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Budget 2024: Budget round-up on post-secondary education and research


The federal government tabled its budget on April 16, 2024, promising increased spending on research funding that will benefit academic staff and strengthen the post-secondary education community.

The most significant spending announcements for post-secondary education are:

  • $825 million over five years to raise the value and number of graduate student scholarships and fellowships 
  • $1.8 billion over five years to the granting councils for core research funding 

After several years of inaction, this budget is a shift in the right direction and signals the government is listening to the advocacy from the post-secondary education community. 

Tri-Council funding

Budget 2024 committed $1.8 billion over five years for core research funding for CIHR, NSERC and SSHERC. These increases start in 2024-2025, with most of the funding coming towards the end of the period. 

Increased spending for research grants through CIHR, NSERC and CIHR (in millions of dollars)

2024-25 2025-26 2026-27 2027-28 2028-29 Total
75 153 286 517 764 1,795

For each ongoing year after this five-year investment, the government is committing to an increase of $748.3 million annually. The last significant increase to Tri-Council funding was in the 2018 federal budget. 

Graduate student scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships 

Starting in 2024-2025, the annual value of master’s scholarships will rise from $17,500 to $27,000 and doctoral student scholarships will be $40,000 for most programs, but a decrease for Vanier award winners. Post-doctoral fellowships will all rise to $70,000, the same level of the Banting award. After five years, it is expected that approximately 1,720 more graduate students or fellows annually will receive scholarship or fellowships. For each ongoing year after this five-year investment, the government is committing to an increase of $200 million annually. 

Increased spending for graduate students and post-doctoral scholarships (in millions of dollars)

2024-25 2025-26 2026-27 2027-28 2028-29 Total
142 146 178 189 200 855

The government also proposes to consolidate the current suite of scholarship and fellowship programs. Details on how this harmonization will occur are to be provided later.

Modernizing federal research support

In response to the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, Budget 2024 proposes a new funding agency to “provide better coordination across the federally funded research ecosystem.” The granting councils will continue to exist within this new organization.

Budget 2024 also re-announces plans to create an advisory Council on Science and Innovation, first promised in Budget 2018. This Council will be made up of leaders from the academic, industry and not-for-profit sectors, and be responsible for a national science and innovation strategy to guide priority setting and increase the impact of federal investments.

The granting councils also received $26.9 million over five years to establish an improved and harmonized grant management system, something for which the research community has long called.

Targeted research and research infrastructure

In addition to the $1.8 billion to the Tri-Council for investigator-led research, the federal government made investments in mission-driven, targeted research investments and research infrastructure.

  • $2 billion over five years to launch a new AI Compute Access Fund and Canadian AI Sovereign Compute Strategy 
  • $3.1 billion over 11 years, starting in 2025-2026, with $1.5 billion in remaining amortization, to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to support Canadian Nuclear Laboratories 
  • $8.6 million to the Canadian Space Agency for the Lunar Exploration Program and a new National Space Council to deliver a whole-of-government approach to space exploration, technology development and research 
  • $80 million over five years for the Brain Canada Foundation 
  • $3.5 million for Polar Knowledge Canada to support its activities, including the operation of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station 
  • $399.8 million over five years, starting in 2025-2026, to support TRIUMF, Canada’s sub-atomic physics research laboratory, located on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus 
  • $176 million over five years, starting in 2025-2026, to CANARIE, a national not-for-profit organization that manages Canada’s ultra high-speed network to connect researchers, educators and innovators 
  • $83.5 million over three years, starting in 2026-2027, to extend support to Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon 
  • $45.5 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, to support the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, a network of universities and institutes, headquartered at Queen’s University 
  • $30 million over three years, starting in 2024-2025, to support the completion of the University of Saskatchewan’s Centre for Pandemic Research at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon 

These new investments are in addition to existing federal research support to organizations such as Genome Canada and the Council of Canadian Academies through the Strategic Science Fund, which announced the results of its first competition in December 2023, providing support to 24 third-party science and research organizations starting in 2024-2025. 

Canada also recently concluded negotiations to be an associate member of Horizon Europe, which would enable Canadians to access a range of research opportunities. 

Support for students 

Extending changes to student grant and loan amounts 

The federal government raised Canada Student Grants for full-time students from $3,000 to $6,000 during the pandemic. In Budget 2023, this amount dropped to $4,200. Budget 2024 extends this amount an additional year. The interest-free Canada Student Loan increase from $210 to $300 per week for full-time students was also extended. 

Attracting graduates to rural and remote communities 

Budget 2024 permanently expands the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program to more health care and social services professionals working in rural and remote communities, building on student loan forgiveness for doctors, nurses and early childhood educators. 

Supporting mature students 

Budget 2024 eliminates the credit screening requirement for mature students applying for Canada Student Grants and Loans for the first time. This measure is estimated to cost $18.9 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, with $4 million per year ongoing. This will allow up to an additional 1,000 students per year to benefit from federal student aid. 

Reviewing program for students attending private institutions 

The government will review the designated educational institution status of private learning institutions for the purposes of the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. Further details on this review will be announced in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement. 

Canada Student Financial Assistance Program as international relations tool 

Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to ensure that, beginning on August 1, 2024, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be ineligible to receive Canada Student Financial Assistance while studying at Russian post-secondary institutions. 

Work-integrated learning and youth employment 

Funding for the Student Work Placement Program and the Youth Employment Strategy were renewed through to 2025-2026. 

Student housing 

The government’s Housing Plan, released the Friday before Budget 2024, takes a multi-pronged approach to tackling housing supply and affordability. The federal government is promising to accelerate the processing of international student study permits to institutions with adequate student housing, as part of a Recognized Institutions Framework. Budget 2024 commits to the release of this framework by the fall of 2024. 

To assist in the expansion of student housing, Budget 2024 re-announces the changes to the Apartment Construction Loan Program to allow institutions to apply for low-interest financing to build student housing. It also commits to the removal of GST on new student residences for not-for-profit universities, public colleges and school authorities. This measure is expected to cost $19 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, and $5 million per year ongoing. 

To support current students, the government will update the formula used by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program to calculate housing costs when determining financial need to better reflect the cost of housing. The government estimates this could deliver more rent relief to approximately 79,000 students each year, at an estimated cost of $154.6 million over five years. 

Data on student housing costs is inadequately reported in Statistics Canada’s Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs Survey. It is unclear whether the Budget 2024 announcement of $20 million over four years to modernize and enhance the collection and dissemination of housing data will extend to student housing. 

Youth Mental Health Fund 

Budget 2024 provides $500 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, for the creation of a new Youth Mental Health Fund that better equips community health organizations to refer youth to other mental health services within their networks and partnerships. 

Canada Learning Bond 

The government will amend the Canada Education Savings Act to introduce automatic enrolment in the Canada Learning Bond for eligible children and to extend the eligibility age from 20 to 30 years to retroactively claim the Canada Learning Bond. This measure is expected to cost $161.9 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, with $148.8 million ongoing. The Canada Learning Bond grant provides up to $2,000. 

Indigenous education, research and languages 

Budget 2024 provides a modest increase in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program supporting Indigenous students. It also renews Indigenous language funding, investing over $290 million in Indigenous-led efforts to reclaim, revitalize and strengthen Indigenous cultures and languages, up from the $275 million committed in Budget 2021. 

To support Indigenous researchers and their communities, Budget 2024 provides $30 million over three years, starting in 2024-2025, to support Indigenous participation in research, with $10 million each for First Nation, Métis and Inuit partners. 

Budget 2024 also commits $5.2 million over two years, starting in 2024-2025, to support the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in the Northwest Territories. 

Official languages 

Budget 2023 allocated $1.4 billion over five years to support the Official Languages Action Plan. Budget 2024 adds little to this investment, committing $26 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to support the implementation of An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages. This act received royal assent in June 2023 and requires the government to advance formal, non-formal and informal opportunities for members of English and French linguistic minority communities to pursue quality learning in their own language throughout their lives, including from early childhood to post-secondary education. 

Equity measures 

Equity in research 

Budget 2018 committed funding to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in research, which helped create the Dimensions program, housed by NSERC. This program quietly wound up in 2023, despite showing initial promise. No new funding was provided in Budget 2024. 

Employment equity 

Budget 2024 commits the government to introduce legislation to modernize the Employment Equity Act, including by expanding designated equity groups. CAUT is looking for the proposed changes to include strengthening the Federal Contractors Program as recommended by the government’s Task Force on Employment Equity


Budget 2024 announces a new Canada Disability Benefit Amount that will provide a maximum of $2,400 per year for eligible Canadians, an amount widely criticized as too low. The budget also makes additional expenses eligible for the Disability Supports Deduction under the Income Tax Act, such as computer input devices. 

Combatting hate and online harms 

Budget 2024 provides $273.6 million over six years, starting in 2024-2025 with $29.3 million ongoing, for Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate to support community outreach and law enforcement reform to better recognize hate-motivated crime. This funding includes: 

  • $12 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, to Women and Gender Equality Canada to fund projects aimed at combatting hate against the 2SLGBTQI+ community 
  • $3 million over two years, starting in 2024-2025, to Women and Gender Equality Canada to support security needs for Pride festivals 
  • $12.9 million over six years to improve the collection and availability of hate crime data in Canada 

Although the Online Harms Act is still at second reading in the House of Commons, Budget 2024 allocates funding to create a Digital Safety Commission and a Digital Safety Ombudsperson. Concerns have been raised about the powers of the commission and about changes to the Criminal Code and Human Rights Act that could be more harmful than helpful. 

Artificial intelligence 

Budget 2024 commits $2.4 billion to “strengthen Canada’s AI advantage.” In addition to the $2 billion to increase computing capabilities and technological infrastructure, the budget provides: 

  • $50 million to support workers who may be impacted by AI by providing new skills training for those in disrupted sectors and communities 
  • $50 million for the creation of an AI Safety Institute 
  • $5.1 million for the Office of the AI and Data Commissioner to strengthen the enforcement of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), which is at second reading in the House of Commons 

Civil society groups, including the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group of which CAUT is a founding member, are calling for much greater public consultation on the regulation of artificial intelligence and a significant re-drafting of AIDA. 


The increased science and research funding in Budget 2024 is very welcome and reflects the power of a united voice from the research community. 

CAUT looks forward to working with the government in the coming months on the proposed changes to the governance of science and research funding in Canada. We will be working to ensure the integrity and independence of science and research in Canada and the placing of fundamental science at the heart of a science and innovation strategy. 

With a federal election in less than two years, CAUT will also be seeking greater funding commitments to ensure a thriving research community in Canada, rooted in high quality, accessible and affordable public post-secondary education across the country. 

Appendix: CAUT pre-budget 2024 submission and Budget 2024 – At a glance

CAUT pre-budget submission Budget 2024
Boosting granting council budgets for core programming by at least 10%, or $400 million annually for 5 years $1.8 billion over 5 years with $228 million in first 2 years
Increasing both the number and value of graduate student scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships by $200 million over 2 years $825 million over 5 years with $288 million in first 2 years
Permanently increasing the Canada Student Grant to pandemic levels of $6,000 $4,200 up from $3,000 pre-pandemic level
Develop a national post-secondary education strategy that lays out a vision for public, high-quality, affordable and accessible post-secondary education and research across Canada New Council on Science and Innovation to develop strategy for research
Protect the mission of public post-secondary education by amending the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to exclude public post-secondary education institutions This was included in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement
Provide an additional $650 million annually to close the gap in Indigenous post-secondary educational attainment and support $242 million for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, a renewal with slight increase for inflation
Renew and expand investments to improve and monitor equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research and post-secondary education Budget 2018 investments were not renewed; Budget 2024 does commit to introducing new legislation to update the Employment Equity Act