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A Science Policy for Canada: Report of the Senate Special Committee on Science Policy (The Lamontagne Report)
Chair: Hon. Maurice Lamontagne (QC)
Deputy Chair: Hon. Donald Cameron (AB)
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"The standard and quality of life in this country will be largely determined by the way in which [we] respond to the prospects and perils … of science and technology," declared the Senate's Science Policy Committee in its final report. "Yet in November 1967, when [we started], there was no appropriate basis for formulating government policy in this important area, nor any framework in the public or private sectors for discussing it."
Six years later, the Committee had amassed an extensive research base, gathered the views of more than 300 Canadian and international practitioners, and made 70 recommendations. One of its main recommendations called for a national R&D expenditure effort pegged at 2.5% of GDP, with 10 per cent of the total to be devoted to basic research. The Committee also urged the government to create independent councils to fund original research in three separate fields – physical sciences, social sciences and humanities, and life sciences – while many of its recommendations aimed to broaden the government's research efforts beyond the confines of the National Research Council (NRC). The Ministry of State (Science and Technology), newly created in 1971, featured in a number of the Committee's recommendations.
Two of Canada's primary granting agencies for academic research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research (SSHRC) Councils, owe their existence to the Senate's Science Policy Committee. Created in 1976, they now oversee budgets of $1 billion and $300 million respectively.
The Lamontagne Report held sway for many years. As D.J.C. Phillipson commented almost twenty years later, it was "still used in 1992 by government officials as the essential source on the NRC and the general historical background on Canadian science." Nevertheless, Canada's R&D effort still lags behind Lamontagne's recommended expenditure target. Statistics Canada estimates that Canada's national R&D effort for 2005 totaled only $26 billion (about 2% of GDP).