The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, in its pre-budget submission to the House of Commons standing committee on finance, noted that the federal government, for the first time in several years “has an opportunity to consider long-term policies and solutions.”
“We know that profound changes are taking place in Canada. Our labour market continues to shift from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. The fastest growing occupations are those in the knowledge sector,” said the association in a five-page brief.
AUCC made three recommendations.
- First, that the federal government continue to invest in the critical programs funded by Canada’s three federal research granting agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, “to reflect the vital role of research as the cornerstone of Canada’s prosperity.”
- Second, it called on the government to fund mechanisms that integrate master’s and PhD students and graduates into the labour market. It suggested this could be funded by shifting some support from such programs as the Scientific and Research Experimental Development tax incentive.
- Finally, it recommended a “significant global research fund” in the context of the international education strategy currently being developed by the government. This would support student and faculty international research collaboration in thematic and geographic priorities, allowing more students and faculty to participate in international collaborative research.
It concluded by noting that Canada, in the years ahead, requires greater productivity to meet the needs of an aging society, and that universities play an important role in helping Canada meet the challenges ahead.