Pre-budget 2016 submission: The Federation calls for investments in research, in student mobility, and to support reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples

Thursday, February 18, 2016

In this year’s budget season, the Federation is urging the federal government to make significant investments to support scholarly research, student mobility and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians through the postsecondary system.

Each year, the Federation submits a set of recommendations to the federal government through the annual budget consultation process. Our recommendations are designed to reflect the priorities of Canada’s social scientists and humanities scholars, and also to support public policies that benefit all Canadians.

Our recommendations for 2016 are based on the understanding that Canadians face growing challenges in the 21st century, such as adapting to technological change, creating jobs in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy, reducing carbon emissions and building social inclusion. As a response to these challenges, we are making the following recommendations:

Invest in research: Significantly increase investment in the granting councils (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) in order to ensure that Canada is as active as possible in the global supply chain of ideas. New commitments should be untied and designed to achieve growth in real dollars in these vital institutions—starting now, and building over the next four years. In particular, new investments should build better balance across disciplines to ensure Canada's research portfolio is more people-centred for a knowledge intensive society. Increased funding for research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation is also key.

Create opportunities for student mobility: Canada must do more to encourage opportunities for internships and experiential learning for students through exchanges within and outside of Canada. Recent commitments by the government to support such programs in science, technology, math and business should be matched with equivalent opportunities in the humanities and social sciences. Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary is an ideal time to create a visionary fund to encourage short and long-term interprovincial and international study or internship opportunities across all disciplines. Such opportunities enrich the postsecondary experience and build connections that yield benefits for Canada far into the future.

Improve access to postsecondary education for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and support research and programming for reconciliation: The Federation welcomes the government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The postsecondary education sector is vital for advancing reconciliation. This role can be enhanced by improving real access for Indigenous students to post-secondary education and boosting investments to expand research and institutional programming that promotes reconciliation across the educational sector.

Read our full submission here. We will have full coverage of how Budget 2016 affects our community once it is released. In the meantime, find our 2015 pre-budget submission here and our response to Budget 2015 here.


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