CMA Canada urges government to retain foreign students trained in Canada to boost productivity, competitiveness

    Recommendations to federal Competition Policy Review Panel include ways
    to improve business investment in ITC and research to strengthen Canada's
    productivity performance

    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Extending work permits for gifted foreign
students trained in Canada is one of six recommendations by the Certified
Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) to Canada's new Competition
Policy Review Panel aimed at putting the country's productivity back on track
and making us more globally competitive.
    "CMA Canada has long advocated public policy measures aimed at enhancing
Canada's productivity record," said CMA Canada President and CEO Steve Vieweg,
CMA, FCMA. "Putting Canada's productivity growth back on track is the key to
enabling Canadian businesses to prosper in a highly competitive global
economy, and to improving the standard of living enjoyed by all Canadians."
    CMA Canada submitted its recommendations to the panel struck in June 2007
by the Ministers of Industry and Finance with a "fundamental task" of
identifying the path to enhancing Canada's productivity and competitiveness.
The panel's report is to be completed by June 30, 2008. CMA Canada's
recommendations focus on what the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) calls the "drivers of productivity growth" - human capital,
physical capital and innovation. They include:

    1)  Attracting and Retaining Talented Foreign Students - CMA Canada
        recommends that the government establish a scholarship program
        designed specifically to attract top foreign students to add their
        innovation, talent and intelligence to Canadian research. CMA Canada
        proposes that in conjunction with the proposed scholarship program,
        enhancements to immigration policy should be made such as
        establishing a longer-term work permit beyond the current maximum two
        year limit, to encourage gifted foreign graduates to stay in Canada
        and help Canada's economy benefit from our investment in education.

    2)  Improving the Scientific Research and Experimental Development
        (SR&ED) Tax Credit - The SR&ED tax program has generated more than
        $2 billion in unused credits for Canadian companies. These credits do
        not attract additional investment, result in new breakthroughs, or
        create jobs. Instead, foreign-based enterprises can end up using
        these taxpayer-funded incentives to offset their acquisition costs of
        Canadian companies. CMA Canada recommends extending the refundability
        provision in the SR&ED program that is currently available only to
        smaller businesses to claimants of all sizes. Alternatively, the
        government could permit larger claimants to apply the tax credit
        against other federal government levies such as EI premiums.

    3)  Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Tax Credit -
        Investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) by
        Canadian companies on a per worker basis is roughly half that of the
        U.S. This contributes greatly to stalled growth in Canadian
        productivity. CMA Canada urges the government to implement a
        refundable ICT adoption tax credit targeted at small and medium
        enterprises (SMEs), which account for 65% of all private sector
        employment. As proposed by the Telecommunication Policy Review Panel,
        such a tax credit would apply to computers, communications equipment,
        software, ICT training and computerized manufacturing equipment.

    4)  Combating Piracy and Counterfeiting of Intellectual Property (IP) -
        While the federal government recently said it generally supports the
        recommendations from studies by two parliamentary committees on
        counterfeiting and piracy in Canada, it is critical that action be
        taken quickly. CMA Canada calls for the implementation of these
        recommendations which would, among other things, make it a criminal
        offence to manufacture, reproduce, import or distribute counterfeit
        and pirated goods and IP, as well as broaden enforcement powers and

    5)  Harmonizing Provincial Sales Taxes with the GST - CMA Canada
        recommends harmonizing provincial sales taxes (PST) with the GST
        across Canada, which would result in the elimination of PST on
        business inputs and capital goods. This is the case with the GST,
        which excludes ICT expenditures.

    6)  Basic Skills and Labour Force Training - With 40% of working
        Canadians lacking in basic literacy and numeracy skills, CMA Canada
        recommends a wide range of training policy instruments, including an
        increase in investment for direct training programs and refundable
        tax credits for businesses that invest in raising basic skill levels
        for workers.

    CMA Canada's full submission is available on our Web site at

    Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada)
    With more than 38,000 certified members and 10,000 CMA Candidates around
the world, CMA Canada grants a professional designation in strategic
management accounting(TM) and is responsible for standards-setting,
accreditation and the continuing professional development of CMAs. Working in
organizations of all sizes, CMAs provide an integrating perspective to
business decision-making, applying best management practices in strategic
planning, finance, operations, sales and marketing, information technology,
and human resources to identify new market opportunities, ensure corporate
accountability, and help organizations maintain a long-term competitive
advantage. To optimize the performance of global enterprises and build
strategic management accounting skills(TM), CMA Canada offers innovative
executive development programs, advanced on-line courses, and internationally
recognized knowledge management publications. CMA Canada is a leader in
forging strategic partnerships with allied professional groups to expand
career opportunities for CMAs, and to enhance the success of businesses
operating in the global marketplace. For more information, visit CMA Canada's
web site at

For further information:

For further information: R. David Fletcher, Vice President, Public
Affairs, CMA Canada, Tel: (905) 949-3106, Toll-free: 1-800-262-7622 ext 3106,; Stuart McCarthy, Bluesky Strategy Group (for CMA
Canada), Tel: (613) 241-3512 ext. 229, Cell: (613) 762-4321,

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