Data Check: Federal funding for science and technology slumps

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The latest Federal Scientific Activities report from Statistics Canada indicates that Canada’s federal government expenditures on science and technology for 2013-14 will decline 3.3 per cent from the previous year. The reduction will not only harm government agencies like Statistics Canada and the National Research Council, but will also reduce funding to research “performers” like universities.
 
If inflation forecasts are correct, real spending by the federal government will actually fall 4.6 per cent. This decrease adds to a funding drop of almost 17 per cent from the peak year of 2010-11. Even if the Knowledge Infrastructure Across Canada program, a government initiative designed to revitalize higher education facilities, is taken into account, the real decline is still 5.3 per cent.
 
If we compare current funding to levels in the early 2000s, things look slightly better. Still, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, current expenditures are down by 1.9 per cent from the start of the 21st century. Compared to the single best year of federal funding post-2000, the drop off is more than 20 per cent.
 
Canada, Department of Finance, June 2013: Department of Finance Private Sector Survey; Budget 2012, Annex 2, Table 2.9
Statistics Canada, Federal Scientific Activities 2013/2014; CANSIM Table 380-0064 Gross domestic product, expenditure-based

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