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Research and development in Canadian industry: Flash estimates, 2020 (actual), 2021 (preliminary) and 2022 (intentions)

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Released: 2022-04-06

Research and development (R&D) is an important component of innovation and business strategy. At the heart of R&D is the ability to generate new ideas for improved products and processes that in turn drive transformation in society and the economy.

Given the importance of R&D, early estimates of 2020 industrial in-house R&D spending and anticipated spending straight through to 2022 are being provided prior to the full suite of findings, which will be released in late spring 2022.

Advance results indicate that industrial R&D in-house expenditures declined from the revised 2019 estimate of $21.9 billion to $21.3 billion in 2020. Looking ahead, expenditures are expected to bounce back to $21.9 billion in 2021 and to further increase to $22.4 billion in 2022.

Businesses in information, communications and technology (ICT) industries, particularly those in ICT services, continue to expand their share of total industrial R&D. While ICT industries accounted for 30.6% of in-house industrial R&D in 2014, they are forecast to account for 45.2% of spending by 2022.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total in-house research and development (R&D) expenditures, 2014 to 2022: All industries and information and communication technologies (ICT) industries
Total in-house research and development (R&D) expenditures, 2014 to 2022: All industries and information and communication technologies (ICT) industries

In addition to performing R&D, businesses outsourced $4.3 billion worth of R&D activities in 2020, down from $4.6 billion in 2019. Outsourced R&D expenditures are anticipated to increase to $4.6 billion in 2021 and to reach $5.0 billion in 2022.

ICT industries have also shown consistent growth in outsourced R&D over the years. The sector is anticipated to account for 29.7% of outsourced R&D expenditures by 2022, up from 18.0% in 2014.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Total outsourced research and development (R&D) expenditures, 2014 to 2022: All industries and information and communication technologies (ICT) industries
Total outsourced research and development (R&D) expenditures, 2014 to 2022: All industries and information and communication technologies (ICT) industries

  Note to readers

Estimates of research and development (R&D) expenditures in current dollars.

These flash estimates are a special product published in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide Canadians with timely information on R&D in the business sector. The official estimate of industrial R&D for the reference year 2020, which will be based on a more complete set of survey and administrative data, is scheduled for release on May 27, 2022.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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