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April 06, 2009— Ottawa, Ontario

Reversing the trend for Canadian manufacturing 

In this environment, many manufacturing firms are suspending their R&D efforts just to survive. But reduced R&D today means less opportunity tomorrow. Despite today's economic realities, we need continuous investment in R&D to help Canada's manufacturing sector thrive globally. We need greater incentives for companies to put money into R&D so they will continue to innovate, even if that innovation does not lead to immediate profitability. We must shorten the timeline for innovations to flow from the lab to the marketplace so that companies see a quicker return on their R&D investment. And we need to see Canada become a world leader in green manufacturing technologies.

The 2009 Federal Budget recognizes these needs. To help protect jobs, the government is providing $7.5 billion in extra support for sectors, regions and communities. This includes support for the auto, forestry and manufacturing sectors, as well as funding for clean energy.

As part of this support, the government is extending the two-year write-off for investments in manufacturing and processing equipment until the end of 2011. This measure will help manufacturers retool and boost their productivity for long-term success. The broad range of infrastructure projects proposed in the Budget will also benefit manufacturers, as well as businesses that rely on logistics, innovation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure.

The government also recognizes NRC's critical role in stimulating innovation. The Budget granted an extra $200 million over the next two years to the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to help Canadian firms perform R&D. NRC-IRAP provides innovation assistance to an average of 10,000 firms each year, sharing the financial risk with some 2,800 of these R&D projects and precommercialization activities.

NRC has also recently launched a strategy to focus R&D on advanced materials and processing technologies as well as decision-aid systems for manufacturing. One of our top objectives is to help Canadian manufacturers take their share of business in the global supply chain. Another objective is to help our manufacturing industries develop cleaner production processes, and consume less energy and raw materials. Putting NRC's expertise to work on these areas of R&D will generate good economic returns.

Across Canada, NRC has some 240 industrial technology advisors helping companies take advantage of NRC-IRAP as well as our industry partnership facilities and other technology development centres. From collaborative R&D to industrial research assistance, our door is open for business.

R&D can't be considered a luxury, not in this economy. We need to use all the resources at hand to help Canadian manufacturers innovate today and compete among the world's best.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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