DigiBC is devoted to ensuring the creative tech sector (video games, animation, VFX and AR/VR) continues to grow and thrive in our province. To do this, it is absolutely clear that we need to garner the interest of homegrown talent. How do we do that? With your help! DigiBC has two major initiatives launching this year - Music in Games and Animation and an expansion of the Play to Learn program.
Our Music in Games and Animation initiative is geared towards reaching every grade eight student in the province (all 46,000)! We will be sharing stories of how folks in the industry found their career path – by creating videos and presenting in person. Digi on the Road will then see us taking industry professionals to many communities in the province with the goal of getting students excited about the potential for work in our sector.
We are also planning to hold a competition in spring 2019. This involves studios providing clips from video games and animated film/TV shows, and then explaining by video what they are looking for. Once a student has selected a clip, they will then be invited to create an original score that sets the correct tone and message to go with it. We will work with music teachers throughout the province to select the top entries, and winners will then get to tour the studio who provided the clip that they scored.
If you are interested in providing materials for this, being interviewed, or participating with Digi on the Road, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play to Learn is an EA digital education initiative that teaches kids to code and is currently used in more than 50 classrooms in the Lower Mainland. Developed in partnership with EverFi, Play to Learn offers online gaming and simulations to engage middle and high school students on a number of topics including binary numbers, scientific notation, the Pythagorean Theorem, probability, and basic coding languages. The course modules are designed to reinforce the real-world application of these skills while getting students interested and excited in new career fields. In fall 2018, we will launch this program to over 60 new schools across 11 districts from Vancouver Island to Prince George!
Education is a primary focus for DigiBC and we are delighted to have partnered with the Ministry of Education, Electronic Arts, the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture to be able to deliver these high-quality, life-changing initiatives. Exciting times ahead!
Government Relations Update
DigiBC is working for our members and meeting with elected officials and government representatives to ensure the success of our sector in the province. Here are some of the initiatives that we now have underway.
2019 IDMTC Recommendations
Did you know that Alberta has created a comprehensive digital strategy that focuses on growing their digital sector by 3,000 people? In March 2018 they announced the creation of a 25% IDMTC (Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit). There is an additional 5% for traditionally underrepresented team members – women and minorities. In addition to creating a competitive tax credit, the Growth and Diversification Act is designed to stimulate growth across sectors to create more jobs, economic diversification, and training for the high tech sector.
Alberta’s act aims to:
- create 3,000 new tech spaces in post-secondary institutions
- invest in new scholarships and programs to support a high-tech workforce
- launch an Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
- continue support for the existing Alberta investor and capital investment tax credit programs
- strengthen Alberta’s ties with the unmanned aerial systems sector
I am concerned that this is a threat to creative technology jobs in BC. It is apparent to me that our neighbours to the east would like to woo some of our sector over the Rockies. How do we counter this? At 17.5%, BC’s IDMTC is currently the lowest in the country, making us particularly vulnerable to this move by Alberta.
DigiBC is recommending the provincial government increase our IDMTC to 25% across all IDM. Furthermore, we recommend an additional 10% incentive to those studios working outside of the Metro Vancouver and Victoria regional districts. An incentive for regional diversification is not only good for smaller cities and towns in the province, it meets the need we hear from a number of member companies who have employees wanting to settle where the cost of living is more conducive to raising a family. This, in turn, could alleviate some of the housing stress in our urban centers. We will be presenting these recommendations in September in order to have them duly considered for the 2019 provincial budget.