Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog
Ontario’s 2010 budget, released last week, contains no new innovation-related initiatives, leaving the province to fall further behind competitive jurisdictions. Read on for more detail, but also see this post noting that signs point to further announcements.
Despite recent strategic initiatives in Québec and across the U.S., and despite opportunities to improve funding for biotech companies without any new expenditure, the 2010 budget chooses to rest on last year’s now questionable laurels.
The section on “Innovation” in the 2010 budget’s Sector Highlights reads, in its entirety, as follows:
“From the discovery of insulin to the BlackBerry ®, the impact of Ontario inventions has reached around the world.
Today, Ontario’s economic and social prosperity has come to depend on its ability to innovate and compete in the global marketplace. Recognizing this, the McGuinty government is investing in an aggressive innovation agenda to ensure the province is one of the winning economies in the 21st century.”
The remainder rehashes prior years’ initiatives.
There are two hints of possible improvements directed at innovation:
- A bullet in the “Small and Medium-Sized Businesses” section says the government is “[p]roposing to extend the refundable Ontario Innovation Tax Credit to more small and medium-sized businesses.” There is no further detail that I can locate on this proposal anywhere in the budget documents.
- The Ministry of Research and Innovation gets an increased budget, from $295 million in 2008-2009 to $343.8 million in 2009-2010 and $411.5 million in 2010-2011. There is no information that I can locate on how these additional funds would be deployed.
No detail is provided on either item, so the underlying goals or likely effects are impossible to determine. Although there are increases for post-secondary education and general improvements to the corporate tax environment (the net effect of which against the HST is uncertain), the overall impression is undeniably disappointing.
Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.