Ministers Champagne, Joly and Carr highlight Budget 2021 biomanufacturing investments

News release

April 23, 2021 — Ottawa, Ontario

Budget 2021 is the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada; and the Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies, met with representatives of the University of Saskatchewan to discuss an investment in vaccine research and development at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) from Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.

Budget 2021 proposes to provide $59.2 million to the University of Saskatchewan’s VIDO, through Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, to help it develop and manufacture bio-solutions such as vaccines and therapeutics. The proposed investment would help VIDO expand the scope of its clinical trials, based on Health Canada recommendations, and upgrade a portion of its facility in Saskatoon from Biosafety Level 3 to Level 4, allowing researchers at the facility to handle all the disease-causing pathogens in the world. 

This builds on previous investments in VIDO, totalling $46 million, to accelerate development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, support research and enhance its vaccine manufacturing facilities to the good manufacturing practices standards required for human vaccines.

The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third wave of the pandemic and given the more aggressive variants of the virus. Vaccine rollout is under way across Canada, with federal government support in every province and territory. Budget 2021 invests in Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector to rebuild domestic vaccine development and biomanufacturing capacity.

Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It is a plan to drive economic growth, a plan to secure women’s place in the workforce, and a plan to offer each and every child in Canada the best start in life. This plan will aim to reduce fees for parents by 50% on average by 2022, with a goal of reaching $10 per day on average by 2025–26 for all regulated child care spaces in Canada. It proposes extending business and income support measures through to the fall and making investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back. It will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities, including 215,000 opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors, such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation at small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts Canada on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.

Canada entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery. 

Quotes

“Our government is making steady investments to bring back the vaccine manufacturing capacity that Canadians expect and need. These investments will help ensure that Canada has modern, flexible capabilities now and in the future. With the investment highlighted today, our government is helping Canadian researchers and companies advance made-in-Canada vaccines.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Our government is proud to be investing in the world-leading expertise and ingenuity at VIDO and USask to establish a national centre for pandemic research. Partnerships like this help Canada build capacity and stay at the forefront of scientific research as we build back better.”
- The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“VIDO has been at the leading edge of pandemic research, and the Government of Canada is proud to continue supporting this important work. The Budget 2021 investments will help reinforce Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems and support the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.”
- The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies

“This funding will support vaccine development and expand our capacity to help fight future pandemics with cutting-edge research. VIDO will continue to grow its role in helping to ensure Canadians and their livestock are protected against emerging infectious diseases.”
- Dr Volker Gerdts, Director and CEO, VIDO

“This major investment in USask’s VIDO will help Canada address COVID-19 and be well prepared for future infectious disease outbreaks. It signals Canada’s recognition of VIDO’s global prominence in vaccine research and development that will protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Thanks to this investment, combined with support from both the Government of Saskatchewan and the City of Saskatoon, VIDO can now begin its important work as a new national centre for pandemic research.”
- Dr. Peter Stoicheff, President, University of Saskatchewan

Quick facts

  • Growing Canada’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a priority that goes beyond responding to COVID-19. This is a growing sector that supports thousands of good, middle-class jobs.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide a total of $2.2 billion over seven years towards growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector. This support would provide foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms, including:

    • $59.2 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, for VIDO to develop its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon.
    • $500 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bioscience capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals.
    • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund.
    • $92 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for adMare to support company creation, scale-up and training activities in the life sciences sector.
    • $45 million over three years, starting in 2022–23, to the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research.

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Associated links

Contacts

John Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
john.power@canada.ca

Annie Cullinan
Press Secretary
Office of the Special Representative for the Prairies
annie.cullinan@prairies.gc.ca

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

Media Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada
wd.media-medias.deo@canada.ca

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