Pre-budget 2016 submission: Investments needed in research, student mobility, and in support of reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples

Friday, August 7, 2015


Each year, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance asks Canadians to identify their priorities for the upcoming federal budget. In response, the Federation puts forward recommendations pertaining to the social science and humanities community, noting ways in which federal funding could bolster these disciplines, research, scholars and students.

The Standing Committee on Finance renewed its annual summer call for submissions to feed into Budget 2016, but halted the process when Parliament was dissolved on August 2, 2015. We have posted our initial budget submission document here to inform members and stakeholders of the three key priorities that need Government attention: investing in research, creating opportunities for student mobility, and supporting Reconciliation, which includes improving access to post-secondary education for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

A revised submission along with more precise budget figures will be developed later in the Fall, in response to the evolving economic and political context following the federal election.

The Federation lays out its call for action on these key priorities for 2016 in the following ways:

  1. Invest in research: Significantly increase investment in the granting councils (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in order to ensure that Canada is as active as possible in the global supply chain of ideas. New investments should be designed to achieve growth in real dollars in these vital institutions, ensuring more equitable, predictable, and long-term commitments across disciplines. As part of ensuring greater openness to all disciplines, Canada’s research priorities should also involve creating new opportunities for early career researchers and growing Canadian research infrastructure funding.

  1. 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. Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary is an ideal time to create a visionary fund to encourage students to challenge their horizons and experience the wider world during their studies. A series of awards for short and long-term inter-provincial and international study or internship opportunities would enrich the post-secondary experience and yield many more times the benefit for Canada in the years that follow.

  1. Improve access to post-secondary education for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report presents an opportunity to renew and deepen a national commitment to achieve real and just reconciliation. The post-secondary sector can and must be a leader in the movement towards reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. This includes improving real access for Indigenous students to post-secondary education and investments to ensure 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 last year’s pre-budget submission here and our response to Budget 2015 here.

For comments or further information please write to:

Gauri Sreenivasan
Director of Policy and Programs
Email: gsreenivasan [at] ideas-idees [dot] ca


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