Although Budget 2017 was ambiguous on tax reform, it did include a significant focus on innovation. From the $1.4 billion of new capital for cleantech and promise of a new approach to procurement, to the commitment and new investments in green infrastructure and smart cities—Budget 2017 proposes some great opportunities for the water sector.
1. Infrastructure—Communities build for change
Budget 2017 asserts a bold goal for water: “Clean drinking water for every Canadian, no matter where they live.” More specifically, it proposes to:
- Make available $400 million over three years through the Business Development Bank of Canada for a new Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative that will increase late-stage VC available to Canadian entrepreneurs.
- Invest $300 million over 11 years to launch a Smart Cities Challenge Fund through Infrastructure Canada.
- Invest $21.9 billion in green infrastructure that will support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
- Allocate $2 billion over the next 11 years for a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support infrastructure required to deal with the effects of a changing climate.
- An additional $4 billion over 10 years to build and improve housing, water treatment systems, health facilities and other community infrastructure in Indigenous communities (delivered through Phase 2 of green infrastructure and social infrastructure funding).
2. Canada’s natural assets
- Provide $43.8 million over five years, starting in 2017–18 for measures to protect 17 per cent of land and inland waters, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine waters, by addressing the persistent and growing threat of aquatic invasive species and toxic and nuisance algae
- Provide up to $70.5 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to Environment and Climate Change Canada to protect Canada’s freshwater resources, including in the Great Lakes and Lake Winnipeg Basins.
- Provide up to $50 million to launch a new procurement program, Innovative Solutions Canada, modelled on the very successful U.S. Small Business Innovation Research program.
- Allocate portion of funding from federal departments and agencies towards early-stage research and development, late-stage prototypes and other goods and services from Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs.
4. Innovation and clean-tech
- Develop a new intellectual property (IP) strategy.
- New financing available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC to Canadian clean technology companies and building on their client-centred collaboration in this sector).
- Provide new capital to EDC to enable it to offer approximately $450 million in additional project finance for high-capital-intensive clean technology firms.
- Invest up to $950 million over five years to support business-led innovation “superclusters” (i.e. dense areas of business activity that contain large and small companies, post-secondary institutions and specialized talent and infrastructure).
- Invest $400 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to recapitalize the SD Tech Fund™
- Invest $15 million over four years, starting in 2017–18, for Global Affairs Canada to connect entrepreneurs with international networks.
- Up to $75 million over two years towards a clean technology stream, starting in 2017–18.
5. Canadian trade
- Establishing an Invest in Canada Hub, a new federal body dedicated to attracting leading global firms to Canada—garnering $218 million over five years.
- Continue efforts to advance regulatory alignment.
6. Science and Research
- Establish a new Canadian Centre for Climate Services.
- Develop a new federal science infrastructure strategy to review of existing investments in federal science infrastructure.
- Develop a Clean Technology Data Strategy—$14.5 million over four years to Natural Resources Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
- Support advanced research in agricultural science and genomics at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, with $70 million over six years, with a focus on climate change and soil and water conservation.
- Develop and implement a national action plan to respond to the health risks caused by climate change.
- Integrate traditional Indigenous knowledge to build a better understanding of climate change—$83.8 million over five years.
- Creation of 25 Canada 150 Research Chairs—with resources within the existing Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.
- Renew funding of $59.6 million in 2017–18, to support the National Research Council’s business innovation initiatives with an annual budget of $2 million.
7. Skills and Development Planning
- A new plan that will target advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health/bio-sciences and clean resources—with a focus on expanding growth and creating jobs.
- Promote the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and digital literacy, particularly for women, girls and underrepresented groups.
- Create new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students enrolled in STEM and business programs.
- Invest $14 million over two years through Futurpreneur Canada, starting in 2017–18, to continue its work of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.
- Provide $8.6 million over four years, starting in 2017–18, to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to support the development of Canada’s unique and authentic Indigenous tourism industry.