Federal government likely to spend less this year on science and tech: StatsCan

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says the federal government is expected to spend less on science and technology in the coming year.

The federal agency says spending for the 2013-14 fiscal year is expected to decrease 3.3 per cent from the previous period, to $10.5 billion.

It adds research and development is expected to account for two-thirds of anticipated science and technology spending.

The finding is contained in Statistics Canada’s annual survey of all federal government departments and agencies believed to be performing or funding science and technology activities.

The survey, released Tuesday, covers the period from Sept. 10, 2012 to Jan. 11, 2013.

Statistics Canada says spending on science and technology has been steadily decreasing since 2009-10.

The federal New Democrats criticized the Conservative government over the decline.

“In their 2011 election platform, Conservatives promised to ‘promote innovation — and ultimately to help create good jobs and foster long-term economic growth,'” the NDP said in a statement.

“Their short-term vision for research and technology will instead significantly harm Canadian economic development in the coming years.”

A spokeswoman for Greg Rickford, federal minister of state for science and technology, countered that the government has made record investments in science and technology. She did not directly address questions about cuts to next year’s budget.