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

January 27, 2023

Today, Statistics Canada released  gross domestic expenditures on research and development, for actual spending in 2020 at the provincial level as well as 2021 (preliminary) and 2022 (intentions) at national level.

Characteristics of research and development spending, 2020 (actual)

Nova Scotia's R&D spending in 2020 was $696  million for all sectors, decrease of 4.1% from the 2019 level of $726 million.  Nova Scotia accounted for 1.7% of Canada's R&D though its economy was 2.1% of the national total in 2020.

In 2020, the three largest provinces continued to account for the bulk of R&D spending in Canada.  Ontario accounted for 46.0% of Canada's R&D in 2020 with the business enterprise sector in the province accounting for more than half of expenditures in the province. Quebec accounted for 25.0% of national R&D while British Columbia represented 12.4%.

As a share of gross domestic product (GDP), R&D expenditures were largest in Ontario at 2.2% and Quebec at 2.3%. Nova Scotia R&D as a percentage of GDP was 1.5% in 2020. Provincial R&D spending was lowest as a share of GDP in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Nationally, 1.9% of Canada's GDP is spent on R&D.

Nova Scotia's R&D as a share of GDP increased in each year from 2011 to 2017. Nova Scotia's R&D as a share of GDP increased to 1.6% in 2019 and fell to 1.5% in 2020.  Higher education R&D spending has been stable around 1.0% of GDP for over a decade. Nova Scotia's government/non-profit R&D spending was 0.2% of GDP and business R&D was 0.4% of GDP in 2020.

Nova Scotia share of GDP in research and development has generally been the largest in the Atlantic region. In recent years, Newfoundland and Labrador R&D share has increased above Nova Scotia with an increase in the higher education sector. Nova Scotia R&D spending as a share of GDP is generally similar to British Columbia but with a larger share in higher education sector and less in the business sector. Ontario and Quebec business sector R&D are consistently above all other provinces. The government and non-profit sector is smallest research and development area in all provinces.



National spending on research and development, 2022 (intentions)
Canada's expenditures on research and development (R&D) increased 1.7% in 2021 to $42.6 billion. The intentions for 2022 point to an increase of 1.5% to $43.2 billion. Canada's R&D spending intentions for 2022 are up for higher education, business sectors and government and non-profit sector. 

Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  27-10-0273-01   Gross domestic expenditures on research and development, by science type and by funder and performer sector (x 1,000,000)Table  36-10-0222-01   Gross domestic product, expenditure-based, provincial and territorial, annual (x 1,000,000)

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