Alberta to beat 'Ontario and B.C to the punch' in tech and innovation: Schweitzer
CALGARY -- Alberta's minister of jobs, economy and innovation has outlined the province's plan to drive diversification and grow the economy.
Doug Schweitzer announced Thursday morning the province's investment and growth strategy to help "jump-start Alberta's economic recovery."
The $75 million initative is said to build off the province's strengths including the energy, tourism and agriculture sectors while embracing emerging sectors including technology. financial services, aviation and aerospace.
"Alberta is coming to play in the tech and innovation space," said Schweitzer in a statement released during the announcement. "We're putting the rest of Canada on notice that we are going to beat provinces like Ontario and B.C. to the punch by moving policy at the speed of business.
"The first of many policy steps is to develop the best framework for intellectual property so ideas can be turned into businesses and jobs."
According to the ministry, the government of Alberta will work alongside other levels of government and industry stakeholders as it attempts to "bring high-impact investment to Alberta and to increase investor engagement," a goal that prompted the creation of the Invest Alberta Corporation this summer.
The province's investment and growth strategy is available at Selling Alberta to the World.
Under the NDP government, Alberta introduced a number of diversification efforts including tax credits for the tech sector. The UCP government slashed those initiatives after taking power.
NDP leader Rachel Notley says the government's funding pledge in a rehash of funds that have been previously committed on at least two occasions.
"It's a plan to make a plan to someday have a plan to incent diversification in our tech industry," said Notley. "What they should do instead is restore the robust and meaningful incentives that our government had in place that were succeeding in attracting new tech companies to Alberta, the elimination of which we saw drove companies away from the province."
Notley adds that she believes the province has lost ground in the effort to attact tech interest.
"Everybody’s in a race to be sort of the home and the destination for growing technological and renewable energy investment," said Notley. "Alberta, I would argue, was ahead of the game three years ago, and now (thanks to) this government — because their first instinct was to rip it all up and say, hands off — we’ve lost time.
"They need to get back on it and we do not need to be wasting time with these non-announcements, where we have press releases that include the word 'high-tech' and otherwise nothing of substance to actually attract investment to this province"