Canada's Economic Action Plan: A Sixth Report to Canadians

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Chapter 2
Progress Achieved to Date

Creating the Economy of Tomorrow

Canada’s Economic Action Plan includes about $4 billion over two years for post-secondary education and research, technology and innovation, and environmental protection. These measures are helping to strengthen Canada’s world-leading research and advanced training facilities and to prepare young Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow. The Economic Action Plan also includes measures to create business opportunities in all parts of Canada and to enable small and medium-sized companies to grow and create jobs.

Table 2.4.1
Creating the Economy of Tomorrow
  2009–10 2010–11 Total
(millions of dollars—cash basis)
Action to Invest in Post-Secondary Education and Research
Improving infrastructure at colleges and universities 991 996 1,987
Other 86 155 241
Subtotal—Action to Invest in Post-Secondary
Education and Research
1,077 1,151 2,228
Investing in Science and Technology
Renewing federal laboratories 85 157 242
Clean energy and the environment 358 282 640
Other 30 733 763
Subtotal—Investing in Science and Technology 473 1,172 1,644
Total—Creating the Economy of Tomorrow 1,550 2,323 3,873
Total—With provincial contributions 2,541 3,486 6,027
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. The stimulus value reflects projected cash expenditures. The budgetary impact may be somewhat smaller because some of these expenditures relate to construction and renovation costs of federal assets (for which only depreciation is recorded on a budgetary basis) and loans to third parties (where there is a budgetary impact only in the event that there is a risk of loss).

The Government is helping to build a strong, innovative economy through science, technology and research excellence, while training a new generation of highly skilled individuals. Canada needs this new wave of highly qualified workers to prosper in a global economy that depends more and more on knowledge and innovation.

Canada invests more in higher education research
and development (R&D) than any other G-7 country
Chart 2.4.1 - R&D Investment in the Higher Education Sector

The Government is committed to maintaining Canada’s global leadership position in post-secondary research. Funding has been provided to support research excellence at Canadian post-secondary institutions, help Canadian scientists focus on areas where we can be world leaders, and link our research strengths to the opportunities and challenges facing the private sector.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan invests approximately $5 billion in multi-year science and technology initiatives, an unprecedented investment which underlines the Government’s commitment to its science and technology strategy. These important investments will help position Canada for global excellence in research and development and lead to a more innovative and competitive economy. The Government is supporting state-of-the-art facilities that will help our post-secondary institutions remain at the leading edge, creating an outstanding environment for skills development to produce the highly qualified individuals that businesses require, and positioning Canada for global leadership in knowledge-intensive fields such as clean energy and space technologies.

Post-Secondary Education and Research

As post-secondary students return to classes this fall, they are seeing the positive effects of Canada’s Economic Action Plan on university and college campuses across the country. The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is providing $2 billion over two years for university and college infrastructure projects, including repair, maintenance and construction. Federal funding covers up to half of eligible project costs incurred by March 31, 2011, with other partners providing the balance.

Fifty-six projects have already been completed, and planning, design, construction and renovation work is underway on a further 421 projects at colleges and universities across Canada. These projects represent over $1.9 billion in Knowledge Infrastructure Program funding, accounting for over 95 per cent of the total program stimulus.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan:
Working for Canadians

Infrastructure Investments at Universities and Colleges

Completed Projects

  • The Government of Canada provided close to $2.8 million to the Nova Scotia Community College to complete the renovation and upgrade of the Institute of Technology campus, resulting in new and improved spaces for learning, student services and business offices. The project will also improve building safety and accessibility.
  • A retrofit of existing buildings at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) to a geoexchange system will harvest energy from the "Great Okanagan Aquifer," significantly reducing CO2 emissions. The project is part of the aspiration of the Okanagan campus to be the most sustainable campus in North America. The Government of Canada has provided $1.4 million toward this project.
  • The Collège François-Xavier-Garneau in Quebec has received $424,000 from the Government of Canada to refit its three chemistry laboratories to introduce the latest technologies, improve the learning environment and meet new quality standards. The newly equipped modern laboratories will broaden the opportunities for experimentation while maintaining safety.

Creating Jobs for Canadians Today

  • The McNally Building/North Campus Infrastructure Renewal Project at Saint Mary’s University has created 61 full-time jobs to date in Halifax, including such trades as masons, demolition trades people, electricians and construction managers.
  • The Open Knowledge Environment Project at Athabasca University in Alberta will support the employment of 35 information technology professionals over the course of the project.
  • Construction at the Centre of Excellence for Trades and Technology at Northern College in Ontario is expected to create 90 full-time-equivalent positions.

Creating Employment Opportunities of Tomorrow

  • The addition of the new Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan will provide modern research laboratory spaces and central support facilities with the capacity for 40 principal researchers and 136 graduate and post-doctoral students.
  • Construction of the new facility at the Fredericton campus of New Brunswick Community College will accommodate up to 350 students in programs related to the information technology sector and health and personal services.
  • Expansions to Grant MacEwan University in Alberta to accommodate science degree programs will provide additional capacity and enhanced research facilities, improving the learning environment for up to 11,000 students annually.
  • The new Life Sciences Building at York University in Ontario will include classroom capacity for 1,215 full-time students and 24 undergraduate teaching labs. The facility will also house research labs and office space for 45 full-time research faculty and 135 graduate assistants and post-doctoral researchers.

Through Budget 2009, the Government committed to provide the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) with additional funding of $750 million to accelerate investment in state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment. This funding represents an investment in the economy of tomorrow, as the research infrastructure supported by the CFI will underpin the creation of new knowledge and provide invaluable learning experiences for our best and brightest students.

The CFI has already committed $150 million of this funding to 28 exceptional projects through its 2009 competition, while $600 million will support the CFI’s future activities. Of this amount, the CFI has announced that over $200 million will be used to support current and new infrastructure that promotes leading-edge research, over $180 million will be directed to attracting and retaining the world’s best researchers, and more than $30 million will be earmarked for a new fund dedicated to supporting research equipment and facilities at colleges and polytechnics. These investments will promote research excellence while strengthening Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Additional details on the allocation of the balance of the $600 million will be made available in the coming months.

Investing in Science and Technology

The Government has increased its direct support for science and technology through investments to modernize federal laboratories, improve broadband access, and spur research in clean energy and space technology.

Renewing Federal Laboratories: The Government has allocated almost $250 million to upgrade and modernize federal laboratories doing research in a wide array of fields, from health and food to natural resources, after several years in which maintenance had been delayed or deferred. Construction has begun or has been completed for nearly 100 per cent of identified projects at 14 federal departments and agencies. These projects are providing near-term stimulus in regions across Canada, and will result in improved science and technology capacity for Canada and contribute to better health and safety outcomes for Canadians.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan:
Working for Canadians

Examples of Modernizing Federal Laboratory Projects

  • Considerable progress is being made on modernization projects at six forensic laboratories of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Halifax, with all projects expected to be complete by February 2011. The more than $6.7 million invested in 2010–11 will allow the RCMP to extend the functional lives of these high-priority facilities and support the organization in its efforts to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.
  • Improvements to Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Quebec, continue to progress as planned and on budget. This $14.2-million investment will provide Transport Canada with a state-of-the-art facility to conduct research and compliance testing that address emerging road safety risks.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing over $24 million over two years in the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg in order to address current limitations and provide adequate specimen processing laboratory space. This refit will strengthen the Government’s ability to anticipate and respond to threats to public health, and will support research by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency into human and animal infectious diseases. Construction is well underway on this project, creating or sustaining close to 80 jobs in the process. The Public Health Agency of Canada is working diligently to ensure that the project is completed by March 31, 2011.

Clean Energy and the Environment: Canada’s Economic Action Plan established the $1-billion Clean Energy Fund, including up to $150 million for clean energy research and development and $850 million for clean energy demonstration projects. The projects to be supported by the fund are expected to assist in increasing the deployment of renewable and clean energy technologies.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan:
Working for Canadians

Examples of Projects Funded Through the Clean Energy Fund

To date, the Government has announced support for three large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstrations under the Clean Energy Fund:

  • $120 million for a Shell Quest CCS demonstration project;
  • $315.8 million for the TransAlta Keephills Project to attach CCS to a coal-fired power plant near Edmonton; and
  • $30 million for the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line project.

This funding builds on substantial federal support provided for carbon capture and storage in previous years, including the ecoENERGY Technology Initiative and funding for other research, development and deployment projects. In total, the Government has announced over $800 million in support for carbon capture and storage.

The Government has also announced up to $146 million under the Clean Energy Fund in support of 19 projects to demonstrate renewable and clean energy across Canada, including integrated community energy solutions, smart grid technology, and renewable applications with solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy.

To date, federal funding totalling over $610 million has been announced for specific projects under the Clean Energy Fund. In addition, in response to unprecedented demand under the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program, $205 million under the Clean Energy Fund has been allocated to finance up to 120,000 additional retrofits for Canadian homeowners.

Broadband: As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, $225 million was provided to Industry Canada over three years to develop and implement a strategy to extend broadband coverage to as many unserved and underserved households as possible. The biggest component of this strategy is the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program. To date, 77 projects have been conditionally approved under this program totalling $110 million, expected to extend broadband coverage to an estimated 222,000 households. Additional projects will be announced in the coming weeks. In addition, through the Community Access Program, the Government will provide $28 million to extend affordable access to the Internet to thousands of Canadians in places like schools, community centres and libraries.

Canadian Space Agency: The Economic Action Plan provided $110 million over three years to the Canadian Space Agency to support Canada’s continued leadership in the design and construction of space robotics. Of this amount, approximately $53 million will be spent in 2010–11 on the development of the Next Generation Canadarm and Exploration Surface Mobility projects. This funding supports new opportunities for innovative Canadian companies and provides jobs for highly skilled employees. This new support will also help prepare Canadian astronauts to participate in future international space missions, such as astronaut Chris Hadfield taking command of the International Space Station in 2012.

Canada Health Infoway: The Economic Action Plan provided $500 million to Canada Health Infoway to support the goal of having 50 per cent of Canadians with an electronic health record by 2010 and to speed up the implementation of electronic medical record systems for physicians. Canada Health Infoway works with the provinces and territories to determine when and how best to invest funding. The Government has moved forward with the transfer of the $500 million that was announced in Budget 2009. This $500-million investment will both enhance the safety, quality and efficiency of the health care system, and create thousands of sustainable, knowledge-based jobs throughout Canada. To date, Infoway has spent $7 million and has committed $340 million to support electronic medical record systems for physicians’ offices and to integrate points of service for hospitals, pharmacies, community care facilities and patients. Unspent funds from 2009–10 have been reallocated to 2010–11.

Table 2.4.2
Creating the Economy of Tomorrow
2009–10 2010–11

Dollars Spent Stimulus Value Stimulus Committed
(millions of dollars)
Action to Invest in Post-Secondary Education and Research      
Improving infrastructure at universities and colleges 991 996 996
Canada Foundation for Innovation 50 50
Institute for Quantum Computing 17 17 17
Arctic research infrastructure 32 52 52
Canadian Graduate Scholarships program 35 35 35
Industrial Research and Development Internship program 3 1 1
Investing in Science and Technology
Modernizing federal laboratories 85 157 157
Clean Energy Fund1 65 282 275
Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators 8
Strengthening Canada’s nuclear advantage 285
Canada’s space industry 10 53 39
Canada Health Infoway 500 500
Extending access to broadband in rural communities 20 180 123
Total—Creating the Economy of Tomorrow 1,550 2,323 2,245
1 $205 million in 2009–10 and 2010–11 funding (referred to in Budget 2009 under "Transformation to a Green Energy Economy") was allocated to the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program to support an additional 120,000 home energy retrofits.

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