Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on innovation and investment

Speech

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Kitchener, Ontario – August 10, 2022

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples.

It’s great to be here in Kitchener today, in the Waterloo Region, with my colleagues Bardish Chagger and Valerie Bradford.

And I am really glad to be here today at Communitech. I last had the privilege of visiting Communitech back when I was Trade Minister in January 2016. And it is so inspiring to be back and to learn about the amazing things you and your partners have accomplished since then.

Modesty is a Canadian virtue, and I don’t want us as a country to lose sight of the value of that traditional national virtue. But, when we’re really good at something, I think we shouldn’t be shy about bragging. That is the reason I am so excited to be here today – because it gives me a chance to brag about the amazing work you do here at Communitech, the amazing work being done here in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and in Canada overall.

I want all Canadians to appreciate that Canada isn’t an aspiring technology power – Canada has totally arrived. We are great at technology, we are great at tech startups, and Communitech is one of the most important engines for how that has happened and how we are going to continue to own that podium.

Seeing the work you do here makes me excited all over again about the present-day reality and for the future of Canadian technology.

The Waterloo Region has become a renowned hub for technology and innovation, and it has the second highest density of startups in the world.

This is home to the headquarters of some of Canada’s largest technology companies and excellent post-secondary institutions like the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College.

And I want to salute the people here at Communitech because you are a real engine of success for this region and the whole country. You support over 1,600 companies at every stage, from startups to established companies, and I learned you will be focusing even more on those early stage startup founders.

Communitech is exactly the kind of organization our economy and our country needs. You attract world-class talent, you champion innovation, and you are driving tens of thousands of good jobs for Canadians.

This area, the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, is one of the top tech ecosystems in the world. There are more tech workers than Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. And – something all Canadians should take pride in – Canada’s tech workforce is growing faster than that of any hub in the United States.

The trend is our friend, and I want the people working in this sector to know our government takes great pride in that. We are committed to continuing to work with you so we can get to number one.

I also want to point out that while our cities are outshining Silicon Valley when it comes to creating great jobs in the technology sector itself, there is another area where Canada has some work to do. And that is productivity and innovation in other parts of the economy.

This is a well-known Canadian challenge and our government is committed to doing something about it.

In the budget I tabled in April, I announced that we are creating a new innovation and investment agency that will give companies the tools and incentives they need to create and invent, and to take the risks that they need to take to grow in the changing global economy.

We are also cutting taxes for growing small businesses. We are consulting on ways the tax system can support innovators, and we’re supporting growth for businesses recovering from COVID-19 by making targeted investments to help them increase their economic activity.

And we are helping Canadian businesses continue to hire and provide more good-paying, middle-class jobs by improving labour mobility and foreign credential recognition.

Because right now, the stability of a good-paying job is more important than ever.

We all know that inflation is making life more expensive for people in the Waterloo Region and across the country.

We also know that inflation is a global phenomenon – it’s driven by Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, by China’s COVID-zero policies, and by the snarled supply chains that are affecting people and businesses around the world.

I know that Canadians are feeling it when they go to buy their groceries. I know that they’re feeling it when they go to fill up their cars or trucks with gas.

So, what is our government doing to help Canadians weather this latest storm?

For the Canadians who need it most, our government has an Affordability Plan to help directly with the rising cost of living.

Our Affordability Plan includes:

  • An enhanced Canada Workers Benefit that will put up to 2,400 more dollars into the pockets of low‑income families;
  • We’re cutting child care fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of this year;
  • There is a 10 per cent increase in Old Age Security for seniors 75 and over. That started last month;
  • Dental care for Canadians with income under $90,000 per year, beginning with children under 12 and again that’s going to begin this year;
  • A $500 payment to help people who rent and who are struggling with the cost of housing. Again, that’s going to come this year;
  • And then, of course, our main support programs – including the Canada Child Benefit, the GST Credit, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the GIS – the Guaranteed Income Supplement – all of these are indexed to inflation and will be increasing.

So, what does that mean specifically for the people here? For a couple in Kitchener, with an income of $45,000 and a child in daycare, this Affordability Plan could mean roughly an additional $7,600 on top of existing benefits this fiscal year.

A senior with a disability, living in Wellesley, could benefit from over $2,500 more this year than she received last year.

But, it’s important to remember that these measures are not pouring unnecessary fuel on the inflation fire.

They are accounted for in our AAA‑rated fiscal framework.

And they were accounted for in the fiscally responsible budget we tabled in April – one in which we committed to a responsible $9 billion reduction in government spending.

But for the Canadians who need this support the most – the most vulnerable Canadians among us – these measures represent new money they did not receive last year, and these measures will make life more affordable at exactly the right time.

This is a difficult time for countries around the world, and it’s a challenging time for Canadians too.

But, thanks to great organizations like Communitech and the amazing people who work here, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is no country in the world better positioned to weather the economic storm that the world is facing than Canada.

Thank you very much.

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