Canadian Federal Budget 2021: Investing in World-Leading Research and Innovation

The Canadian Federal Budget was released today yesterday so I am jumping in head-first. Updates will come sporadically so follow along here, on Twitter, The Newsletter, or our newly launched Medium page to make sure you don’t miss a post. Ready? Set? Let’s go!


Yesterday I covered some of the budget updates relating to bio-manufacturing and exciting physics news. Today I’m going to dive into updates to the Strategic Innovations Fund. The Strategic Innovations Fund is this big pool of money allocated to “large-scale, transformative and collaborative projects that help position Canada to prosper in the global knowledge-based economy”. This is broken down into several streams (five) broadly divided into Business Innovation and Growth and Collaborations and Networks.

These new budget points are additions to the existing 2017 fund, and will add $7.2 B over the next seven years, with another $511.4 M ongoing. At the heart of the strategy is to support Canada’s strengths and “help cement Canada/s position as a world leader in research and innovation, building a global brand that will attract talent and capital for years to come.” I’m going to leave that for now, but here is a quick summary:

Clip from the budget (CH 4.7)

The next big chunk of money ($443.8 M over ten years) is going to Renewing the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. A lot of the money is going to commercialization, attracting and retaining talent, and increasing dedicated computing capacity for researchers at national artificial intelligence institutes in Edmonton, Toronto, and Montréal. I also noticed the language, “ensuring Canadian values are embedded across widely used global platforms”… whatever that means.

We touched on the National Quantum Strategy, Space-Based Earth Observations, and the Photonics Fabrication Centre yesterday, you can check that out here.

Next up are some specifics related to bio-manufacturing, which we talked about here. There will be $400 M over six years going toward a Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy, $250 M going to CIHR’s Clinical Trials Fund, and $60 M for the Innovation Supercluster Initiative (which had a big hand in our COVID response – planning on digging into this in a later post).


Of course there is a lot more to cover. I’ll be digging into the Net Zero Accelerator which includes a lot about our environmental commitments. Updates will be coming over the next few days, but it will likely take on a different form. Again, you can follow along here, on Twitter, The Newsletter, or our newly launched Medium page.

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