Skip to main content
Interesting Articles

Our Government Has Made the Biggest Investment in Science in Canada’s History

By March 20, 2018No Comments

Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains was at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus on Tuesday, March 6, to discuss the federal government’s commitment to scientific research. This year’s budget will increase funding to the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, which according to the government of Canada’s website is focused on the strengthening of the middle class through supporting entrepreneurial developments. Over the next five years, $4 billion will be invested in Canadian research and researchers.

In a recent press release, Bains stated “With this budget, our government has made the largest investment in science in Canada’s history. By supporting scientific research and discovery, we’ll transform Canada’s economy into an innovation economy and generate thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs for this generation and the next. And because innovation must be for the many, and not for the few, this feminist budget will empower women in all areas of our economy because we know that equality is essential to our success.”

How the Numbers Break Down

$1.7 billion will go towards supporting granting councils and research institutes, which will provide opportunities to roughly 21,000 researches; to the Research Support Fund, which provides researchers with the “space and support to undertake high-quality research”; and to supporting post-secondary student researchers through the Canada Research Chairs program.

$1.3 billion will be spent on funding the technology, laboratories, and equipment required to conduct research at Canadian universities, polytechnics, colleges, and research hospitals. This includes an investment of $763 million in the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $572.5 million in a Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy.

$2.8 billion over five years will be put towards building collaborative federal science and technology facilities.

Additionally, $2.6 billion over five years will provide resources to help Canadian entrepreneurs grow their businesses, creating new jobs for Canadians.

Opportunities for Women, Visible Minorities, and Indigenous Peoples

This year’s budget also includes the introduction of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which focuses on providing women with the resources and mentorship to grow their businesses, empowering this generation of women and strengthening the Canadian economy.

Additionally, Bains expressed commitment to supporting visible minorities and international students through the investments made in research. When asked by Rizza Umali, the Graduate Students’ Union Director of External Affairs, how the funding for research grants will positively benefit international students and help the province’s population grow through retaining immigrants, Bains replied “We need to promote more collaboration not only among the different disciplines but with our international students and partners and allies as well. And that’s something that we’ll fine tune and flesh out as this funding proposal goes through treasury board and we work closely with our academic institutions. But make no mistake that’s one clear dimension when we talk about diversity, we talk about international students, we talk about international collaboration and doing more research with our international partners as well.”

What more can be done?

Sofia Descalzi, Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students in Newfoundland and Labrador, expressed concern for the rising cost of tuition fees. “We are concerned with the lack of overall core operating investments, like transfer payments from the federal government to the provincial government, especially in the post-secondary education sector” she stated.

Bains responded by saying “The idea is when we make these investments in infrastructure, when we make these investments in granting councils, when we make these investments in student grants, that it puts less pressure on the academic institution so they can provide a better, more affordable tuition price for students, a better experience […] We’re trying to work with the provinces and work with the institutions and we’re trying to leverage as much as we can.”