Is Canadian modesty a thing of the past?
In the wake of the recession, which ravaged every sector in the U.S. but left Canada remarkably unscathed, Canadians have gained a new sense of confidence.
“As a country, Canada is firing on all cylinders,” says Blair Patacairk, Senior Director, Investment, Global Marketing, for the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI). “Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will fall from 18 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent by 2012—less than half of the top U.S. federal marginal corporate income tax rate, and the lowest in the G7. We have the world’s soundest banking system according to the World Economic Forum. And Canada has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio and the lowest R&D costs in the G7, with a 12.9 per cent advantage over the U.S.”
The Ontario Technology Corridor, which employs 260,000 people among 6,400 companies within information and communication technology sectors, throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa Region, Waterloo Region, City of London and the Niagara Region, isn't resting on its laurels during this country-wide evolution. It's proudly—and aggressively—promoting Canada's "pixel-perfect" business conditions for digital media companies. And why not? The C.D. Howe Institute, which studies social and economic policies, states that Canada’s international reputation as a destination for capital and investment is better than it has been for a generation.
Throughout the Ontario Technology Corridor, 22 universities and colleges are pumping out more than 18,000 graduates per year in 174 specialized digital media programs, where they're apt to work for companies like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Capcom Entertainment, Starz Animation, XYZ RGB, Digital Extremes, Silicon Knights, and RIM.
In fact, the Ontario Technology Corridor helped push Canada past the U.K. last year as the world’s third largest centre for video-game development talent, trailing only Japan and the United States. This was thanks especially to targeted tax incentives such as the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, which refunds 35 to 40 percent of eligible production costs, and the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit, which refunds 20 per cent of labour costs, as well as the MDC Interactive Digital Media Fund, which awards up to $150,000 in project production funding, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the project budget.
Already this year, the OMDC has announced $2.0 million in funding support.