What will the Canadian Budget in 2017 have in store for your business?

The Government of Canada is seeking input on what its next budget should include to help grow businesses like yours.

“Infrastructure, post-secondary education, innovation, competitiveness, skills and training, trade and investment are all on our radar,” said Minister of Finance Bill Morneau.

The federal government officially launched its consultation period for Budget 2017 last Monday, making it the earliest launch of a budget consultation period in the country’s history. Last year, the government received more than 5,200 submissions from individuals and businesses who wanted to weigh in on policies and programs.

While the Government has not yet indicated what the next budget might contain, it is possible to look at items in the last budget that have yet to be actioned, as well as the Federal Mandate Letters, to take a very early look at what may potentially be included. The mandate letters were released last November and outlined the government’s policy objectives for the next four years.

What Budget 2017 may include for your business:

  • Funding for SMEs: The High-Impact Firm Initiative, first announced in Budget 2016, has yet to be launched. The Budget indicated that the program would help 1,000 high-impact firms to scale up and increase their global competitiveness by coordinating services among major federal funders (ISED, BDC, EDC, NRC-IRAP, the Trade Commissioner Service and Regional Development Agencies). Budget 2017 may provide more detail on how this program will be administered.
  • Funding for Cleantech: Budget 2016 included $1B over four years to support cleantech in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors; however, few details were provided on how this funding would flow. In addition, Regional Development Agencies (FedDev, CanNor, ACOA, etc.) were provided with $50M in additional funding to support cleantech; but few details on funding mechanisms were provided here as well. Budget 2017 may include information on new programs to help businesses apply for this funding.
  • Funding for Agri-Food: The federal mandate letters indicated that the Government is planning on investing in an Agri-Food Value Added Investment Fund. The program would provide technical and marketing assistance to help food processors develop new value-added products that reflect changing tastes and market opportunities. Many members of the agriculture sector expected to see this fund in the 2016 Budget, but it was not included at that time. Based on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s early statements on the campaign trail, the fund would invest $160M over four years.
  • Funding for Culture: The Liberal Government indicated in its mandate letters that it intends to restore the Promart and Trade Routes International Cultural Promotion Programs.
  • Funding for Export: The mandate letters indicated that the Government intends to invest in helping Canadian companies successfully compete in export markets.
  • Funding for Innovation: The letters indicated that incubators and accelerators may receive more financial support.
  • Funding for the Venture Capital Sector: The Globe and Mail recently reported that the government may provide renewed support to stimulate venture capital investment in Canada.

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