Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund Announcement at the University of Toronto

Speech

Speaking Points

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, PC, MP
Minister of Science

Toronto, Ontario

July 28, 2016

Check Against Delivery


Good morning.

What an honour to be at the University of Toronto—my alma mater—for this tremendous announcement.

My thanks to Minister Bains, my Cabinet colleague and friend, for his thoughtful words.

Nav, you have my greatest respect and admiration for all that you do to help Canada innovate.

As you so rightly pointed out, the first step in achieving our innovation goal is to invest in our post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Toronto.

U of T has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America.

Students who choose this university will find a stimulating intellectual environment.

I know this first-hand, considering my time as an associate professor here.

It was one of my greatest professional joys to teach my students

  • health
  • geography
  • climate change
  • meteorology
  • infectious disease

My students were curious, bright and eager to make a difference in this world.

I want to thank U of T's faculty and administration for their efforts to educate and train students for careers that allow them to build healthy, stable middle-class lives in Canada.

One of the main goals of today's investment is to help equip Canadians with the education and skills they need for the well-paying middle class jobs of today and tomorrow.

And so, it brings me great pleasure to announce that our government will provide the University of Toronto with $83.7 million to renovate 546 research labs across its three campuses.

Once completed, these labs will support collaborations among an estimated 1,100 researchers and 5,500 students.

This support will enable the institution to achieve great things in the future.

But let's not lose sight of the benefits of this investment in the present.

These funds will result in significant local economic activity through the hiring of skilled tradespeople, designers, architects and specialized contractors who will work to renovate and modernize the labs and spaces students, faculty and staff will one day call home.

Simply put, this investment will make a great university even better.

Today's investment represents one of several actions our government is taking to support scientific excellence in Canada.

In addition to today's Strategic Investment Fund support, Budget 2016 is providing:

  • $95 million to the granting councils, and those funds are unfettered;
  • $237 million to Genome Canada;
  • $20 million to the Canada Brain Research Fund; and
  • $12 million to the Stem Cell Network.

The list goes on, but I hope you're able to draw some clear conclusions: our government values science and the hard work our scientists do.

To make sure our scientists receive the support they need from us, I launched a comprehensive review of federal support for fundamental science in Canada.

As many of you may know already, an esteemed panel of nine experts was appointed to conduct the review. Among them are:

  • Dr. David Naylor, former president of the University of Toronto, who is chair of the panel;
  • Dr. Martha Piper, former president of the University of British Columbia; and
  • Dr. Art McDonald, our most recent Nobel Laureate.

Those are just three of the incredibly accomplished and talented individuals who will spend the next six months working with the research community and Canadians to assess the ways we can improve our support for fundamental science through the granting councils and affiliated agencies such as Genome Canada.

I'm delighted to report that, since launching, the panel has received more than 300 submissions.

I encourage all of you to increase that tally by participating in the review.

Please visit sciencereview.ca and share your thoughts on what we can do to help our scientists continue to succeed.

The panel's recommendations are expected later this year.

I anticipate they will complement the results of the Innovation Agenda Minister Bains discussed earlier.

The agenda will help determine how to take the outcomes of fundamental research and translate them into innovative products and services and social and economic benefits.

These are some of the significant steps our government is taking so that science has its rightful place at the federal table.

By doing so, I am ensuring my colleagues in Parliament have the evidence they need to inform their decision-making.

In the end, science helps make us a better government.

We are not alone in our endeavour.

As you will soon hear, provincial governments are also supporting science in Canada through their own remarkable actions.

I'll leave it to the Honourable Deb Matthews to explain how.

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with a few final points:

  • Fundamental science is back.
  • Our scientists matter.

And today's investment will allow the University of Toronto to continue building on its reputation of research excellence.

Thank you all for the tremendous work you do.

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