use new digital technologies will be crucial to Canada’s success in the global digital economy. Budget 2011 announces that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will reallocate $60 million in funding over the next three years to promote enrolment in key disciplines related to the digital economy such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Government has recently taken steps to accelerate the growth of the digital economy, including by:
- Ensuring more than 98 per cent of Canadians have access to broadband services through a variety of initiatives, including through the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program in Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
- Modernizing policies to build confidence in e-commerce through the passage of new anti-spam legislation and tabling privacy and copyright legislation.
- Adding information and communications technology adoption as a strategic focus of the Business Development Bank of Canada, including new consulting services to help companies enhance their use of information and communications technologies, as well as offering flexible financing to help support these investments.
- Opening up spectrum for next-generation wireless networks and services by launching consultations on the 700 megahertz spectrum with a view to auctioning it in late 2012, concurrent with consultations on the 2,500 megahertz spectrum.
- Enabling telecommunications businesses to increase investment by freezing licensing fee rates for cellular and personal communications services, extending the length of licences for mobile broadband spectrum to 20 years, announcing a review of the 2008 tower sharing and roaming policy, and examining options for liberalization of foreign investment restrictions in the telecommunications sector.
Today’s Federal Budget also outlined initiatives for many other areas of research in the fields of science and technology, as well as support for education and business development. The following information is also from the Government’s web site. In regards to education, the new budget includes these measures:
- Enhancing and expanding eligibility for Canada Student Loans and Grants for part-time and full-time post-secondary students with an investment of over $34 million a year once fully implemented.
- Investing $9 million over two years to expand adult basic education programming in the territories to increase employment opportunities for Northerners.
- Providing up to $10 million a year in tax relief and Registered Education Savings Plan assistance to the increasing number of Canadian post-secondary students who study abroad.
- Providing $10 million over two years to develop and implement an international education strategy that will reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research.
- Encouraging skills certification by making all occupational, trade and professional examination fees eligible for tax relief.
Knowledge and innovation are the drivers of success in the 21st century global economy. In order to be a world leader in knowledge and innovation, Canada must attract and develop talented people, increase our capacity for world-leading research and development, improve the commercialization of research, and promote education and skills development. The Government has made a number of significant investments to date that will help Canadians prosper, including:
- Development of a new Science and Technology Strategy to drive new investments in innovation, science and technology, including significant funding to the federal granting councils, Genome Canada, Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Automotive Innovation Fund, as well as numerous investments in research infrastructure.
- $750 million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation in Budget 2009 to support leading-edge research infrastructure.
- Up to $2 billion dedicated under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program to repair, retrofit and expand facilities at post-secondary institutions.
- Introduction of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, as well as the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.
- Modernization of the Canada Student Loans Program, introduction of the new Canada Student Grants Program, strengthening of the Registered Education Savings Plan, exemption of scholarship and bursary income from tax, and introduction of the Textbook Tax Credit.
- $8.3 billion in support under the Economic Action Plan to help Canadian workers and their families weather the recession and provide them with the necessary training and tools to transition into new jobs as quickly as possible.
- Investing $3 billion over six years for new Labour Market Agreements to address the gap in labour market programming for those who do not currently qualify for training under the Employment Insurance program and to improve the labour market outcomes of under-represented groups such as older workers, Aboriginal people, recent immigrants and persons with disabilities.
- Through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership initiative, investments of $205 million to support partnerships between governments, the private sector and Aboriginal organizations to help Aboriginal people benefit from valuable skills training and employment opportunities.
- A streamlined immigration system to better respond to the needs of the labour market, and the development with provinces and territories of a common approach to facilitate the recognition of foreign credentials.
Going forward, Canada needs to be a leader in research, innovation and technology adoption to succeed in the global knowledge economy. The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan will continue to promote innovation as a key driver of long-term economic growth and employment, and to help Canadians acquire the skills they need to thrive in today’s labour market.
The Government will continue to provide support for research and Canada’s public research infrastructure, while seeking to increase the impact of its investments by levering contributions from the private sector and other levels of government in national projects and commercialization partnerships. It will continue to help Canadians acquire the education and skills they need to succeed through direct financial support and incentives for students, as well as targeted measures to support skills training, apprenticeships and lifelong learning. It will continue efforts to attract the best foreign students and immigrants to Canada while taking steps to facilitate their integration into Canadian labour markets.
Budget 2011 advances these priorities through actions in support of the new Digital Economy Strategy, additional support for leading-edge research, assistance to bring research to the marketplace, and investments in education and skills training.
The Government also outlined new resources to support leading-edge research, international collaborations, health research of national importance, and the creation of world-class research centres in Canada. Budget 2011 measures include:
- Investing an additional $37 million per year to support the three federal research granting councils.
- Providing an additional $10 million per year, for the Indirect Costs Program, for costs such as those related to operating and maintaining facilities.
- Investing $53.5 million over five years to support the creation of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs.
- Allocating up to $100 million to help establish a Canada Brain Research Fund to support the very best Canadian neuroscience, and accelerate discoveries to improve the health and quality of life for Canadians who suffer from brain disorders.
- Providing an additional $65 million for Genome Canada to continue its groundbreaking work.
- Investing $4 million over three years to support the construction of a cyclotron for the production of medical isotopes at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.
- Providing $35 million over five years to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to support excellence in climate and atmospheric research at Canadian post-secondary institutions.
- Providing $50 million over five years, beginning in 2012–13, to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to support its leading research, education and public outreach activities.
And finally, the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan supports the creation of high-value jobs with targeted resources to improve commercialization and support demonstration of new technologies in the marketplace. Budget 2011 measures include:
- Supporting 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges with $3 million in 2011–12 and $5 million a year on a permanent basis starting in 2012–13.
- Allocating $12 million over five years, starting in 2011–12, through the Idea to Innovation program to support joint college-university commercialization projects.
- Providing $40 million over two years to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to continue to support the development and demonstration of new clean technology projects.
- Supporting the operations of the National Optics Institute with $45 million over five years.