Texte par Marie-Andrée Bernard et Anna-Lena Gruenagel
Investissement Québec (IQ) célèbre cette année 50 ans de commerce et de coopération avec ses partenaires en Allemagne, en Suisse, en Autriche mais aussi au Québec. Ce lien transatlantique permet à nos entreprises de prospérer grâce à une vision et des valeurs partagées, ainsi qu’un engagement commun d’enrichissement mutuel.
À la Chambre de Commerce Canado-Suisse, nous avons la chance d’avoir un partenaire et un membre corporatif influent, Investissement Québec (IQ).
Québec and German-Speaking Countries:
50 Years of Forward-Looking Trade and Cooperation
This year, we celebrate with you, our partners in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and also in Québec, 50 yearsof forward-looking trade and cooperation. This transatlantic link allows our companies to prosper thanks to a shared vision and values, as well as a common commitment to mutual enrichment. Over the years, we have built strong ties in all areas that allow the sharing of best practices and the creation of tangible innovations.
Today, Québec’s world-class research ecosystem is booming. The province is an innovative hub with exceptional talent from both the academic and the business worlds, and offers tax incentive programs for research and development projects. Clusters, universities, and research centers converge in a strategic international location with more affordable living in its cities than many others metropolitan areas. And clearly, the big tech companies are aware of these advantages.
This article showcases the vital ecosystem and incentives that Québec has to offer, particularly in the health and life sciences sectors, the thriving world of AI, the ever-growing battery industry, electric vehicle development, as well as the future of green hydrogen and quantum technologies. Québecers are highly motivated to contribute to innovative research and complex projects through international collaborations, especially in these fields. Our teams in Munich and Berlin are ready to accompany you and to explore new territories.
Interested? Learn more in this article and please contact Anna-Lena Gruenagel, Director Foreign Direct Investment, German-speaking and Eastern Europe, at Investissement Québec, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information
QUÉBEC, A WORLD-CLASS TECH HUB
Québec is renowned for its strong presence in Canada and its success stories in a diversity of high value-added sectors, including AI and video games, visual effects, cybersecurity, and information technology. This prosperous tech hub accounts for 23% of the jobs in the technology sector in the country and is the Canadian R&D leader in the percentage of GDP, with more than $9,7 billion in annual R&D spending by businesses and universities. Québec’s world-class research ecosystem is growing, supported by a vast network of talent, attractive tax incentives and quality of life. Québec was rated number-one among G7 countries for Talent Attractiveness in AI according to the OECD (2019). In fact, an impressive pool of qualified experts is already on site: Québec has nearly 25,000 university students enrolled in IT programs and 18,000+ university students in AI and data processing related programs. Over the years, nearly all German research organizations have developed programs and permanent liaison offices in Canada. There are now are almost 700 cooperation agreements between the two countries.
In addition, there are various Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive programs that entitle companies to a 15% tax credit from Canada and a 14% refundable credit from Québec (depending on the region) on all wages and subcontracting fees. As well, tax holidays for foreign research and experts kickstart many collaborative projects. There is also an increase in the number of funding programs and SME recipients as small and medium businesses play an ever-growing role in the innovation ecosystems of Québec and Europe.
Moreover, Québec offers competitive costs. Not only is the average operating cost 25% lower compared to other major regions in Canada and U.S, it also has one of the lowest tax rates in North America and the lowest electricity rates. Québec’s strategic location also encourages international cooperation and has served as an incentive for developing trade agreements (the CETA is one example). Unlike other top destinations for EU investment in the Americas, only Canada has investment treaties in place with all 27 EU member states. The region is well connected with 20 strategic commercial ports, 4 international airports and an integrated railway that provides a network between Canada, US, Mexico, and Europe, as well as access to 1.5+ billion consumers.
KEY SECTORS EXAMPLES
These advantages provide a fertile environment for innovation and new developments in many key sectors. The health and life science
sector, AI, and new technologies (green and high tech) exemplify just how Québec is avantgarde when it comes to R&D.
LIFE SCIENCES AND HEALTH TECHNOLOGY
The collaborative ecosystem in Québec’s life sciences and health technology sector has public-private partnership projects that involve 650+ companies, 45 000+ workers (about 30% of the jobs in this field in Canada), 30,000 university and college students, 4 university-affiliated hospitals, and 300+ research organizations. Moreover, with $7.4+ billion in investments in ongoing projects for a cutting-edge healthcare infrastructure in Québec, the future of the sector looks very promising. The province has also developed an ethical framework to access data that increases Québec’s expertise in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as in biomanufacturing, digital health, big data and AI, precision medicine, genomics, and other areas.
AI IN QUÉBEC
Montréal hosts world-renowned research organizations, such as MILA, the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO) and Institute
Intelligence and Data (IID). For example, MILA is the world’s largest academic research centre specialized in machine learning with over 600 people. The metropole, which is currently ranked in the top three, always scores high as the best place to invest in AI in North America. As mentioned earlier, it has a vast collaborative ecosystem with more than 80 industrial partners.
GREEN INITIATIVES AND FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES
Québec’s goal is to become more and more sustainable with a carbon-neutral economy. The province’s electricity is less costly than its neighbours and is sourced from 99.8% renewable energy, principally hydropower. With this clear advantage, Québec has created a leading-edge ecosystem and expertise based on green hydroelectricity, wind, biomass and further sources. The province also manufactures some of the greenest primary aluminium in the world (7 times less polluting than aluminium production in China). The future of mobility is also a recurring theme in Québec. A strategic plan is in place to develop battery technologies, especially given the province’s abundant critical and strategic minerals needed for their production. Experts such as Karim Zaghib, Strategic Advisor to the Investissement Québec Management Committee and Professor at McGill University’s Mining and Materials Engineering Department, has also highlighted Québec’s other significant assets that will make a real difference in the future of the battery industry. For example, Québec has become a world authority in battery R&D with over 850 patents and provides extensive expertise in electric vehicles. Its various strategies represent public and private investments of $7 billion over the next 10 years.
FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD
Now that Germany and Canada are celebrating 50 years of their official Scientific and Technological Cooperation, and with the support of economic, social, and structural incentives, Québecers are eager to collaborate on international projects in R&D. The province continues to attract world class researchers and companies in the fields described in this article as well as in the rapidly burgeoning sectors of the hydrogen economy and quantum technologies.
We would like to thank the Délégation Générale du Québec in Munich, Marianne Pauchant, Project Manager of the Economic Department and Anna-Lena Gruenagel, Director, Foreign Direct Investment, German-speaking and Eastern Europe, at Investissement Québec, for their input and support in creating this article.