Start-ups, Innovation and the April 19 Federal Budget

canada federal budget 2021

Budget 2021

It had been two years since the last Canadian federal budget when Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stood up in the House of Commons on April 19/21. In the interim, Covid 19 has changed the world and this budget was meant to address the challenges associated with that change and to position Canada for the future.

Since the last budget, we’ve learned that we can’t live without fast internet connections and Wi-Fi. We’ve become accustomed to using Zoom, ordering meals, interacting with co-workers, Doctors and teachers online. We’ve also seen unprecedented innovation in life sciences that delivered highly effective vaccines a decade sooner than anticipated.

Despite those obvious day to day changes most of us are still not aware of the scale of the underlying transformations. Lenin once said ‘nothing can happen for decades, and then decades can happen in weeks.’ Covid 19 has shown us the 21st Century proof of that statement.

New York University professor of marketing Scott Galloway, says ‘the pandemics most enduring impact, will be as an accelerant’ and McKinsey calls what we’re going through ‘The Quickening’ and says we’ve jumped 10 years forward in 90 days.

In the coming weeks, we’ll expand on how Covid has changed the world and how start-ups and entrepreneurship have never been so important. In the interim, here are a few of thoughts.

The budget was massive and forward looking with funds for virtually all of the areas that the Altitude Accelerator has focused on.  Specific areas of focus include technology adoption, broadband internet, clean technologies, life sciences, artificial intelligence and education.


Here is a quick summary of how the Federal Budget supports programs for the innovation community. More details are available through BDO, a Altitude Accelerator partner.

  • A $450 million renewal of Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI)
  • $7.2 billion over the next seven years for the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
  • $500 million to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
  • $90 million to provide startups with access to intellectual property services
  • A new Canada Digital Adoption Program to help 160,000 businesses adopt new technologies and grow their online presence
  • $443.8 million to the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy to strengthen AI talent, research, innovation and commercialization in Canada
  • $21.3 million to the International Business Development Strategy for Clean Technology
  • $300 million to the Black Entrepreneurship Program, Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, and a new Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program to support entrepreneurs facing unique barriers


Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

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