Design Engineering

Canadian companies spend big on R&D


General Aerospace Bombardier Magna R&D

Bombardier topped the list with Magna, Blackberry, BCE and Canadian Natural Resources rounding off the top 5 R&D spenders.

Canada’s top 100 research and development (R&D) firms are spending more and more on research and development initiatives. Research Infosource Inc. released its annual Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders 2016 list, which shows R&D companies spent $12.84 billion in 2015, up 6.9% over the previous year’s spending at $12.02 billion.

Bombardier continues to remain at the top of the list of R&D investors. The aerospace and transportation giant spent $2.29 billion, up from $2.02 billion. This 13.4% increase demonstrates Bombardier’s commitment to investing in new projects and technologies, especially after a challenging year of restructuring and layoffs.

With Bombardier at the top of the list, Magna International came in second, spending $639.4 million. Rounding off the top five are Blackberry Limited ($599.7 million), BCE Inc. ($530.3 million) and Canadian Natural Resources Limited ($527.0 million).

In total, R&D spending increased at 68 firms and declined at 31 (one company was flat).


This year Research Infosource included 26 firms in its $100 Million Club, an elite group that spent $100 million or more on R&D in 2015, down from 30 firms in the previous year.

When its comes to the top performing sectors, the aerospace industry takes the top spot. Five companies posted R&D spending of nearly $2.99 billion, an increase of 12.5% from 2014. The pharmaceutical/biotech industry took second with spending at nearly $1.86 billion of combined spending, up 16.4% from the previous year.

“It’s a pleasant surprise that the Top 100 increased their R&D spending in spite of the economic headwinds,” said Ron Freedman, CEO of Research Infosource Inc. “What’s even more surprising is that the R&D spending increase countered a -5.1% drop in combined revenue growth at the 84 companies where complete revenue data were available.”

In association with its 15th Anniversary, Research Infosource spotlights the top 20 corporate R&D performers over a 15-year stretch (2001-2015).

“These are the firms that have consistently invested in R&D each year for a decade-and-a-half – Canada’s corporate research stalwarts,” Freedman added. “The 5 top performers were Bombardier Inc, BlackBerry Limited, Magna International Inc. Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. and IBM Canada Ltd.”


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