Office of the Premier

New grads and co-ops drive talent development in B.C.’s tech sector

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Office of the Premier

New grads and co-ops drive talent development in B.C.’s tech sector

Media Contacts
Stephen Smart
Press Secretary Office of the Premier Stephen.Smart@gov.bc.ca 778 389-6202
Joanne Whittier
Communications Manager Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services 250 387-0172
Media Contacts
Stephen Smart
Press Secretary Office of the Premier Stephen.Smart@gov.bc.ca 778 389-6202
Joanne Whittier
Communications Manager Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services 250 387-0172

Backgrounders

#BCTECH Strategy

The following new and expanded initiatives have been added to the #BCTECH Strategy, which contains four pillars: talent, capital, markets and data.

Talent

  • Work towards increasing the number of tech grads by 1,000 per year at post-secondary institutions in all regions of the province with incremental increases, realizing the goal by 2022.
  • Over the next five years, phase in expanded co-op placements for all institutional degree programs in tech.
  • Make funding available to double the number of placements in the BC Tech Co-op grants program and Innovator Skills initiative; enabling post-secondary students to gain work experience.
  • Increase the number of placements in the Mitacs program by two-thirds, which bring students together with industry and business.
  • Create B.C.’s Innovation Network, which will act as bridge between public post-secondary institutions and industry.
  • Create the B.C. Science and Technology Research Chairs program.
  • Work with the First Nations Technology Council to continue their Bridging to Technology program, a comprehensive skills-development program that includes the professional development training stream for people who are already employed to empower, enhance and upskill existing skills sets as well as  student training and work placement.
  • Work with the federal government on immigration processes to find innovative ways to increase the number of skilled immigrants with technology skills entering B.C.

Capital

  • Enhance tax credits specifically targeted to grow the tech sector and B.C. businesses:
    • Cut the small business corporate income tax rate to 2% from 2.5%.
    • Increase the annual Small Business Venture Capital tax credit budget by $3.5 million.
    • Expand the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) to include augmented reality and virtual reality products designed to entertain.
    • Government will work with B.C.’s  technology industry to ensure that the IDMTC is available to commercial augmented reality and virtual reality opportunities as well.
    • Adjust the principal business requirement for the IDMTC to allow corporations with annual qualifying BC labour expenses greater than $2 million to claim the IDMTC.
    • Allow eligible business corporations participating in the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit program to be eligible for the IDMTC as well.
    • Extend scientific research and experimental development tax credit for five years to Aug. 31, 2022, to encourage research and development.
    • Phase out the provincial sales tax on taxable electricity.
  • Pursue federal funding under the recently-announced clusters initiative and work with B.C.’s industry leaders to develop a competitive bid.
  • Continue the $100-million BC Tech Fund investment with Kensington Capital to expand the availability of venture capital in B.C. and address the early stage (A-round) funding gap.

Markets

  • Continue to work with Washington State on the Cascadia Corridor to create regional economic opportunities for innovation in the tech sector.
  • $40-million expansion of the Connecting British Columbia program to provide high-speed Internet service to British Columbians in rural and remote areas.
  • Create a Procurement Concierge Service to act as a matchmaker between government’s needs and tech companies of all sizes that can offer solutions.
  • Establish an Innovative Ideas Fund to encourage the purchase of new, innovative technology products.
  • Pilot a “Startup in Residence” program; modelled after a successful program in San Francisco to co-develop, test and launch solutions to public sector challenges.
  • Expand B.C.’s Export Navigator pilot from four to six rural regional communities in 2017.
  • Expand U.S. Trade and Investment Offices in Seattle and Silicon Valley to increase investment in B.C. and entice tech companies to expand into B.C. while connecting B.C. companies with new clients.
  • Appoint a rural representative to the BC Innovation Council, to support regional innovation with actions such as matching local challenges with home-grown solutions and showcasing regional innovations and opportunities.

Data

  • Create a Centre for Data-Driven Innovation in B.C. to establish a single, safe platform for easier access to government data, giving the tech sector another tool for generating innovations.

An update on the #BCTECH Strategy’s first 50 initiatives can be found here: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/10/2017/03/Renewed_BCTechStrategy.pdf

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