2024 Federal Budget

The CAP’s Science Policy Committee* has completed an analysis of physics-related highlights from the proposed 2024 Federal Budget, entitled “Fairness for Every Generation”. 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.

The full Federal budget can be found on the Department of Finance website in English and in French.

* This summary was prepared by:
Barbara Frisken, CAP Past President
Bill Whelan, CAP President
James Fraser, nominated CAP Director of Science Policy and Advocacy
Zahra Yamani, Member of the CAP Science Policy Committee
Francine Ford, CAP Executive Director

Brief Summary:

The Federal Government has taken seriously the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System and previous reports, and has adopted a number of the recommendations from these reports in this budget. The 2024 Budget addresses all three of the recommendations made in the CAP’s pre-budget submission, which the CAP advocated for in Ottawa with NSERC, ISED, and the Prime Minister’s Office, and echoes the requests of many other science organizations.

With a stated view of strengthening and modernizing Canada’s federal research support, the government will:

  • Increase core research grant funding by providing $1.8B over 5 years starting in 2024-25, with $748.3M per year ongoing to SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR;
  • Introduce a capstone research funding organization to provide better coordination and maximize impact across the federally-funded research ecosystem;
  • Introduce an advisory Council on Science and Innovation to help guide research priorities; and
  • Provide $26.9M over 5 years starting in 2024-25 to granting councils to establish an improved and harmonized grant management system.

More details on these modernization efforts are promised in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement.

The 2024 Budget commits to increases in the value and number of graduate student scholarships and postdoctoral Fellowships (PDFs) by providing $825M over 5 years starting in 2024-25 with $199.8M/year ongoing. This increase will be applied as follows:

  • Increase the value of the awards to $27K and $40K for MSc and PhD students, and to $70K for PDFs and increase the number of research scholarships and fellowships to approximately 1,720 additional graduate students or fellows per year after 5 years [see SOS’s response to the 2024 budget for more information]; and
  • Streamline the enhanced suite of scholarship and fellowship programs by consolidating them into one talent program – e.g., all PhD scholarship students will receive the same amount, where previous funding levels ranged from $20K (SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships) to $50K (Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships).

The 2024 Budget also commits to funding for several of Canada’s world-leading national research facilities:

  • $399.8M over 5 years starting in 2025-26 for TRIUMF, Canada’s subatomic physics research laboratory (Vancouver). This represents the largest investment in the laboratory to date. [See TRIUMF’s response to the 2024 budget for more information.]
  • $176M over 5 years starting in 2025-26 for CANARIE, the national not-for profit organization that manages Canada’s ultra high-speed network to connect researchers, educators and innovators.
  • $83.5M over 3 years starting in 2026-27 for the Canadian Light Source (Saskatoon). [See CLS and USaskatchewan’s response to the 2024 budget for more information.]
  • $45.5M over 5 years, starting in 2024-25 for the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute (Kingston). [See MI’s response to the 2024 budget for more information.]
  • $3.1B over 11 years, starting in 2025-26, to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to support Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ ongoing nuclear science research, environmental protection, and site remediation work.

These Budget commitments are very encouraging. We have seen several reports in recent years advocating for improvements to our research infrastructure (including reports from the Standing Committee on Science and Research, the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, and Canada’s Fundamental Science Review).

“We welcome and thank the Federal Government’s strong investments in science including to the Granting Councils and to three of the CAP’s institutional members,” noted Dr. Bill Whelan, CAP President. “The increased investments in scholarships and fellowships provides much needed financial support for students and postdoctoral fellows and values the pivotal contributions of these researchers in advancing Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem.”

Much credit is due to the many different science organizations who worked to bring these issues to the attention of politicians and policy makers, particularly members of Support Our Science (SOS), who have done a wonderful job advocating for students and postdoctoral fellows, and to all politicians and policy makers who engaged in these important discussions. Thank you to all CAP members who helped support these efforts with actions ranging from setting up a meeting with their local MP to raising these issues or to supporting an SOS rally. There is work still to be done and we look forward to continued engagement with researchers, decision makers, and the broader community.