Digital Economy

Canadian Digital Industries – An Urgent Call To Action

Shopify Founder lays out recommendations for building a world leading Canadian digital nation.

This CBC interview from 2018 sets the scene for the purpose of this site – To ask and answer the question: What would it take for Canada to become the world’s leading digital nation?

Reporting on the release of the government’s Digital Industries report, CBC anchor Vassy Kapelos asks Shopify’s CEO Tobias Lutke what actions should follow so that Canada can become a world leader in digital industries.

The report paints a picture of Canada’s tech sector falling behind the rest of the world, and so a panel of Canada’s leading tech CEOs and experts were polled to ask what steps the nation can take to redress the situation, and release the full potential of the country’s wealth of digital innovators.

In particular Lutke identifies the ambition of doubling the number of billion dollar revenue digital companies from 13 to 26 by 2025, those who can act as major anchors for growing the sector in key regions.

Hyper-growth Passport

He also identifies a key government mechanism for ‘pushing from behind’ this sweet spot of startups in between the phases of private through public growth. As the Financial Post reports a “hyper-growth passport”.

“The Hypergrowth Passport would be an accredited designation for digital firms headquartered in Canada with more than 40 per cent year-over-year revenue growth (past $1 million in one year)” the document says. “The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should automatically determine if companies meet these criteria as part of its tax assessment, similar to how it detects individual benefit eligibility automatically.”

Companies that meet the criteria, as part of a pilot project, would get special help from Ottawa in navigating government programs, set-aside access to some services, and they’d also get a powerful seal of approval from government that the business is on track for success.”

Digital Action Plan

In their review article provides a detail analysis of the government report, which defines four main recommendations:

  1. Own the podium: Scale up Canadian businesses.
  2. Attract, retain and support skilled talent.
  3. Transform Canada into a digital society.
  4. Leverage IP and promote the value of data.

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