Budget 2022: Investments in innovation outpace support for science

Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 19:47

Today, the Government of Canada tabled its 2022 budget. With Canada reaching its highest inflation rate (and climbing) in three decades, this budget focuses on affordability and fiscal balance. There are flagship investments in building affordable homes and transitioning to a green economy, as well as boosts to defence spending and a budding new dental plan.

So, what does this budget table for science and research-related investments? 

To recap: it’s been four years since the 2018 budget that made historic investments in fundamental research, and three years since the 2019 commitments to expand support for research trainees. While no federal budget was tabled in 2020, there were ongoing investments in Canadian science throughout the pandemic. In the 2021 federal budget, science underpinned targeted investments, including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and bioinnovation.

When it comes to science and research, budget 2022 offers wide-ranging and select investments to accelerate innovation and build intellectual property. 

There are also niche investments across various disciplines, including funding to support research into long COVID and plastics waste. This includes earmarked funds to create targeted scholarships for Black student researchers, establish national research security, recruit up to 25 Canada Excellence Research Chairs, and extend support to the Experimental Lakes and the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.

We note that this budget does not include significant increases to the federal granting agencies, or targeted investments in the humanities or the social sciences. 

Below, we highlight key science and research-related investments in Budget 2022.

Investment: clear targets for science and research funding

  • $1 billion over five years to create an operationally independent federal innovation and investment agency.
  • $1 billion over six years, starting in 2024-25, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for the Strategic Innovation Fund to provide targeted support towards critical minerals projects, with prioritization given to manufacturing, processing, and recycling applications.
  • $750 million over six years to support the further growth and development of Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters. This funding will be allocated between the five existing innovation clusters to expand their national presence and deepen impact.
  • $436.2 million over five years to the Public Health Agency of Canada to strengthen key surveillance and risk assessment capacities within the Agency. This will include supporting the real-time tracking of virus evolution, monitoring the longer-term health impacts of COVID-19, and expanding risk assessment capacity and research networks for new strains of flu, emerging respiratory infections, and vaccine safety and effectiveness.
  • $183.1 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Transport Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Statistics Canada, and the National Research Council to reduce plastic waste, increase plastic circularity by developing and implementing regulatory measures, and conducting scientific research to inform policy-making (including to understand the effects of micro-plastics on human health, monitor plastic contaminants in the North, inform ship plastic waste management, and monitor plastic pollution in water systems).
  • $144.4 million over five years to Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council to support research, development, and the deployment of technologies and materials to support critical mineral value chains.
  • $100 million over six years to the federal granting councils to support post-secondary research in developing technologies and crop varieties that will allow for net-zero emission agriculture.
    • $96.6 million over five years to build an intellectual property regime, as follows:
    • $47.8 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, and $20.1 million ongoing, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to launch a new national lab-to-market platform to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market; 
    • $35 million over five years to Global Affairs Canada for the CanExport program to help Canadian businesses secure their intellectual property in foreign markets; 
    • $10.6 million over five years, and $2 million ongoing, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to launch a survey to assess the government’s previous investments in science and research, and how knowledge created at post-secondary institutions generates commercial outcomes; 
    • $2.4 million over five years, and $0.6 million ongoing, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to expand use of ExploreIP, Canada’s intellectual property marketplace; 
    • $0.8 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $0.2 million ongoing, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to expand the Intellectual Property Legal Clinics Program;
    • The government will also review ways to build companies that support Canada’s competitiveness, keep intellectual property in Canada, seek views on the suitability of adopting a patent box regime and other measures to promote intellectual property growth, and attract global talent and investment.
  • $69.9 million for Natural Resources Canada to undertake research to minimize waste generated from small modular reactors; support the creation of a fuel supply chain; strengthen international nuclear cooperation agreements; and enhance domestic safety and security policies and practices. 
  • $45 million over four years to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to engage with stakeholders, conduct market analysis, and support projects that will strengthen Canada’s semiconductor industry.
  • $44.9 million over five years, and $9.0 million ongoing, to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to support the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, including coordinating Canada-U.S. invasive sea lamprey control activities, managing fisheries, and conducting scientific research in the Great Lakes.
  • $40.9 million over five years, and $9.7 million ongoing, to the federal granting councils to support targeted scholarships and fellowships for Black student researchers.
  • $38.3 million over four years, and $12.7 million ongoing, for the federal granting councils to add 12 to 25 new, internationally recruited Canada Excellence Research Chairs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • $30 million over three years to the Public Health Agency of Canada, for the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to accelerate innovations in brain health and aging.
  • $20 million over five years for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support additional research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 infections on Canadians, as well as the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health and health care systems.
  • $20 million over five years for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to ramp up efforts to learn more about dementia and brain health, to improve treatment and outcomes for persons living with dementia, and to evaluate and address mental health consequences for caregivers and different models of care.
  • $17.7 million over five years, and $5.5 million thereafter until 2031-32, for the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to establish a unique research chair program to fund academics to conduct peer-reviewed publishable research and classified research on cutting-edge technologies relevant to CSE’s activities. 
  • $1.5 million over one year to the Department of Canadian Heritage for a federal contribution towards an endowment which would support the ongoing activities of the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora.

Infrastructure: science advice and capacity in government

  • $296 million over four years, starting in 2023-24, and $74 million ongoing, to Global Affairs Canada to help support efforts to address global health security priorities, such as infectious disease prevention and response.
  • $159.6 million over one year, and $33.4 million ongoing, to secure Canadian research from foreign threats, as follows: 
    • $125 million over five years, and $25 million ongoing, for the Research Support Fund to build capacity within postsecondary institutions to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks to research security;
    • $34.6 million over five years, and $8.4 million ongoing, to enhance Canada’s ability to protect its research, and to establish a Research Security Centre that will provide advice to research institutions.
  • $25 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada to support the Experimental Lakes Area.
  • $14.5 million over five years, with $8.4 million in remaining amortization and $2.5 million ongoing, to support the completion and operations of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.
  • The government will review the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program to ensure that it is effective in encouraging R&D that benefits Canada, and explore opportunities to modernize and simplify it. The review will examine eligibility criteria, whether the tax system can play a role in developing and retaining intellectual property stemming from R&D conducted in Canada, and the suitability of adopting a patent box regime to meet these objectives. No funding or timeline was specified. 
  • The government will explore new ways to better integrate university researchers and business partners, and further modernize the National Research Centre to better invent, innovate, and prosper. No funding or timeline was specified. 

Information: evidence-informed policy for equity and prosperity

  • $79.2 million over five years for Natural Resources Canada to provide public access to integrated data sets to inform critical mineral exploration and development.
  • $13.4 million over five years, with $2.8 million ongoing, to Global Affairs Canada to renew and expand the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism, which confronts the threat of disinformation and protects G7 democracies from foreign threats.
  • ​​$10 million over five years, with $2 million ongoing, for the Privy Council Office to coordinate, develop, and implement government-wide measures designed to combat disinformation and protect our democracy.

Opportunities for science and expert advice: 

  • The Department of Finance Canada will engage with experts to establish an investment tax credit of up to 30 per cent, focused on net-zero technologies, battery storage solutions, and clean hydrogen.
  • The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development will lead a new cannabis strategy table to support an ongoing dialogue with businesses and stakeholders in the cannabis sector, hear from industry leaders, and identify ways to work together to grow the legal cannabis sector in Canada.
  • The government intends to introduce legislative amendments and new legislation necessary to enable Canada’s participation in Lunar Gateway, including the ratification of the Canada-US Lunar Gateway Treaty and the construction of Canadarm3.
  • The government will assemble a Council of Economic Advisors to reinforce the government’s access to expert advice and provide policy options for harnessing new opportunities and navigating increasingly complex economic challenges.

 

Rachael Maxwell

Executive Director

Rachael Maxwell joins Evidence for Democracy with a deep knowledge of the science landscape in Canada and a strong track record of success working at national not-for-profit research organizations. From 2018-21 she held progressively responsible roles at Genome Canada, working across the organization on key priorities in communications, public affairs and strategic planning.