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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

August 26, 2019

Statistics Canada has released Industrial Research and Development (R&D) characteristics, including 2019 intentions, preliminary actuals for 2018 and characteristics of industrial R&D spending/personnel across provinces for 2017. Results from 2014 and beyond are not directly comparable to earlier data.

In Canada, research and development (R&D) expenditures are expected to rebound to $18.25 billion in 2019, following investments of $17.69 billion (preliminary) in 2018.  Revised industrial R&D spending was $18.69 billion in 2017.

The increase in industrial R&D spending for 2019 is expected to come from increased expenditures by Canadian-controlled firms (+2.7 per cent) and foreign-controlled firms (+3.9 per cent). The share of industrial R&D performed at foreign-controlled firms remains little changed at 37.9 per cent.

The largest industrial research and development expenditures are in information and communications technology (ICT) sectors, notably computer systems design and related support. This is followed by scientific research and development services sectors, wholesale services, software publishers and telecommunications services.

Nova Scotia industrial R&D expenditures were $150 million in 2017, down from $182 million for 2016. As a share of GDP, business R&D expenditures in Nova Scotia were 0.35 per cent in 2017, down from 0.44 per cent in the previous year. The largest presence of industrial R&D expenditures as a share of GDP occurred in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.  Quebec (+13.5 per cent) had the only increase in industrial R&D in 2017, while Saskatchewan (-21.2 per cent), Nova Scotia (-17.6 per cent) and New Brunswick (-16.5 per cent) reported the largest declines in percentage terms.

There were 144,570 industrial R&D personnel in Canada in 2017, down by nearly 2,400  (-1.6 per cent) from the previous year.  In percentage terms, the largest declines in industrial R&D personnel were observed in Nova Scotia (-32.4 per cent), Newfoundland (-16.4 per cent), and New Brunswick (-15.2 per cent). Manitoba, Quebec and Alberta were the only provinces to report increases in industrial R&D personnel for 2017.

Industrial R&D personnel (measured in full-time equivalents) amounted to approximately 0.9 per cent of all full-time equivalent workers*.  The highest share of industrial R&D personnel in the workforce was reported in Quebec at 1.32 per cent. Nova Scotia's industrial R&D personnel amounted to 0.35 per cent of all full-time equivalent workers in the province, down from 0.52 per cent in the previous year.


*Note - full-time equivalent workers for each province calculated based on 2,000-hour work years.

Source: Statistics Canada, tables 27-10-0333-0127-10-0341-01 and 27-10-0337-01

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