Status: Bill 2 passed June 5, 2018
Ministry responsible: Advanced Education, Economic Development and Trade, and Transportation

Overview

The Growth and Diversification Act will stimulate growth across sectors to create more jobs, more economic diversification and more training for the high-tech sector by leveraging existing programs and introducing new programs to:

  • 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, we're working with post-secondary institutions and industry partners to develop, train and graduate highly-skilled workers in key high-tech areas that could have huge potential for Alberta's industry, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, health innovation, big data and clean and renewable technology.

We will:

  • add 3,000 new or expanded tech spaces in post-secondary institutions over the next 5 years, starting in the 2018-19 school year
  • invest in new scholarships to ensure affordable, accessible post-secondary education
  • create new technology-related programs and expand existing programming
  • support short-term 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

Post-secondary tech seat allocation

In 2018, we have added 406 additional technology seats to Alberta’s colleges and universities.

Calgary will receive 216 seats:

  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
    • 98 - Information Technology Diploma
    • 48 - Object Oriented Software Development Certificate
  • University of Calgary
    • 40 - Master of Engineering, Software
  • Bow Valley College
    • 30 - Software Development Diploma

Edmonton will receive 169 seats:

  • University of Alberta
    • 25 - Bachelor  of Science, Computing Science (After Degree)
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
    • 24 - Computer Engineering Technology
    • 100 - Digital Media and Information Technology
  • Concordia University of Edmonton
    • 10 - Masters of Information Systems Assurance Management
    • 10 - Masters of Information Systems Security Management

Lethbridge will receive 21 seats:

  • University of Lethbridge
    • 2 - Masters of Science, Computer Science (co-op)
  • Lethbridge College
    • 19 - Computer Information Technology

Fact Sheet: Post-secondary tech seat allocation (PDF, 31 KB)

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.

The Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit supports growth in the IDM industry, encourages companies to stay in Alberta and attracts talented tech entrepreneurs to move here.

The program provides 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, we will 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:

  • supports up to $100 million in investment in new and growing small businesses each year
  • adds 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 will 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:

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

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