Déjà vu federal budget seeks to cut red tape for small business: CATA Comments: Brian Jackson, IT Business
June 6, 2011

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty read a budget in the House of Commons today very similar to the one tabled in March. It contains a few early steps in the coming digital economic strategy, and invests in government Web tools to help small firms cut through administrative paperwork...

Just having the predictability of a majority government will be a relief to businesses, says John Reid, CEO of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA). “Things can be implemented quickly and in a very supportive way, that's a strong benefit.”

The Ottawa-based alliance supports the government's first line items in the budget earmarked for its digital economy strategy, something that is still in the works. The Conservatives are pledging $80 million over three years to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), which provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to help develop competitive technologies. There will also be $100 million over three years to the Canada Media Fund for investments in the creation of digital content, and $60 million over three years to boost student enrolment in digital economy-related fields.

“Content creation is an important part of our landscape,” Reid says. Even more investment would be good, but “we have to be realistic… it's a fair and understandable budget given the situation that Canada finds itself in.”

Continued support for IRAP may help to offset some budget pain that businesses will feel as a result of the discontinuation of one economic stimulus measure. The 100 per cent capital cost allowance made on IT investments will not be renewed. After it expired in February, money spent on IT returned to the previous capital cost allowance rate...