Canada's Science-Friendly Federal Budget

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration has proposed a budget that delivers on his promise to support basic science in the country.

Mar 28, 2016
Bob Grant

Newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be a friend of scienceWIKIMEDIA, A.K. FUNGCanada’s new Liberal government laid out a funding roadmap last week (March 22) that includes a huge boost to the country’s federal research agencies and universities. The proposal seeks to add more than $72 million per year to the budgets of Canada’s research granting councils, including $19 million to help cover indirect costs for universities that win federal funding. “It’s an important step towards getting us back to globally competitive research levels,” Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada, an umbrella organization that represents Canada’s academic administrations, told The Globe and Mail.

The budget boost also came with a further promise to devote more political will to science and innovation in a country whose research enterprise stagnated under a decade of Conservative rule. The new government, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will “put forward a new Innovation agenda which will outline a new vision for Canada’s economy as a center of global innovation, renowned for its science, technology, resourceful citizens, and globally competitive companies,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a statement.

Here’s how the budgetary increases break down: $23 million for the Canadian Institute of Health Research, $23 million for the Canadian Institute of Natural Sciences and Engineering research, and $12.3 million for the Social Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The budget provides additional boosts to Genome Canada, the Canada Brain Research Fund, and the country’s Stem Cell Network.

“To me, it says all the right things and it’s money on the table,” Kristin Baetz, a researcher at the University of Ottawa and president of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, told The Globe and Mail.