Government of Canada makes transformative $70 million investment in agricultural science

News release

September 21, 2018 – Harrow, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

A thriving and sustainable agriculture sector is made possible only by the investments made in science, research, and innovation. Canada has some of the world’s best scientists, and the breakthrough technologies they develop give farmers the tools they need to better manage their farms, while growing their businesses and creating good middle class jobs.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced today, the details of the Government of Canada’s transformational $70M investment, over five years, to address significant environmental challenges and hire approximately 75 scientists and science professionals in emerging fields of agricultural science.

Of this $70M investment, $44M is dedicated to hiring the next generation of federal research scientists and science professionals and equipping them with the state-of-the-art tools they need to advance agricultural research, including environmental sampling equipment and analytical instruments.

Minister MacAulay also announced a new Living Laboratories Initiative, which includes $10M to support collaborative research projects with external partners. Living Laboratories are an integrated approach to agricultural research that bring farmers, scientists and other stakeholders together to co-develop, test and monitor new practices and technologies on farms. The result will be more practical technologies and sustainable farming practices adopted more quickly by Canadian farmers.

The Living Laboratories Initiative led by Canada is a model to the world as other countries also try to improve the resilience and sustainability of their agricultural production. This Living Labs approach was presented by Minister MacAulay at the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Argentina in July and the initiative was endorsed by ministers in attendance.

In the same spirit of collaboration, the remaining $16M of the $70M is earmarked to fund collaborative federal research projects focused on priority areas affecting the agriculture sector, such as environmental issues. With these funds, researchers will have the support, for example, to find better nutrient management solutions to ensure the health of our waterways.

This $70M investment in research and development fulfills the Budget 2017 commitment to support discovery science and innovation.


“This investment allows us to hire the next generation of world-class scientists here in Harrow and across the country, and will help give our farmers the tools they need to grow their businesses for years to come. This transformational investment demonstrates our Government’s strong commitment to science and our focus on the agriculture sector as a primary economic driver for creating good jobs and growing the middle class.”

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Canada supports science and research and the Government of Canada is proud to support the ground-breaking work of our federal scientists. We know that investments in science are essential for innovation, a strong and healthy economy, and for the environmental sustainability of our country. Today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to strengthen science and evidence-based decision-making.”

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“The science done at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada is vitally important for our food supply today and for our food security tomorrow. Increasing the number of researchers who carry out this important work will support agricultural discovery and innovation. It is a good step towards ensuring that decision makers have access to the scientific evidence they need to help keep Canada’s food supply safe, healthy and sustainable.”

- Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada

Quick facts

  • Living Laboratories are a nation-wide network of sites where groups both in and outside of government can collaborate to develop and implement innovative solutions to address persistent agri-environmental issues.

  • This $70M investment was outlined in Budget 2017 to further support agricultural discovery science and innovation, with a focus on climate change and soil and water conservation.

  • The Government of Canada has set an ambitious goal of growing Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

  • Agricultural science is vital to the economy, for instance, thanks to Canadian scientists’ development of canola, this commodity now accounts for almost 15 per cent of total agriculture and food exports, valued at $9.2B (2016).

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research helps ensure Canadians have access to high quality food produced in Canada, while increasing the sustainability of Canadian agriculture.

  • Budget 2018 makes a historic investment of nearly $4 billion over five years in research and in the next generation of scientists. This is the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history.

Associated links


Katie Hawkins
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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