Research and development by Canadian nonprofits falls back, even before COVID.

StatsCan reported today (1) that overall expenditures by Canadian nonprofits fell by $4million in 2018, the most recent year for figures., Estimates for this year have been scaled back from a previously-projected increase. Medical and health research represents just over 50% of the total, but has fallen over recent years from over 80%.   

Research in the social sciences and humanities fell by over 24%, but is still relatively high compared to pre – 2017 years.

Canadian private non-profit organizations spent $171 million performing research and development (R&D) activities in 2018, down $4 million from the previous year. The vast majority of these activities was tied to current in-house research and development, which decreased 3.5% to $165 million. Wages and salaries represented more than half of all costs (54.4%), despite declining 4.1% to $93 million.

More than three-quarters of all R&D spending by Canadian non-profit organizations in 2018 was on the natural sciences and engineering. Expenditures rebounded from the previous year, reaching $139 million. Within this category, medical and health sciences accounted for 50.3% or $86 million of all expenditures, making it the largest field of R&D. Despite its size, expenditures in medical and health sciences have declined since 2014, when it accounted for $126 million or 82.4% of total expenditures.

In-house research and development (R&D) expenditures, by field of R&D



R&D in the social sciences and humanities, which represents another major category of expenditures, fell 24.4% to $31 million, the second-highest outlay since 2014.

(1) Source:

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