Federal Budget Brings Additional Funding for Research Infrastructure

February 17, 1999

"Based on its very clear success - and the crucial role it is now playing - this budget allocates a further $200 million to the [Canada] Foundation [for Innovation]. Through partnerships, the total federal investment in the Foundation will translate into $2.5 billion in world-class facilities and equipment needed to make world-class discoveries - discoveries that will open the door to exciting commercial opportunities and jobs down the road."

Finance Minister Paul Martin 1999 budget speech -
"Federal Budget Brings Additional Funding
for Research Infrastructure"

Ottawa, February 17, 1999... «Another milestone for Canadian research has been reached » said Dr. David Strangway, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, in response to yesterday's Federal Budget which increases the government's contribution to the Foundation by $200 million.

"The Government's decision to invest an additional $200 million in support of infrastructure projects in Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions will mean that more researchers have the equipment or facilities they need to do their job, a critical factor for the growth and preservation of our country's intellectual capital", he added.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was established by the Federal Government in 1997 to address an urgent need of Canada's research community—new, state-of-the-art research infrastructure. The CFI was originally provided with $800 million of capital money. It operates as an independent, not-for-profit organization, whose investments are made in partnership with all levels of government, as well as the private and voluntary sectors. Its work focuses on health, the environment, science and engineering.

By early summer of this year, the CFI will have invested up to $480 million in R & D infrastructure projects across Canada, a sum which, coupled with the financial participation of other partners, represents investments totalling $1.2 billion. The $200 million allocated in this Budget will have the potential to trigger an extra $300 million from other funding partners, for an overall additional investment of $500 million.

"These new funds mean that institutions will be able to offer the necessary working environment to keep our best researchers in Canada. The institutions will also be better equipped to train young Canadians to meet the challenges of a new Millennium" said Dr. Michael Smith, a CFI Board Director and Nobel Prize Laureate (Chemistry, 1993).

The President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Mr. Robert Giroux, also stressed the importance of research for Canadians. "Research, such as it is carried out in our universities from coast-to-coast, impacts on all aspects of our lives. The greater our research capacity, the better off we will be for it. This is essential both for our transition into a knowledge-based economy and our ability to compete on world markets."

Since its establishment, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has been involved in supporting 345 projects with other partners. Examples include:

  • a state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility at the Université du Québec in Chicoutimi to study the effects of icing on power lines;
  • equipment to help establish the Manitoba First Nations Centre for Health Research, an international centre of excellence in the field of Aboriginal health;
  • advanced computer equipment to create a new national database in the fields of health and environment at the University of Toronto;
  • specialized equipment for the Environmental Quality Analysis Laboratory at the University of Regina, aimed at protecting the environmental quality of the Canadian Prairies;
  • technical equipment to complete the Simon Fraser University's Tong Louie Living Laboratory, a unique research facility aimed at promoting independent living and quality of life for elderly and disabled people;
  • laboratory equipment at Dalhousie University to study polycistic kidney disease, Canada's third most common form of disease leading to kidney failure.