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Manitoba provides boost to digital media sector to create jobs, economic growth

Over the last decade, jobs in province’s interactive digital media sector have increased to over 3,800 full-time positions from 680.

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Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary AB
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The Manitoba government enhanced the Manitoba Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (MIDMTC) to stimulate economic growth and job creation in its interactive digital media industry as well as attract new investment to the sector, announced Economic Development and Jobs Minister Ralph Eichler.

"Modernizing the Manitoba Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit will make Manitoba’s tax credit more competitive with other jurisdictions and serve as an important tool to help attract investment, jobs and growth in the sector," said Eichler in a government press release Friday.

"By making the tax credit permanent, we are ensuring there is stability and predictability for Manitoba's digital media industry. This will give companies looking to invest in Manitoba’s interactive digital media industry more confidence about the policy support environment into which they are entering," he stated.

The MIDMTC is a refundable corporate income tax credit that provides up to a 40 percent credit on qualified labour expenditures and some marketing and distribution expenses incurred in developing eligible interactive digital media products for the market.

In 2008, the MIDMTC had approved more than 175 interactive digital media projects and had returned over $10 million in tax credits to Manitoba companies.

As part of Budget 2021, the province has renewed the MIDMTC and expanded eligible types of product development activities to allow the interactive digital media industry to claim more add-on activities required to launch products. Expanded eligibility includes information technology activities, data analysis, and system improvements.

The province will also streamline and simplify the application process and reduce the administrative burden for applicants, including allowing companies to apply for all eligible projects in one application rather than separately. A formalized knowledge-sharing structure with New Media Manitoba, Economic Development Winnipeg, and industry representatives will also be initiated to promote a shared understanding of changes in the industry and emerging changes in the sector.

"Manitoba's interactive digital media industry continues to grow exponentially and the ongoing partnership between the province and the industry, as typified by the changes to the MIDMTC, set the interactive digital media sector up for years of growth to come," said Louie Ghiz, executive director of New Media Manitoba. "In growing areas such as video game development, smart public investments like the MIDMTC – coupled, of course, with the ingenuity of Canada's games developers – have led this country to capture more than its fair share of global growth."

Ghiz adds that the MIDMTC investment creates economic development through innovation and will lead to knowledge-based industry jobs of the future.

Manitoba hopes the announcement will bolster its competitiveness with interactive digital media companies nationally and globally.

Over the last decade, jobs in the province's interactive digital media sector have increased to over 3,800 full-time positions from 680. The industry's contribution to the provincial gross domestic product rose to $200 million in 2017 from $38 million in 2012 and continues to climb.

While the sector comprises various types of companies, the most recognizable may be video games, a global industry capturing an ever-growing audience.

"These enhancements will modernize and streamline the MIDMTC to help position Manitoba as a video game development hub," stated Eichler in the press statement. "Manitoba has a strong talent pipeline with high schools and post-secondary institutions collaborating with the interactive digital media industry, which positions Manitoba well for attracting increased investment."

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