Eye on the Hill: Feds introduce SR&ED changes

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An update on legislation, developments and political discussions affecting local businesses.

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The House of Commons resumes sitting on Jan. 28. The Senate returns on Feb. 5.


Sunday, Jan. 20:

- Industry Minister Christian Paradis departed for a four-day visit to Germany to promote greater investment between the two countries and to discuss Canadian and German approaches to innovation and manufacturing.


Monday, Jan. 21:

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced several changes to senior ranks of the public service. Associate Deputy Minister of Public Safety Graham Flack becomes becomes Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for plans, consultations and intergovernmental affairs in the privy council office. John Ossowski, the assistant secretary of international affairs in the security and justice sector at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, becomes associate deputy minister of public safety. Michael Martin, deputy secretary to the cabinet for operations in the privy council office, becomes senior associate deputy minister of national defence. He is replaced by Timothy Sargent, who is currently assistant secretary to the cabinet for economic and regional development policy in the privy council office.

- Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced that the federal government is seeking bids for informatics professional services under the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

- Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced proposed changes to food and drug regulations aimed at reducing red tape for pharmacies, and saving an estimated $8.7 million a year in administrative costs.

- Minister Clement also held economic consultations with the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade to discuss the upcoming federal budget.

- Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) Maxime Bernier announced a plan to reduce the reporting burden for businesses with revenues between $10 million and $200 million. The changes would require 32,000 less companies to file a return under the Corporations Returns Act, and are expected to result in $1.2 million in savings for those businesses.

- Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear announced $35 million in federal funding to help Vancouver-based national not-for-profit research organization Mitacs support industrial R&D internships for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.


Tuesday, Jan. 22:

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented the Public Service of Canada's Outstanding Achievement Award to retired public servant Susan M.W. Cartwright.

- Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose hosted an economic roundtable with women business leaders in Calgary.

- The Governments of Canada and Ontario announced $13 million improvements to Highway 401 in Cornwall, Ontario.


Wednesday, Jan. 23:

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an investment in Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada through the $250 million Automotive Innovation Fund to build its Hybrid Lexus RX SUV in Cambridge, Ont.

- Environment Minister Peter Kent announced $100,000 in financing for York Angel Investors, Inc. of Vaughan, Ont. The funding comes through FedDev Ontario's Investing in Business Innovation initiative.

- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was promoting Canada’s economic strength at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The forum ran until Jan. 27.


Thursday, Jan. 24:

- Industry Canada’s small business branch released a financing research report entitled Credit Conditions Faced by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Investing in Research and Development.

- Industry Minister Jason Kenney announced the a new immigration program called the Start-Up Visa designed to recruit immigrant entrepreneurs, and connect them with private-sector businesses that have experience with supporting start-ups.

- Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose announced that the government is cutting red tape for supplying IT professional services through the Task-Based Informatics Professional Services procurement process.

- As part of the 2012 federal budget, the Canada Revenue Agency is improving the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, including: conducting a pilot project to determine the feasibility of a formal pre approval process; improving the online eligibility self-assessment tool; improving the Notice of Objection process; and collaborating with industry representatives to address issues.


Friday, Jan. 25:

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed five new Senators to the Red Chamber: Denise Batters from Saskatchewan; Lynn Beyak and Victor Oh from Ontario; Doug Black from Alberta; and David Wells from Newfoundland and Labrador.

- Minister of State (Finance) Ted Menzies hosted pre-budget consultations with community and business leaders in St. John's, N.L.

- Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt hosted pre-budget consultation with the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

- Public Works and Government Services Canada announced a $161,950 contract for Samson & Associates to conduct an independent review of the steps taken up to June 2012 in the acquisition process for the replacement of Canada’s CF-18 fleet.

Eye on the Hill is prepared by Ottawa-based government relations and communications firm Flagship Solutions.

Organizations: Public Service of Canada, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, York Angel Investors, Inc. of Vaughan World Economic Forum Industry Canada Visa Informatics Professional Services Canada Revenue Agency Red Chamber Burlington Chamber of Commerce. Public Works and Government Services Canada Samson Associates

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario, Calgary Cornwall Cambridge Davos Switzerland Saskatchewan Alberta St. John's

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