Montreal’s digital opportunity: Financial incentives to grow the data business

The city of Montreal is working to become a destination of choice for data center operations. But it’s bigger than that.

Montreal Geared up for Tomorrow, 2018-2022, the government’s economic development strategy, makes the point that Montreal’s economy is healthier today than in recent memory. Record employment rates, at the forefront of next generation sectors like artificial intelligence, and sustained investments to attract a skilled workforce: these are indicators. Almost $24 billion in construction projects are underway in Montreal.

It’s just a start. New technologies and big data are transforming the global economy. Cities are at a turning point; none more so than Montreal. Geared for Tomorrow analyzes the economic opportunities available to the city and sets out the principal guidelines for 2018–2022 to drive growth in key sectors – one of which is Digital.

Digital is everywhere. Its primary sub-sectors include AI, virtual augmented reality, advanced manufacturing, telecom, software and IT services and big data. In Montreal, more than 100,000 jobs in the city – 8 per cent of jobs overall – are in the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. That’s 72 per cent of all ICT jobs in the province.

The reasons are many. In the data center business, it’s about the things we’ve talked out in our Why Montreal series: green energy, cool climate, low latency connectivity to other Canadian and East Coast U.S. markets, strong privacy laws, performance, security and capacity capabilities. One more thing: it’s also about support from government.

Geared for Tomorrow outlines some of the challenges Montreal needs to tackle to continue momentum in the technology sector. We have to find more ways to attract and retain talent, adapt new business services models that transform industries across the board, and develop a powerful digital infrastructures that leverages our strategic geographical location as a connection hub for the global economy.

It’s fair to ask what role the government plays when you’re deciding on a colocation partner.

Is there something that provincial and national governments can do to influence that decision?

In Quebec, businesses know that the government is trying to help rather than get in their way. That comes through by building infrastructure, attracting human resources and helping new business navigate with a variety of targeted tax incentives that are specifically for the ICT sector.

For example, a corporation or a partnership that carries out a large investment project of CN$100M or more may be entitled to a 15-year tax “holiday” that consists of a deduction in the calculation of taxable income. There is the RTCMT that supports job creation in the video game development and testing sector with a refundable tax credit. And, Quebec’s TCEBD, a refundable e-business tax credit to support the development of information technologies is the only one of its kind in North America. All of them adding to the list of compelling reasons to make Montreal your next data expansion hub.

Want to know more? Download our paper, Why the World’s Largest Cloud Companies are Choosing Montreal or reach out to us here. ROOT Data Center has the unique ability to deploy large scale data center services in under 120 days and utilizes a free air-cooling system that achieves an energy efficiency unprecedented in the market.