The Ontario government released its Budget 2018 a few days ago, which promised boosts to the tech sector!

The Ontario Government indicated there will be an investment of $350 million in industries like artificial intelligence, 5G wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, advanced computing, and quantum technologies. Best of all the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program is getting a boost.  Here’s some more details…

Artificial Intelligence

Ontario stressed its support for the AI-focused Vector Institute, with a $30 million investment to prompt students to study AI.

NextAI,an accelerator dedicated to supporting AI-based startups, will be receiving $15 million over the next three years from Ontario.

“These additional resources will allow us to do more to support the growth of new AI ventures in Ontario,” said NEXT Canada CEO Sheldon Levy. “Ontario’s public and private sectors have been working closely together to make this province an emerging leader in the field of artificial intelligence, this announcement strengthens Ontario’s position.”

FinTech

The government shared its plan to open a FinTech Accelerator Office to support FinTech businesses, and inform government policies on creating more growth in the FinTech sector. According to the budget, the Office’s function will offer support with:

  • Navigating regulatory requirements, as many FinTech business models span multiple regulators in ways that differ from traditional business models
  • Accessing business support programs and other resources
  • Connecting and form partnerships with established financial institutions and emerging businesses, both domestically and globally.

Funds for AG and Life Sciences

The budget includes a focus on investing in life sciences.

The government is committing up to $50 million in venture capital funds focused on life sciences, and plans to leverage additional capital from private-sector partners such as corporations, pension funds, and banks. The province also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work with Quebec on the development of a joint Life Sciences Venture Capital Fund.

Ontario renewed a 10-year agreement with the University of Guelph, investing over $700 million in agri-food education, research, and innovation.

Investing in Cybersecurity

The Ontario budget indicates there will be an investment of $64 million over three years to attract cybersecurity talent to the region, using new recruitment methods that include partnerships with postsecondary institutions. Ontario will also commit to enhancing the cybersecurity of the province’s private financial institutions.

Tax Credits

To support large businesses investing in research and development, the government has proposed an enhancement to the Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit (ORDTC) which is claimed with SR&ED.

The ORDTC is a 3.5 percent non-refundable tax credit on eligible R&D expenditures; companies that qualify for the ORDTC would be eligible for an enhanced rate of 5.5 percent on expenditures over $1 million in a taxation year. The $1 million threshold would be prorated for short taxation years.

The Ontario Innovation Tax Credit is an eight percent refundable tax credit for small to medium-sized companies on eligible R&D expenditures as part of the SR&ED program. For eligible R&D expenditures incurred on or after March 28, 2018, if a company qualifies for the OITC and has a ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenues that is:

  • 10 percent or less, the company would remain eligible for the OITC at the eight percent rate
  • Between 10 percent and 20 percent, the company would be eligible for an enhanced OITC rate that would increase from eight percent to 12 percent on a straight-line basis as the company’s ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenue increases from 10 percent to 20 per cent
  • 20 percent and above, the company would be eligible for the OITC at a 12 percent rate.

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