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Businesses in Canada anticipate spending $15.5 billion to perform research and development (R&D) in 2015, down 2.6% from 2014’s intentions of $15.9 billion, and 3.6% lower than 2013’s actual expenditures of $16.0 billion.

The manufacturing sector is anticipated to spend $6.4 billion in 2015, or 42% of all industrial R&D. Manufacturing R&D performance remains well below its 2001 peak of $9.2 billion.

Service industries are anticipated to spend $7.3 billion or almost half (47%) of all industrial R&D in 2015.The most recent peak in R&D spending in service industries was $7.6 billion in 2011. R&D performance in the service industries has stabilized since then.

R&D spending in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction is anticipated to be $1.4 billion in 2015, down $246 million from its most recent peak of $1.6 billion in 2012. Businesses in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, the utilities and construction industries are forecast to perform the remaining $380 million of industrial R&D.

Businesses in Canada spent $2.0 billion on energy-related R&D in 2013, unchanged from 2012. Fossil fuel-related R&D performance accounted for over two-thirds of all energy-related R&D in 2013 at $1.4 billion, down slightly from $1.5 billion in 2012. R&D for energy efficiency related technologies increased to $128 million in 2013, up from $80 million in 2012.

In 2013, the top four fields of technology—electrical engineering, electronic engineering and information technology ($3.5 billion), other engineering and technology ($2.7 billion), software engineering ($2.6 billion) and mechanical engineering ($2.0 billion)—accounted for two-thirds of all industrial R&D in Canada.

Most industrial R&D is performed by scientists and engineers, who are assisted by technical and support staff. In 2013, R&D professionals consisting of scientists, engineers and R&D administrators, numbered 89,165 full-time equivalents (FTEs), and made up two-thirds (67%) of industrial R&D personnel. Technicians and technologists—technically trained personnel who support the activities of scientists and engineers—accounted for 33,551 full-time equivalents, while other support personnel constituted the remaining 9,615 full-time equivalents.

While Ontario and Quebec continue to account for the majority of industrial R&D performed in Canada, their combined share declined slowly but steadily from 2000 to 2013, from $10.5 billion or 85%, to $11.7 billion or 73%. In these two provinces, the majority of industrial R&D has historically been performed in the manufacturing sector. Declines in manufacturing R&D, mostly in Ontario, mirror the declines in the overall share of R&D performed in Quebec and Ontario.

R&D performed in Alberta and British Columbia, increased during this period; from $583 million in 2000 to $2.0 billion in 2013 in Alberta and from $973 million in 2000 to $1.6 billion in 2013 in British Columbia. In 2000, the four western provinces accounted for $1.8 billion or 14% of industrial R&D but, by 2013, these four provinces accounted for $4.1billion, or 26%. This shift paralleled the growing importance of R&D in the oil and gas extraction industry in Alberta and the focus on R&D in service industries in British Columbia.

Between 2000 and 2013, Atlantic Canada has also seen its industrial R&D spending grow from $132 million to $222 million, but it remains a comparatively small share (1%) of total industrial R&D in Canada in 2013.

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