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NRC layoffs will hurt startups: union president

Job losses in one of the National Research Council’s most popular industry programs will hurt the startup community in Ottawa, according to the head of one government union.

Fifty-two positions were cut across the country including 18 in Ottawa, mainly in the Industrial Research Assistance Program, according to media reports.

IRAP has drawn praise from Ottawa startups for providing facilities and personnel to mentor those companies that are too cash-strapped to pay for the expertise and equipment themselves.

The NRC has been tasked with slashing 20 per cent from its budget, from $881 million this year to $690 million next year.

“Small startup businesses cannot afford heavy capital investment like instrumentation, like a mass spectrometer which is really expensive,” said Gary Corbett, union president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, in an OBJ interview.

So the IRAP program has these big purchases and they let industry use them at a low cost so that industry, especially small fledging industry, can afford them.”

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released a budget promising balanced books by 2014-15, a year earlier than projected in the budget version released in March but never passed.

Continue reading at the Ottawa Business Journal

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