Despite welcome commitments to expanded public health services, including dental care, pharmacare and mental health care, investments in public post-secondary education were notably absent.
We urgently need a national post-secondary education strategy with the provinces and territories that includes a minimum of $3 billion in direct federal funding. Recent successes establishing childcare and mental health transfers serve as models for how the federal government can play a crucial role in our sector in the future.
Additionally, as the ambitious investments made to basic research across SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR academic disciplines in Budget 2018 are set to expire in 2023, we are concerned that research investments in Budget 2022 are small and limited to STEM fields, directed and not investigator-led, and emphasize commercialization over the public interest.
Targeted Supports for Students and Researchers
- $38.3 million over four years to add new, internationally recruited Canada Excellence Research Chairs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- $40.9 million over five years and $9.7 million ongoing for targeted scholarships and fellowships for promising Black student researchers
- Increasing Canada Student Loans forgiveness for nurses and doctors who work in rural/remote communities: up to $30,000 forgiveness for nurses and $60,000 for doctors
- Extension of interest elimination on the federal portion of Canada Student Loans and doubling of Canada Student Grants until 2023
Targeted Research Funding for Climate Change and Health
- $100 million over six years to support post-secondary research in developing technologies and crop varieties that will allow for net-zero emission agriculture
- $20 million over five years for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support additional research on COVID-19
- $20 million over five years for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for dementia and brain health research
Security, Intellectual Property and Commercialization
- $125 million over five years and $25 million ongoing for the Research Support Fund to build capacity within postsecondary institutions to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks to research security
- $34.6 million over five years and $8.4 million ongoing to establish a Research Security Centre
- $47.8 million over five years and $20.1 million ongoing to launch a new national lab-to-market platform to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market
- $10.6 million over five years and $2 million ongoing to assess the government’s previous investments in science and research, and how knowledge created at post-secondary institutions generates commercial outcomes
- Concerning signals that the government plans to take steps to support the corporate educational publishing sector and increase barriers to knowledge dissemination for educational purposes