Growth and Diversification Act

Bill 2 has been introduced to boost high-tech training, add new supports for digital media and bolster tax credits to stimulate investment.

Status: Bill 2 introduced Mar. 14, 2018
Ministry responsible: Advanced Education, Economic Development and Trade, and Transportation

Overview

Bill 2: the Growth and Diversification Act would leverage existing programs and introduce new programs to stimulate growth across sectors enabling more job creation, more economic diversification and more training for the high-tech sector.

If passed, the bill would:

  • create 3,000 new tech spaces in post-secondary institutions
  • invest in new scholarships and programs to support a high-tech workforce
  • launch an Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
  • continue support for the existing Alberta investor and capital investment tax credit programs
  • strengthen Alberta’s ties with the unmanned aerial systems sector

Post-secondary tech support

Alberta is projecting a labour shortage of computer and information systems professionals by 2025, as well as a shortage of software designers, programmers and developers.

To address this shortage in Alberta's high-tech sector, we would work with post-secondary institutions and industry partners to develop, train and graduate highly-skilled workers in key areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, health innovation, big data and clean and renewable technology.

This initiative would:

  • add 3,000 new tech spaces in post-secondary institutions over the next 5 years
  • invest in new scholarships to ensure affordable, accessible post-secondary education
  • create new technology-related programs and expand existing programming
  • support skills-development programs to help Albertans transition to tech-related careers
  • establish a Talent Advisory Council on Technology to advise government on the creation or expansion of specific programs

Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Alberta’s interactive digital media (IDM) industry offers tremendous growth potential.

IDM has grown from just a few studios in the 1990s to 55 studios with 540 full-time workers today, contributing up to $80 million towards Alberta’s annual GDP. We want to see this trend continue.

An Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit would encourage growth in the IDM industry, encourage companies to stay in Alberta and attract talented tech entrepreneurs to move here.

The program would provide eligible IDM companies with:

  • a 25% refundable tax credit on eligible salaries and wages
  • additional credit for companies who hire  employees from under-represented groups

Alberta Investor Tax Credit and Capital Investment Tax Credit

To capture the investment needed to drive economic growth and diversification, the bill would continue support for 2 successful tax credit programs and encourage companies to do more to ensure inclusivity and diversity are part of their business models.

The enhanced Alberta Investment Tax Credit program would:

  • support up to $100 million in investment in new and growing small businesses each year
  • add an additional 5% credit for investors who invest directly into companies where the majority of the board of directors, including the CEO, are members of an underrepresented group

Continued support for the Capital Investment Tax Credit program would keep Alberta competitive in attracting and retaining investments, while creating much-needed jobs. The CITC has already stimulated more than $1 billion in capital projects for manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure.

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Alberta is home to the Foremost Unmanned Aerial Systems Range.

Unmanned aerial technologies have economic applications in a number of sectors, including oil and gas, agriculture, resource management wildlife tracking, transportation systems and emergency response processes.

This initiative would:

  • strengthen Alberta’s ties with the sector
  • establish partnerships between governments, post-secondary institutions and industry to enable coordinated and collaborative testing and applications across sectors
  • position Alberta as an attractive investment location
  • create new job opportunities

Timeline

Further details will be announced soon.

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