Canada’s tech sector has a new president: ‘We’re not the same’
- by admin
Canada’s digital industry has elected a new leader after an election that focused heavily on economic growth, and the promise of a future of digital prosperity.
A coalition of tech companies, labour unions and the tech community rallied behind the new Conservative government as it unveiled its agenda for a new Canada.
But the message it delivered is far from rosy.
The Conservatives have promised to slash the budget for Canada’s largest tech companies by almost half over three years.
It is expected to create a massive disruption in the tech industry, and a new government may struggle to implement much of the new rules and regulations it proposes.
And many tech firms say they fear they will be shut down altogether as a result.
A year ago, Canada was hailed as the country with the best technology in the world, a global leader in data-driven innovation and the envy of the world.
Now, with the economy faltering and job losses mounting, Canadians are more focused on their own jobs, according to an online survey of 1,400 people commissioned by the Angus Reid Institute.
That’s according to the survey, which found that only a third of Canadians believe the government is doing the right thing by reducing the deficit, and less than half of those think they will have jobs by 2025.
That hasn’t helped the fortunes of Canada’s most prominent tech companies.
Uber, Airbnb, Etsy and other services that use technology to provide goods and services were all down in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, with most of the country’s major tech companies down about half a percentage point.
Canada’s tech companies have been largely silent on the new federal government’s plans, saying only that they support the new plan.
Uber, for instance, has maintained its position that it will “defend the integrity of the Canadian labour market.”
Airbnb and Etsy are among the most popular social media services in Canada, and Facebook, which was founded in 2003, has been a leader in online news.
In its latest budget, the Conservative government proposed reducing the Canadian economy’s projected annual growth rate from 3.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
The cut, which is to take effect in 2019, is expected help Canada’s economy return to growth of 1.9 per cent a year.
The new plan also would require tech companies to provide greater transparency with their workers, including information about their pay, benefits and working conditions.
But the plan does not specify what that transparency would look like.
“The government of Canada has stated that it has the capacity to improve the economy through innovation and tax cuts,” the Conservative response said.
“However, we must make sure that this investment is made in a way that respects workers and the environment, not just those in the digital sector.”
A spokesman for Facebook, Matt Barrows, said the company has been “engaged in discussions with government and stakeholders” about the new plans, and is “disappointed that the government has not fully followed through with the proposals.”
“We have already implemented significant reforms to our workforces and are committed to delivering a future where every person is a creator and a steward of the planet,” he said in an emailed statement.
“We believe that we are better positioned to do so now than we were in 2019.”
Canada’s digital industry has elected a new leader after an election that focused heavily on economic growth, and the promise…