Producing revenues of $1.4 billion with 16,000 highly skilled workers, the globally renowned software clusters of Ottawa, Waterloo Region and London are collaborating with the gaming and entertainment hotbed of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to create a broad digital ecosystem across Ontario, Canada’s largest province by population. Economic development executives representing these regions as the Ontario Technology Corridor, together with provincial representatives federal government support, are attending gamescom 2013. The purpose of this investment mission is to promote the Ontario Technology Corridor and invite foreign companies to join over 1,000 interactive digital media firms currently thriving in the province.
“With ready access to first-class educational institutions, leading edge R&D, and government support through programs and initiatives managed by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), companies investing in the Ontario Technology Corridor take advantage of concentrated industry momentum and innovation,” says Gerald Pisarzowski, Vice-President Business Development with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), an Ontario Technology Corridor partner. He cites the following examples from across the Ontario’s digital media heartland:
- Toronto region’s 47% increase in film production, which generated $1.28 billion in 2012-13 and made the city North America’s third-largest film centre, attracted by highly skilled film visual effects and animation talent such as Mr. X Inc., the studio that worked on the 2013 summer blockbuster Pacific Rim.
- Ottawa’s Exocortex Technologies Inc. computer graphics and simulation software. Exocortex’s products include Clara.io, the next-generation platform for cloud-based 3D content creation and sharing on the web that is poised to support interactive cloud-based V-Ray rendering.
- Waterloo’s LoyaltyMatch Inc. OnDemand is a Software as a Service (SaaS) loyalty and engagement platform enabling the full integration of online and offline consumer presence including social media, mobile, web, ecommerce and point of sale data.
- London’s Digital Extremes Ltd. and its Evolution Engine earned a Most Innovative in Digital Media Technology Award for its Evolution Engine, and its new Free-To-Play game Warframe garnered a Best in Web Gaming Award at Canada’s 2012 Digi Awards.
The confluence of Ontario’s talent, tax and momentum factors has helped push Canada past the UK as the third largest development community in the world, just behind Japan and the United States.
“Gaming and other digital media represent a huge global market opportunity, and the Ontario Technology Corridor has significant capability to support new company creation and growth in this space,” said Dr. Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research that is dedicated to establishing Canada as a world leader in digital media.
The province is committed to supporting the industry as it expands its global reach and connecting businesses to the talent they need to grow and excel. This is done through competitive incentive programs as well as low corporate tax environment. This is in addition to the programs offered by the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, including:
- Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE): Refundable tax credit of 20% to eligible companies for qualifying Ontario labour expenses for the production of computer animation and special effect activities in film or TV
- Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC): Refundable (cash back) tax credit of 35% or 40% for eligible labour, marketing and distribution expenditures for the creation of interactive digital media products
- Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) Interactive Digital Media Fund: Eligible applicants receive a non-refundable contribution of up to $150,000, to a maximum of 50% of the project budget, to create a market-ready interactive digital media product
- Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC): Refundable tax credit of 25% based upon eligible Ontario labour and other production expenditures
- Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax incentives: Incentives aimed at innovative companies to reduce R&D costs
- Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) Tax Incentives: See full lists of tax incentives programs for Books, Magazines, Music, Interactive and Film & TV