CALGARY – Alberta’s NDP will reintroduce a tax credit to create jobs, draw investment and spur growth in Alberta’s highly-competitive interactive and digital media sector if elected in 2023.
Speaking at Calgary-based Vog App Developers on Thursday, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announced that an NDP government will restore the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) in its first budget, offering a 25 per cent credit on wages, salaries and bonuses paid to employees working to create interactive digital products such as video games, training simulation, and film special effects.
An additional five per cent top-up would be offered to companies hiring from under-represented demographics, including women, Indigenous people and people with disabilities.
“We want everyone from the smallest studios to the biggest names in the industry to call Alberta home. That’s why an NDP government will level the playing field with other provinces and help Alberta companies start and grow their studios and talent here, not look for greener pastures somewhere else,” said Notley.
The IDMTC was repealed by the UCP government in 2019 against the best advice from industry experts. At the time, the UCP called it a “boutique” program. Despite promising a digital media tax credit during her UCP leadership campaign, Danielle Smith failed to implement one in Budget 2023.
“Under our leadership, Alberta studios will be poised for rapid expansion after three years of limited growth under the UCP. Together, we can draw more global investment and create more jobs in this industry,” said NDP Jobs and Economy Critic Deron Bilous.
According to a report issued last year from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), Alberta is now missing out on investment and losing ground to other jurisdictions. Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia all offer competitive tax credits to foster video game development.
Scott Nye, Chair of Digital Alberta, said the province is currently not a destination that attracts investment to compete in this global industry and without these incentives, jobs are leaving this province.
“A digital media tax credit is not a corporate handout but rather a driver of economic growth in this province. It represents real opportunities for us to ‘get back into the game’ and to start attracting investment back to Alberta,” said Nye. “Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, digital media tax incentives like the one Rachel has shared today are good policy.”
The video game industry alone currently contributes roughly $5.5 billion to the Canadian economy, according to Digital Alberta, with the largest concentration of studios in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Alberta’s NDP will expand that growth into all forms of interactive digital media.