A dissatisfying federal election could still push innovation forward

Sebastian Leck
September 22, 2021

On the face of it, little has changed after votes were tallied for Canada's federal election on Monday. The Liberals still have a minority, the number of Conservative seats barely budged and the NDP is on track to gain just one or two more seats more than they won in 2019. It was, for the most part, a disappointing election that virtually no one — besides Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — needed or wanted.

Yet the election introduced new innovation ideas and promises, and will constitute somewhat of a restart for the Liberal government. Both the Liberals and Conservatives promised to create a DARPA-like agency, as our correspondent Monte Stewart has reported, and to reform the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program that has been criticized by industry groups. The Liberals promised new research funding, too, including 1,000 new Canada Research Chairs and $100 million for moonshot research projects on high-impact diseases. The funding outlined in Budget 2021 will likely remain intact, including billions for the Strategic Innovation Fund and hundreds of millions more for national AI and quantum strategies. 

Several pieces of legislation died when the election was called, such as Bill C-11 on implementing new digital privacy rules. Trudeau’s Liberal government had presumably hoped that winning a majority would end procedural battles that consumed much of the spring and summer, but they now have to find a way to work with the other parties on pushing such reforms forward.

The end of the election means that the real policy work can resume. And there's much to be done. This week, innovation leaders told Monte Stewart that improving intellectual property ownership will be much more important than a new research agency for commercializing Canadian innovations. Meanwhile, aerospace industry leaders raised the alarm that Canada is falling behind other nations even though the sector already receives large subsidies, senior correspondent Mark Lowey reports (the sector has been promised an extra $1.75 billion in the Liberal platform). And despite the fanfare, Canada has only made modest gains in opening up scientific research during the pandemic, senior correspondent Lindsay Borthwick reported this month.

Research Money has tracked all of the parties’ innovation promises throughout this election period, and we plan to follow up with more coverage and analysis this fall and winter. If you’d like to send us a tip, contribute an opinion piece or simply highlight an important issue that we haven’t covered, send us a note at editor@researchmoneyinc.com.


Other News

Events For Leaders in
Science, Tech, Innovation, and Policy

Discuss and learn from those in the know at our virtual and in-person events.

See Upcoming Events

You have 1 free article remaining.
Don't miss out - start your free trial today.

Start your FREE trial    Already a member? Log in


By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.