On March 23, 2023, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, unveiled the federal government of Canada’s budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Titled “A Made-in-Canada Plan,” the budget is focused on ensuring Canadians have access to the resources they need to thrive, supporting businesses and workers to build a strong and inclusive economy, and taking a stand against climate change to ensure that Canada keeps pace with the large strides being made in the highly competitive global clean economy.
We have highlighted some of the key initiatives in the 2023 Federal budget and the impact these new measures may have on innovative Canadian companies in the years to come.
Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Credit
Before delving into the new programs and initiatives outlined in Budget 2023, let us re-examine a critical Canadian program: the SR&ED Tax Credit. In the 2022 budget, the government announced their plan to review the SR&ED tax credit program, hoping to support Canadian R&D more effectively. To date, the results of this review have not been released. In fact, in the 2023 budget, there was no mention of any change to the program. It will be interesting to see what comes of this long-awaited review, and how the government endeavours to “provide adequate support” to Canadian innovators.
Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit
The Canadian government has proposed a 15% refundable tax credit to accelerate investments in clean electricity technologies, including non-emitting electricity generation, abated natural gas-fired electricity generation, stationary electricity storage systems, and equipment for electricity transmission. The tax credit will be available for new projects and the refurbishment of existing facilities. The government has also introduced labor requirements and commitments to achieve a net-zero electricity sector by 2035. The tax credit is expected to cost $6.3 billion over four years starting in 2024-25 and $19.4 billion from 2028-29 to 2034-35.
Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit
The Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit is introduced in Budget 2023 to support Canadian companies in the manufacturing and processing of clean technologies and critical minerals. This refundable tax credit is equal to 30% of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment used to manufacture or process key clean technologies, and extract, process, or recycle key critical minerals. The investment tax credit is estimated to cost $4.5 billion over five years and an additional $6.6 billion from 2028-29 to 2034-35. The credit would apply to property acquired and available for use on or after January 1, 2024, and would expire after 2034.
Reduced Tax Rates for Zero-Emission Technology Manufactures
Budget 2023 proposes to extend the reduced corporate tax rates for zero-emission technology manufacturers for another three years beyond the expiry date in 2032, subject to a phase-out starting in 2032. The eligibility for the reduced rates will also include nuclear energy equipment and the processing/recycling of nuclear fuels and heavy water. The enhancements will cost $20 million over five years and an additional $1.3 billion from 2028-29 to 2034-35.
Canada Growth Fund
The Canadian government has established the $15 billion Canada Growth Fund to attract private capital for low-carbon projects, technologies, businesses, and supply chains. The fund will be managed by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and will use investment instruments to absorb certain risks and encourage private investment in Canada’s clean economy. The Growth Fund will begin investing in the first half of 2023, and PSP Investments will establish an independent investment team with extensive experience to make investment decisions. The Growth Fund will maintain a reporting framework for public transparency and accountability, and contracts for difference will be provided to support clean growth projects.
Additional Funding for the Strategic Innovation Fund
Since 2018, the Strategic Innovation Fund has created over 105,000 jobs and leveraged $67 billion in private investment across 107 projects. In Budget 2023, the federal government announces plans to provide $500 million over ten years to support clean technology development, and up to $1.5 billion of existing resources will be directed toward clean technologies, critical minerals, and industrial transformation.
Budget 2023 focuses heavily on developing a green economy and innovating in clean technologies. It will be interesting to see how the proposed tax credits, funds, and programs incite change and affect the business ecosystem. Is this budget perhaps a turning point for Canada in the competitive global green economy? Only time will tell.