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The Canadian government said Feb. 27 it is planning a simpler approach to how it buys goods and services, which would include small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the aviation and aerospace sectors.
Coupled with a new intellectual property (IP) strategy and “an ambitious regulatory agenda,” it ostensibly could increase Canadian companies’ growth in the global marketplace by providing a competitive and predictable business environment that supports investment.
“We will make significant new investments in Canada’s scientists and researchers, to make sure that they have the funding and support they need to do their work,” said finance minister Bill Morneau, speaking in the House of Commons.
“Budget 2018 represents the single largest investment in investigator-led fundamental research in Canadian history.”
He left the details to the main budget background document, which explained that the new plan builds on an “innovative solutions” initiative in last year’s budget.
That fulfilled a long-standing request from the private sector for a “first customer” to test and validate their innovations as they pushed outward.
The government said that as the single largest buyer of Canadian goods and services, it has a unique opportunity to support companies’ growth. However, to simplify access, it now plans to focus on procurement of “later stage” goods and services.
“Canadian companies have long asked the federal government to improve its relationship with suppliers–to make opportunities easier to find, simpler to navigate and faster to award, with less administrative burden,” the government said, acknowledging the procurement process has historically been “heavily paper-based” with limited self-serve options for suppliers.
Accordingly, a new online procurement platform would improve SMEs’ access to the government, which proposes to provide $196.8 million over the next five years.
The new IP strategy, budgeted at $85.3 million over the next five years, and $10 million annually thereafter, would enable companies to better understand and protect their own IP while improving access to shared IP.
Details are to be announced in the coming months, but the government expects to give companies the confidence they need to grow and take risks with new goods and services that can compete in the marketplace.
A companion Patent Collective, budgeted at $30 million in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, would see the government working with entrepreneurs to pool patents, so that SMEs have better access to the IP they need to grow.
An additional $21.5 million over five years, starting in 2019-2020, would support development of “intellectual property expertise and legal advice” for the innovation community through university-based clinics as well as the creation of a government team to work with the private sector on tailoring strategies for using their IP to expand export markets.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is to get $33.8 million over the next five years to set up an IP “marketplace” the government said will be a “one-stop online listing of public sector-owned available for licensing or sale to reduce transaction costs . . . and to improve Canadian entrepreneurs’ access to public sector-owned intellectual property.”
The regulatory part of the 2018 Budget Plan would build on a report last December in which the government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth identified priorities for a regulatory system tailored to a modern economy.
Those included the need to “catalyze” economy-wide regulations which would accommodate emerging technologies and business models, to drive coordination between domestic and international agencies and jurisdictions and, possibly most critically, make the environment more predictable.
The 2018 budget proposes $11.5 million over the next three years to underwrite a government effort “to pursue a regulatory reform agenda” which would make the system more agile, transparent and responsive.