OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 14, 2011) - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry, announced an $80 million investment over three years to help accelerate the adoption of information and communications technologies by small and medium-sized businesses. The pilot initiative demonstrates Government support for the digital economy by promoting the adoption and use of digital technologies to foster innovation and productivity and to create jobs and long-term economic growth.
"The Government of Canada is investing in the people and ideas that drive the digital economy," said Minister Paradis. "This new program will help more than 600 small- and medium-sized enterprises integrate innovative technologies into their businesses and create jobs and economic growth."
The Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program will assist Canada's overall productivity and create market growth and opportunity. This Budget 2011 investment in support of Canada's Digital Economy Strategy is the latest in a series of legislative and program initiatives, reflecting the Government's emphasis on the digital economy. It provides a framework to encourage the private sector to adopt new technologies, and to develop the digital workforce of tomorrow.
Given its national presence, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program was selected to deliver the initiative to further provide small- and medium-sized enterprises with its services and extensive network of technical experts. NRC will engage community colleges to collaborate with SMEs by providing advisory services and expertise as appropriate.
The Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan highlights the importance of innovation and the digital economy to sustainable economic prosperity, making Canada an even more attractive international destination for research, investment and work.
Government of Canada launches the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program
The Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program
As part of the Government of Canada's commitment to developing a Digital Economy Strategy, Budget 2011 announced measures to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, build digital skills, and showcase Canada's digital technologies.
The Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program, an $80 million investment over three years starting in fiscal year 2011-2012, is designed to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies by more than 600 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in any sector or location across Canada.
The program has three goals: supporting and increasing the adoption of digital technologies in SMEs in all sectors of the economy; raising awareness of the productivity benefits and importance of these technologies, and; improving our understanding of the link between digital technologies and productivity by gathering data from participating firms. The awareness-raising and data-gathering aspects of the program will help a greater number of Canadian firms benefit from lessons learned by pilot participants during the program's three years.
Firms interested in adopting digital technology into their operations (i.e., production lines, workflow processes, or supply chain or customer management systems) might be eligible to receive advisory services and/or a financial contribution of up to $99,999 through the pilot program.
Colleges and not-for-profit organizations will help to deliver the pilot program by providing access to services, training, expertise and use of facilities and diagnostics that SMEs may not otherwise be able to afford. Participating SMEs may find themselves in a better position to innovate, cut costs, create jobs, improve the efficiency of their supply chains, and boost their overall productivity.
Building upon the National Research Council of Canada's Delivery Capacity
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) has been assisting and supporting innovative, growth-oriented small- and medium-sized enterprises for over 60 years. NRC-IRAP is recognized internationally as a best practice government program in fostering innovative capabilities of SMEs, and therefore is well positioned to expand its business model to deliver this new pilot program. With more than 200 business and technology experts located in over 100 communities across Canada, NRC-IRAP already provides advisory services and financial support to qualified small- and medium-sized enterprises. Program participants will be able to approach and leverage these existing experts.
Engaging Colleges to Assist Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
The Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program will also include funding for colleges to deliver services and expertise to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Colleges will play an important role in the Program's success, since they have particular expertise with respect to digital technology adoption and hands on implementation. Colleges can include community colleges, institutes of technology, not-for-profit post-secondary private colleges and public colleges such as CEGEPs.
For more information about the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program, visit