Canada Unveils $500 Million Investment In Tech

The federal government becomes the top dog in venture capital by placing big bets on the country's expanding tech sector.

TORONTO – Ottawa is throwing more investment coin at Canada's tech sector.

The federal government on Friday said it will place CAN$300 million (US$273.5 million) in new bets on Canada's next big players in digital media.

Federal industry minister James Moore unveiled his government's digital strategy, Digital Canada 150, which includes CAN$300 million in venture capital investment through the Business Development Bank of Canada for homegrown digital companies.

The feds will also bump up funding for the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program to CAN$100 million (US$91 million) to find flashy digital startups needing a leg-up to compete on the world stage.

And another CAN$200 million (US$182 million) from the Business Development Bank of Canada will go towards helping small- and medium-sized businesses take on new digital technology, while Ottawa also invests new coin to extend high-speed Internet access to rural Canadians.

The latest digital investments follow Canada's federal and provincial governments doing well with generous film tax credits to draw Hollywood and other foreign features and TV shoots here.

At the same time, the federal government, which heavily subsidizes homegrown film and TV production here, has seen Canadians increasingly view streaming content on tablets or online, and mostly from over-the-top digital platforms like Netflix Canada.

So its digital strategy now includes doing more to bolster the homegrown digital media sector.

"Canadians are already avid users and producers of online services and content. This strategy will accelerate digital adoption and technological innovation among Canadian businesses, which is essential if we are to remain a global economic power," said Chris O'Neill, managing director of Google Canada, in a statement on Friday.