Posted on May 12, 2021
TECH COMPANY THAT CHOSE HALIFAX OVER CALGARY AFTER UCP CANCELLED TAX CREDITS NOW EXPANDING
EDMONTON - A tech company that chose Halifax over Calgary as the site of its second headquarters after citing concerns about Western separatism and cuts to Alberta’s tax credits is now expanding after being acquired by a South Korean company.
Wattpad announced plans to add nearly 100 new jobs this year, increasing its workforce by 50 per cent, after Naver Co. Ltd. completed its acquisition of the company for US$600 million. Wattpad's headquarters will stay in Canada and its new hires will be in Toronto and Halifax.
“The UCP turned their back on diversification. As a result, we saw companies leave the province or invest elsewhere,” said NDP Economic Development and Innovation Critic Deron Bilous. “Now as the tech sector continues to grow across the country, Alberta continues to fall further behind under the UCP.”
In December 2019, Toronto-based Wattpad announced it would be opening a second office in Halifax after also considering Calgary for its expansion. However, the company chose Halifax after concerns about the Wexit movement in Alberta and the UCP government’s cancellation of several tax credits, including the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC).
After Wattpad released their reasoning for expanding to Halifax, the UCP government accused Wattpad of seeking “government handouts” and “corporate welfare cheques.”
The AITC was introduced by the NDP government and was designed to grow the province’s tech sector, but the UCP scrapped it in favour of a corporate tax cut that, according to the provincial budget documents, will cost the province $4.7 billion over four years.
“Instead of handing over billions of dollars to already profitable corporations with no return for Albertans, we need to create programs that attract investment and create jobs,” said Bilous. “We need to bring back programs that were working to diversify our economy and look at new ways to grow Alberta’s tech sector.”
Alberta’s NDP presented their own proposal on how to grow the province’s tech sector in February, which can be found at www.albertasfuture.ca.