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CIPS Outlines Platform

By Greg Lane I.S.P., ITCP, MBA, Chair, Canadian Council of Information Technology Professionals for CIPS

  

Last fall we sent a letter to Canada's three major political parties asking them to share their ICT strategy for Canada. Since that time we have seen the world slip from a position of relative economic stability to the brink of a worldwide economic slowdown, to a worldwide recession. It is more apparent than ever Canada needs a coherent, all-encompassing ICT strategy that helps our world-class companies retain their position as leaders and helps others to regain international prominence.

 

During our planning sessions each year, we discuss the actions that CIPS can be taking as an association to ensure that the ICT industry remains strong, and that our ICT workers remain employed.

 

This past budget provided several measures that should help to get Canada's ICT industry back on track. Provisions such as the two-year 100 per cent capital cost allowance should provide an immediate boost to business through increased productivity through the acquisition of new technology. The budget also provides increased funding for Information Technology Health related projects.

 

What this amounts to are several good initiatives that should spur short term growth in Canada and nurture long-term recovery in Canada's tech sector. This will benefit those who run or own technology companies, as well as those of us who work for one. These initiatives are beginning to bear fruit. Prime Minister Harper has recently said the world economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, partly due to massive government spending around the world, the Bank of Canada recently declared the recession over.

 

However, another story continues to run its course. We continue to shed jobs on a monthly basis, the manufacturing sector continuing to be particularly hard-hit. In its June 2009 Business Conditions Survey the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters reported job losses of 135,000 so far this year in the Canadian Manufacturing Sector alone.

 

At CIPS we believe our future is dependant upon creating the type of meaningful, highly-skilled work that you find in the technology sector. We also believe in order to ensure the long-term viability of Canada's information technology industry we need a concerted effort from government, academia and industry. Some potential measures could include:

 

  • o The elimination of income tax for IT professionals in Canada. This would provide an incentive for students to enter the field and help repatriate Canadians currently working abroad.

 

  • o Eliminate the tax on all technology sold in Canada. This would provide an immediate as well as long term boost to manufacturers and retailers of hardware and software.

 

  • o Stimulate more students to participate in ICT related fields of study. We advocate a relief mechanism, either financial or otherwise, that acts as a multiplier for students entering studies in ICT.

 

  • o In order to address the lack of qualified IT professionals, CIPS advocates recruiting more professionals from overseas, or repatriating Canadians who have left to work abroad.

 

We see ICT as a vehicle to help Canada respond to the economic challenges we are currently facing. When we invest in 21st century jobs we lay the foundation for new companies that will help continue Canada's prominence on the world stage. These future companies and industry leaders will help Canada weather any economic storm.

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