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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Alexander Chute Economist
Tel: 902-424-5810Email:

January 15, 2019

Statistics Canada recently released gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD), for actual spending in 2016 at the provincial level and 2017 (preliminary) and 2018 (intentions) at the national level.

Spending on research and development, 2018 (intentions)
Canada's expenditures on research and development declined from $34.4 billion to $34.0 billion in 2017. The intentions for 2018 are for an increase of 1.3 per cent to $34.5 billion. Intentions for performing research and development are higher in the two largest sectors: business enterprises and higher education sector. All sectors are expected to increase funding in 2018 with each sector accounting for the following percentage of the total funding: business sector (40%), higher education (20%), federal government (18%), foreign (11%), provincial governments (5%), and non-profit sector (5%).

Characteristics of research and development spending, 2016 (actual)

Total research and development spending in Canada rose 1.9 per cent in 2016 to $34.4 billion, led by Ontario accounting for $15.3 billion, followed by Quebec ($8.8 billion), and British Columbia ($4.0 billion). Spending on research and development increased 2.3 per cent in the Atlantic provinces to $1.4 billion in 2016.

As a share of gross domestic product (GDP), research and development expenditures, account for 1.70 per cent of GDP in Canada. As a share of gross domestic product (GDP), research and development expenditures were largest in Quebec at 2.21 per cent and Ontario at 1.92 per cent. Nova Scotia GERD as a percentage of GDP was 1.47 per cent in 2016, the fourth highest among the provinces. Research and spending performed by the higher education sector in Nova Scotia as a share of provincial GDP was 1.0 per cent and larger than all other provinces.


In 2016, Nova Scotia gross domestic research and development expenditures were $610 million, down from $617 million the previous year. The higher education sector performed $415 million worth of research and development, followed by $152 million in the business enterprise sector, and $42 million by governments and non-profits.

The funding of the research and development expenditures in 2016 came from the higher education sector ($243 million), government/non-profit ($210 million),  business enterprise sector ($118 million), and the foreign sector ($39 million).


Spending on research and development, 2018 (intentions)

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)

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