Canada and Alberta invest in post-secondary infrastructure

News Release

$21.78-million investment in four colleges will create jobs, expand research and foster innovation

May 25, 2017 – Fort McMurray, Alberta – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Government of Canada values the role of post-secondary institutions as they help equip young Canadians with the education and training they need for future careers that will help them join a strong, healthy middle class. Today, the governments of Canada and Alberta are investing a total of $21.78 million in Keyano College, Lethbridge College, Portage College and Grande Prairie Regional College, which will help foster the training needed for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.

The funding was announced by David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, and by the Honourable Marlin Schmidt, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education.

Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment exemplifies that vision in action.

The funding will go toward a total of 12 projects at the four colleges. Projects include the expansion of a centre for diagnosing the pests, parasites and pathogens that are affecting Canada’s bee population; various mechanical and systems upgrades to make existing buildings more efficient and environmentally sustainable; and the construction of a new applied research centre to facilitate improved water management and help address the shortage of water operators in northeastern Alberta. More information on the 12 projects announced today is available in the attached backgrounder.

Of the total $45.77 million being invested in these projects:

  • the Government of Canada is providing $19.63 million;
  • the Government of Alberta is providing $2.15 million; and
  • the institutions and other partners are providing $23.99 million.

In total, universities and colleges throughout Alberta will receive over $500 million from the Government of Canada, the provincial government, the institutions themselves and private donors. Federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.


“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes.”

– David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Supporting our colleges with these significant infrastructure investments will ensure Albertans have access to state-of-the-art learning opportunities and create much-needed jobs to stimulate and grow our economy.”

– Marlin Schmidt, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education

“As a result of these investments, Keyano College will be better positioned to meet the post-secondary education needs of our students, our communities and our industries, both now and into the future.”

– Dr. Tracy Edwards, President and CEO, Keyano College

“Lethbridge College is grateful for the generous funding through the federal government’s Strategic Investment Fund and its partnership with the Government of Alberta. This fall the college is opening the largest trades and technologies training facility south of Calgary, and the SIF funding will be used to develop an innovation space that will enable students, faculty and industry professionals to do applied research that can have a direct impact on regional economic and social sustainability in a wide range of disciplines. Additionally, the power upgrade in our Aquaculture Centre of Excellence will allow the college to accommodate the growth of this facility while working with a diverse range of industry partners.”

– Dr. Paula Burns, President and CEO, Lethbridge College

“Portage College has received funding for three projects that will help the college enhance its suite of environmental programs, expand future programming and support remote learners. The investment will provide the Natural Resources Technology program with a greenhouse that, along with other facility enhancements, will support applied research in environmental sciences. The funding for our new Water and Wastewater Management program allows the college to develop classrooms and labs to support program delivery. This funding will also allow for the planning of a larger, permanent facility to further support improved water management in our region. Portage College has also received significant financial support from Lac La Biche County, which has been partnering with the college on the Water and Wastewater Management project. Finally, this investment will enable the college to enhance its IT infrastructure to support our remote learners across the region. We appreciate the investments in our institution and are pleased to move forward on these initiatives.”

– Dr. Trent Keough, President and CEO, Portage College

“This investment enables Grande Prairie Regional College to address the exponential growth in demand for its diagnostic services from the beekeeping industry, government and researchers from around the world. The National Bee Diagnostic Centre, a technology access centre, will increase its capacity and continue to work with producers and government to address the health of Canada’s honeybee population and increase research and learning opportunities for students.”

– Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO, Grande Prairie Regional College

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is providing more than $225 million for research infrastructure at institutions across Alberta.

  • This investment supports Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, which is designed to ensure our country is globally competitive in promoting research, translating ideas into new products and services, accelerating business growth and propelling entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to international success.

  • The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.

Associated Links


Follow Minister Bains on Twitter: @MinisterISED

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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