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The global economy is changing. Competition for the brightest minds is intensifying. The pace of technological change is creating new opportunities while making older business practices obsolete. Canada's long-term economic competitiveness in this emerging knowledge economy demands globally competitive businesses that innovate and create high-quality jobs.
Since 2006, the Government has provided nearly $8 billion in new funding for initiatives to support science, technology and the growth of innovative firms. Despite strong policy fundamentals to support innovation in Canada, Canadian businesses do not take full advantage. Canada continues to lag behind peer countries in terms of overall innovation performance, including private sector investment in research and development (R&D), and the commercialization of research into products and processes that create high-value jobs and economic growth.
Following a comprehensive review of federal support for R&D by an expert Panel led by Thomas Jenkins of OpenText Corporation, the Government is committed to a new approach to supporting innovation in Canada by pursuing active business-led initiatives that focus resources on better meeting private sector needs.
Creating Value-Added Jobs Through Innovation
The Government is taking action to better support business innovation by focusing on private sector needs. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- $400 million to help increase private sector investments in early-stage risk capital, and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector.
- $100 million to the Business Development Bank of Canada to support its venture capital activities.
- $110 million per year to double support to companies through the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
- $14 million over two years to double the Industrial Research and Development Internship program.
- $12 million per year to make the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence program permanent.
- $105 million over two years to support forestry innovation and market development.
- $95 million over three years, starting in 2013–14, and $40 million per year thereafter to make the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program permanent and to add a military procurement component.
- $67 million in 2012–13 to the National Research Council as it refocuses on business-led, industry-relevant research.
- Streamlining and improving the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax incentive program.
Support for Research, Education and Training
The Government is committed to providing additional resources to support advanced research at universities and other leading research institutions. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- Reinvesting $37 million annually starting in 2012–13 to the granting councils to enhance their support for industry-academic research partnerships.
- $60 million for Genome Canada to launch a new applied research competition in the area of human health, and to sustain the Science and Technology Centres until 2014–15.
- $6.5 million over three years for a research project at McMaster University to evaluate team-based approaches to health care delivery.
- $17 million over two years to further advance the development of alternatives to existing isotope production technologies.
- $10 million over two years to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to link Canadians to global research networks.
- $500 million over five years to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support new competitions, including for the College-Industry Innovation Fund, with funding starting in 2014–15.
- $40 million over two years to support CANARIE's operation of Canada's ultra-high speed research network.
- $23 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to enhance satellite data reception capacity.