Ontario universities commend federal government for record research investment

Ontario’s universities are delighted that Finance Minister Joe Oliver and the federal government are recognizing that world-class research is vital to the health, prosperity and quality of life of all Canadians, through a substantial $1.5-billion investment in research announced in the 2015 federal budget.

“University research is the engine for the bold ideas and innovation that gives Canada a competitive edge globally,” says Max Blouw, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President of Wilfrid Laurier University.

“The federal government’s $1.33-billion investment to the Canada Foundation for Innovation – the largest single investment ever made in research infrastructure support – will allow universities to attract the very best talent and conduct the kind of ground-breaking research that transforms lives and meets Canada’s strategic goals for success.”

Ontario universities are well-positioned to deliver on the opportunity this investment affords. According to Research Infosource Inc., seven Ontario universities are already among the Top-15 research institutions in Canada, and 18 are placed in the Top-50.

“Ontario has been the birthplace of so many remarkable game-changing discoveries, and this kind of investment by our federal government will lay the groundwork for research now that will benefit future generations of Canadians,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU’s President and CEO.

“It also will ensure that many more talented students will develop the skills right here in world-class research facilities needed to become the researchers and entrepreneurs our future depends on.”

Ontario universities also commend the federal government for its additional $46-million support for the Tri-Councils – the three federal research granting agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), which support outstanding research and advanced training at universities.

Ontario universities would like to recognize the federal government for its leadership in digital research infrastructure through its support for CANARIE and new targeted investment dollars through CFI. Big data and our ability to create, use, and manage it are the currency of the future and absolutely critical to our continued global research competitiveness.

Universities also welcome federal support for big science through investments in TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, as well as the Thirty Metre Telescope, both of which ensure that Canadians will continue to benefit from tomorrow’s game-changing research.

They thank Industry Minister James Moore for his unwavering recognition that universities are the foundation of Canada’s economic development.

Ontario universities also applaud the federal government for measures in this budget to increase access to students through changes in the Canada Student Loans Program. Many more thousands of students will be eligible for loans as the government reduces the expectation of parental contributions when it calculates eligibility, and by removing the penalty faced by students who apply for loans and also work while studying.

First Nations and Inuit students will also benefit from a commitment to provide additional post-secondary scholarships and bursaries.

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The Council of Ontario Universities is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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