The CAP’s Science Policy Committee* has completed an analysis of science-related highlights from the proposed 2023 Federal Budget, entitled “A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future.” Throughout the year, the CAP will continue to monitor government policy that could affect physics in Canada. In particular, the CAP, and the Canadian physics community at large, will need to follow the Government’s current review of ways to modernize the research system and hope that this will lead to a significant strengthening of Canada’s research ecosystem.
The overview below is intended to capture those highlights most relevant to members of the CAP, and may not include all aspects of the investments that have been made to research and post-secondary education.
* This summary was prepared by:
Barbara Frisken, PhD
Member of the CAP Science Policy Committee
On research, the government summarizes key investments made since 2016 to modernize Canada’s Research Ecosystem, including one relatively new investment in January 2023:
- Nearly $4 billion in Budget 2018 for Canada’s research system, including $2.4 billion for the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the granting councils—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research;
- More than $500 million in Budget 2019 in total additional support to third-party research and science organizations, in addition to the creation of the Strategic Science Fund, which will announce successful recipients later this year;
- $1.2 billion in Budget 2021 for Pan-Canadian Genomics and Artificial Intelligence Strategies, and a National Quantum Strategy;
- $1 billion in Budget 2021 to the granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation for life sciences researchers and infrastructure; and,
- The January 2023 announcement of Canada’s intention to become a full member in the Square Kilometre Array Observatory, which will provide Canadian astronomers with access to its ground-breaking data. The government is providing up to $269.3 million to support this collaboration.
There are no further commitments to general research funding this year. Instead, the budget includes a statement that it has appointed an independent Advisory Panel and has been consulting with stakeholders to determine what it needs to do to maintain Canada’s research strength. It is currently considering the Advisory Panel’s advice, “with more detail to follow in the coming months on further efforts to modernize the system”.
There are specific commitments to a couple of programs that may be of interest to some in the community:
- $108.6M over 3 years to expand the College and Community Innovation Program, administered by NSERC
- $2.6B over the next 5-13 years to the Canadian Space Agency
- other research money to forestry, dairy, agriculture, livestock
On students, the government is enhancing the Canada Students Grants and the Canada Student Loans programs and hopes students will benefit from other measures in the budget including the Grocery rebate plan. There is no particular mention of increasing stipends to post-graduate students or postdoctoral fellows, or increasing research grants so that researchers can pay their students more.