The federal budget introduced this week includes welcome measures that support the continued development of Canada’s most important assets: our people.
The 2017 federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau Wednesday includes funding for work-integrated learning, Indigenous student supports, and a new organization to support skills development across Canada.
“We are pleased to see the Government of Canada taking action to make Canada a global leader in innovation by investing in people,” said Professor Santa J. Ono, president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia. “I welcome the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, and I am particularly encouraged to see a new commitment from the government to ensure its plan benefits women and Indigenous people.”
Budget 2017 includes a $221-million investment in Mitacs to provide up to 10,000 annual work placements for graduate students. The budget also directs $90 million to the Post-Secondary Student Support program, which is targeted at increasing the accessibility of a post-secondary education for Indigenous students.
The budget includes a commitment to invest up to $950 million over five years in business-led innovation superclusters. “Canada has a real opportunity to supercharge our competitiveness in specific sectors with this investment in high-potential, economically impactful industries,” Ono said. “Universities have a critical role to play in these clusters – we are a major supply of the talent and ideas that fuel industry.”
Budget 2017 also highlighted the upcoming release of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review.
“I look forward to reviewing the panel’s recommendations and working with the government to strengthen Canada’s research funding system to better support the talented and dedicated communities of researchers across Canada,” Professor Ono said.
“Continued investment at globally competitive levels in Canada’s foundational research funding programs is needed to ensure Canadian scholars can continue to push the frontiers of knowledge and understanding. This is a worthy goal in and of itself but also helps underpin our nation’s capacity to innovate.”