It’s been a promising start to the New Year with several substantive announcements that are hopefully an indication of more to come with forthcoming federal and provincial budgets. Funding from all levels of government indicate there are even more opportunities within the year to strengthen public support for research and innovation.
There’s $700 million for the cleantech sector and another $200 million for investments in renewable energy as well as funding for automotive innovation and new assistance from Genome Canada, which announced funding of $255 million – the largest disbursement in its 18-year history.
But none of these compare to the multi-billion-dollar payday that awaits all of Canada, if the GTA can pull it off. The opportunity comes from south of the border, and the GTA is one of 20 metro regions shortlisted for Amazon.com Inc’s HQ2.
There are good reasons why the GTA is on the shortlist – the population, including the highly skilled talent needed by Amazon; good quality of life; ample real estate. But what differentiates the GTA from competition? Surely, the other metro areas have the same features and even more – like tax perks, which are not in Canada’s proposal.
Some say it’s farfetched that the GTA will come out as a winner in this bid. But to be counted among leaders in technology and innovation across North America should make all Canadians proud.
And more than pride, Canada – not just the GTA – should capitalize on this recognition. As many as 11 other Canadian metropolitan areas have come together to showcase their credentials and may be the recipient of new foreign direct investment as other companies look towards Canada as a desirable locus of knowledge-based commerce.
While the Amazon outcome has not yet been decided, Canada is a winner no matter what the result.