BC Election 2017: BC NDP and technology in detail

Apr 20 2017, 11:08 pm

Ahead of the 2017 BC election, Daily Hive has produced a range of guides to the key issues affecting young voters. To find all the guides and our full BC Election coverage, click here: Battleground BC.

The future seems bright for BC’s tech sector, which offers well paid jobs in an expensive region. But tech is not only the future–it’s also an issue in this year’s BC Election.

Of course, the three parties have their own strategies for boosting BC’s tech sector. Here’s what the BC NDP told Daily Hive about their plan.

“We’ll support growth in the tech sector with strategic investments in infrastructure and developing and attracting world-class talent.

“We’ll also work with BC’s excellent software firms to deliver major development projects for government.”

The BC NDP plan to invest $100 million to expand technology-related post-secondary programs and invest in the tech industry.

Among the investment areas of interest are information and communications, digital
media and entertainment, life sciences and health, clean tech, IT, and engineering.

The party also plans to appoint a Chief Talent Officer to help train, repatriate and recruit talent to the BC tech sector.

Tech innovation centres

The BC NDP is also promising to partner with universities and tech companies around the province to build tech and innovation centres.

The centres would focus on cleantech, digital media, engineering, information and communications technology, and life sciences.

The BC NDP is also pledging to expand the tech-sector co-op programs being offered through BC’s colleges and universities.

As well, the party aims to ensure every child in BC is given the chance to learn how to code.

To do that, the BC NDP says it would partner with innovative not-for-profits and tech companies in BC that teach coding in schools and afterschool programs.

The party says it would also support the expansion of digital arts, technology and trades education, and make tools, machinery and equipment available to students.

Startup networking grants

Among their various tech funding pledges, the BC NDP is promising networking grants for startups and early stage companies, so they can go to investor conferences and events.

The BC NDP is also pledging to re-invigorate the Innovative Clean Energy Fund to boost
investments in various tech development.

Areas of particular focus would include groundbreaking new energy technologies, climate change solutions, and community-focused energy projects.

Overall, the BC NDP is aiming to strengthen venture capital and tax credit programs, reduced paperwork for applicants, and develop a stronger venture capital culture in BC.

Hiring local tech companies

The BC NDP has committed to capping the value and the length of government IT
contracts to save money, increase innovation, and improve competition.

The party also plans to change the government IT and software development procurement process to favour hiring locally and supporting a local supply chain.

Finally, the BC NDP want to focus on projects that drive development in rural, northern and First Nations communities.

Some of the innovation centres built in partnership with universities, colleges,
technical institutions and businesses will be located in the interior and northern BC.

They also plan to partner with northern and rural communities to make digital infrastructure affordable, accessible and business ready.

To find more guides to all the issues and our full BC Election coverage, click here: Battleground BC.

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Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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