Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister on strengthening Canadian research and innovation and making education more affordable


Toronto, ON - April 19, 2024

Good afternoon.

Let me start by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat Peoples.

I am so glad to be home in Toronto today, in my very own riding of University—Rosedale. It was great to meet some of the brilliant minds here at the University of Toronto’s Acceleration Consortium. Thank you very much for hosting us and giving us a bit of a flavour of the truly groundbreaking work you do right here.

To all the young researchers who are here with us today: You are inspiring, you are changing the world in terrific ways, and I am grateful to you for your work.

I want to say a special thank you to the students, the graduate students and the professors of the University that my riding is named after.

As your constituency MP I have been hearing from you directly about the work you do, the needs you have and the ways in which more support can help you to help Canada even more.

I also want to recognize Frédéric Bouchard, who is here with us today—he was the Chair of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, and his work was the basis of many of the budget measures I will be talking about in a moment.

We are living in a pivotal moment for Millennials and Gen Z.

These young Canadians have so much talent and so much potential.

But today, too many young Canadians feel as though the deck is stacked against them. They can get a good job, they can work hard, but far too often, the reward of a secure, prosperous, comfortable, middle class life remains out of reach.

That is why we are acting today to ensure fairness for every generation.

We are moving with purpose to help build more homes, faster.

We are making life cost less.

And we are driving the kind of economic growth that will ensure every generation of Canadians can reach their full potential.

Our country works best when our economy is growing and when more opportunities exist—for every generation. To drive the kind of growth that will deliver prosperity for Canadians, the budget I tabled on Tuesday redoubles our efforts to increase investments, enhance productivity, and encourage game-changing innovation that will create well-paying, meaningful jobs and keep Canada at the global economic vanguard.

We’re backing groundbreaking industries so Canada remains on the cutting edge of the technologies of tomorrow, and the good jobs they will bring. We’re working to empower more of our best researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to put their ideas to work here in Canada.

So, how are we going to do that?

We are investing $5 billion in Canadian brainpower.

More funding for research and scholarships will help Canada attract the next generation of game-changing thinkers doing exactly the kind of work you do here at the Acceleration Consortium, like artificial intelligence-driven research and innovation. And I’m really glad our government was able to support the Consortium with that work a year ago with a $200 million grant—the largest federal research grant ever awarded to a Canadian university—from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

That’s why, as part of this $5 billion investment, we are investing $825 million over five years to increase the annual value of post-graduate scholarships and fellowships. This investment is going to increase the number of research scholarships and fellowships provided, and it’s going to help 1,720 more graduate students and fellows each year.

With this budget, we are providing $1.8 billion over five years to support core research grants through federal granting councils like the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. This funding is going to help federal granting councils build on their excellent work to support researchers making groundbreaking discoveries in areas like artificial intelligence, health, and climate change—just like you’re doing here at the Acceleration Consortium.   

We are the best in the world at what we do here. I love that. Modesty is a Canadian virtue but let’s make ambition a Canadian virtue too. This investment is about providing the resources so Canada can be a leader.

That is making investments in research, making investments in our young researchers is an investment in economic growth and productivity.

Not just the kinds of investments in order to support these specific investments. It really is a virtuous circle. Investing in research, in scientists, in Masters degree students, Doctoral students and Post-Doctoral. It is also investing in our entrepreneurs and innovators. Some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs and innovators started their journey in a lab like this one. Many of them are entrepreneurs and researchers at the same time.

That is one of the reasons this investment is so important.

We are also investing $734.8 million for world-leading research infrastructure—like high-quality modern labs and facilities. These laboratories and research centres are where scientific breakthroughs are born, helping to solve real-world problems and create the economic opportunities of the future. And making sure Canada is equipped with world-leading research facilities will attract and train the next generation of scientific talent.

And we are building on our track record of making it more affordable to go to college and university by extending the increase in up-front Canada Student Grants and interest-free loans, increasing the amount of financial aid students get for housing, and making it easier for mature students to go back to school affordably. All of this is on top of our promise to eliminate interest on Canada Student Loans, which we delivered on a year ago.

A prosperous future and abundant good paying jobs depend on Canada’s innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers, who are often the same person. That is why we are supporting them. That’s why we are supporting you.

We are building on forward-looking investments this government has made, and we’re doing even more because we know that this is an essential part of Canada’s economic future.

We’re acting now—and acting with purpose—because the cost of inaction today would be borne chiefly by younger Canadians. We would be leaving them behind. And we cannot—we simply will not—do that. Instead, we will help them realize the promise of Canada with a responsible plan that creates new career opportunities and grows the economy for every generation.

Today we say to our younger generations, and to those who care about them: We are putting the power of government to work for you.

Together, we will unlock the door to the middle class for more Canadians—and renew the promise of our great country.

Thank you. 

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