Progress: Supporting Canada’s Researchers to Build a More Innovative Economy

Next Steps in the Innovation and Skills Plan

The world is shifting to a knowledge-based global economy, driven by the creation of ideas and their translation into commercial value.

To support this transformation, the Government is making historic investments through Budget 2018 to support the next generation of researchers, and providing researchers with the cutting-edge equipment needed to make scientific breakthroughs and drive innovation. This includes strengthening scientific research in Canada in a way that reflects our diversity, including support for the next generation of women, members of visible minorities and Indigenous researchers.

Building on its Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government is transforming and re-tooling Canada’s innovation programs, rules and regulations to better support Canada’s innovators.


Investing in Canadian Researchers

We have always understood that better is possible, and time after time we have used curiosity, courage, creativity and collaboration to create positive change for ourselves—and the world. But progress does not happen without commitment and effort. Since the release of the recommendations of the Fundamental Science Review, the Government has heard the strong and united message from Canada’s research community on the importance of investing in the future of Canadian research. With Budget 2018, the Government of Canada is making significant new investments to support Canada’s researchers and innovators. These investments are not simply to enhance the status quo. In recognition of the historic opportunity for real change, investments made though Budget 2018 will be tied to clear objectives and conditions so that Canada’s next generation of researchers is larger, more diverse and better supported.

Granting Councils

Canada’s three granting councils are arm’s-length organizations that provide federal funding for the work of researchers at post-secondary institutions and research hospitals. In Budget 2018, the Government is proposing a historic investment to support this work—the largest amount of new funding for fundamental research through the granting councils in decades. This will provide increased support and training opportunities for about 21,000 researchers, students and high-quality personnel across Canada.

Canada Research Chairs

To attract and retain leading researchers at post-secondary institutions across the country, the Government is proposing new funding for the Canada Research Chairs program. This funding will provide more flexibility to improve the program so that it better meets researchers’ priorities. The investment will support early-career researchers, while increasing diversity, including increasing the number of women who are nominated for Canada Research Chairs.

Supporting Colleges and Polytechnics

Colleges and polytechnics actively collaborate with small and medium-sized businesses in their communities to solve business challenges. Through Budget 2018, the Government will increase support for collaborative innovation projects involving businesses, colleges and polytechnics through the College and Community Innovation Program.

Investing in the Equipment Researchers Need

To ensure that Canada’s researchers have the tools they need to make scientific breakthroughs and drive innovation, the Government is taking a significant step to provide ongoing, stable funding to the Canada Foundation for Innovation with investments in research infrastructure. Better equipment and laboratories will allow Canadian researchers to make discoveries in areas like new composite materials for jets and cars, new diagnostic techniques for childhood diseases, and new methods for cracking the quantum computing challenge. This will include support for national science facilities that make international-calibre research possible in Canada.

Big Data

Big data has become an essential tool for scientific progress, underpinning world-class research across all disciplines. It provides the information that can lead to new ways of addressing scientific challenges like medical researchers in genomics using advanced research computing to analyze genetic sequences to look for DNA-related changes that might cause cancer or dementia. Through Budget 2018, the Government is providing funding in support of a Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy to deliver more open and equitable access to advanced computing and big data resources for researchers across Canada.


Stronger and More Collaborative Federal Science

Helping Businesses and Academics Work Together

The National Research Council’s (NRC’s) world-class scientists help advance Canadian businesses through cutting-edge innovation and reinforce Canada’s research capabilities and strengths. Their facilities, expertise and networks help convene strategic, large-scale national teams committed to innovation. Budget 2018 will help to lower the cost of partnering with the NRC so more small and medium-sized enterprises, colleges and universities are able to make use of its services. The Government will also create more opportunities for NRC researchers to collaborate with innovators on multi-party research and development programs, and to pursue breakthrough research.

Supporting Federal Science and Technology Facilities

Thousands of scientists and a network of federal laboratories reinforce Canada’s research capabilities and strengths, including through collaborations with post-secondary institutions and businesses. Through Budget 2018, the Government is supporting the renewal of federal science by launching the first phase in an ambitious plan to rebuild federal laboratories. These coordinated investments will create greater opportunity for collaboration across government and within the wider research system.

A More Reliable Partner for Business

The Innovation and Skills Plan launched a review of all innovation programs that serve the business community, in an effort to make the services more responsive to their needs, more efficient and better able to promote business growth. Through Budget 2018, the Government is announcing the next steps in a historic reform of business innovation programs to create a simpler suite that is easy to navigate and will further strengthen the one-stop shop for Canadian businesses—Innovation Canada—to get the information they need to grow, create jobs and drive our economy forward. While total overall funding for innovation programming will increase, the total number of business innovation programs will be streamlined by up to two-thirds. Additional funding will also be provided to regional development agencies in order to help businesses scale up and take advantage of growth opportunities.

Women Entrepreneurs

To face today’s challenges and grow our economy in a way that benefits everyone, Canada must fully access the talents, energies and creativity of all Canadians. With a new strategy for women entrepreneurs focused on skills and access to mentorship, capital and networking opportunities, Budget 2018 will empower women to more fully contribute to, and benefit from, a growing economy. These investments will help more women-owned companies grow into world-class businesses to continue driving economic growth that benefits all. As part of this strategy, the Government will set an objective of increasing the participation of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in federal procurement so that they constitute at least 15 per cent of SMEs supplying the Government of Canada.

Making it Easier for Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Do Business

Protecting Canadian Intellectual Property

In a knowledge-based economy, the Government must help to protect the ideas of Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs. Ensuring Canadian intellectual property rules are up to date and reflect the world we live in is fundamental to creating and retaining wealth generated from Canada’s research, development, talent and training. In Budget 2018, the Government is announcing elements of a new intellectual property strategy to help Canadian companies better protect and access ideas to grow and succeed. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development will announce details of the strategy in the coming months.

Simpler and Better Procurement

As one of the biggest customers for Canadian businesses, companies have long asked the federal government to improve its relationship with suppliers—to make opportunities easier to find, simpler to navigate and faster to award, with less administrative burden. Government procurement is heavily paper-based and offers limited self-serve options for suppliers. The Government, through Budget 2018, will establish a new electronic procurement platform to help Canadian small and medium-sized companies better access opportunities to do business with the Government.

Supporting Researchers to Build a More Innovative Canadian Economy

As innovators, Canadians seek answers to difficult questions, and look for new ways to apply what we’ve learned. The desire to understand how the human heart works led to pioneering efforts in open-heart surgery, and the invention of the artificial pacemaker. Curiosity about how we learn and think led to breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence—discoveries that help us to navigate traffic with the help of our smartphones today, and will help us get to work and school in self-driving cars in the future.

This spirit of innovation that Canadians share helped to create the industries and jobs that strengthened and grew Canada’s middle class. Today, that same drive to innovate creates new jobs and export opportunities in growing industries as it transforms jobs in existing ones. That means new and exciting job prospects for workers, and better opportunities for our children.

In Budget 2017, the Government launched the Innovation and Skills Plan—an ambitious effort to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation—to help create more good, well-paying jobs and help strengthen and grow the middle class.

In Budget 2018, the Government is taking the next steps in transforming Canada’s innovation programs—making them easier to access and to use, and expanding support for Canadian companies that want to scale up and take their innovations to markets around the world.


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